Black Tie Mousse Cake (Olive Garden Copycat!)

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Decadent, rich, and absolutely bursting with chocolate flavor, Black Tie Mousse Cake is incredibly tasty!! One of the most popular Olive Garden desserts, it’s even better homemade. Featuring three layers of chocolate and cheesecake goodness, this is one of those recipes that are sure to impress — make my black tie mousse cake by Olive Garden for your next party!

Titled Image: Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake


Black Tie Mousse Cake

Chocolate and cheesecake just may be two of my favorite desserts!

And when I find recipes that put them together to create something even more special, I’m instantly hooked.

The first time I tried black tie mousse cake was at Olive Garden, of course.

While they may not have come up with it themselves — after extensive research I discovered that it was actually Cheesecake Factory!

They call theirs Chocolate Tuxedo Cream — it has quickly become one of their specialties. 

It’s no secret that I love Olive Garden… in fact, I have more than a dozen copycat recipes up on the site to peruse.

But, this is one of the first desserts I’ve tried my hand at! It was a great place to start, and I’m thrilled with how my version of the Olive Garden black tie mousse cake came out! 

I know all of my fellow chocolate and cheesecake lovers will agree.

It’s a combination of chocolate cake, dark chocolate cheesecake, mascarpone custard, white chocolate icing, and chocolate ganache frosting. Drooling yet?! 

ingredients for Olive Garden Black Tie Mousse Cake

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Eggs – You’ll need eggs for the chocolate cake layer and cheesecake layer.

    Opt for large ones. Oh, and as a note, you’ll need to bring one to room temperature for the cake.
  • Sugar – I’m using granulated sugar for the cake and cheesecake, and powdered sugar for the mascarpone cheese custard layer!
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – For the chocolate cake — I like Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder best as it gives me more control over the sweetness levels.

    Plus, there is plenty of sugar elsewhere in this recipe… you don’t want it to be sickly sweet!
  • Buttermilk – My somewhat secret ingredient for the cake! It will give you amazingly tender, moist, and rich results.

    If you don’t have any, you can make a substitute by adding a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

    This is another ingredient you’ll want to bring to room temperature.
  • Chocolate Chips – Black tie mousse cake is all about dark chocolate.

    I’m using dark chocolate chips in the cheesecake layer, the dark and white chocolate icing, and in the chocolate ganache frosting.

    You’ll need white chocolate for the icing, and mini ones for decoration as well.
  • Cream Cheese – It wouldn’t be a proper cheesecake layer without cream cheese! Soften it before using.
  • Heavy Cream – Needed for the custard, icing, and frosting. If you don’t have any on hand, whole milk of half-and-half will work.
  • Mascarpone – The custard layer of my black tie mousse cake recipe is made with mascarpone, my favorite Italian cheese for desserts.
  • Vanilla – Add vanilla extract to the cake, cheesecake, and custard for added warmth.
  • Chocolate Syrup To decorate the serving plates!
chocolate cake layer

Tips and Tricks to Make Olive Garden Black Tie Mousse Cake

  • Know that it’s worth all of the effort!

As you can probably tell from the extensive ingredients list, black tie mousse cake by Olive Garden is quite time-consuming. 

There are three different layers, two types of icings, and chocolate ganache frosting to finish it all off.

Beginners: be patient with yourselves as this one is a bit more complicated than some of my other dessert recipes.

But, let me tell you from experience… it’s totally worth it!!

  • Make the chocolate cake layer with care.

You’ll have to add boiling water to the cake batter after you’ve combined all of the ingredients.

It dissolves the cocoa powder, enhances the chocolate flavor, and ensures a smooth and well-blended batter for your Olive Garden black tie mousse cake. 

This step is key to achieving the best texture and consistency, so don’t rush the process — or use cold water!

  • Use a toothpick to create those signature swirls.

If you’ve ever eaten black tie mousse cake at Olive Garden, you know that the top features an intricate-looking white and dark chocolate swirl pattern.

It isn’t as hard as you may think to do it yourself!

Once you’ve added both types of icing on top, use a toothpick (and a gentle hand) to make the swirls.

You may want to practice on a plate first if you’ve never done it before!

chocolate cheesecake layer

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Prepare the cake pan
  • Boil the water
  • Melt the dark chocolate chips for the cheesecake layer and let cool
mascarpone cheesecustard

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • 8” Cake Pan with high sides
  • Whisk – These have held up for over 10 years and are still as good as the day I bought them. With 3 sizes, there is a whisk for every job!
  • Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • Wire Rack – Great for cooling all kinds of baked goods.
  • Springform Pan – This is basically required for cheesecake. The ring sides pop off and make removing the cake easy and clean.
  • Electric Hand Mixer – I’ve had this one in my kitchen forever, and it still works beautifully.
  • Heat-Safe Bowl – Check the bottom for a stamp indicating whether it is safe for the microwave or dishwasher. Otherwise, use a ramekin or one of these oven-safe bowls.
  • Piping Bag with Star Tip– Gives you more control over the chocolate and is less messy too. You can also make your own by filling a plastic storage bag and snipping off the corner opposite from the zippered top.
swirling top of Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake

Serving Suggestions

Black tie mousse cake is so rich and decadent that you don’t really need to worry about serving it with anything else except maybe a cup of coffee or tea.

That said, if you want to create a chocolaty-themed dessert spread, some of my other favorites include Hershey’s chocolate cake, s’mores cookies, chocolate avocado banana bread, and chocolate truffles made with Oreos!  

If you want more Olive Garden dessert, my Chocolate Brownie Lasagna Copycat Recipe is an incredible treat!

piping icing on the top of Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake

Storing Leftover Black Tie Mousse Cake by Olive Garden

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge where they will keep for up to 3-4 days. 

While you can technically freeze black tie mousse cake by Olive Garden, the texture and consistency — especially of the custard layer — will change.

I find that this is one of those desserts that’s best enjoyed fresh or within a few days of making it!

Black Tie Mousse Cake FAQ

Can I use a different type of chocolate?

This black tie mousse cake recipe is made with dark chocolate for the most part. I personally really love the dark stuff, but if you don’t you can feel free to use semi-sweet or even milk chocolate instead.

Do I have to use mascarpone?

As mentioned I love using mascarpone in desserts as it has great flavor and texture. 

That said, if you can’t find it, you can always replace it with cream cheese for Olive Garden black tie mousse cake. Keep in mind that the flavor and consistency will likely be a bit different.

How do I know when the cheesecake layer is done?

You’ll be able to tell when the edges are set. Be careful not to overbake or it could end up cracking.

Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake top view

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slice of Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake on a plate

slice of Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake

Black Tie Mousse Cake (Olive Garden Copycat!)

Donna Elick
Black Tie Mousse Cake is the ultimate dessert for chocolate lovers! Inspired by Olive Garden, my black tie mousse cake is incredibly delish.
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
chill time 6 hours
Total Time 8 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Method Oven
Servings 12


For the Chocolate Cake Layer:

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

For the Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Layer:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, 2 packages softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Mascarpone Cheese Custard Layer:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Dark and White Chocolate Icing:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • Mini chocolate chips for the sides
  • Chocolate syrup for plate decoration


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
  • For the chocolate cake layer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Stir in the boiling water until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • With a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 2 halves. Transfer one half of the cake to an 8 inch springform pan and press down to make the cake spread to the edges. (The remaining cake half can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for another use)
  • For the cheesecake layer, melt the dark chocolate chips and let cool slightly. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Fold in the cooled chocolate.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled cake layer and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until set. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm.
  • For the custard layer, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. In another bowl, blend the mascarpone cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream and spread the mixture over the cheesecake layer. Chill in the refrigerator.
  • For the icing, heat the heavy cream for the dark chocolate until it begins to simmer, then pour over the dark chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Repeat with the white chocolate chips and remaining cream. Drizzle both dark and white chocolate icings over the custard layer. Use a toothpick to create a swirl pattern.
  • Press mini chocolate chips around the sides of the cake.
  • Chill the cake for at least 2 more hours before serving.

Instructions for Making and Applying the Ganache Frosting:

  • Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl.
  • Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to simmer.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for about 4-5 minutes to melt the chocolate.
  • Stir the mixture until the chocolate is fully melted and the ganache is smooth.Let the ganache cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency, stirring occasionally. (about 2 hours at room temperature, or 1 hour in the refrigerator)
  • Use an electric mixer to beat the ganache frosting. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe around the top edge of the cake. Slice cake and enjoy!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 841cal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 61g | Saturated Fat: 37g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 385mg | Sugar: 46g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Olive Garden Black Tie mousse Cake - PIN

Originally published January 2024

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is pure magic! Donna and Chad’s creations never disappoint. It’s a chocoholic’s dream come true.

  2. 5 stars
    Donna’s recipes are always a hit, and this Black Tie Mousse Cake is no exception. I followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out fantastic. It’s just like the restaurant version, if not better!

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