Looking for an awesome chocolate dessert!
November 14, 2007 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a delicious, decadent, primarily chocolate dessert that I can make for Thanksgiving. Some constraints inside.

I need a fabulous dessert, and I'd prefer it be mostly chocolate. Cake, torte, pie, easy, difficult, almost anything is OK, with the following exceptions:

1. No cheesecake, custard, or flan. Cream cheese as an ingredient is OK; this restriction is texture-related. Nothing custard-textured.

2. Plain chocolate layer cake is not what I'm looking for, even if it's really good. I already have a GREAT chocolate cake recipe, but it doesn't have the special quality I'm looking for.

3. I'd prefer to avoid a trifile as my mother-in-law has a special trifle she makes often, so that's kind of "her" dessert.

4. No walnuts or pecans.

I'm really looking for something you make and love, or have personally eaten. Links or posting the recipe is fine. I've been searching online but haven't yet been struck by that perfect recipe. Thanks!
posted by peep to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I have made a molten choclate cake a few times, I think i used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking, but this recipe looks about the same. It's very impressive.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:50 AM on November 14, 2007

Well somewhere around here I have a recipe for the most kickass chocolate mousse on the Earth. I don't consider mousse to be custard-texture, but YMMV, I guess...?
posted by miss lynnster at 9:52 AM on November 14, 2007

This is really good: Azo Family Chocolate Cake

I made it as a birthday cake for my husband and it was a hit (especially because I circled the top with dots of cream cheese frosting and raspberries).

Here is a better idea of how it turns out from The Wednesday Chef.
posted by stefnet at 9:57 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fauxstess Cupcakes. Don't let the fact that they're vegan throw you; I'm not a vegetarian and I still think they're amazingly delicious. Exponentially better than real Hostess cupcakes.

There are some difficult-to-find ingredients, and the process looks complicated, but you can get it right. My roommate's made them before and they are one of the most impressive homemade desserts I have ever seen.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:57 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

In Italy at a chocolate shop called Hemingway's, I had a cup of hot chocolate that was 50% chocolate. It was mood-alteringly good. A drink might not be what you're thinking of exactly, but trust me on this, it was simply the best chocolate anything that I've ever had.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:01 AM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: flourless chocolate cake is always a knockout. it is not as light as a custard--it has more the consistency of a very moist brownie.

you can jazz it up with some espresso powder and orange zest, if you want. serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:01 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

This may not be what you're looking for exactly, but it's a fabulous vegan chocolate-peanut butter pie (and this verdict is coming from someone who is not a vegan and thinks barbecue is a food group). My friend brought it to a party, and it was a huge hit with everyone there. Simple yet delicious!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Silken Pie

16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe's has non-dairy choco chips, that's what I use)
16-18oz silken tofu
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup sugar
4-6 tablespoon soymilk (this makes it easy to pour into the crust)
1 pie crust (I use Keebler Graham Cracker ReadyCrust or Shortbread crust)

Blend everything together except the chocolate chips. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, making sure to stir every 15 seconds or so so as not to burn the chocolate. (Whether or not you really need to stir that often depends on the power of your microwave.) Add the melted chocolate to the rest of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into the pie crust and refridgerate uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour. Eat and be merry.
posted by Palaverist at 10:04 AM on November 14, 2007

The recipe for Gateau Fondant recipe from the American Boulangerie cookbook is staggeringly good, ridiculously easy, and tastes like something you'd get in a high-end restaurant. I couldn't find the exact recipe online (although I did find a glowing review here), so I'll post it this evening.

Serve it warm by itself, or you can get fancy and pair it with a bit of whipped cream or crème anglaise anglaise. Straight-up awesome.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:06 AM on November 14, 2007

Clarification -- the recipe I referenced above is, technically a chocolate cake, but it's definitely nothing like your traditional chocolate layer cake. Also, it has a dense chocolate ganache swirled through it just before baking, which stays separate from the cake part. So good.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:10 AM on November 14, 2007

I've had great success with the recipe for Chocolate Cups. Easy to make, very rich and silken and a good place to customize to your liking (different liquor, add fruits, powdered sugar, etc.)
posted by mmascolino at 10:13 AM on November 14, 2007

What about an assortment of chocolate truffles?
posted by jquinby at 10:17 AM on November 14, 2007

I and my friends have made this several times and it is always good and different: Black Pearl Layer Cake

Also great as cupcakes.
posted by JonahBlack at 10:21 AM on November 14, 2007

Haven't tried them yet, but mulling over making one of these two for Thanksgiving:

Dark Chocolate and Orange Tart with Toasted Almonds


La Bete Noir (The Black Bomb)

Both sound like delicious chocolate overkill. Can't wait!
posted by Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific at 10:30 AM on November 14, 2007

Poached pears with cardamom ice cream drizzled in dark chocolate. It's not mostly chocolate but it is fabulous. I love chocolate and can eat any amount of it, but have found that this dessert is just a little more dressed up than a torte or cake and it surprises people while still rocking the chocolate taste. Plus, people seem to appreciate its lighter feel after a meal like Thanksgiving. You can use almost any recipe for poached pears but I recommend one that has a white wine in it. If cardamom ice cream isn't available where you live, just mix ground cardamom with a good vanilla ice cream to taste. And of course, use the best dark chocolate you can find.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:31 AM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: miss lynnster, I would like to see the mousse recipe if you find it!
posted by peep at 10:31 AM on November 14, 2007

I'm going to second hot chocolate [add about an ounce of semi-sweet chocolate, some brown sugar, and make at least half of that milk half&half for optimal decadence].

Also, fudge.
Find your favourite fudge recipe [mo' butter mo' better], add some canned pumpkin, some cinnamon, some allspice and now it's themed, why not?

This keeps it simple and delicious.

I just saw that flourless cake link up above, though. That's about as rich as it comes. Richer than fudge, even.
posted by Acari at 10:34 AM on November 14, 2007

This recipe for Hot Fudge Pudding Cake seems to be the same as the one from the subscription required Cooks Illustrated site.
It is an amazing chocolate brownie/cake that makes its own hot fudge sauce. It doesn't look right when you put it all together - but the results are fantastic.
If I'm super ambitious - I put it in the oven as I'm making dinner - that way its super gooey when it's time for desert. I've also done it ahead of time and slightly underbaked and then put it in the oven for 10 minutes or so to activate the yummy chocolate goo at the bottom.
posted by Wolfie at 10:44 AM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: I've made this chocolate ganache tart for the past several Thanksgivings and gotten raves every time. It's incredibly rich and really easy. (I always serve it with a little whipped cream on the side.)
posted by scody at 10:57 AM on November 14, 2007

Seconding Scody's Ganache...I don't even like chocolate or cake and i love my friend's ganache cake...

i found this generic recipe.
posted by schyler523 at 11:39 AM on November 14, 2007

I've made chocolate pâté twice before; you basically melt chocolate and add eggs, cream, and butter. You serve it with honey-cinnamon whipped cream and raspberry (or other fruit) coulis. Last time I did raspberry, pear, peach, and mango. Extremely decadent and never fails to impress. The texture is beautiful; not cheesecakey or fudgey at all.

I can't find the recipe online; I found it in the cookbook of the excellent Horizons restaurant in Vancouver. If you're interested, drop me a line and I'll type it out.
posted by pocams at 12:00 PM on November 14, 2007

We have made a chocolate/coffee/amaretto cream zuccotto dome cake from this book's recipe now about 5 times and have been really pleased with the results. One time was for Thanksgiving day dessert and the cake was quickly demolished by the next morning (and our gathering was not that big!). We heard compliments on the cake for weeks afterwards. We have made it mostly with a special zuccotto pan, though we have also just tried layering pound cake in a bowl as the recipe suggests. It can be time consuming -- the first time we did it it probably took about 3 hours, though we've since worked it down to about half that. But the layering on the inside of the cake makes a beautiful presentation, and even the people in the family who don't like coffee really loved the cake. It is basically a layer of chocolate/coffee icing, layer of pound cake, layer of coffee/chocolate mousse, inside layer of pure thick chocolate mousse. Really delicious and decadent. (Let me know if you want the recipe from the book; the pic I linked is hard to read.)

One key part of this recipe is soaking the pound cake in amaretto (or, if there are folks who don't like alcohol, in something else such as the juice from canned peaches). This makes the cake even more moist and adds complexity to the flavors.

There is lots of chocolate flavor in this cake, but it's not purely chocolate so I'm not positive it fits your request. Also, you say no custard and I'm not sure if the mousse in the middle is too close to the custard texture you are trying to avoid. FWIW, I've also made molten lava chocolate cakes served with vanilla ice cream successfully for a very cool presentation. Recipe here, though (1) I just melted the chocolate in a microwave instead of a double boiler; and (2) I added 1.5 tbl kaluaha.

Good luck! Whatever you do, let us know and tell us how it turned out!
posted by onlyconnect at 12:31 PM on November 14, 2007

Have to go home to get the recipe, but my Aunt Margaret's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pie is divine. Even when cool, has the taste and consistency of brownies just out of the oven.
posted by 100watts at 12:34 PM on November 14, 2007

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.
posted by davar at 12:54 PM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee

It is decadent, delicious and deathly yummy!
You need to make it the night before (it needs to be served cold).

Although it is a nice touch, you do not need to add and caramelize the sugar on the top of each ramekin cup.

To make it even more sinful, instead of 2 cups whipping cream and 2 cups half-and-half, use all whipping cream (that's 35% whipping cream, by the way!)
posted by bitteroldman at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2007

I came in here to recommend the Black Pearl Layer Cake, too. Here's the correct link. Takes a fair amount of work, but nothing difficult, and the result will knock your guests' socks off (provided they can deal with unusual combos like wasabi and ginger with chocolate).
posted by CiaoMela at 1:31 PM on November 14, 2007

I've made this Chocolate Pastry Cake a few times and always love it. The first time I made it, the part where the recipe calls to bake the pie layer on the bottom of a cake pan gave me a little trouble (I cracked a layer when removing it). After a couple more tries, I had better luck baking the pie layer inside the cake pan and rotating it around to loosen.
posted by hoppytoad at 4:59 PM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: I marked the ones I'm most likely to make as best answers, but I will update the thread later with the actual result!
posted by peep at 6:01 PM on November 14, 2007

When I was little, the way my family made a chocolate cake special was to top it with chocolate whipping cream icing. You melt a milk chocolate bar, cool it a little, and then pour it into whipped whipping cream with a little bit of vanilla. Then you slice your cake (made in a bundt pan) into as many layers as you could (I think five was the record) and put the chocolate whipping cream in between and all over the whole cake. Not forgetting of course to grate some chocolate on top. Once iced, the cake had to be stored in the fridge. I don't have an exact recipe for you, but in case the description is enough, I can assure you that it was the best thing about having a birthday when I was a kid.
posted by onoclea at 6:27 PM on November 14, 2007

I also make a flourless chocolate cake, like the one thinkingwoman suggests, and I've gotten rave reviews for serving it with a raspberry-ginger sauce. Just simmer raspberries (I use a bag of frozen ones) with ginger and sugar to taste.

I've also had good luck with this recipe for chocolate lava muffins. Surprisingly easy to make, and a new favorite for everyone who was there.
posted by bassjump at 7:52 PM on November 14, 2007

Oops, link for the chocolate lava muffins here.
posted by bassjump at 7:52 PM on November 14, 2007

My sister-in-law makes wonderful large chocolate meringues - once they have cooled and set she dips the base in melted dark chocolate, and drizzles streaks over the top. They look and taste fabulous. The bonus factor is that they can be made they day before and transported easily, if you are travelling.
All you have to do on the day is whip cream (or maybe make onoclea's chocolate cream?).
There are tons of recipes online.

On a related meringuey note, here's a recipe for a chocolate version of our* fabulous national dish:
Chocolate Pavlova.
(If you feel up to struggling with metric conversion and possibly some odd terms.)

*I am not an Australian
posted by Catch at 9:54 PM on November 14, 2007

This chocolate mousse is the goods. I've made it twice with really good dark chocolate, and people have swooned.

It does go through some odd phase changes though. Both times I've made it I've got to the point where I thought it was a lost cause, and both times it's worked. I added a pinch of sugar and quadrupled the plonk (cointreau) and put in an oranges worth of rind.
posted by kjs4 at 12:23 AM on November 15, 2007

This looked good on TV :

Chocolate pear pudding by Nigella Lawson from Nigella Express

Will post a great recipe for an amazing double layer cake when I get home.
posted by terrortubby at 9:44 AM on November 15, 2007

Two Layer Cake (We used a bunch of these for our wedding - not hard to make and just good) I am translating the recipe from hebrew (my mom gave it to me.)



6 Eggs (Separated)
3/4 Cup Sugar
4 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
4 Tablespoons of Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
100 Gram Grated Chocolate


For wetting the cake

1 cup of cold milk
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee


For the Cream

250 ML Sweet Cream (heavy /double Cream for whipping, can also use a nondairy one made by Rich)

1 Package of Instant Vanilla Pudding Powder (Osem brand, I'm assuming you could use another brand or a custard powder)

3/4 Cup Milk


Mix the Egg Whites at high speed add the sugar gradually until it is stiff.

Add the yolks in a folding motion and add the bread crumbs, flour, baking powder and chocolate also in a delicate folding motion. (Leave 2-3 tablespoons of the grated chocolate for decoration.)

Oil a springform pan and pour in the mixture. Bake for 45 minutes.


While it is still hot, pour a mixture of the milk and coffee over it.


Mix the cream together in a bowl until it is a consistent cream.

Remove the cake from the pan and cut in half. A large sharp knife is good for this and it is probably the hardest part of making this cake.

spread the cream over the bottom layer and then place the top layer on it. Cover the whole cake with the cream and then sprinkle the remaining grated chocolate on the top.


Everyone who tries this cake loves it. It is chocolatey, creamy and delicious!

Good luck.
posted by terrortubby at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2007

Response by poster: I ended up making this Chocolate Ganache Tart, from Martha Stewart, linked by scody.

It was good, but the ganache filling doesn't bind to the crust at all, so it was very difficult to serve. Each piece ended up being a piece of broken crust served alongside a chunk of fudge, basically.

So tasty, but not great presentation. I think next time I need a dessert I'll be making flourless chocolate cake. Thanks everyone for the amazing recipes!
posted by peep at 1:37 PM on November 23, 2007

Sounds yummy! (And so was our chocolate amaretto zuccatto!)
posted by onlyconnect at 8:46 PM on November 27, 2007

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