Decadent recipes for chocolate desserts

From classics such as chewy chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, to crazy candy creations such as Peanut Butter Cup and Snickers crunch brownies; whatever your guilty pleasure, we've got you covered with more than 50 chocolate recipes.

Espresso chiffon cake with fudge frosting

Laura Edwins/The Christian Science Monitor
This espresso chiffon cake is light and moist, with a strong coffee flavor. Substitute decaf espresso if concerned about caffeine, and top with fudge frosting.

By Laura Edwins, Staff Writer
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes an 8- or 9-inch triple-layer cake

1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (a little more than 1/3 cup) freshly brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature (may use decaf espresso) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Procure your espresso. I took a measuring cup to a coffee shop near my apartment and just had them fill it up to 2/3 cup; that covers the cake and the espresso syrup (see recipe below). It cost me about $2.50. To get exactly 6 tablespoons and 1/3 cup you can add a tiny bit of water to the espresso.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of three round cake pans with wax paper. Cut some extra strips of wax paper to keep your platter clean while frosting the cake (see instructions below). 

3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso, and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. 

5. In large bowl, using an electric mixture, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. With the mixer on high, gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar. Continue to beat just until soft peaks form.

4. Add the espresso-egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just enough to combine. The batter will be really runny. Add one-fourth of the beaten egg whites and fold them in to lighten the batter. Fold in the rest of the whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

5. Bake the cakes for about 18 minutes each, or until a cake tester, or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely in the pans, then run a butter knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto wire racks and remove the wax paper.

6. To assemble, use a flat plate or platter and place strips of wax paper around the edge of the first layer of cake. This will keep the icing from getting all over your plate. Place the first layer, flat side up, on the plate. Brush the cake with 1/3 cup of the espresso syrup. Spread fudge frosting (see recipe below) evenly over the top of the layer. Repeat with the next two layers, then frost the sides. I like to use just a regular butter knife for frosting cakes. For the frosting decoration, I used the drop flower tip on the Pampered Chef cake decorator, which I borrowed from my mom.

Espresso syrup
Makes one cup

1/3 cup hot, freshly brewed espresso (may use decaf espresso)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the water and vanilla and let cool to room temperature.

Fudge frosting
Makes about 5 cups

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

The Smitten Kitchen calls this "instant fudge frosting," and says to place all the ingredients in a food processor, pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth. I don't have a food processor, so I used a hand mixer which took a bit longer, but worked fine.

Click here to read the full Stir It Up! blog post

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