Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Cake - Take 2

A month or so ago, I made a chocolate truffle cake, trying to copy the Ruth's Chris's Steak House recipe without having a recipe, and it turned out great. There were lots of happy comments from some of you. But I have to admit, the cake texture wasn't as velvety as I'd wanted so, of course, I had to experiment again. Whee!

I love chocolate, so it wasn't a chore, I promise you.

I made it for author pals Hannah Dennison and Kate Carlisle and their hubbies. What fun. Everyone loved it.

Hannah is on the left. She writes the charming Vicky Hill Mysteries. Kate is on the right. She writes the "book lovers" Bibliophile Mysteries.
Jason, Hannah, Kate, Dons

I can't tell you how nice it is to have writing friends in the same city. We occasionally go out to dinner, just the girls, and we catch up on the business, the experience of writing, the challenges that face us. Mostly we laugh. I'm very blessed to have them in my life.

What is even more fun is when all the girls and husbands get together and we all get along. And we did. More laughter, even though the temperature outside was soaring (close to 100 degrees) and football  called on the television.  (My husband watched sparingly...and that's his job, watching sports. He's a sports consultant.  I was very proud of him.)

I served a cheese platter, the veggies and dip I shared on the blog 2 weeks ago, my mother's famous margarita, wine, steak, salad, baked potatoes with all the trimmings. A regular "hearty" meal. And we finished with the chocolate cake and fresh berries. Needless to say, we probably all ate too much, but it was so much fun.


(This recipe makes a 10-12" springform pan size. 
I have a HALF recipe below for a 6" springform pan, 
perfect for a small gathering.)


2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup applesauce
2 oz. flavored liquid of your choice (cordials, coffee, etc.) * I used espresso
2 lbs. dark, milk or mixed chocolate, chopped (5 CUPS)  * I used half dark, half semi-sweet
6 eggs (whisked)


Preheat the oven to 300º. Brush a 10" spring-form pan with butter, line the bottom with buttered parchment and wrap the pan in foil in case of any leaks. [MINE DIDN’T LEAK AT ALL BUT IT’S A GOOD PRECAUTION.]

In a saucepan, bring the half-and-half, sugar, applesauce, and coffee JUST to a boil. Place the chocolate into a mixing bowl.  Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate.

Let sit for a few minutes. [It will melt nicely.]

Mix at low speed for two minutes.

Add the eggs in all at once and mix thirty seconds, until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared spring-form pan. Bake until the cake is “set” - about 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. The cake will still look wet and slightly loose in the very center, but the edges will be set, slightly puffed and have small cracks. [looks like a cheesecake – I cooked mine one hour then turned off the oven and let it set for another 20 minutes]

Allow cake to cool on a rack (this takes about 2 full hours), then chill for 6 hours or overnight before removing pan sides. 

Half Recipe for 6” springform pan

1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 oz. espresso  (2 tablespoons)
1 lbs. dark chocolate chips (approx.. 2 ¾ cup chips)
3 eggs whisked

COOK ONLY 45 MINUTES FOR “MINI” CAKE, let rest 10 minutes in oven, remove cool as before.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you don’t happen to have half-and-half on hand, I found out you can use regular milk plus 1 tablespoon of butter to create half-and-half. I haven’t tried it, but it’s a good thing to know. J

I wish you all good friends close by. And if not close by, close enough to call and chat and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. So is love.

PS.  Recently I went to Ruth's Chris and the waitress was so sweet! When I told her what I did (write and cook) and I asked her if the chef would divulge the recipe, she hurried off.  She returned with the ingredients written on a yellow sticky note. The chef had allowed her to have them. But no instructions. And the ingredients looked like enough for an entire restaurant of cakes!!! So...I'll be trying that recipe soon, when I figure out how to divide and conquer.  PSS.  I'm not far off with this verion.


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* * * * *
The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 

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LAST BUT NOT LEAST...okay, maybe least...:)

I'm pleased to announce that my short story, PALACE ON THE LAKE, 
in Fish Tales: A Guppy Anthology has been nominated for both
the Anthony Award and Macavity Award. 
Go Sisters in Crime Guppies! 
Without the Guppies, my career would not be on the right track.
The group support is invaluable!
You can read PALACE ON THE LAKE by clicking on the title above. :)

Say cheese!



  1. Avery- That looks wonderful! I wish I had Smell-O-Vision! I'm going to have to try this one on my next day off. Definitely will do it in a 6" pan, I would overdose with a bigger one! Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Nurse Judy, Smell-O-Vision!!!! I love it!!!!!!! I found my 6" pan online. I tried Williams Sonoma and they didn't have one. Then I tried Michael's because they have all the party/wedding things, but they didn't have it. Found one via Amazon and it was cheap and works great. It's by Wilton.

      Daryl aka Avery

  2. OMG, five cups of chocolate for a 6" cake? Do you offer half-inch slices? I'd love to see your guests groaning with pleasure in chorus!

    1. Sheila, five plus cups of chocolate for a 12" cake. [Half that for the half-sized cake] LOL. But yes, you offer 1-2" slices. I have to admit the whole 6" cake was eaten by 6 people. Definitely chocolate overdose. But so much fun!


  3. My mouth is drooling! That sounds divine!
    Sheila, of course it takes that much chocolate--there is almost nothing else in it!

    1. Libby, true, almost nothing else. It's the applesauce that makes it satiny. The espresso that gives it punch.

      Daryl aka Avery

  4. Chocoholic alert! So basically, it's the chocolate and the eggs that make it set. I bet you had a wonderful time. How lovely to be in the same city as Hannah and Kate!

    ~ Krista

    1. Krista, yes, it's sort of like a souffle when you think of it. A very dense souffle. So much fun with the girls. Lots of chatter about writing. The husbands joined in, which was also fun. Luckily, they "get" us and our creative minds and...craziness. We toasted them.

      Daryl aka Avery

  5. What fun Avery! the dinner sounds amazing. Close friends are so special. In this mystery writing business, we tend to meet lots of great people who live far away (like you guys!) So when we do get together it's very very special...

    got to try that cake!

    1. Lucy, I think that's why I enjoy going to conferences. It's like old home week or going back to school and seeing all your pals. So much networking and lots of laughs. Can't wait to see you at B'con.

      Daryl aka Avery

  6. Oh, my! Daryl, you did it! I remember our dinner at Ruth's Chris's when you decided to figure it out - YUM! I would have married that cake :) Thanks so much for doing the leg work and figuring it out! Great pic of Hannah, Kate, and hubbies. I miss you all!

    1. Jenn, I did. When I'm dedicated to a project, I keep at it. I think I, too, might have married the cake. I definitely considered a one night stand. LOL (Just kidding, my hubby, if you're reading this..)

      Miss you, too. Can't wait to see you soon.

      Daryl aka Avery

      PS Did I tell you I tried the cake pops in your latest cupcake book but made them GF? I'm not a cake pop wizard (not nearly as pretty as pros do them), but the flavor was fabulous.

  7. Avery/Daryl - Take 2 looks every bit as good as the first incarnation. Great for chocoholics and an elegant (yet relatively easy) dessert. Thanks for sharing and bringing us along on your dinner with friends, too. Have a great week! ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo. It is easy. I was astonished how easy. Now...if I had to make my own chocolate...not!


      Daryl aka Avery

  8. OMG! Everyone, that cake tastes even better than it looks!! And the company was beyond divine, of course. :-)

    It really is nice to have close writer friends who support you through good times and bad. And if they can cook and bake, it's even better! ;-)

    1. Kate, you're not saying the cake isn't pretty, are you? LOL

      Hugs and more hugs.