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tea party dessertsIt is with dessert that I let my tea party shine.  I know I’ve already wow’ed my guests with the tea and food but dessert is where the room grows silent with delight.  It’s the moment everyone sits down and savors.  It is also where I put my greatest efforts.  I love offering seemingly complicated and rich desserts.  It’s where the true treat lies.

Making an amazing dessert doesn’t have to be difficult or even take a long time to make.  Over the years I have uncovered desserts that make everyone wonder.  I get comments about time commitments or the fact that they could never put together something like that.  The trick is to be unusual.

Some of my favorites: Adult Chocolate Cake- this recipe was from The Two Fat Ladies.  I found it in their cookbook.  I can’t tell you if I have made changes over the years but it is still a favorite.  It was a blessing when my family went gluten free since it’s “naturally” flourless.  While it’s called a cake, it’s more of a thick crusty pudding.  A little goes a long way.

Tiramisu – I found this recipe in a Richard Simmon’s cookbook of all places.  I’m not sure it’s what I would call a healthy recipe but it’s so simple.  No one I know puts together Tiramisu and this recipe will make you the belle of the ball.  The hardest part I found was finding all the ingredients.  I have made homemade ladyfingers and they were a bit softer than the storebought leaving my tiramisu just a little mushy.  If you use homemade cookies, then reduce the amount of coffee you sprinkle on them.

Panna Cotta – This is a milky gelatin dessert that is a favorite around Halloween in our house.  I serve it with a red berry sauce after molding it in a brain mold.  The family loves it.  For a more formal event, mold it in a large bowl or serve in individual bowls with fruit or a fruit sauce.  It’s perfect with raspberries.

Other ideas – pies, especially cream pies, are great.  So are cookies.  I love serving a cookie or two with dessert.  The trick is to have a small variety.  I will serve one main dessert and a few snacky types (anything that can be eaten easily by hand with no plate, store bought is perfect here especially if you go with something nice).

You can serve dessert with tea or do something a little more special and serve it with a nice fruit liquor such as framboise.

Adult Chocolate Cake

8 oz bittersweet chocolate

1 cup unsalted butter, soft

1 1/2 cup sugar

5 eggs

Grease 8″ – 9″ cake pan.  Break chocolate into bowl.  Set over saucepan of barely simmering water and melt chocolate.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Cut butter into little pieces and beat into chocolate.  Add sugar and blend well.  In other bowl, beat eggs until very frothy, then gently fold into mixture.  Pour into cake pan and place in roasting pan.  Add water to roasting pan – 1 inch up side of cake pan.  Bake in a preheat oven at 350 for 1 hour, then let cool completely in roasting pan.  When cold, remove from water and chill in refrigerator overnight.


1 package ladyfingers

1 pint whipping cream

1 carton marscopone cheese

1/3 c sugar

1 ounce kahlua (small shot bottle)

1 cup strong coffee or espresso

grated chocolate

Whip cream only until stiff. Mix sugar, cheese and kalua together until smooth. Fold into whipping cream. In small rectangular dish cover bottom with half of the ladyfingers, Pour half of the coffee over the ladyfingers. Layer with 1/2 of the cream/cheese mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 choc over top. Repeat layering. Refrigerate before serving (about 24 hours is good). Do not allow to freeze.

Panna Cotta

3 teas gelatin

3 1/2 tbs. cold water

1 cup cream

2 1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup + 2 tbs. sugar

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in med bowl.  Let stand untouched for 3 minutes.  In small saucepan – combine cream, 1/2 cup milk, sugar, and vanilla.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and pour over gelatin.  Stir well to dissolve gelatin.  Let cool to room temp.  Remove vanilla bean and add remaining milk (and extract if not using vanilla bean), stirring to mix.  Strain mixture through fine sieve and pour into greased mold.  Cover and chill 6 hours.