John D. Ivanko
June 12, 2013

French Silk Cake - Photo by John D. Ivanko (
Photo by John D. Ivanko/

After our hike through ancient pine forests at the Gathering Waters’ Land Legacy Gathering and delicious spinach taquitos prepared by Enos Farms for enjoyment after, we couldn’t miss out on treating ourselves to the decadent French silk cake.

Enos Farms prepared this mousse dessert using pastry chef Emily Luchetti’s recipe, which she shares in her cookbook, Classic Stars Desserts (Chronicle Books, 2007). We admit, we love chocolate, but when Enos Farms took such care in selecting the organic ingredients for their version of the recipe, we savored every last bite.  The nutty crunch of the crust perfectly complements the fluffy and smooth mousse cake.

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While our son returned for more of chef Jeremy Lynch’s lemon meringue bites, we continued queuing up for another pass by the towering squares of French silk mousse—and we were hardly alone. It’s a good thing we went on a hike beforehand, otherwise we might have felt a little guilty for having sampled more than one piece.

Recipe: French Silk Mousse Cake
Adapted with permission from Classic Stars Desserts, by Emily Luchetti

This cake may be made two days in advance of serving and kept in the refrigerator. If storing with foods that have strong odors, invert a large bowl over the cake to protect it from them.

Yield: 12 to 15 servings



  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 T. unsalted butter, melted


  • 1¼ pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 12 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. granulated sugar


In food processor, combine walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, and pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped. Pour nuts into bowl, add butter and stir until nuts are evenly moistened. Press nut mixture evenly onto bottom of 9-inch round springform pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Switch to the whip attachment and add eggs two at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl, increase speed to medium-high, and whip until well blended, about 2 minutes. At this point, the mixture will look curdled.
Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir until smooth and warm but not hot. With the mixer on low speed, add chocolate to egg mixture. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, then continue to mix on low speed until chocolate is fully incorporated. Add cream and vanilla and mix until blended. Spread the filling over crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Whisk together cream and sugar of topping until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to four hours until ready to serve. (You might need to lightly rewhip before using.)

Spread topping with spatula over cake. (You may put the topping on the cake up to 2 hours before serving and keep the cake in the refrigerator.) Run hot, dry knife around inside edge of the pan to loosen cake. Remove pan sides and set cake on a serving platter. Slice the cake with a hot, dry knife and serve chilled.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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