Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mousse Is Not Made From Petroleum Products. At Least It Shouldn't Be.

Just because they're the same size doesn't mean they're both cakes.
I get requests for mousse fillings for cakes all the time, and I always say that no, I won't do a mousse filling. They need to be refrigerated until they're served, and I don't trust them to not separate.

If it was for a dessert cake that could be kept refrigerated until close to the time to serve it, sure, have at it. But not for a wedding cake.

But then I see "mousse" offered on a lot of other baker's websites, and I have to wonder what's going on.

I have a sneaking suspicion that someone somewhere is selling a sleeved filling that they're trying to pass off as "mousse." Hey, they do it with so-called "custard," so why not with a mousse?

Then I did a search for mousse recipes to see if I could clarify this. Turns out that a lot of people are under the impression that cream cheese, butter, and cooked egg yolks are ingredients in mousse. Uh, no, not really.

A mousse is made from whipping cream, eggs, and the flavorings. Sometimes you stabilize it with gelatin if the flavoring requires that, but there's no cream cheese or butter in a real mousse.

It seems to me that people have started calling ANYTHING that's whipped at any point in the process of making it "mousse." I'm sorry, but whipping pudding then serving it in individual cups doesn't make it a mousse.

Custards are cooked, which makes them more stable, and that also seems to be what a lot of recipes are calling mousses.

I even found one recipe that was for ganache, but it was whipped and served in cups. That's eating truffle filling, but it's not a mousse.

I actually do suggest truffle fillings to clients, because that's usually the kind of thing they're looking for, It's nowhere near as light as a real mousse would be, but it has a similar mouth feel, so people are happy with it. Not to mention that it stands up better at room temperature as a wedding cake sits out on display for hours before it's cut.

So be clear when clients ask you for a mousse. Most people don't really know what a mousse is, but they're looking for a specific consistency. If you can figure out what that is, you'll be able to offer them something that will make them happy, but will also not dissolve inside the cake.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Canterbury Cakes said...

This is an interesting post. I have the impression that a lot of clients haven't got a clue what they are talking about when the ask for something, not just mousse, and that they often need some education :o)

Kara Buntin said...

I've been doing an experiment and ordering "mousse" whenever I see it on a menu somewhere. It's all pretty much some thick substance like cool whip, it's hard to describe. Now I want to go make some real mousse! That will be my project for tomorrow.

Audric Montuno said...

I find that a lot of places that sell "mousse" cakes commercially often overload the "mousse" mixture with gelatin - it's far more stable in the end, but it makes it impossible to eat. It doesn't dissolve in the mouth without a fight, and even then you're still swallowing down chunks of intact gelatinous-whipped-mixture.

Here's a question - does a real mousse have to have whipped egg whites?

Kara Buntin said...

Audric...Yes, it does :)

Kara Buntin said...

Actually, I stand corrected on the egg whites...I just found a recipe that uses egg yolks as well. The key is that it isn't cooked, I suppose. I'm going to be making some delicious mousse today, I've been thinking about it! ;)

Kara Buntin said...

I just made chocolate mousse...The total time spent was about 15 minutes,and the ingredients were sugar, eggs and chocolate. Super easy, and now it's chilling in the fridge!

Audric Montuno said...

Was it similar to this recipe?

Kara Buntin said...

The one I used didn't have butter or salt, and used reguar sugar not confectioner's sugar. I wrote about it and it will go up next Wednesday. It was good yesterday and good for breakfast dessert today ;)But it did start "melting" when it warmed up, and I'd never use it for a cake filling!