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How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Macadamia Mousse

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This recipe is a little complicated and it requires quite the time investment, but it is so worth it! These chocolate cupcakes are filled with a rich white chocolate macadamia nut mousse and topped with chocolate butter cream and a fresh raspberry. They are sublime!

This white chocolate macadamia nut mousse recipe is based on Julia Child’s chocolate mousse recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve cut the recipe in half, swapped out the type of chocolate, added toasted macadamia nuts, and I beat the egg whites over a bain-marie (in case anyone I share it with is queasy about raw eggs). One thing to note is that there will be extra mousse (about 1-2 servings) after assembling the cupcakes. The mousse recipe just doesn’t work right if you cut it down any more (plus this mousse is amazing and I can and will eat the leftovers with a spoon).

Make the mousse first because it needs at least two hours in the fridge to set before you can fill your chocolate cupcakes. Then make the chocolate cupcakes and allow them to cool while you make the chocolate buttercream. This is the most efficient way to make these cupcakes.

How to make the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Mousse

The white chocolate macadamia nut mousse is a little tricky, so if you’re confused please read through this section of the post. I won’t go into a detailed explanation of how to make the chocolate cupcakes and the chocolate buttercream because it is pretty simple.

Mousse is easier to make if the eggs are room temperature. It’s not required, but if you’re nervous keep that in mind.

Fill a large bowl or 9″x13″ pan with cold water and ice. You’ll use this to quickly cool your mousse later. This is really important so do it before you do anything else! Next, toast the macadamia nuts in the oven until golden brown. They need enough time to cool before you chop them and put them in your mousse. Chop the nuts finely so they will be suspended evenly throughout this delicate mousse.

When you make the egg yolk mixture, I recommend doing so in a small saucepan rather than a heatproof bowl. Many heat proof bowls are glass and glass doesn’t do well with sudden temperature changes. Since we’re going to take the container from a bain-marie to an ice bath…glass just isn’t going to cut it. If you have a heat proof metal bowl that’s fine. This part of the mousse requires a lot of beating so unless you want a very tired and sore arm I recommend using a hand mixer. Beat the egg yolk mixture until creamy and light yellow. Then place it over the bain-marie and beat continuously until frothy and warm to the touch (about 4 minutes). Immediately transition the saucepan to the ice bath and beat furiously for another 4 minutes. It will thicken very quickly. Melt the chocolate and better either over the bain-marie or in 30 seconds bursts in the microwave and thoroughly mix into the egg yolk mixture along with the vanilla extract.

Usually, mousses that use egg whites as an aerator use raw egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. Most people I’ve met (in the U.S.) are queasy about eating raw egg whites. To make sure my friends feel safe eating these amazing cupcakes I decided to break from tradition and whip the egg whites to a stiff peak over a bain-marie. Use a heat safe bowl. Preferably metal, but glass will also work (I used this Pyrex bowl). NEVER use plastic bowls to whisk egg whites. Both the salt and the sugar used in this section of the recipe help stabilize the egg whites so lots of air is captured and it is nice and fluffy.

Now it’s time to put everything together. I recommend transferring the egg yolk mixture to a large mixing bowl. Again metal or glass. NOT plastic. Plastic has a way of hanging onto oil particles which will ruin those lovely egg whites you just spent so long whisking up. Beat one fourth of the egg whites and the chopped toasted macadamia nuts into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg whites and then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until set.

Assembling the Cupcakes

Once all of the components are finished, it’s time for the fun part. To assemble your cupcakes use a tablespoon to make a small hollow in the center of each cupcake. Gently spoon or pipe a healthy serving of mousse into each cupcake and top with a raspberry. The raspberry makes a great little support for the buttercream. Starting on the outside of the cupcake and using a piping bag pipe the frosting in a spiral towards the center. Top with a raspberry and serve! Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container (as if there will be an leftovers…)

Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Mousse

These luxurious cupcakes are worth the time they take to make!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Cool/Rest Time 2 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 533 kcal


For the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Mousse

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • 3 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch Processed)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup boiling milk

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • ¾ cup room temperature butter
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-3 tablespoons cream
  • 24 raspberries (optional)


For the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Mousse

  • Fill a large bowl or pan with water and ice. Set aside.
  • Toast the ½ cup macadamia nuts in the oven just until golden brown. Chop finely and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan or heatproof bowl (must be metal, not glass!) beat the 2 egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar together until the mixture is creamy and a light lemon yellow. Add the 3 tablespoons of cream and mix well.
  • Place saucepan containing egg mixture over a bain-marie (I just use a larger saucepan with water that is near a simmer). Beat continuously for 3-4 minutes until it is foamy and hot to the touch.
  • Move the saucepan and place it the cold water bath. Be careful not to get any water in your mixture! Whisk frantically for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is cool and very thick. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, slowly melt the 3 ounces of white chocolate 6 tablespoons unsalted butter. You can use a bain-marie or microwave in 30 second bursts. Add chocolate mixture and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the egg yolk mixture and beat well. Set aside.
  • Set a large heat proof bowl over a bain-marie with barely simmering water (I used this bowl). Add the 2 egg whites and ⅛ teaspoon salt and use a hand mixer to beat until soft peaks form. Continue beating and gradually beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Stir ¼ of the egg whites and the toasted macadamia nuts into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours until it has set.

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a muffin tin with muffin papers and set aside (I use this muffin tin).
  • In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg, ½ cup milk, ¼ canola oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients. Stir in the wet ingredients. The mixture will be thick.
  • Pour in the ½ cup boiling milk and stir well.
  • Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for 5-10 minutes and then remove from muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • Cream together ¾ cup butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, ½ cup cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. If it is too thick add cream one tablespoon at a time. Spoon into a piping bag.

Assembling the Cupcakes

  • Wait to assemble the cupcakes until the cupcakes are cool and the white chocolate macadamia nut mousse is set. Use a tablespoon to make a small scoop in the center of each cupcake. Using a piping bag or a spoon fill the cavity with white chocolate mousse. Place a raspberry on top of the mouse. Starting at the outside of the cupcake and working towards the center make a spiral of chocolate butter cream. Top with a another raspberry. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.


Please note, calories per serving is just an estimate for your convenience. 

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