Chocolate-Almond Petit Fours

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Chocolate Spritz Cookies

Sour Cream Fudge

Gateau Rosie O.

Sweet Spot


Gateau Rosie O.

Tips: This cake is named for talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell, who is very fond of the snack cake on which it is based. I won't mention the name of that snack cake--but I will tell you that it rhymes with "wingding". I tuned in to Ms. O'Donnell's show one day for a short time and saw her engaged in a food fight and decided I needed to invent a dessert in her honor. I came up with a chocolate cake with a white chocolate-whipped cream filling and a dark chocolate glaze; the trick is in the way the cake is assembled. You'll need 9 inch round layer pans for this, which must be 2 inches deep.

This is a project that calls for both time and patience. Once made, the cake can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days. It also freezes (to defrost, leave in the refrigerator overnight, still in wrapping). A great cake for a party, the gateau looks very showy when cut. If you know Rosie, do tell her about this; I think it would amuse her.


  • 2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour (do NOT use all-purpose flour here)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. corn oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs, graded "large"
  • 2 cups buttermilk, preferably at room temperature
Chocolate "Glue":
  • 1 ounce good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 5 ounces good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
  • 1-3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 9 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. mild, light-colored honey
  • Few grains salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Optional Garnish:
  • Shaved or grated white chocolate

For Cake: Cut two circles of wax paper to fit the bottom of two round layer pans, each 9 inches in diameter by 2 inches deep. Grease pans with solid vegetable shortening, then line the bottom of each with a wax paper circle. Grease the circles, then lightly flour the inside of each pan, knocking out any excess. Set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together sifted cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer, combine softened butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Beat at a low speed until mixed, then beat at medium speed for 5 full minutes, scraping down bowl and beater(s) once or twice during this time. At a low speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until incorporated. When all eggs have been added, scrape bowl and beater(s) thoroughly; beat mixture at medium speed for 2 minutes.

At lowest speed, add sifted dry ingredients in four additions and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with sifted dry ingredients and beating after each addition only until incorporated. Scrape bowl and beater(s) frequently. This makes a lot of batter; you may have to increase the mixer speed slightly to get all of the ingredients mixed in, or you can do what I do and add the last addition or two by using a sturdy whisk to blend everything together.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Level batter in pans. Then, with back of a large spoon, push batter slightly up sides of pans, leaving a depression in the batter in the middle of each pan. Place pans in preheated oven.

Bake layers 35 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake. Remember to shift pans front-to-back as well as in oven position about halfway through baking time. Remove baked layers to cooling rack.

Allow layers to cool for 15 minutes. Gently loosen layers from edges of pans. Invert layers, then gently peel wax paper from bottoms of layers. The sides of the layers may slant inwards somewhat--OK. Re-invert layers to cool completely, right side up.

While layers cool, make Chocolate "Glue". In small heatproof bowl or cup, combine chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Heat over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), whisking or stirring often until smooth and melted. Remove from heat and hot water; let stand at room temperature, whisking or stirring occasionally, until cool.

Start the Filling now. In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped white chocolate, butter pats, and 1/4 cup heavy cream (reserve remainder). Place over warm water on low heat; stir often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. (White chocolate is often stubborn about melting smoothly, and it must not be overheated. If your chocolate refuses to smooth out as it melts, use a hand blender or place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade; blend or process just until perfectly smooth.) Set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill a medium bowl and beater(s) for a hand-held electric mixer. Have on hand a larger bowl or pot and some ice; the medium bowl must fit partway (but not entirely) into the larger pot/bowl.

When the cake, chocolate "glue", and melted white chocolate mixture are all at room temperature, proceed with the next steps. One cake layer will be halved horizontally, and you'll make a ring from the other. If one layer is thicker than the other, use the thicker layer for the ring. Choose the layer that will be the ring and place it on a cutting board. With a knife tip, make several cuts, spaced around the cake , each one inch in from the outer edge. With a sharp, serrated knife, complete the circle so you have a one inch wide ring on the perimeter of the layer. You will not need the cake inside the ring; I find it easiest to quarter it before removing it. Now, cut the ring in half so you have two identical arcs. Set aside for a moment.

If necessary, level the top of the remaining layer. Split it in half horizontally. Place a dab of the chocolate "glue" in the center of your serving plate. Take the top half of the split layer and place it, cut side down, on top of the "glue" on the serving plate. Place some of the "glue" on the outer inch of this split layer, and spread it thinly. Gently and carefully pick up one arc and place it on top of the "glue". Make the outer edges of the arc as even with those of the half layer as possible. Press down gently on the arc to make sure it's attached to the split layer. The arc should reach halfway round the split layer. Spread a bit more "glue" on the cut edges of the arc, then transfer the second arc to the split layer, placing it next to the first, as above; the ring of cake from the first layer will now be on top of the split layer. You'll be building a sort of round cake "box" which will have no center (for the present). Loosely cover the remaining half layer (the one you haven't used yet) with plastic wrap; set aside at room temperature. Very gently cover the cake "box" (not too tightly--it's fragile now) and chill it for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, look at your "box". If it's holding its shape, return to the refrigerator until needed. If some of the cut edges are out of place, as sometimes happens, spread a bit more "glue" on them to patch them, reshape the whole, and chill 15 minutes more. You should not use all of the chocolate "glue" here.

Place ice and cold water in the larger pot/bowl you had ready, then place the medium bowl in the ice and water (the medium bowl should be partially, but not completely, immersed in the ice/water, and the ice/water should not overflow when the medium bowl is placed into it). Pour the reserved 1-1/2 cups heavy cream for the Filling into the medium bowl. Beat at high speed just until traces of beater marks show in the cream. Quickly add the cooled white chocolate mixture (if it is at all warm, it will deflate the cream). Beat at high speed just to stiff peaks. By hand, with rubber spatula, fold Filling over on itself a few times to make sure white chocolate mixture is well-combined with cream (it likes to hide at the bottom of the bowl). If necessary, re-beat Filling to stiff peaks; it will be quite thick. Do not overbeat, or it will be grainy. Leave the whipped Filling in the bowl in the ice/water while you remove your cake "box" from the fridge and uncover it.

Remove the medium bowl from the ice/water; quickly dry bowl bottom and sides. Pile the Filling into the center of the cake "box"; you should have about the right amount to fill it full. Quickly spread a bit more "glue" on top of the conjoined arcs of cake, then uncover the remaining split layer. Transfer that split layer, cut side down, onto the top of the "box". You may not use all of the "glue"--OK. Press very gently to compact lightly. Cover the cake CAREFULLY (don't squash it!), and chill.

For Glaze: In medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate, honey, and salt. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Pour about two- thirds of hot cream into chocolate. Let stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently. Do not beat. Gradually stir or whisk in remaining cream. If Glaze is not perfectly smooth, place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides.

Allow Glaze to stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until no longer warm (test a bit on the inside of your wrist). Glaze will thicken somewhat; when you lift a spoon and let some fall back into the bowl, it will mound slightly before disappearing back into the rest of the Glaze. Just before Glaze is ready, remove cake from refrigerator and any wrappings from cake.

Pour Glaze slowly onto center of cake top. Working quickly, preferably with an offset spatula, spread Glaze over the sides first, using most of it on the sides, then spread evenly over top to finish. If desired, garnish before Glaze sets by sprinkling on shaved or grated white chocolate. Chill cake, uncovered, until Glaze is cold and set. Cover tightly and return to refrigerator. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

To serve, allow cake to stand at room temperature, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. To cut, use a large, sharp, serrated knife. Run the blade under hot water, then shake it off (do not dry). Cut cake gently, using a sawing motion; if you press down hard, the Filling will squish out. Run knife blade under hot water and shake off frequently while cutting.

10 to 12 servings

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