Posted by: TUDDLES Fri 13 Jan 2006 8:35 am
Italian desserts are delicious and filling. They are often made with whipped
cream or Marscapone cheese and liquor. Marscapone is an Italian version of cream
cheese. It has a slightly different taste, but in my opinion it’s not enough to
make a difference in the final flavor of the dessert. It is also not as easy to
find as cream cheese. If you can’t find it, I certainly think that cream cheese
is an acceptable substitute.
What is really fun about Italian desserts is that they make a beautiful
presentation. The Zuccotta Desert recipe below is a delicious and pretty
dessert, because when you cut it in wedges, you see all the layers of pound
cake, strawberry, whipped cream and chocolate.
Did you know that there is some psychology involved in preparing and presenting
desserts? People enjoy desserts far more, and perceive them as tastier, when
they are beautifully presented. All it takes is an extra decorative effect like
adding colorful fruit, mint leaves, or other ornamentation.
Take the time to make your dessert look as appealing as it tastes. It only takes
a few minutes longer and you will find it worth it when your guests rave about
This dessert is great for Thanksgiving or any time you have guests. You might
also consider offering your guests some Italian dessert wine before your cake
presentation. I found an interesting article written about Italian wines by
Victor Hazan, author of "Italian Wine" (Knopf, 1982) that would give you a bit
Here’s an excerpt: “Ideally a dessert wine should be drunk before coffee and
before dessert, then enjoy the dessert, or skip it altogether. You can't really
appreciate it completely when your palate is covered with the sweet of the
dessert. The sweet wines are also delicious with ripe cheeses, like a very ripe
gorgonzola or a very ripe brie, or some of those very ripe goat cheeses from
1 pound cake (home made or store bought)
1 devils food cake mix (or store bought chocolate pound cake)
½ cup strawberry jam
¼ cup amaretto
1 6-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup slivered almonds, slightly toasted
Bowl that is 9 inches across and 4-6 inches deep. Mixing bowl and beaters If
making cakes, prepare per recipe instructions on box. For devils food cake mix,
pour half of mix into a greased and floured ovenproof 6 inch diameter bowl. Bake
the remainder in a 8” round baking pan. If you don’t have an ovenproof bowl,
bake in one 8” and one 9” pan. When filling the center of the zuccotta with the
devils food cake, simply cut circles to fit inside and fill any gaps with cake
scraps. Because of size differences you need to bake to approximate time listed
on box, but use a toothpick for testing. A toothpick inserted should pull out
It may take slightly longer for the bowl cake to finish baking due to thickness.
Cool cakes for 20 minutes and turn out on baking racks to continue cooling.
Slice pound cake into ¼ inch thick pieces.
Line a 3 quart mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Line the bowl with slices of pound
cake, overlapping slightly to create a pound cake bowl inside the mixing bowl.
Mix strawberry jam and amaretto. Brush over inside of pound cake bowl.
In another mixing bowl beat whipping cream, sugar and almond extract until stiff
peaks form. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds. Spread evenly over bottom and
sides of poundcake bowl, using a spatula or back of large spoon to smooth.
Place bowl baked chocolate cake gently in the center of whipped cream lined
bowl. If using store bought chocolate pound cake just cut to fit center. Fill in
gaps by cutting scraps from remaining cake. Be gentle when adding the cake so as
not to redistribute the whipped cream layer.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate cake overnight.
To serve, place serving plate on top of bowl. Turn bowl over and remove plastic
wrap. Garnish by placing strawberries around cake and place one on top, cut in a
fan shape. To make fan shape strawberry, just make 4-5 slices ¾ of the way
through from top to base. With both hands holding strawberry gently spread so it
creates a fan shape.