The Food Maven Diary
No-Bake Chocolate Cake
Yesterday, Marcel Desaulnier was my guest and he brought this cake with him. It's from his new book Death By Chocolate Cakes. It is any wonder that he is called the "guru of ganache" when his mother (Mrs. D) made him such rich cake when he was young. He explains in one of his "Chef's Touch" footnotes to the recipes that this was his busy mom's big treat – easily and quickly made with ingredients usually in her pantry. Marcel is executive chef and co-owner of the acclaimed Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia, and his other works, including Death By Chocolate and Desserts To Die For, have garnered him many awards. By the way, in case you don't know, ganache is simply chocolate melted and blended into cream, sometimes with butter. It's the heart of a chocolate truffle, so you might say this cake is a huge nut and corn flake-studded truffle.
Mrs. D's Chocolate Crunchy Corn Flake
Peanut and Grape
Double Layer No-Bake Cake
Serves 10 to 12
For the chocolate crunchy corn flake layer
4 cups corn flakes
1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
16 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-ounce pieces
For the chocolate peanut and grape layer:
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups red seedless grapes, stemmed, washed and thoroughly dried
1 1/4 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
To prepare the chocolate crunchy corn flake layer:
Assemble a 9- by 2 1/4-inch nonstick springform pan with the bottom insert turned over (the lip of the insert facing down).
Place 4 cups of corn flakes and 1 cup chopped peanuts in an extra-large bowl and set aside.
Melt together 16 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate and 1/2 pound butter.
Pour the melted chocolate and butter mixture over the corn flakes and peanuts. Use a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients until thoroughly coated with the chocolate mixture (the corn flakes will be cursed in the process.) Transfer the chocolate-covered corn flakes and peanut mixture into the springform pan; firmly and evenly spread to the inside edges using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate while preparing the top layer.
To make the chocolate peanut and grape layer:
Place 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl.
Heat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Set aside for 5 minutes, then stir with a whisk until smooth. Add 2 cups red seedless grapes and 1 cup of the peanuts and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the chocolate crunchy corn flake layer n the springform pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup peanuts over the surface of the top layer. Refrigerate the cake for 12 hours before cutting.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Using a thin-bladed paring knife, cut around the inside edges of the pan, the release the cake from the sides of the springform pan (leave the cake on the bottom of the pan). Heat the blade of a serrated slicer under hot running water and wipe the balked dry before cutting each slice. Keep the slices at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.