Certain times of year give everyone license to indulge in sweets. No day of the year is more sweets-friendly than Valentine’s Day.
Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are ubiquitous come mid-February. While no true chocolate devotee is likely to scoff at a box of delicious chocolates, lovers who want to hit a homerun with their sweets-loving sweetheart can try their hand at crafting their own confectionary concoction this Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate Cardamom Truffle Cake
Serves 10 to 12
5 ounces amaretti
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons sugar
Cardamom Truffle Filling
2-1⁄3 cups heavy cream
4 to 6 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised to open them
25 ounces dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), grated
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed
4 tablespoons chocolate liqueur
Cardamom Cocoa Sugar
3 green cardamom pods
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1, 10-inch cake pan with a removable base, base and sides lined with nonstick parchment paper
To make the amaretti base, finely crush the amaretti in a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan over low heat, then stir in the amaretti crumbs. Press the mixture evenly over the base of the prepared cake pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
To make the cardamom truffle filling, put the cream and cardamom pods in a pan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Strain the infused cream through a fine strainer onto the chocolate (the cream will be warm enough to melt the chocolate). If it doesn’t melt, warm over very low heat, stirring occasionally, but do not allow to boil. Stir in the liqueur, then set aside until almost cold, but not set. With an electric mixer, beat the chocolate mixture for a couple of minutes — this will give the cake a lovely airy texture. Pour onto the amaretti base. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 48 hours before serving.
To make the cardamom cocoa sugar, remove the black seeds from the papery cardamom pods and put the seeds in a spice grinder with the sugar and cocoa. Grind to a powder. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and peel off the lining paper. Set on a chilled serving plate and sift the cardamom cocoa sugar evenly over the top.
Serve immediately, cut into very thin slices.