Thursday, December 5, 2013
Chocolate Italian Love Cake
The short story: At work yesterday we threw a fake baby shower so we could have a potluck and my friend Laura made this cake.
The long story: Last year, on a whim, I bought a black toy rat at the Dollar Tree. Since then it has made appearances in my co-workers desks, when they least expect it. I really love to scare people.
So, on Halloween, one of my co-workers and I decided we would hide Rufus (yes, we named him) in a desk with a note telling that person to pass on the prank to another co-worker, and so fourth and so on. Rufus made his rounds but disappeared and no one would spill his final location. We even made a missing persons poster (we do normally work, but it was Halloween). Still no Rufus.
The next day I had a ransom note on my desk with a picture of Rufus with a knife to his head. I still don't know who made the note, but they took time to make this note amazing - seriously, they cut out each letter from a magazine! (I'll add a picture later today; the note is still on my desk at work.) The note demanded cookies for his return. I played along, of course, and made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
After the cookies were delivered, Rufus appeared! But he wasn't alone. Apparently he ran off and got married and bought a house (real estate company so the house makes perfect sense). Which led to the conclusion that Rita, his new bride, was pregnant. We googled the gestation period for a rat which roughly put us to December 4th....thus the potluck/baby shower.
I'm well aware that this story probably sounds insane, and it is, but it gave us a reason to have a potluck. This also gives you a little insight into the fun group of people in my office.
If you follow me on Facebook, you already know I took the easy route and mixed Harry & David's Pepper Relish with Cream Cheese and called it a day.
Lucky for you, I work with some great cooks. My friend, Laura, made this Chocolate Italian Love Cake and it was AMAZING! And, it was so pretty. She let me bring a big ol' piece home so I could snap pictures and share it with you. It's an easy recipe, but looks like it took hours. The coolest part is that the layers switch while baking giving a nice chocolate 'shell' around the sweet ricotta cheese filling. So good.
Now, I'm off to plot the next hiding place for Rufus and Rita.
Chocolate Italian Love Cake
*Cake does need to chill at least 6 hours before serving. Plan ahead and/or make the day before.
1 boxed chocolate cake mix AND the ingredients listed on the box
2 lbs (30-32 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup cold milk
8 ounces Cool Whip
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9×13 inch pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, prepare your cake mix batter according to the directions on the box. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth (couple minutes).
Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and use an off-set spatula to spread evenly in the pan. Next, carefully pour the ricotta mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter. Gently spread the ricotta mixture so it evenly covers the cake batter. (The cheese will start to sink into the cake batter and that will continue while baking. You'll end up with a very thin layer of cake on the bottom, ricotta cheese layer and thicker cake layer.)
Bake for 60 minutes or until cake is set. Let cake cool completely before frosting.
Once the cake is cool, whisk together the pudding mix and milk until combined. Gently fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake.
Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours, or overnight, before serving. Best served cold.
Source: Laura, via Cheri's Recipes
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