Chocolate Celebration Cake
Chocolate Celebration Cake

This chocolate cake recipe is a true chocolate lover's dream.  It is a very flavorful moist dark
chocolate cake to make for any type of celebration:
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Valentine's Day Desserts
Chambord Panna Cotta
Amaretto Truffles
Cheesecake Strawberries
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
Cookie Truffles
Chambord Panna Cotta
(Serves 4)

The Italian dessert panna cotta literally translate to "cooked cream."  Actually
you only heat the cream long enough to dissolve the sugar and gelatin. 
Chambord is a French black raspberry liqueur that gives the panna cotta a
delicate flavor and light-pink color. This is an elegant looking dessert that is
actually very easy to make.  If you don't have molds simply pour the mixture
into decorative glasses, such as martini glasses, chill, top with a little liqueur
and a few raspberries, and serve.


2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces whole milk
8 ounces heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Chambord Liqueur

4 tablespoon Chambord
Fresh raspberries


Butter the inside of 4 heart-shaped molds that are approximately 4 x 3- inches
(hold 6 to 7 ounces)

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and water.  Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and sugar.  Bring to a boil and remove
from heat.  Stir in the gelatin, sour cream, and 1/4 cup Chambord.  If there are
any lumps in the mixture from the sour cream,  pour the mixture through
a fine strainer to remove them.  Portion the mixture into the prepared molds.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the inside of each mold.
Dip the mold in to below the rim in a bowl of hot water for 10 seconds.
Place a plate over the mold and invert.  Add a tablespoon of Chambord to the
serving plate.  Garnish with a few raspberries.  
Amaretto Truffles


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cream cheese
3 tablespoons Amaretto
1 cup finely chopped toasted almonds


Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave until smooth.  Stir in butter,
1 tablespoon at a time.  Beat egg yolk into mixture.  Beat in cream cheese
and amaretto.  Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.  Shape mixture
into 1-1/2 inch balls.  Roll in almonds to coat.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

Serving suggestion: 
Pour 2 tablespoons amaretto into a martini glass.
Add 1-2 truffles and top with whipped cream.
Cheesecake Strawberries

These cream cheese-filled strawberries are so easy to make and even more
delicious to eat.  They can be made a few hours or up to 1 day ahead.


12 large strawberries
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pistachios


Whip together the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar.  Put the mixture into a
pastry bag with a decorative tip.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of each
strawberry so it can stand upright.  Scoop out each hull with a small melon
baller or paring knife.  Pipe cream cheese into each hole.  Sprinkle with
chopped almonds or pistachios.
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
(Serves 4)

These little cakes must be served warm.  The centers are still liquid when
they come out of the oven and the chocolate will ooze out when served and
cut into. Although these cakes must be baked right before serving, they can
be prepared several hours or as much as a day ahead of time and refrigerated.


4 ounces unsalted butter, plus 1-1/2 teaspoons
6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
1/2 pint fresh raspberries or strawberries
Cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Grease 4 (6-ounce) ramekins with 1-1/2 teaspoons of butter.
In a double boiler or microwave, melt 4 ounces of butter, chocolate, cream,
and confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt until
thick.  Sift the 2 tablespoons of flour into the egg mixture and fold together.
Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Divide the mixture
among the prepared ramekins.  At this point, the ramekins can be refrigerated
to be baked later.

If the ramekins were refrigerated, bring them to room temperature 1 hour before
serving.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. (this is simply for ease of
getting them in and out of the oven)  Bake 10 minutes or until the sides of the
cakes are set and the tops are puffed but set.  Remove from the oven and
allow to cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes.  Run a knife around the inside of
the ramekin and unmold the cakes onto serving dishes.

To garnish:
Whip the cream, confectioners' sugar, and liqueur in a bowl until stiff peaks
form.  Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on each unmolded cake.  Top with a
few raspberries.  Dust with cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar, if desired.
Serve warm.
Cookie Truffles
(Makes about 4 dozen)

This is a great recipe to make with children. Ready-made cookies are
crushed in a food processor, cream cheese is added to form a ‘dough’ and
rolled into bite-size balls that are dipped in chocolate.  You can use any plain
ready-made cookies that you like; chocolate wafers, vanilla snaps, Oreos,
gingersnaps, etc.  The cookies may also be finely crushed in a resealable
plastic bag using a rolling pin, or chopped with a knife but a  food processor
just makes it a lot easier.  You can make the truffles into cookie pops by
simply adding lollipop sticks.


1 pound ready-made cookies (I used chocolate wafers)
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or vanilla bark
Candy sprinkles or chopped nuts


Place the cookies in a food processor and pulse until you have fine cookie
crumbs.  Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, until the mixture comes
together like a dough. Remove the mixture from the bowl of the food
processor.  Break off small pieces and roll into approximately 1-inch balls.
Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate for
at least 15 minutes.

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1
minute.  Stir until smooth; heat for a few seconds more if the chocolate is not
completely melted.  Place the cookie balls, a few at a time, into the melted
chocolate.  Lift each one out with a fork underneath and allow the excess
chocolate to drip off.  Place the coated balls back on the parchment paper
lined baking sheet.  Add candy sprinkles or chopped nuts while the chocolate
is still moist.  Store the truffles in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature   
before serving.
Chambord Panna Cotta Cheesecake Strawberries Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes Cookie Truffles
Valentine's Day Recipes
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Copyright  2001 - 2016   Sandra Laux
Use your heart cookie cutters in lots of
different ways:

POLENTA: Cut firm polenta and saute

BEETS:  Slice roasted beets and cut
out hearts

FRENCH TOAST: Freeze the bread
about 15 minutes before cutting out

butter cookie recipe; sandwich 2
cookies with ice cream

SCONES: Cut the dough before baking

CARROTS: Slice into 1/4-inch thick
rounds while raw, then cut our hearts. 
Add to soup and simmer until tender

BROWNIES: Cut the hearts after
baking. Coat the cookies cutter with
non-stick spray between cuts.  Brownie
Bittersweet chocolate chips have a deeper
chocolate flavor than semi-sweet chips,and
they are slightly less sweet.
Ghirardelli is the most common brand of
bittersweet chips; they are a bit wider and
flatter than regular chocolate chips, and they
taste great in cookies.  If you can't find
bittersweet chips at your supermarket, you can
order them online.  Another option is to chop
up a bittersweet chocolate bar; just know that
the pieces won't hold their shape as well as
chocolate chips when baked in cookies.
These little chocolate
cups can be filled with
fruit, mousse, custard,
or even peanut butter.
Melt bittersweet
chocolate and use a
small pastry brush to
paint the chocolate
inside silicone baking
cups.  Refrigerate until
set, about 10 minutes. 
Repeat brushing on
additional layers and
chilling until they are
the thickness you
desire.  When firm,
peel off the cup and fill.
Use a pastry bag fitted
with a star tip to pipe in
the filling.
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The iconic Italian truffle
known as Baci is a
confection filled with
gianduja, a blend of
chocolate and hazelnuts,
that comes wrapped in
silver foil with blue print. 
Still made in the heart of
Perugia in Umbria, from
its original recipe.
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flavored gelatin,
yogurt, with cruched
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arranged in layers
and served in a tall,
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