Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Chocolate Decadence


This is a dessert served on the Carnival Cruise ships (or at least it used to be in the late 90s), which I have made several times for my Mother as her birthday cake.  It is one of her favorite cakes, right up there with THE Mocha Crunch Cake, and just as rich…and decadent.  They aren’t kidding when they named this dessert, it really is chocolate decadence.  No better way to describe it.

I originally made this according to their recipe, which is actually broken up into parts, referring to basic recipes in the “Chef’s Notes” in the back of the Carnival Creations cookbook for everything but the mousse layer.  The cake consists of four recipes all combined to make one dessert: the cake layer, the mousse layer, the thin ganache layer, and the strawberry sauce.  I felt that the chocolate sponge cake they used was much too dry for the dessert, and lacked in chocolate flavor since it contained only a few tablespoons of the good stuff.  So I replaced it with my own simple one-bowl deep chocolate cake layer and was pleased with the result.  It’s my first attempt at my own cake recipe and while it’s probably not perfect, it was perfect for this dessert.  Moist, rich and fudgy, nicely complementing the rich rum-infused chocolate mousse.

I stuck with the recipe for the mousse, as that was always lovely and really is the star of the dessert.  It firms up in the fridge and when you take a bite, it’s akin to eating a lightly textured truffle with cake underneath.  Superb.  My middle sister says it almost seems like you’re eating candy rather than cake but I say…it’s the best of both worlds!

When it came to the ganache layer, I considered making a real ganache, using heavy cream, but realized that since this dessert is served from the refrigerator and real ganache gets rock hard when chilled, it would be prudent to stick with this thinner ganache (or what I’ll now call a chocolate sauce) which thickens a little in the fridge but it still nice and soft when you cut into it.

As for the strawberry sauce, their recipe doesn’t make nearly enough (individual tastes may vary, but my family enjoyed having a large puddle of sauce on their plate beneath the small slices I served.  Although the cake is wonderful alone, every bite seems improved when accompanied by a good dose of strawberry sauce!) and I wanted to use a bag of frozen strawberries I had in the freezer rather than buy fresh out of season, so I made my own recipe.  You can use any recipe you like for the sauce, but if you want to use mine, you can click the link to it below.

This cake went over very well with my family.  Although my Mom has always liked it, even in the days when I made it with the dry sponge cake underneath, the rest of my family never got very excited about it until I replaced the cake this time.  Apparently that was the only change it needed, besides the increased amount of sauce.  My little sister usually prefers citrus cakes (preferably unfrosted), but she proclaimed this “the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.”  I have to admit, I felt a little piqued at this since her devotion previously belonged to my beloved Mocha Crunch Cake, the cake I prize most…but I got over it because ultimately she still giving high praise to something I created.  I’ll take it. :)

The recipe is a bit time-consuming since there are so many parts, but you can pace yourself and make the sauce several days in advance, the cake the day before (wrapping it in plastic wrap and refrigerating in the mean time), and since the cake needs to sit in the fridge overnight after you make the mousse and place the cake on top (which will later be flipped over), you can wait until the next day to make the ganache if you want.  Take it little by little and it won’t seem so overwhelming.

I hope you give this one a try for a special occasion–it is worth the effort and sure to impress!

Chocolate Decadence

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used coconut milk beverage)
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup warm water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mousse
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup Myers rum
6 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Sauce
1/3 cup whole milk
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup chips)
1 teaspoon butter, softened

For serving:
Strawberry Sauce
Whipped Cream

Make the cake: Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, stir, and then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with a whisk until smooth, scraping down bowl. Pour into a greased and floured round 8” pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool five minutes on rack in pan, then remove from pan to cool completely, about 1-2 hours.

Make the mousse*: gently melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or microwave; stir in whipping cream. Cool. When cool enough that butter will not melt, beat in butter. Stir in rum. In large bowl beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until very light; fold into chocolate mixture. In large bowl beat whipping cream until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture. Line an 8” round baking pan with enough plastic wrap that it comes over the sides; spread mousse into pan. Place cake top side down on top of the mousse and press down to make sure that every part of the cake is in contact with the mousse and that the top is flat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Make the chocolate sauce: Place the chocolate in a food processor or blender. Heat the milk until steaming hot, then turn on the food processor and, while running, pour the hot milk through the feed tube. Blend until smooth and allow to cool.

To serve: Place cake plate upside down on top of the cake, then flip over. Lift the cake pan off the cake (you may have to wiggle it or have someone hold down on the plastic wrap “handles” while you lift the pan).  Remove plastic wrap; spread chocolate sauce over the top and refrigerate for at least ten minutes. Cut into 16 slices; serve with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

*Veronica’s note: I only make this cake once every three or so years, so I can’t recall my previous experiences with the mousse very well, but this time I had problems with the mixture wanting to get too thick every time I let it sit so I could beat eggs or beat whipped cream. To soften it back up before adding those elements, I just rebeat it with the same hand-held mixer I had just used on the eggs or whipped cream, then folded them in. I’m not sure if this is usual or if I overheated my chocolate (which can make chocolate thicker if it doesn’t altogether seize up) so I wanted to mention it just in case others had this difficulty. It is surmountable so do not despair! :)

Per serving (without sauce or whipped cream): 473 calories; 30.5 g fat; 50.5 g carb; 3.2 g fiber; 5 g protein

2 tablespoons strawberry sauce: 42 calories; 0 g fat; 11 g carb; .6 g fiber; .1 g protein

Recipe source: cake and strawberry sauce recipes by Veronica Miller; mousse recipe, dessert concept, and chocolate sauce adapted from Carnival Creations.

Advertisements

Chocolate Torte


*A note before the blog: I have updated my cherry cordials recipe with notes on how to make sure the centers liquify and included a new picture from my latest batch with liquified centers.

Without realizing it, I scheduled a sandwich bread recipe to post today, Valentine’s Day, which included no mention of love or chocolate, or even an apology for giving a bread recipe on the international day of love.  So I hurriedly snapped pictures of our dessert today so that I could atone for my sins.  ;)

Usually I steer clear of desserts that don’t include real butter, sugar (preferably more than one kind), and white flour.  But I’m discovering that not all sweet treats need to be loaded with fat and processed sugar and flour to taste good.

I made this chocolate torte for our Valentine’s Day dessert and we both loved it with a little whipped cream on top.  It is soft, moist, and almost fudgy because of the dates.  The recipe was born of a mistake, having used dates instead of the prunes it originally called for.  I really liked the result, but will be trying it with prunes next time, which I think will give it more of a cake consistency.  With the dates, it’s somewhere between and a brownie and a cake.  It definitely tastes healthier than regular full-fat and full-sugar desserts, but not in an off-putting way.  It is probably my favorite diet-friendly dessert to date!  That it has natural, whole-food ingredients like dates and whole wheat flour is as an added bonus and makes me feel like I’m almost eating health-food.

Chocolate Torte

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/3 cup cocoa powder, plus 1 tsp for dusting
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup strong, hot coffee
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp egg substitute or 1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350˚. Coat a 9″ tart pan with cooking spray. Dust with 1 tsp cocoa. Set aside. Combine dates and coffee in a large bowl. Set aside to cool. Sift remaining 1/3 cup cocoa, flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl and stir. To the date mixture, add sugar, applesauce, egg substitute and vanilla and stir until combined. Pour dry mixture into the wet and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely before removing and slicing. Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 8. Per slice: 153 calories; .7 fat; 43 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Self

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cake

Posted on

I had today off and finally had the time to make a cake for the December babies in my family–Dennis, Danielle and Lacey.  Yes, I’m horrible.  Yes, I’m the worst wife and sister on the planet.  Yes, I only made one cake for all three birthdays.  And I didn’t even bother decorating it.  But there were NO complaints, let me tell you.  I do not have the vocabulary to express just how awesome the flavor of the buttercream is.  If you like cherry cordials, you’ll love this cake.

I know not many will appreciate this blog since it’s New Year’s Day and you most likely wrote “LOSE WEIGHT” at the top of your resolutions (again), but save the recipe for Valentine’s Day–by then you’ll have lost enough weight to afford a slice and your sweetheart will be clamoring for cake since you banned it from the house for the last two months.

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cake

1 Devil’s Food Cake, prepared according to package directions
1 recipe Cherry Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)
Marashino/Candied/Fresh cherries
Sliced almonds (optional)
Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Frost the cake with the buttercream and embellish with the cherries, almonds and chocolate chips or whatever else you want to use.

Cherry Chocolate Buttercream

3 sticks butter, room temperature, soft
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cherry extract
¼ cup + 2 tbsp. milk
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
1 ½ oz. melted semisweet chocolate

Beat butter; Add sugar and mix until moistened. Add salt, extract, milk, and chocolates. Beat until fluffy and desired consistency, several minutes.  Makes enough to fill and frost two 8 or 9 inch layers, plus more for decorating.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Posted on

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, or any blog for that matter, and since my December schedule (aka 72 hours/wk all month) starts tomorrow, I figured I’d better post one before I have even less time than I already do.

So Den graduated composite class at WATC Wednesday and I decided to send him to school with a cake to celebrate.  This also happened to coincide with a ridiculous sale Dillons was having on raspberries–$1 per pint–so I decided I would have to incorporate them into the cake and came up with this dark chocolate-raspberry confection.

To make it, just use the raspberry buttercream on a devil’s food cake or dark chocolate cake (I included my favorite if you don’t have one of your own), press sliced almonds into the sides and accent with fresh raspberries (dipped in ganache if you want) and ganache drizzle.  The frosting is light and fluffy and perfectly compliments the chocolate cake.  It is my favorite cake of any I have ever made but I know individual tastes vary.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cake:
1 dark chocolate fudge cake mix
2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark works)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup oil
½ cup sour cream
1 cup water
3 eggs

Frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 lbs powdered sugar
¼ cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon raspberry extract

Ganache:
½  cup heavy cream
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Garnish:
Sliced almonds
Fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour (or use miracle pan release) two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with 2″ high sides.

Beat cake ingredients on low until moistened, then on medium speed for two minutes, scraping sides of bowl. Pour into the prepared pans, filling 1/2-2/3 full.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in tins for 5 minutes, then remove onto cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Cream the butter and cream cheese, then beat in the remaining ingredients. Once the cakes are completely cool to the touch, trim the dome off the tops if necessary, then place the first layer top-side up on a cake plate and spread 1/3 of the frosting over it. Place the second top-side down on top and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Scoop sliced almonds into your palm and press into the sides of the cake, repeating until covered.

Prepare the ganache: combine the cream and chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for one minute at 50% power, then stir until it is shiny and smooth (this may take a while but you should not need to heat it any further unless your microwave operates at less than 1000 watts).  Alternatively, you can place the cream and chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat and stir until melted, shiny & smooth.  While it is still liquid, dip the raspberries half way, if you wish, and set them on wax paper to set.  Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature, I think it only took a few minutes b/c it won’t be very hot to begin with, then drizzle over cake with a pastry bag or a spoon or fork. Place raspberries on top and around the bottom edge.  Serve at room temperature.

%d bloggers like this: