Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate


I promised you chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.  And here it is!  Patrick's birthday dessert request was my Double Layer Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.  It's so, so, so, so good!  

Patrick absolutely loves it when I make my Flourless Chocolate Brownies.  So, instead of making a traditional round cake, I made a double layer square cake to make it look like a giant brownie.  Then, I topped it with plenty of chopped walnuts.  I love the crunch of the walnuts with the soft chocolate cake and creamy frosting.  It's the perfect combo!

My Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is a go-to icing of mine for a few years now.  It's creamy and deeply "chocolately" because I use cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate.  (Sometimes I don't get it all in the mixer, as you can tell by the picture.  But it's all good).  And here's the real secret: instant espresso powder.  I use it in both the cake and the frosting.  It just takes the chocolate flavor to a whole new level!

And do you want to know another secret?  When I throw a dinner party, my rule is to have everything prepped for dessert before the party even starts.  That way, by the time we all sit down and eat, I'm having as much fun as my guests because I am not worried about what's next.  I like to serve something like my Double Layer Flourless Chocolate Cake because it can be made ahead of time and just sit in the fridge.  

I also prep a tray with everything I need for dessert: espresso cups, tea cups, tea pot, plates, silverware, serving utensils, and napkins.  My prepped dessert tray just sits on the counter in the kitchen until I am ready for it.  I even measure out water for tea and prep the espresso maker.  When everyone is done eating, I just get up, turn on the stove, take out the cake, and bring the tray to the table.  Brilliant!

(Yup, those are frozen grapes and little candies on my dessert tray.  I am a big believer in giving my guests options.  I know not everyone loves espresso after their meal, so I serve chamomile tea too.  I know some people don't like chocolate or are watching their weight, so I serve a bowl of fruit.  I think it's those little touches that can make your guests feel more at home.)


As for the birthday boy, he had his (gluten free) cake and got to eat it too.  A couple times during dessert, Patrick would look at me after taking a bite of his cake and say, "This is so, so good."  I knew it was a home run!  And that to me, is even sweeter than dessert :)

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