Cranberry Chocolate Truffle Cake

Thank you to Foodie.com and Glam Media for sponsoring this post.

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Pumpkin pie? Yawn.

Apple pie? Snore.

Pecan pie? Stop it right now.

No offense, but what your boring Thanksgiving needs—and I’m telling you this as a friend—is Cranberry Chocolate Truffle Cake. We have enough fruit and nuts stuffed in pastry crusts, we need some down-and-dirty, too-rich-for-my-blood, pass-the-milk-no-not-a-glass-the-whole-carton chocolate desserts up in here!

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It may not be the most traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but we all know that if the Pilgrims had access to glorious bars of semi-sweet chocolate on the regular, they would have made chocolate cake the centerpiece of their Thanksgiving table. I’m married to an American history professor, and that is an absolute fact.*

*The marriage part. The chocolate part I totally made up.

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But we’ll save the fabricated facts for the next episode of Drunk History, and stick with what I know to be true: how awesome this cake is.

This is a chocoholic’s fondest dream, and a chocophobe’s worst nightmare. (But if you’re a chocophobe, you’ve probably given up this website long ago. And also? Seek help.) The cake is a relative of the deep, dense flourless chocolate cake, although it does contain a little bit of flour. Mostly, though, it contains chocolate. Sweet, sweet chocolate, mixed with eggs and butter and cranberry sauce, and yielding a moist interior with the texture of a rich chocolate truffle. Restrained it is not.

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The cake is topped with a homemade cranberry jelly, the perfect balance of sweet and tart to cut through the chocolate, and is finished with a shiny chocolate glaze. Don’t be fooled by the large piece you see below—this baby is best enjoyed in small slivers, because it’s so rich. A 9-inch cake could easily feed 12-16 people, especially if they’re also sampling other desserts.

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Finally, I finished the cake with some lovely chocolate leaves and fresh cranberries. The leaves are surprisingly easy to make (basically: coat leaves with chocolate, peel off leaves) but, when brushed with a light layer of luster dust, add the perfect glamorous gourmet touch.

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I put together a chocolate leaves tutorial for the About.com Candy site, and since I try not to plagiarize myself too much, I’ll link to it instead of reproducing the photos here. So click here if you’d like to see some step-by-step photos showing how to make chocolate leaves.

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And finally, I’ve assembled a little slideshow of some other cranberry desserts that have caught my eye across the web! This is a collection I put together on Foodie.com, which is sort of like Pinterest, but exclusively focused on food. I joined almost a year ago, and it’s been a great way to find new recipes and inspiration. These cranberry treats made me think of Thanksgiving, but I think they’d be perfect throughout the fall and winter months! [If you’re reading this through a reader, on a mobile device, or with ad blockers enabled, you may not be able to view the slideshow.]

Click Here to Email or Print this Recipe!

Cranberry Chocolate Truffle Cake
yield: one 9-inch cake

Recipe Note: To save on time, you can substitute your favorite store-bought cranberry jelly for the homemade version, if you’d like.

For the Cake:
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided use
8 oz (3/4 cup) whole berry cranberry sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

For the Cranberry Jelly:
12 oz cranberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

For the Chocolate Glaze:
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream

To Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Use a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom, or a 9-inch springform pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the chocolate and butter together in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Combine the egg yolks and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of a large mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. (Alternately, you can use a mixing bowl and a hand mixer with whisk attachments.) Whip the yolks and sugar until they’re thick, a light yellow color, and drip from the whisk in a thick ribbon when you pull it up out of the yolks.

Fold the yolks into the lukewarm chocolate, and gently stir until most of the streaks are gone. Add the cranberry sauce, flour, vanilla extract, and salt, and carefully fold them in.

Wash and dry the mixing bowl and whisk you used for the yolks, and place the egg whites in the bowl. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the whites hold firm peaks and have the texture of shaving cream.

Fold the whites into the chocolate in three batches. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes, until puffed, dry on top, and there are small cracks along the sides.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely at room temperature. The cake can be made several days in advance and kept, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

To Make the Cranberry Jelly:
Combine the cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the berries, stirring occasionally, until they all “pop” and you have a thick, bubbling mixture. Pour the berries through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the skins to force all of the liquid through the strainer. Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the jelly, and cool to room temperature. Jelly can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To Make the Chocolate Glaze and Assemble:
Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl, and put the cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the cream to a simmer, and when it’s almost boiling, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for a minute to soften the chocolate. Whisk gently until the chocolate melts and the glaze is shiny and smooth. Make this right before you’re ready to glaze the cake.

To assemble the cake, use a spoon to scoop out about a half-inch of the top of the cake, leaving a thin border around the sides, where the cranberry jelly will go. (If your cake has collapsed during the baking process, this is the one time when that isn’t a bad thing! Instead of scooping out a hole, and you can just put the jelly in the sunken area on top.) If the jelly has been chilled, stir it briefly and then spoon it into the cavity on top of the cake, smoothing it into an even layer.

Place the cake on a cardboard round the size of the cake, then put it on a wire rack. Pour the hot glaze over the cake, using a spatula to spread it to the edge and push it down to coat the sides. Let the cake set at room temperature for several minutes before transferring it to the refrigerator to chill completely. Decorate with chocolate leaves, chocolate curls, cranberries, and/or whipped cream.

This cake is very rich, so it’s best enjoyed in small slices. Use a large sharp chef’s knife to cut it in slices, and for the cleanest cuts, wash the blade with hot water between cuts.

Store Cranberry Chocolate Truffle Cake well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Glam Media and Foodie.com, but all opinions are my own. Let’s face it, I would totally have shared this beast of a chocolate cake with you, sponsors or no sponsors! For more information, see my Affiliate and Advertising Policy.

42 Responses to Cranberry Chocolate Truffle Cake
  1. Johlene says:

    Hey you! I absolutely love these decorations!! Your cakes is really beautiful!!!!! I love the texture and I´m not lying.. I can actually smell & taste it through this screen.. YUM :-)
    Have a great week!!
    Xx

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Johlene! I think there’s not much better than a chocolate truffle cake–for me, the deeper, more intense chocolate flavor, the better!

  2. Elizabeth, this cake is absolutely gorgeous. So much better than pie! And of course your decorations are so simple yet so effective.

  3. What an elegant cake! The leaves are so detailed. Hmmm. My inlaws might appreciate something like this, since last year my apple pie slid off the passenger seat and onto the car floor. We just called it. . . Apple Smash.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Apple Smash, I love it!! You invented a new dessert without even trying. I can’t believe your inlaws could love anything more than they love Apple Smash.

  4. This cake is GORGEOUS!!!! Oh my gosh, I love everything about it. It’s so festive. Not to mention the fact that I adore fruit/chocolate combos and am always trying to figure out what in the heck to do with cranberries. I can’t wait to try this :) I’m totally going to check out your leaf tutorial- those would be awesome on so many desserts!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Amy–I am OBSESSED with cranberries and am really trying to hold back and not make all cranberry desserts, all the time! So glad to have a fellow chocolate/fruit appreciator in the house. And yes, the leaves are awesome–super simple, pretty fast, and the best part is they look complicated, so people will think you’re a chocolate ninja.

  5. Stop it! That cake looks amazing, and those leaves…just beautiful. Great post and great collection!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Damaris, but to quote Miley Cyrus, “We caaaannnn’t stop…” (No teddy bears were harmed in the leaving of that comment.) I love my Foodie collections–glad to spread the word!

  6. Danguole says:

    Oh, how I love this! I tried to do a cranberry-chocolate bundt cake last year. Mess. But I’ve been obsessed with the combo ever since, and you’ve pulled it off so well here! Snaps, girl.

    P.S. Drunk History is the greatest! “Abraham Lincoln wanted you to have this. It’s his favorite f-ing walking stick.”

    • Elizabeth says:

      Of COURSE you love Drunk History, since we’re pop culture twinners! And I agree– chocolate + cranberries = true love. I think you need to revisit that bundt cake, I would love to see a chocolate-cranberry version!

  7. Oh my, this looks like the best Thankgiving dessert ever… So rich and delicious! And I bet that those cranberries would add such a lovely tartness which I’m sure that it goes fantastic with chocolate.
    I’m drooling over here, this couldn’t look any more amazing! ;D

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Consuelo! We always do Thanksgiving with friends, and I’m always the one bringing cake when everyone else brings pies, haha. :) This might be my contribution this year!

  8. kim says:

    what a beautiful cake!

  9. Amen to the fruits and nuts stuffed into pastry crust!! This gorgeous and will be replacing some of my pies (still can’t quite completely give up the berry pie just yet:) )

    • Elizabeth says:

      I don’t blame you–berry pie is amazing! It’s really pumpkin I have a problem with…but I’ll save that fight for another blog post. :) Thanks Jackie!

  10. Gorgeous cake! Love that you paired chocolate with cranberries. I looks heavenly! Your chocolate leaves are beautiful as well! I’ve never made them, but now I want to. :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Beth! They are seriously SO easy. The trick is to find leaves with a pretty distinct vein pattern–makes them really stand out. Let me know if you give them a try!

  11. Liz says:

    It’s beautiful Elizabeth!

  12. I’m with you! I need a little chocolate at the Thanksgiving dessert table!
    This cake is crazy gorgeous and looks so yummy. :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Tina! And honestly, I’m thankful for chocolate, so doesn’t it make sense to show that with a gorgeous chocolate cake at Thanksgiving dinner? I think that logic is impeccable. :)

  13. Chocophobes? Do those people really exist? And am I a bad food blogger for saying that this looks so much better than pumpkin pie? Seriously, this looks like a work of art. The leaves are just gorgeous!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Natasha! I wouldn’t have believed chocophobes existed, but I’ve actually met two in the past few months! I KNOW. It was weird and I felt uncomfortable. Haha.

  14. What? There are chocophobics? Did you make that up, too, because I am seriously going to start using that with my dad all the time:) Adding the word “truffle” to cake just flipped my opinon of cakes around. Sounds like fudgy, rich, chocolate paradise. And those leaves – show stopper! I have to try this for Christmas!

    • Elizabeth says:

      No! Well, yes, I actually did make it up, but they do exist, and for all I know it’s totally a real word. :) Let me know how it goes if you give it a try–it is seriously such an easy trick!

  15. Abigail says:

    Hello! New reader from foodie.com!

    This cake looks STUNNING!

    xxoo Abby

  16. WHAT A FRESH NEW TAKE ON THANKSGIVING DESSERTS! Loveeeeeeee this idea! And the assembly, the props, the way the cake looks ,… basically, I just love everything about this cake! And the chocolate leaves!!!!!Its just VERY VERY PRETTY and DELICIOUS looking! :)

  17. Bree says:

    I was supposed to bring dessert to my work holiday part yesterday. I live at 8,500′ and there were a lot of gluten free people at the dinner. I made three failure attempts at a gluten free box mix and other options… Almost in tears because I had been working so hard to make a successful dessert; running out of ingredients and time I went to the web/pinterest.

    I found this post. I couldn’t use the cake part because I didn’t want another high altitude mistake. So I found high altitude friendly brownies and used gluten free flour. I also used agave instead of refined sugar.

    This was so amazing and successful. Everyone loved it even if they weren’t gluten free. Thanks for saving my day. The cranberry jelly was just perfect! I went for seconds even though I had been sampling all day though the brownie failures… Thanx!!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Bree, that is awesome!! I’m so glad that you loved it and that you were able to make it work with the necessary adjustments! I have to give you major credit, because both high altitude baking and gluten-free baking are tough on their own, but together?! That’s a huge challenge! So thrilled that this recipe could help make your dessert successful. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  18. Okay,this looks fantastic! Thanks!

  19. I’m pretty much in awe of this truffle cake, not only because it’s beautiful and belongs on a cover of a elegant chocolate lovers book, but the taste must be incredible!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Now you have me wondering why I don’t already own an elegant chocolate lovers book! Pretty sure that’s required reading for food bloggers like us. :)

  20. Ashley says:

    Wow, now this is a decadent chocolate cake! I love that there is cranberry involved too! And it’s just so pretty – love those gold leaves : )

  21. Dave LaBau says:

    This looks really decadent. However, that American History professor husband is really partial to pecan pie.

  22. Adelaide says:

    This is a stunning cake and looks very decadent. I was hoping I could make it with chocolate fudge cake mix, since I am short on time. Do you know if I could do anything to the mix to make it more of a truffle consistency?

    Thanks so much

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Adelaide! Thanks for the comment. I actually don’t work with cake mixes very often, so I’m not sure what tips and tricks would be best for giving it a fudgy texture. I’m sorry to not be of help-I’d love to hear what you end up doing if you give it a try!

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