Peanut Butter Mousse Crunch Cake Recipe

Dominique Ansel's perfectly creamy and crispy cake tastes like a giant peanut butter cup.
April 8, 2020, 11:00am
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 8
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 2 hours


for the chocolate caramelized puffed rice:
2 cups|70 grams puffed rice
2 tablespoons|35 grams light corn syrup
1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon|18 grams granulated sugar
2 ½ ounces|70 grams milk or dark chocolate

for the peanut butter mousse:
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon|11 grams unflavored powdered gelatin
¼ cup|60 ml cold water
⅔ cup|160 grams whole milk
5 large egg yolks
½ cup|100 grams granulated sugar
1 cup|225 grams creamy peanut butter
1 ⅔ cups|400 grams heavy cream


for the dark chocolate ganache:
¾ cup + 3 tablespoons|220 grams heavy cream
3 tablespoons|45 grams whole milk
7 ¼ ounces|220 grams semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons|45 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set an 8-inch (20-centimeter) cake ring in the pan.
  2. Coat the puffed rice: Put the puffed rice in a large bowl. Put the corn syrup in a small heatproof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then pour the warm corn syrup over the puffed rice. Sprinkle with the sugar, then mix with a spatula until the rice is evenly coated. (You may find that using your hands is easier).
  3. Shape the puffed rice: Transfer the puffed rice to the cake ring, pressing it into an even layer about ¼ inch (6 millimeters) thick.
  4. Bake the puffed rice for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden-brown and caramelized. Let the puffed rice cool completely in the cake ring. Unmold the puffed rice, then carefully peel away the silicone mat or parchment.
  5. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Microwave in 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until just melted—don't let it get too hot. Line an 8-inch (20-centimeter) cake pan with parchment paper. Place the disc of puffed rice in a large bowl. With your hands, break it into smaller pieces. Pour the melted chocolate over the puffed rice and fold with a spatula until coated.
  6. Press the coated puffed rice into the prepared cake pan, saving about ⅓ cup for garnish. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
  7. Make the peanut butter mousse: Combine the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and stir with a spoon until the gelatin has dissolved. Put the milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  8. Make the custard: Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until combined. While whisking, slowly pour in a little bit of the hot milk to temper the eggs and whisk until combined. Whisk in a bit more of the milk, then pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk.
  9. Cook the custard over medium-low, gently stirring with a spatula, until thick enough to coat the back of the spatula, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. While the custard is still warm, add the peanut butter*, then the gelatin mixture, and stir until combined. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes, or refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer or whisk), whip the cream on medium speed until it holds soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour the custard into the whipped cream a little at a time, gently folding with a spatula until just combined.
  11. Make the dark chocolate ganache: Combine the cream and the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  12. Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Slowly pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Let cool completely.
  13. Assemble the cake: Pour the mousse into the cake ring, making sure there are no air bubbles. To get rid of any air bubbles, lightly tap the sheet pan that the cake is sitting on and the air bubbles will rise to the top and pop. Use an offset spatula to level the mousse. Freeze the cake until solid, about 3 hours or up to overnight.
  14. At least 3 hours before serving, unmold the cake. Gently push down on the cake ring to remove it, then transfer the cake to a wire rack over a sheet tray. Working quickly while the cake is still frozen, glaze it with the chocolate ganache, leveling it off with an offset spatula. Transfer the cake to a cake board or plate and top as desired with the chocolate reserved caramelized puffed rice. Slice and serve using a knife dipped in hot water.

*If your peanut butter is particularly thick, put it in a medium bowl, add a scoop of the custard, and stir with a spatula to loosen it, then add the peanut butter mixture to the saucepan with the remaining custard.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the author from Everyone Can Bake: Simple Recipes to Master and Mix.

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