Decadent Desserts from Caprial’s Bistro




by Caprial Pence and Melissa Carey

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake is like a super-moist fallen chocolate soufflé with a delicately crisp crust. It puffs up a lot while it bakes and then falls as it cools—so don’t panic. Be sure to give it at least 20 minutes to cool before serving; if it’s too warm, it will be tasty but much too difficult to cut.

5 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup coffee liqueur

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, for dusting

1 1/2 cups whipped cream, as accompaniment

Organic rose petals, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 10-inch springform pan and wrap the outside with foil to prevent leaking; set aside.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whip attachment, and whip on high speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until very thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes. (Yes, it really takes that long; if you mix it for a shorter length of time, the cake will be only 1/4 inch tall.) Add the liqueur and mix well. With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and beat until well blended. (The batter may look "broken," or separated, at this point, but the chocolate will bind with the butter and fix that.) With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake moves as one mass when you gently jiggle the pan, about 30 minutes. (It’s much better to underbake this cake than to overbake it; it will be a bit gooey, but I’ve never seen anyone turn up their nose at that.) Let cool for 10 to 20 minutes, remove the outer ring of the pan and the foil, then let cool about 30 minutes longer before serving.

Serve at room temperature, topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and softly whipped cream. Garnish with rose petals. Serves 12.


Jenny’s Great-Grandma’s Gingersnaps

Jenny Morrison works as my assistant, and she also does the first round of editing of my books and helps me with the writing. She has become a friend over the last few years, so John and I invited her and her family on a beach trip we take each summer. She brought along a batch of these gingersnaps she made from her great-grandmother’s recipe, and as soon as I tasted them, I knew they had to go in this book. Spicy and chewy, they are just how I like gingersnaps.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

1 egg

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup graham flour

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a sheet pan well and set aside.

Place the butter and 1 cup of the sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the molasses and egg, and beat well. Add the flours, salt, baking soda, and spices, and mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix just until the dough is smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Place the remaining 1 cup sugar on a large plate. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, roll them in the sugar to coat, and place on the prepared pan, making sure you give the cookies enough space to spread as they bake. Bake until golden brown (they will be a bit darker than other drop cookies because the dough is dark to begin with), about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack or paper towels and let cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.


Zucchini Bread

Anyone with a garden has made zucchini bread. I like to serve it sliced and toasted, topped with a pat of butter. If you have any left the next day, use it to make an incredible version of French toast.

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans; set aside.

Combine the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and pineapple, and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, and mix on low speed just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the nuts and coconut. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans, and bake until the bread slowly springs back when touched lightly in the center, about 1 hour. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the pans. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 2 loaves.

From Caprial’s Desserts by Caprial Pence and Melissa Carey. Copyright © 2001 by Caprial Pence and Melissa Carey. Excerpted by arrangement with Ten Speed Press. $32.50. Available in local bookstores or call 800-841-2665 or click here.