I'm pretty traditional when it comes to birthdays and I can't remember celebrating one without a special cake. It may come as a shock, but every year, I make my own birthday cake. Researching cake recipes and going through the process of baking one has become a ritual that I look forward to and enjoy — as much as the senselessly extravagant birthday party. For 28, I've decided on a chocolate truffle cake with ganache topping and rum syrup. Instead of serving regular vanilla ice cream, I'm upping the ante and pairing the cake with a tropical sorbet terrine. It has three (coconut, raspberry, and mango) layers of sorbet that I think will perfectly complement the richness of the cake. To look at these scrumptious dessert recipes,


Tropical Sorbet Terrine

Tropical Sorbet Terrine


  1. 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  2. 1 pint coconut sorbet, softened
  3. 1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened
  4. 1 pint mango sorbet, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 6-cup (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches) loaf pan with a long strip of plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides; set aside.
  2. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool completely.
  3. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted coconut in prepared pan. Dollop coconut sorbet on top, and spread evenly; sprinkle with cup toasted coconut. Repeat with raspberry sorbet and remaining cup toasted coconut, then mango sorbet. Fold plastic overhang over sorbet, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours and up to 2 weeks.
  4. To serve, unfold plastic, and invert pan onto a plate; remove plastic. Slice terrine crosswise with a serrated knife.

Serves 12.

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Chocolate Truffle Cake

Chocolate Truffle Cake


  1. For the cake:

  2. 11 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

  3. 1 1⁄2 cups flour
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, preferably 54%, 

  4. 1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar
7 eggs, separated

  6. 1⁄2 tsp. salt

  7. 1 cup sugar

  8. 1⁄2 cup dark rum
  9. For the ganache
24 oz. semisweet chocolate, preferably 54%, 
roughly chopped
3 cups heavy cream

  12. Chocolate shavings

  13. Cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 325°. Line bottom of a 9" springform pan with parchment paper. Grease pan with 1 tbsp. butter. Add 1⁄4 cup flour; shake to evenly coat inside. Invert and tap out excess flour; set pan aside.
  2. Set a medium bowl over a 1-qt.saucepan of simmering water. Add chocolate; melt. Set aside to let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the melted chocolate, butter, and confectioners' sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and salt and mix until just combined; set batter aside.
  4. In a bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until frothy. Sprinkle in 1⁄4 cup sugar and beat to form stiff, glossy peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites into the cake batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula. Bake until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack; let cool. Invert and unmold cake. Cut cake horizontally into 3 even layers; set cake layers aside.
  5. Dissolve remaining sugar and 1⁄4 cup water in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until syrup has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum; let cool.
  6. Make the ganache: Place chocolate in bowl of a standing mixer. Bring cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan; pour over chocolate; let sit for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, combine chocolate and cream. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache reaches room temperature. Chill until ganache has the consistency of peanut butter, 2 hours. Transfer bowl to standing mixer fitted with a whisk. Whip on medium speed, 15–20 seconds.
  7. Place bottom cake layer on a cardboard cake circle. Using a pastry brush, brush cake with one-third of rum syrup. Using a butter knife, spread 1 cup ganache evenly across cake top. Top with second cake layer and one-third of rum syrup; repeat process with remaining cake, rum syrup, and ganache. Spread remaining ganache over cake. Press chocolate shavings onto sides. Shake cocoa powder over cake with a mesh sieve.

Serves 16.

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