Rum-and-Coffee–Flavored Chocolate Mousse Cake

Il Diplomatico

Whipping the eggs and sugar when my mother made this dessert was one of my first jobs in the kitchen. Incredibly easy, Il Diplomatico always elicits oohs and aahs of delight. As with tiramisù, this dessert requires the flavor of Italian coffee. for directions on how to make it.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 12 hours


  • ½ cup Italian coffee
  • 3 tablespoons plus
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 store-bought pound cake, about 12 ounces
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • About 1 cup assorted berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries


  1. Make the coffee and mix in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the water, and rum. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place a saucepan half filled with water over medium heat. Cut the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a small metal bowl. Put the bowl over the saucepan. Once the chocolate is melted, remove the pot from the heat but leave the bowl with the chocolate over it.
  3. Slice the pound cake lengthwise into ¼-inch slices and line the bottom and sides of a -quart loaf pan with the cake. Use a pastry brush to generously dab the pound cake with the coffee mixture. The cake should be soaked through but not so drenched that it falls apart.
  4. Separate the eggs. Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer and the whites in a separate bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar to the yolks and whisk until the mixture is smooth, pale yellow, and forms ribbons. Add the melted chocolate and mix well. Whip the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks, then carefully fold them into the chocolate mixture. To make folding easier, mix in a spoonful of egg whites first to soften the mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into the lined loaf pan. Cover with a layer of the remaining sliced pound cake and dab with the coffee mixture. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
  6. When ready to serve, whip the cream with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar until it forms firm peaks. Unmold the cake onto a flat plate, tapping it gently to loosen it. Frost it with the whipped cream and decorate with the berries. Serve chilled.