Monday, June 7, 2010

Zuccotto Cake

Okay I have to say first and foremost, this is one of the best, lightest and easiest summer cakes to make. It is an Italian Summer Cake. I of course modified it a little bit, but really, really delicious. I made it Friday night for dessert when I had friends over, but I really do love this cake.

1 (12 oz) loaf pound cake (homemade or store bought, it doesn't matter)
1/4 cup brandy (I usually leave this step out)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I prefer European, Swiss chocolate, but any will do)
2 cups chilled whip cream (Usually end up using 4 cups)
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
unsweetened cocoa powder (again Swiss preferred)

1. Line bowl with plastic wrap. Cut pound cake into thin slices. Line bottom and sides of bowl with cake. Brush some brandy over the cake. Reserve extra cake
2. Stir chocolate in a large metal bowl over sauce pan of simmering water until chocolate melts. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. Beat 1 cup of whipping cream until thick and fluffy. Fold 1/4 at a time into the chocolate. Spread chocolate cream over the cake, covering completely and creating a welled center. Cover & Refrigerate, if not assembling immediately.
3. In another large bowl, add remaining cream and almond extract. Using mixer beat on med speed gradually adding powdered sugar (if using more than 2 cups of cream, double powdered sugar). Beat until firm peaks form. Fold in nuts. Spoon the cream mixture into well, fill completely.
4 Brush remaining cake slices with brandy and arrange them, brandy side down, over the cake, covering the filling completely. Trim off to fit. Cover cake in the plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate 3-24 hours.
6. Invert the cake onto platter. Remove from bowl. Sift cocoa powder over and serve.

My family loves, loves, loves this cake in the summer. It is a perfect. A light summer cake for those hot, hot summer days. Again, I don't use the brandy, but if you drink and you want to, go ahead. I have made it both ways and have to say I prefer it without the brandy.

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