Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Chocolate decadence

Food columnist Cathi Litzenberger serves up some rich and creamy chocolate dessert recipes.

With Valentine’s Day behind us, I wonder if anyone thought about how chocolate came to be such a huge part of this day for lovers.

The first chocolate candies for public purchase weren’t made until the 1860s by the Cadbury Company. They were packed into heart-shaped boxes, and to this day it continues. Having chocolate on my mind, it has been some time since I shared chocolate dessert recipes with you and today I thought it might be a good time to look at decadent chocolate cake desserts. Enjoy!

Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 tbsp. sugar

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa

1-1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1-1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. anisette liqueur

1-1/2 cups heavy cream, cold

1-1/2 tsp. confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1-1/2 tbsp. cocoa

1/3 cups mini chocolate chips

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans and fit with two circles of parchment paper. Butter the paper and pan sides and dust with flour. Set aside. Bring small saucepan of water to a boil and maintain.

Combine the flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Beat in the oil, milk, eggs, vanilla and anisette liqueur using a mixer set on medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add 1 cup of the boiling water.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 35 mins. Cool cakes in pans on  wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold the cakes and return to the wire rack until completely cool.

Make the frosting: Beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1-1/2 tablespoons cocoa until combined.

Assemble the cake: Place one layer on a cake plate. Spread a third of the frosting over the layer. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Top with the remaining layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Flourless Chocolate

Kahlua Cake w/Cajeta

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter

8 oz. semisweet chocolate

7 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1-1/2 ounces coffee liqueur (Kahlua)

Whites from 5 eggs

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Cajeta, recipe follows

Strawberry-lime salsa, recipe follows

Cajeta:

1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

Approximately 1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

Strawberry-Lime Salsa:

1-1/2 pints strawberries

2 key limes or 1 large lime, juiced

2 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons chiffonade of mint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch round pie pan. Line pan with greased parchment or waxed paper. In the top of a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate and stir until smooth. Whip egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale in colour. Fold butter and chocolate mixture into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, adding the coffee liqueur. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the pie pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes then allow to cool completely.

Cajeta: In medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil, do not stir. Remove from heat when sugar is amber in colour; add enough cream to thin the caramel to a fairly liquid consistency. Stir in butter. To test consistency, dip spoon into caramel mixture and allow to cool. If cajeta is gooey but holds shape, it’s ready; if it hardens too much, add a little more cream and test again.

Strawberry-Lime Salsa: In blender, purée half the strawberries with the lime juice and the sugar. Strain and reserve. Cut remainder of the strawberries in quarters and mix with the purée. Add chiffonade of mint.

When cajeta has cooled a little, but still warm, pour over cake on top of wire rack to catch the drippings. Using your hand, pat almonds all around sides of the cake. Refrigerate 2 hours and serve chilled with salsa.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist.

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