Pastry chef Jacques Torres shares his easy recipe for a chocolate mousse dessert using pantry items, and it involves baking cake in a frying pan

Torres whipped up a chocolate mousse cake without using the oven.Insider
  • Insider asked pastry chef and chocolatier, Jacques Torres, to help us make a delicious dessert at home.
  • The "Nailed It!" star walked me through making a layered chocolate mousse cake.
  • The recipe involved baking cake in a frying pan which turned out be faster and just as delicious as using the oven.
  • Torres also shared a baking hack for parents. He says he mixes 3 tablespoons of cake mix with 2 tablespoons of water and microwaves it for 1 minute to create fast cupcakes for his kids.

Baking at home is a great way to pass the time while staying inside, but it can be challenging if you can't find the right ingredients.

So, Insider asked Jacques Torres — pastry chef, chocolatier, and the head judge on the Netflix show "Nailed It!" — to help us create something incredible at home even if you have limited access to ingredients and/or kids that always want to "help."

Torres, also known as Mr. Chocolate, came up with something delicious: a layered chocolate mousse dessert to bring a little decadence to our quarantine routine. Advertisement

To make the treat, the chef decided to avoid using flour since some people might have had a hard time finding it right now, limiting the ingredients to things many of us probably have in the pantry already while allowing for many substitutions.

Torres showed me how to make the dessert from start to finish, and demonstrated how to make cake quickly in a frying pan as part of the recipe.

Learning how to make cake in a pan was a game-changer.Sara Silverstein/Insider
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As a bonus, he offered a foolproof recipe for when you need a quick cupcake fix: Combine 3 tablespoons of cake mix with 2 tablespoons of water, put it in a cup, and microwave for 1 minute to create fast cupcakes. Torres uses a mixture of half angel food cake mix and half vanilla cake mix, but I tried it with every type of cake mix I had on hand and was shocked to find that each one of them turned out great!

You can watch Torres walk me through the entire recipe here:
And here's the full recipe written out below:Advertisement

Ingredients

  • 1 box vanilla or yellow cake mix and the ingredients listed on the box
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) chocolate — 60% dark chocolate
  • 20 grams (5 teaspoons) sugar
  • 80 grams (1/3 cup) whole milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg yolk
  • A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon 
  • Butter to grease your frying pan
  • Whatever berries you have
  • Whiskey, kirsch, or rum (if you would like to make a more adult version)

Fry up some cake

Torres used half vanilla and half angel food cake mix, but I used yellow cake mix and it worked great! He says to follow the instructions on the box to make your cake batter. 

Grease a large frying pan with butter over low heat. Then, put some of your cake mix into the frying pan, covering the bottom like a giant pancake. Cover the pan.

After a few minutes, you can flip your cake and then a couple of minutes later, it will be done. It should take about 5 minutes total depending on the size of your cake. (Mine took a few minutes more because I poured a thick layer of cake — much thicker than instructed — in a 10-inch pan.)

Prepare the chocolate mousse

In a saucepan, add your milk and bring to a boil. Then, add 6 ounces (about 3/4 of a cup) of chocolate. Stir it together on the stove, mixing until all the chocolate has melted. Add the egg yolk and mix well. Set aside. 

In a stand mixer or a separate bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites while adding the sugar gradually. Add a few drops of fresh-squeezed lemon juice here to keep the egg whites from separating. Continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks just form. Then, gently fold the chocolate in.

Layer in glasses

Use a measuring cup or anything that is the same size as the bottom of your glasses, to cut your cake into little circles. Then, place one cake circle in the bottom of the glass. 

If you want to make an adult version of this you can add some whiskey, kirsch, or rum on top of the first layer of cake. 

Add some chocolate mousse on top of the cake. Layer some berries or fruit on top of the mousse. 

Then add another cake circle, some more mousse, and top with more berries. 

If you are Torres or extremely ambitious, you can temper some chocolate and cut out hearts to add to the top of your dessert. But that isn't going to happen at my house. 

Chill and serve

Put your glasses in the refrigerator to chill a few hours before serving but don't leave it in there too long! If you leave it overnight, Torres says your mousse will deflate. 

And voila, you have your dessert.

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