And I’m back! I know it’s been an unforgivable amount of time since my last post, but for those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that it’s been a crazy busy year and a half! Last June, I pulled off my biggest crafty girl feat yet, my own crafty wedding! Pictures can be found here on our amazing photographer Amanda’s blog:
Then, this past March, we were blessed with the birth of our son, Hunter, who has been quite the amazing handful! Needless to say, between juggling diapers, carseats, baby food, and work, my schedule has been totally crazy! On the good side, I’ve still been cooking and I have a bunch of recipes to post! On the bad side, boy do I have a lot of recipes to post!! I figure what better way to ring in the new year of 2014 than to get back to sharing with you guys my wonderful foodie adventures? 2014 New Year’s resolutions — blog more, check! Lose 20lbs, we’re going for it, check! Clean and organize my house, well we can all hope for miracles, right?
To start off the new blogging year, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite and easiest dessert recipes EVER, Zuccotto. It’s an Italian delight composed of pound cake, liquor, whipped cream, and a smattering of chocolate and toasted almonds. I mean, how do you say no to that?!? One of the things that I love about this dessert, outside of the fact that it’s utterly delicious and amazing, is that it’s super easy AND, dare I say it, YOU don’t have to bake a thing! Yes, I’m saying that you can pull this off with store purchased pound cake and no one will be the wiser or judge you for it. Why? Because ladies and gents, while I’ll be the first to roll up my sleeves and get elbow deep into the cake flour, there are times (many in fact) where we just don’t have the time nor the energy to get down and floury! Any pre-made pound cake will do, however, I have personally found that the frozen Sara Lee ones work the best for me.
You should make this a day in advance to let the flavors meld together and allow for the cake to soak up some of the liquor. Oh yes, I did mention there was liquor in this right? Once set, the end result is a cake that looks sophisticated, tastes amazing, and is sooo easy to make.
Adapted from various cookbooks, recipes all over the place
2 – 12 ounce pound cakes, I prefer the frozen Sara Lee ones, thawed
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup brandy or amaretto (we usually use amaretto)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Cocoa powder for dusting
Large glass bowl, 1 1/2 quart size
Spray your bowl with non stick cooking spray and then, using 2 sheets of plastic wrap, line the inside of the bowl completely. Cut the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices and then cut each slice diagonally to form triangles. Arrange cake triangles inside your bowl to form a starburst pattern in the center and then line the sides with remaining slices. Try to keep the slices as close together as possible and feel free to fill in any “gaps” with additional pieces of cake cut to size. Reserve the extra triangles or squares. Once finished, brush all the cake slices with brandy or amaretto.
In a separate metal or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt your chocolate, stirring until it is nice and smooth. Set aside and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the whipped cream. Using an electric mixer, beat 3 cups of whipping cream on high and slowly add in your powdered sugar until thick and fluffy. Gently fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate bowl until combined. Spread chocolate whipped cream mixture and cover the pound cake in the prepared cake bowl, creating a well in the middle.
Add toasted almonds, almond extract and vanilla extract to the remaining whipped cream mixture and fold gently until combined. Spread into the well in the center of the chocolate filling. Top with remaining cake slices, brushed brandy or amaretto side down, to completely cover the filling of the cake, trimming the cake slices to fit, if necessary. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least for 1 day.
To serve, invert cake onto a platter, unmold and remove plastic wrap. Sift cocoa powder on top right before serving.