Food Network Favorites: Chocolate Amaretti Cake
And on to the Giada De Laurentiis chapter in Food Network Favorites. I've already reviewed her book Everyday Italian and found it to be pretty good, although it could have used a tad more editing. Is there any reason to check out her recipes in this new book?
Of De Laurentiis' 10 recipes in Food Network Favorites, 2 of them appear word-for-word the same in Everyday Italian. Happily for my purposes, they aren't recipes that I tested on my first go-around, so I won't be repeating anything. This chocolate cake is one of the overlapping recipes, and while I skipped it last time, I'm happy that I tried it this time. It's a moist, tasty cake, strongly flavored with almonds and orange zest.
De Laurentiis specifies "baby" amaretti in her ingredients list, but regular amaretti will work just as well, since the cookies are pulverized in the food processor anyway. My only real quibble with the recipe is the listing for the chocolate. In Everyday Italian, the list merely calls for 3/4 cup chocolate chips, which is easy to measure. In Food Network Favorites, however, the chocolate has been changed to say chocolate chips, like before, OR 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate. This is a tad inconvenient, since if you decide to use bittersweet chocolate in bar form, you're going to have to guess how much you need in ounces, which is how bars of chocolate are sold.
I'd guess that someone added the variation to the recipe when it was included in this new book, without stopping to think about how chocolate bars are different from chocolate chips. I finely chopped a 4-oz. bar of bittersweet chocolate and was pleased to find that it measures 3/4 cup. This information would have been good to include in the recipe, however. I've also reduced the baking time from the original 35 to 40 minutes, since my cake was done after only 30 minutes.
For a truly decadent treat, serve the cake slightly warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup (4 oz.) chopped bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup amaretti cookies (about 2 oz.)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp orange zest, about 1 orange
4 large eggs
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Refrigerate.
Microwave the chocolate until melted and smooth, about 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds and cookies until finely ground. Tranfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Add the butter and sugar to the food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Add the orange zest and pulse briefly. Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again. Add the nut mixture and melted chocolate and pulse until blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse again. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then unmold the sides and place the cake on a platter. Sift the cocoa powder over the top and serve.