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Dec 11, 2009 11:26 AM

A WOW dessert for Christmas needed

Someone is already making a tiramisu, and another making cookies. I need a third dessert that will WOW the guests. Any favorites and links to recipes. Anything goes... Pie, cake, cheesecake, whatever...

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  1. A zillion years ago I had a recipe for cassata that I no longer have. It had poundcake split from end to end with a ricotta and rum filling in between. The whole thing was frosted in a rich mocha icing and -- and here's the festive Christmasy part -- it was decorated with a lattice of the icing and rosettes piped on over that. The rosettes all had shiny red and green candied cherries on them. It was festive and it was delicious. Sort of a cannoli all dressed up as a cake.

    I'm thinking you could google a recipe. It's a traditional Italian dessert. And you could add that element of piping and candied fruit to make it lovely.

    I soooo wish I had an image for you. I soooooo wish I had that original recipe. I haven't made it in 30 years or so but it was memorable enough to have stayed with me all these years.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rainey

      Here's a similar recipe, though not decorated for Christmas. There's also a version in the old Time Life Foods of the World series. I've been making that one for years.


      1. re: middydd

        Just what I had in mind. Minus the fussy Christmas decoration.

        I remember it as rich and delicious.

      2. re: rainey

        I've never made cassata, but before David Glass closed his bakery (we were lucky to be able to visit and sample and buy factory "seconds"), he made a fantastic one...among many other fantastic baked goods, of course.

        Of all his treats, this one was toward the top of my list...and there's a gorgeous image of a slice of it here:

        rainey, absolutely right, "sort of a cannoli all dressed up as a cake." Perfect! :)

        1. To me, there are few showstoppers like baba au rhum. It's big, and beautiful, and shiny, and incredibly delicious. What is great about it is that it's actually a fluffy, airy bread, so is luxurious but still light after a big feast. Ina's version is excellent. I serve the whipped cream on the side so the baba doesn't get soggy if there are leftovers.

          1. I don't know if you're up for something very rich and chocolaty, but if so, I recommend this Black Forest Boule-de-Neige. Boule-de-neige means snowball, and this dome-shaped cake is iced with whipped cream piped on in stars. It's very festive and impressive looking. The cake itself is very dense and rich, almost truffle-like, and studded with dried cherries. Totally delicious. It definitely makes more servings than indicated because it's so rich, but it also keeps very well, and I have halved it and baked it in a smaller bowl.


            1. How about a Buche de Noel? I made one for Thanksgiving, and was able to make pretty much all of the components ahead of time and freezer them.

              4 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                Buche de Noel is such a classic and beautiful choice. I don't want to chance any jelly roll problems, so I plan on supplementing my dessert table with a red velvet cake this year with holly piping if I have the time.

                1. re: JungMann

                  The thing with the rolling is that it really doesn't matter if it cracks, in my opinion, because by the time you cover it with frosting, you can't tell, even when it is sliced. Red velvet cake sounds wonderful ... I might just do that myself. I've never made one before - any favorite recipe?

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I haven't attempted a buche de noel in over a decade as my cracks pretty much divided the cake into unrollable pieces. Of course I was 12 so hopefully my baking skills have improved since. I've heard that rolling the Swiss roll straight out of the oven and letting it rest in that position will prevent cracking when you're finishing the cake. Perhaps I will test the theory after the holidays.

                    This is the first (and only) red velvet cake recipe I've made on my own (sans pecans). I don't typically have a sweet tooth, but even I found this cake irresistible.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      I still owe you an email ... and, JC has v. good tips about how to roll up the genoise/sponge cake. Check your email tomorrow for beyond the chow chat!