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17 Chocolate Desserts To Eat All Year

Hot Chocolate Cake | ZoeBakes by Zoë François

Chocolate is romantic, dramatic, purported to have healing properties, and is absolutely delicious. The wonderful flavor is representative of devotion and love. Chocolate can come in so many forms that even those who don’t consider themselves chocolate fanatics almost always find a chocolate treat to love. Below you will find a primer on all things chocolate, so you can learn all the tips and tricks for baking with chocolate. When I set out to write Zoë Bakes Cakes the very first cake I put in its pages was my Devil’s food recipe, which is deep, dark, and full of cocoa. You’ll find cakes, pies, tarts, and many other chocolate desserts in this post.

Below is a chocolate overview, answers to frequently asked questions, and 17 favorite chocolate recipes!

Types Of Chocolate

Chocolate is made from the cacao tree and comes in the form of cocoa powder, bar chocolate, and chocolate chips, chunks, or feves (discs).

  • Cocoa Powder is made from drying and grinding cocoa solids. I most often use Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which means it has been alkali-treated, making it less acidic and darker. Different brands may vary in color slightly, which can affect the look of your pastries. There is also natural cocoa, which is more acidic and can change the composition of your baking. Recipes that call for cocoa powder without specifying, usually mean the Dutch-processed variety.
  • Solid Chocolate. The percentage you see on packaging refers to the combined amount of cocoa butter and solids in the bar. For example, a bar that says 70% on the package is made from 70% cocoa butter and cocoa solids and 30% other ingredients, such as sugar and milk solids. I most often use bittersweet chocolate (70%), but you can also use semisweet (60%) in most cases. I usually advise bakers to avoid milk chocolate because it is too sweet and doesn’t behave the same as bittersweet and semisweet varieties.
  • Chocolate Chips, Chunks and Shavings are the classic little chocolate morsels that most of us think of in chocolate chip cookies. They are often sweeter and contain less cocoa than chocolate bars. You can, however, find them in different varieties and look for the same percentage as you do with bars. Chocolate chunks and shavings can be made from a bar (you can also buy prepackaged chunks). To make chunks you can simply chop up a bar, and for shavings, you run a knife along the bar to create and collect the slivers.

FAQs About Baking with Chocolate

  1. Most foolproof way to temper chocolate? I learned how to temper chocolate in culinary school and did some chocolate work when I was working in restaurants, but it isn’t something I do often and is a skill that requires practice to get in the swing of it. I did a video on the technique I know best. Here is a link to other methods that I haven’t tried, but sound interesting.
  2. How to reuse and store leftover tempered chocolate? Store chocolate in a cool, dark place. Chocolate can always be melted and re-tempered, see above. 
  3. What is your preferred chocolate brand for ganache? Tips to getting it right? I list my favorite chocolate brands below in this post. I have a whole section of my Cake Academy in Zoë Bakes Cakes about making and trouble shooting ganache. Use a good quality chocolate and heat the cream just to simmer, turn off the heat, add chopped chocolate, swirl the pan until the ganache is submerged, let it sit to melt for 3 minutes, then gently whisk smooth. 
  4. How do you reuse the ganache after pouring it over cakes, so you don’t end up wasting it? Set the cake on a wire cooling rack, then place it over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour the ganache over the cake and the excess will fall onto the parchment. Once the cake has been removed, scrape the ganache off of the parchment. If it has set up, remelt until it will go through a sieve, which will catch any cake. Store the strained ganache in the refrigerator (5 days) or freezer (2 months) until you need it again.

My Favorite Chocolate Products

17 Decadent Chocolate Desserts

This chocolate zucchini bundt cake recipe is from my book Zoë Bakes Cakes! It's moist and sweet, but not overly so, and intensely chocolate.
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This is like the most elegant brownie-cake you've ever had. That really doesn't do it justice, but you know that fudge texture of a perfectly baked brownie, where the top has a nice crust and the inside is smooth and rich? This is that, but even better and somehow lighter. I gilded the lily with candied hazelnuts.
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Fanny Lam's original recipe was pure and simple, which is a lovely thing in a day of over complicated recipes, but I decided to add a bit of coffee flavor to this Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, to recreate the flavor of my childhood memory.
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This chocolate microwave mug cake is one of those cakes you’ll rely on when you need to indulge at midnight. Just you, Donna Summer and a crazy-satisfying mug of chocolate cake. I added Caramel-Peanut ice cream to the top, because who eats chocolate cake at midnight without ice cream?
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This Guinness Chocolate Cake with White Knight Buttercream based on recipes from Zoë Bakes Cakes, was inspired by my trips to Ireland and features amazing Irish butter.
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This peanut butter pie recipe is oh-so delicious. With a graham cracker crust, a smooth peanut butter filling made with cream cheese, a layer of chocolate ganache, and a whipped cream and candied peanut topping, this dessert is deluxe and irresistible. Be sure to chill this pie for two hours or overnight before serving.
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This chocolate tart is so delicious—I want to make it a new tradition at the holidays. I had to pipe the whipped cream into fleur de lis to guild the lily and you must garnish with chocolate shavings! If you don't want to include the Irish cream, you can omit it.
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With hot chocolate as its inspiration, this hot chocolate cake has layers of Devil’s food, slathered with a deep, dark, luscious chocolate icing, that is like whipped ganache, but better, then I topped the whole thing in homemade marshmallows.
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This Devil's Food Cake from Zoe Bakes Cakes (this version is just slightly different because I am always tweaking) is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried and believe me, over the past 20+ years, I've tried them all. The dark chocolate cake has a texture that is smooth and rich. The flavor is not overly sweet, because of the coffee (you don't actually taste the coffee, it just cuts the sweet) and the rum (the Devil in "Devil's Food cupcakes" perhaps? the alcohol burns off in the oven.), which make it a great match for cream cheese frosting sweetened with Lyle's Golden Syrup (honey works, too, if you're in a pinch).
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These are the brownies I made for a care package for my son, Charlie, and his roommates at college. I made four different kinds because each of the boys wanted their favorite brownie. It's an easy way to please a crowd!
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This is a super simple and quick chocolate mousse recipe you can whip up at the last minute. The bit of crunch in the middle is fantastic and the mousse is rich and delicious, with a perfectly torched toasted meringue topping.
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Looking for a simple but absolutely delicious chocolate bar for a party? These Chocolate Mousse Bars with Feuilletine Crunch are rich and chocolatey with a wonderful crunch on top.
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These darling chocolate peanut butter mini cakes are inspired by many recipes from Zoë Bakes Cakes – just another way to use the recipes in creative ways.
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Adapted from Husbands That Cook by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin.
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These chocolate macarons are both light, as a macaron should be and fudge-y, like a brownie. The chocolate macaron shells are made with cocoa powder and then they’re filled with a chocolate ganache, so they’re super deep chocolate fantastic flavor.
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Recipe shared with permission from Rick Nelson from The Great Minnesota Cookie Book by Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson, from University of Minnesota Press.
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This pie from Shauna Sever's book, Midwest Made, is all about the deep chocolate flavor. Be sure to use a high quality, bitter chocolate (70-75% cacao) or the pie can get very sweet, FAST! In her book the pie is topped with a homemade Cool Whip, which is 100% in keeping with the traditional pie. I left the cream unstabilized and unsweetened, because I like the contrast of the sweet filling to the clean, rich cream on top, you choose which way to go.
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Bonus: Chocolate Bundt with White Chocolate-Raspberry Cream

Chocolate raspberry bundt

Chocolate Desserts: Chocolate Bundt with White Chocolate-Raspberry Cream

This chocolate bundt with white chocolate-raspberry cream is the perfect party cake. Bundts are are easy to make, and the white chocolate and raspberry filling adds a bright and creamy element.
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  • 1 chocolate bundt Chocolate bundt recipe
  • 7 oz white chocolate chips or chunks use a good brand—NOT coating chocolate
  • ¼ cup raspberry juice strain 1 lb of thawed frozen raspberries through a fine mesh sieve—you'll use the remainder of berries and juice for sauce
  • 2 tbsp strained raspberries just the fruit, not the juice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lb frozen raspberries what remains from the steps above
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • cocoa for dusting use a quality dark cocoa


  • Bake the bundt cake as instructed. After the cake has baked, allow it to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Let the chocolate bundt cake cool to room temperature. While you wait for the cake to cool, wash and dry the Brilliance Bundt Pan. Once it’s cool, slip the cake back into the Bundt pan. Hollow out the middle with a Round Pastry Cutter that creates a trench that is about 2-inches wide. You’ll need to carve into it slowly, and make sure that you don’t get too close to the sides or bottom.
  • In a bowl, melt the white chocolate and raspberry juice, over a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Whip the heavy cream until just soft peaks, it should be thick, but still VERY soft. Fold that into the white chocolate mixture. Fold in the fruit.
  • Place the Raspberry cream in a large piping bag, fitted with a large round tip and pipe it into the hollowed out cake. Replace the top of the cake, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. This can be done several hours before serving.
  • Heat the remaining raspberries and juice in a pan with the sugar, until the juices have thickened to the consistency of maple syrup. Use an Hand Blender to puree the fruit. Run the mixture through a fine mesh Conical Strainer.
  • Dust the finished chocolate bundt cake with cocoa and serve with the coulis.
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2 thoughts to “17 Chocolate Desserts To Eat All Year”

  1. I have an abundance of eggs so I made your brownie recipe…it called for seven. I followed your recipe but couldn’t get the middle to be be anything but uncooked. I baked it for about twenty minutes longer that the instructions said…. suggestion?

    1. Hi Mary, sorry you had trouble with this recipe. A good first test would be to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer to make sure it’s running true to the temperature you set it at. Oven thermometers can be purchased at hardware stores, online, etc. Secondly, you could let your eggs come to room temperature next time. Sometimes if the eggs go in to the batter cold that can affect the bake time. We have updated the recipe to reflect that others should use room temperature eggs. I hope this helps!

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