sense of taste – coconut mousse cake

by hungryrabbit on January 17, 2014

Coconut Mousse Cake

Last week, I blogged about being naughty and not conforming to a post New Year’s diet. Eating healthier year round has always been my approach, so an occasional slice of cake won’t lead me into a downward spiral of gluttony.

I’ve been thinking about how the texture of food can change your perception of caloric intake. Take caramel popcorn, marshmallow and cotton candy, for example. They’re seemingly light, giving you the illusion that you are not consuming a lot of calories. The problem is that you are ingesting high carbs and empty calories, and you can still feel unsatisfied—even after snacking away at work or through a Breaking Bad marathon.

So, here’s my theory.  I believe in selective indulgence. After enjoying your healthy lunch or dinner, you can end with a lighter dessert: Coconut Mousse Cake. It has an airy ethereal texture, so it’s not nearly as heavy as typical treats. Anyway, wouldn’t you rather indulge in a authentic dessert than snack food?


Coconut Mousse Cake

yield: one 8-inch cake

Cake base


1/2 cup (2 ounces) cake flour
6 tablespoons (1-1/2 ounce) cornstarch
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup coconut oil, in liquid form
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 375°F and adjust rack to middle position. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine flour and cornstarch in a medium bowl, set aside. Combine both oils in a measuring cup, set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat eggs, yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla on high speed until thick and pale yellow color, about 4-6 minutes. Remove bowl from stand and quickly fold in flour mixture with the whisk attachment by hand. Gradually drizzle oil into bowl and continue to whisk unit fully combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan, set in on a baking sheet and bake cake until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes.

5. Remove cake from oven and immediately turn cake out onto a lightly greased wire rack. Cool completely, about 45-60 minutes.

6. Trim sponge cake and place cake in the bottom of an 8-inch cake ring or a 8-inch spring-form pan. Set aside.

Coconut Mousse


1/4 cup cold water
1-1/2 tablepoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1-1/2 cups unsweetened canned coconut milk
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons coconut rum
Pinch of fine sea salt
1-1/2 cups heavy cream


1. In a small bowl, add cold water and sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. In a medium saucepan, warm coconut milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, rum and salt until sugar dissolved. Add gelatin and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat, pour mixture into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream to soft peaks on medium speed. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar gradually and beat to medium peaks. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cooled coconut mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until well combined. Pour coconut mixture into prepared cake base, all the way to the top. (you may have extra coconut mixture) Smooth top with metal spatula, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (Freeze for 2 hours if you are in a hurry).



Coconut Mousse Cake
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup large coconut flakes (optional)


1. Mix both shredded coconut in a small bowl. Remove cake from refrigerator, peel off plastic wrap and sprinkle top with shredded coconut; press lightly to adhere. Decorate center with coconut flakes, if use.

2. Place cake, still in ring mold, on cake stand or serving platter. Wrap warm towel around ring and let stand for a minute. Slide ring up and off the mousse cake. Serve immediately.

Note: if make ahead, do step 2 & 3 when you are ready to serve.


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

That cake is absolutely stunning! I haven’t had a lot of time to bake lately, but I might have to make the time for this one… I’ll take a real dessert over a snack any day. I like how you think.

Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health January 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm

i like your approach to indulgence. I would definitely take a slice of cake rather than some other snack food..

Diane January 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

Mmmmmm, looks delicious, can’t wait to make it! And agree on the indulgence, everything in balance. :)

dina January 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

it looks amazing!

Lynn D. January 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Am I missing something or have you listed the canola and coconut oil in the cake base twice?

Brenda January 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm

It looks like you have 3/4 cup of coconut oil listed twice; I assume is should be just one 3/4 cup? The cake looks amazing.

hungryrabbit January 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Hi Brenda, it’s 1/4 cup of canola and 3/4 cup coconut oil; a total of 1 cup. Coconut oil can be heavy on the cake, so I lightened it by using canola oil. By all means use any combo you like. -Ken

Susan January 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Lynn D is right… both oils are listed twice for the cake recipe

hungryrabbit January 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Hi Brenda, I just saw what you were talking about, thanks for pointing it out. I’ve revised the recipe. Happy Baking! – Ken

hungryrabbit January 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Hi Susan, thanks for pointing it out. I’ve revised the recipe. Happy Baking! – Ken

Sara January 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Do you think you could freeze/thaw slices of this cake?

hungryrabbit January 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Hi Sara, good question. You can probably serve it as a frozen mousse cake. I honestly do not know the answer. If you do freeze it, please keep me posted on your result. Happy Baking! – Ken

Sara January 20, 2014 at 8:47 am

Will do, thanks!

Maria Speck January 21, 2014 at 10:43 am

Beautiful, Ken — another royal treat! You are spoiling us.

domenicacooks January 31, 2014 at 10:13 am

Ken, when the heck are you going to open a bakery? Your cakes and pastries need to be out there for the world (that means me) to enjoy!

hungryrabbit January 31, 2014 at 10:31 am

Hey Hey, thank you for your kind words. I can say the same about your delicious food. xoxo

Dianne Weisselberg April 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Looks amazing! I’m looking forward to baking it for a group. 2 questions:
1) how many people does it serve?
2) I have a lot of coconut oil in solid form. Can I warm this and use it or do I have to buy liquid coconut oil? I’ve never seen that in my local health food store.

hungryrabbit April 22, 2014 at 6:57 am

Hi Dianne, this cake will serve 6-8 people. You can yield a bigger cake by baking the sponge cake in a 9-inch springform and omit the trimming of the cake. Melting solid coconut oil is perfectly fine, make sure it’s cool before using it in the recipe. Happy Baking! -Ken

Dianne April 29, 2014 at 7:15 pm

thanks! last question:
serving it at an alcohol-free gathering. If I omit the rum, will it affect the cake a lot?

hungryrabbit April 29, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Hi Dianne, you can substitute rum with coconut milk. -Ken

Dianne Weisselberg April 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

great, thanks! making it tomorrow night; I’ll let you know how it goes!

Joyce laferrera August 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm

The cake looks delicious.

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