May I take a moment to talk about myself (without you rolling your eyes)?
I have good friends. Very good friends. I was recently invited to dinner at their home– they cooked for me. An entire French meal. So many courses I can’t name them all. It ended with a mousse-like Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake from The Barefoot Contessa. The cake you see here.
Not only was the cake and entire meal very delicious. It was a very big deal to me.
“What’s the big deal?” you may be thinking… friends cook for friends. It’s what they do. But you know what? The longer this blog goes on the further and more far between my dinner invitations have become. Really. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “Oh, I can’t cook for you, Greg. You’re too good a cook”.
I laugh it off. Because, it’s not important that you cook for me. It’s not why we’re friends. But what I really want to say is “you can cook for me– if you want to. But you don’t have to.”
In fact I am always telling people to entertain the people they love by sharing something they themselves are good at. It doesn’t have to be cooking. Some of the best parties I have been to did not revolve around a meal. If you’re athletic– arrange an afternoon of something sporty. I may not be all that sporty, but I want to love what you love. So I will certainly give it my best shot.
If you know the hills outside Los Angeles like the back of your hand– invite me on a hike. I’d love a little of your inside information.
Maybe your kids are adorable (and whose aren’t)… well then invite me to their school play. Yes. I’ll go. Yes. I’ll give a standing ovation. All kids deserve standing ovations.
Even if your greatest asset is, well your assets. Then invite me to dinner at a fab restaurant. I’ll eat it all up. And give you a hug to boot.
But if you’re a great cook, like my friends Yuval and Alla (owners and innovators of L’uvalla, a luxurious line of organic skin care products). Then hell yes, cook for me. I’ll eat it all up. And give you a hug to boot. My point is. Everyone is good at something. The best parties I have been to are when someone gives the best of themselves through love.
Which brings me to this cake. It may be a Barefoot Contessa recipe. But it was made with love by my friends and offered to me (and Ken) over dinner. We accepted it eagerly and I choose to share it with you here. Though I may be a good cook, what I really love is sharing. So welcome to my after party. I hope you enjoy this cake. GREG
- 2 c cold heavy cream
- 12 oz italian mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/4 c kahlua
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 t instant espresso
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 3 (8-ounce) packages chocolate chip cookies, such as tate’s bake shop
- 2 oz shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, coffee liqueur, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.
To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. (I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.) Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.