What’s the difference between chocolate mousse, souffle and pudding?

16 Apr 2021

Chocolate Knowledge

Chocolate dessert is always our go-to. But with so many to choose from, how can you decide?

Avid chocolate bakers out there, this one’s for you. You may be a lover of mixing chocolate with all things bake-able, but do you know the difference between a chocolate mousse, souffle and pudding?

Chocolate plays a strong role in each of these three recipes, but these puds are fairly varied. Whichever one we choose to make, we always use high quality cooking chocolate to make sure the desserts remain deeply chocolatey. Why do things half-heartedly? So, grab a pen (or a spoon) and get ready to dive into the differences between these three desserts.

What is chocolate mousse?

chocolate mousse in a bowl

Light, creamy and moreish, chocolate mousse is a classic dessert that’s both delicious to eat and easy to make. This whipped dessert originated in France and is known as Mousse au chocolat – which, incidentally, is what we named our bite-sized homage to the desert.

This pudding is relatively easy to make: all you need is a bowl, the ingredients and an electric whisk (or good arm muscles). Whilst the ingredients can vary slightly, the typical mixture consists of dark chocolate, whipping cream, eggs and sugar. Other recipes call for butter or brandy, but this is optional.

Because chocolate mousse isn’t cooked, this means you’ll be eating uncooked eggs. Although there is some risk of salmonella, this is fairly low. If you’re really concerned about eating raw eggs then you can buy pasteurised eggs. For a vegan option, you can use silken tofu instead, which creates a similarly creamy texture.

Chocolate mousse can be as light or as rich as you want. For a less sweet option we suggest using our 85% Chocolate Slab. If you want a lighter mousse, then try combining our 40% Milk Chocolate Slab with our 70% Dark for a mousse with a mellow depth.

What is chocolate souffle?

chocolate souffle in the oven

The notoriously tricky chocolate souffle has seen many a baker fall in cooking competitions. This light and airy dessert is somewhere between a mousse and a set custard, making it the perfect end to a heavy dinner.

The chocolate souffle’s main selling point is its impressive rise. Sugar, dark chocolate, cream and eggs combine to make a light and airy batter that is cooked in the oven. Unlike chocolate mousse, a chocolate souffle must be cooked to the perfect temperature in order to help it rise and set.

Before it even goes into the oven, chocolate and cream must be melted in a bowl over simmering water, cooled and then mixed with egg yolks. Whisked egg whites are then folded in, alongside sugar, to create a light, mousse texture. You must be careful not to over whisk the mixture and knock out all of the air bubbles – doing so could result in a flat and pancake-like mixture.

Once put into lined ramekins, the mixture is baked for up to ten minutes. This is when you can see whether your whisking skills are up to scratch. Just make sure you don’t open the door before the souffles are cooked: any loss of heat could cause the souffles to collapse, meaning you end up with an unsightly flat egg mixture.

What is chocolate pudding

We might associate chocolate pudding as being anything chocolate served after dinner, but chocolate pudding is the name of a specific US dessert. This pudding is a bit like a lighter chocolate ganache with a custard-like texture. It’s extremely simply to make; you just heat sugar, milk, cocoa powder and cornstarch together until they form a thick, pudding texture.

Originally, in the early 20th century, chocolate pudding was seen as a sort of ‘health food’ to give to sickly children. This calorie-dense and filling dessert was given to those who had low appetites as a sort of energy-booster.

Although we don’t recommend you give it to those ailing from an illness (a hearty bowl of soup is probably more suitable), it is a great option for those in need of a comforting and easy treat.

chocolate pudding with strawberries on it

Difference in ingredients

All three desserts have one thing in common: chocolate is the main feature. However, there are subtle differences in the ingredients that help to set them apart. A chocolate pudding contains cornstarch to help it set, but contains no eggs. This makes it a great option for those looking to make a vegan chocolate dessert as you can easily swap the milk for a dairy-free alternative.

In addition, whilst chocolate souffle and chocolate mousse contains melted chocolate, chocolate pudding gets its cocoa flavour from cocoa powder. For a deep chocolate taste we recommend using a high cocoa, non-alkalised cocoa powder.

Unlike chocolate souffle and chocolate mousse, the chocolate pudding contains no cream. However, it still gets its creamy and smooth consistency by gently heating cornstarch with the rest of the ingredients over a stove.

As chocolate souffle is the only dessert with flour in, both chocolate pudding and chocolate mousse are great options for those who have a gluten intolerance.

Difference in texture

All three desserts are light ways to finish your meal. Each one has a certain creaminess to it, although the differences in textures are fairly noticeable.

A chocolate mousse should be smooth and airy, with small air pockets running through. Even if you don’t manage to trap every air bubble in your mousse, it shouldn’t be too dense. Because the eggs aren’t cooked, the mousse retains that fluffy, light finish.

The chocolate souffle has a firmer texture. Because it’s cooked in the oven, you should expect a light crust to form on top. Once broken into, your mixture should be smooth, light and fluffy. If your mixture has the consistency of scrambled eggs then you might have overcooked it.

Chocolate pudding is halfway between a custard and a ganache, making it incredibly smooth and easy to eat. Just make sure you stir your mixture thoroughly over the hob to avoid any lumps.

Difference in cooking

Each dessert has its own cooking method. Whilst you don’t need to cook mousse at all (only chill it in the fridge for a few hours), the other two desserts demand at least some cooking time.

Chocolate souffle ingredients are technically cooked twice: once in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, and once in the oven. You also cook chocolate pudding, although this is over a gentle heat in a pan.

Where do I start?

chocolate mousse in a cup

Cooking with chocolate opens up a whole world of wonderful and wacky recipes for you to try. The best thing about baking is that you get to customise your recipes to suit your palette: perhaps you make a complementary shortbread biscuit to go alongside your chocolate pudding, or perhaps you make a rich chocolate fudge sauce to pour into your chocolate souffle.

A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate Recipe Book is our take on over 100 chocolate recipes, from the classics to novel inventions. From desserts to spreads and smoothies, our recipe book helps you look at cooking with chocolate in a new light.

Don’t worry if you’re new to cooking with chocolate: we’ve put together a guide to help you navigate your way through the world of high cocoa bakes. So, grab your apron, get a bowl and impress your nearest and dearest with your latest chocolate bakes: will it be a mousse, souffle or pudding first?