I didn't think a cassata cake could get better...until there was chocolate.

This is one of my all-time favorite cakes, so far! It's a rich, but addictive all the same; the cake is chocolatey and moist, the pudding creamy, and the ganache smooth and decadent. Having made it three times in a row, I've used both traditional chocolate ganache and hot fudge as a chocolate shell. The choice is yours, but I believe I preferred the fudge because of the hint of caramel flavor it added. 

If you don't like your cakes as rich, skip the shell and make it like a trifle, with only cake and pudding. You can also play with the amount of chocolate and the type of chocolate, depending on your taste. A nice addition may be to add chopped nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios. The saltiness would likely cut back the richness of the dessert while adding just the ring hint of another layer of flavor and texture. In the photo above, the cake is topped with toffee bits.

A Double Birthday

The birthday was a major success!

A small group of us had dinner at Black Finn for the first part of the night. Since it was my 25th, I felt free to order myself a few cosmos and a nice steak, which, unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed with as my boyfriend's burger. I actually don't prefer beef and tend toward turkey burgers (homemade only) instead, but this looked so amazingly messy and you know those are always the best! Not to mention, it was actually cooked right -- medium, rather than well-done, which is just gross.

After Black Finn, we headed over to Joe Kool's for the real party. If you recall, Megan didn't know that the party was also for her, so I asked a friend, who she drove with, to ensure she didn't arrive to Kool's before I did because I wanted to be there when she realized what was going on! Since we were going to be at dinner together beforehand, I had (I thought) no way to get to Kool's with enough time to decorate, so my wonderful parents went a little early to set up the balloons and sign. I love how easily a few balloons can alter an atmosphere! 

Anyway, the funny part is that Megan was incredibly late to Kool's because she and her boyfriend made some incredibly long pit stops beforehand. I sat there, with my vodka and lemonade, waiting...and waiting...and waiting...I couldn't even go to the bathroom because I was afraid she'd walk in right at that moment! And when she finally did, she didn't even notice the sign. Having known Megan nearly my entire life, I should have known better, but it was awesome all the same. And she loved her gift, a portrait lens for her camera, which our friends were so generous as to pitch in for. 

You can guess how the rest of the night went. Drinks, friends, good food...what more could you want?

Scroll to the bottom of the page for recipes :)

The cakes!!

Now, for archiving purposes, only the Peach Melba Cake recipe is in this entry. You can find the Cioccolato-Mangiare in the very next.


Happy Birthday!

So, I'm celebrating my 25th birthday with friends Saturday night (though my actual birthday isn't until the 26th) and, while I'm making a Peach Melba Cake for myself, I'm also making my Cioccolato-Mangiare Cake, as a surprise for my best friend, Megan, whose birthday is 15 days before mine, but who has no plans to celebrate!

I've made both of these cakes previously--in fact, I made the Peach Melba last year for my 24th, but forgot to serve it until the end of the night when only three people were left! It was absolutely delicious, though, and I believe I actually did finish the whole thing off myself by the end of that week. Scary...but oh-so good ;)

It was a white cake with buttercream frosting (my aunt's personal recipe), raspberry sauce, and whole raspberries/poached peaches. The peaches were too wet to fill the cake layers (the liquid kept penetrating the buttercream and creating leaks!), so I diced them up instead and served them, with extra sauce, as a topping on each individual slice. The only thing that could have made it even better was vanilla ice cream :)

The Cioccolato-Mangiare Cake is a concept I came up with for my mom's birthday. Usually, we each provide our own dessert (or she makes mine, but I've never made hers). This year, though, she suggested we make each others! I requested Magnolia Bakery's Red Velvet Cake (one of my absolute favorites!), while she requested a chocolate version of a Boston Creme Pie. The version below was for someone at work; it was the perfect opportunity to practice for my mom!

This one is actually a box mix chocolate cake because my mom requested it, specifically (I think mostly to spite my hatred of box mixes, haha). It's filled with a chocolate version of biancomangiare (a white pudding often found in cannolis, in place of sweetened ricotta), which roughly translates to "white food," hence the new name Cioccolato-Mangiare. Then, I covered it in hot fudge and decorated it with toffee bits and chocolate curls. The one problem I found is that, since the cake has to be refrigerated because of the pudding, the hot fudge stiffens into a chocolate shell that's difficult to slice. The flavor is so worth it in the end, though! 


A few of my favorite things...




best friend

missed friends


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