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Death by Chocolate Cakes: An Astonishing Array of Chocolate Enchantments Hardcover – September 5, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No doubt about it: chocolate rules. Celebrating this happy fact is Marcel Desaulniers's Death by Chocolate Cakes, another installment in his bestselling Death by Chocolate series. These books bring chocolate sweets to, well, heart-stopping heights. Cake, which contains 50 or so recipes for goodies such as Chocolate Heart of Darkness Cakes (dense chocolate cupcakes with a molten chocolate-truffle center) and Excessively Expressive Espresso Fantasy (chocolate ganache-filled chocolate espresso cake topped with espresso mousse), also includes formulas for chocolate ice creams, drinks, and sauces--all in all a true debauch. Though its recipes are painstakingly written and easy to follow, most require multiple, technically exacting preparations; aside from chocolate voyeurs, they'll be of greatest interest to reasonably skilled bakers with time to spare.

Desaulniers divides his recipes into chapters such as "Baby Cakes," "Mom's Cakes," "Celebration Cakes," and "Sky-High Cakes." This portioning is somewhat arbitrary as the drill is usually a lusciously filled and topped layer cake. Delicious exceptions include My Little Kumquat Cake and Uncle Sam's in the Black Cake. If Desaulniers is given to a jokey cuteness (as evidenced by the above recipe titles), and neglects sometimes to describe his cakes so readers can make informed baking choices, he is careful to provide illuminating tips on equipment and techniques throughout. With 50 mouth-watering color photos, the book should bring great pleasure to all chocolate lovers, on the page and at meal's end. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

The chef of the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Va., Desaulniers (Death by Chocolate) offers 50 extravagant, elaborate, indulgent chocolate cakes. These are not treats for the kitchen shy, requiring as they do many phases and, within each phase, many steps. But the outcome is so luscious and Desaulniers is so charming and persuasive, it's hard to believe it's not time well invested. Sprinkled liberally throughout are anecdotes about the author's mother, his childhood and various recipe contributors, who include friends and family members, fellow pastry chefs and their relations. There are cakes served at the Trellis as well as recipes handed down from generation to generation and those discovered "on the road." Recipes for adorable baby cakes, whose size belie the intensity of their flavor, include Heart of Darkness Cakes, in which bakers are instructed to "remove the muffin tin from the oven and, moving quickly, place a single frozen truffle in the center of each portion of cake batter." Chocolate Chunk Cookie Cakes meet the demand for a tasty confection that can withstand the indignity of being plopped in a lunch box. There are also big event cakesAamong them, Julia's [Child] Eighty-fifth Birthday CakeAas well as cakes from out of town, such as The King's Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bourbon Cake, based on Elvis's favorite sandwich. The book concludes with an assortment of accompaniments, such as instructions for chocolate honey and a recipe for a wicked cocktail called Chocolate Temptress (think vodka and Frangelico). Many of these confections go over the top, but chocoholics will eagerly follow Desaulniers wherever he leads. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688162975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688162979
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,115,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Chocophiles! Come to the party! You will be anything but disenchanted. Marcel Desaulniers has produced yet another collection of ambrosial recipes in Death by Chocolate Cakes. Whether you just want to savor the recipes in your armchair (please, no!) or attempt the delectable creations yourself, you will no doubt suffer serious pleasure. The directions are well written - I suggest reading through them once before attempting the devilish desserts - and most all of the recipes can be produced in an ordinary kitchen. The pictures that accompany the recipes are most helpful and I especially like the "chef's touch" which my own chocophile mind would have been dashed not to find. Give Chocolate Temptress to your date and he'll be your chocolate prisoner...I gave the Warm Dark Chocolate Fudge Sauce to my husband (served on brownies): suffice it to say, the spell worked! This book is a delight.
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Format: Hardcover
Marcel Desaulniers has a feverish brain, and the fever has been induced by chocolate. In "Death by Chocolate Cakes," he provides recipes for mind-blowing chocolate experiences from Chocolate Peanut Butter Some More (Please) Cakes and Chocolate Chip Goober Gobble Cupcakes to Chocolate Peanut Root Beer Rumble to Cocoa Skillet Cake with Tequila Sunshine Salsa. The range of his imagination is breathtaking, and we should count ourselves lucky that the reach of his culinary prowess is just as broad. These recipes are wonderful!
Those who like to wing it in the kitchen may chafe a little under Desaulniers' firm touch--the recipes are nothing if not detailed, but that's because Desaulniers has the experience and expertise to tell you exactly how to do it. If you follow his directions, you can plan on spending a little longer in the kitchen than usual--but you can also bank on the fact that your family and friends will be first amazed, then delighted that you prepared anything from this book. Don't worry if you're not an incredibly experienced baker. You'll look at the level of detail involved and be intimidated at first, but in fact, Desaulniers' recipes are practically custom-made for the baker who likes a lot of hand-holding. He guides you from one step to the next with assurance and grace.
Desaulniers knows that we eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths, and he is rightly known for preparing desserts which are as magnificent to gaze upon as they are to eat. He is aided greatly in this by the evocative photography of Duane Winfield, who captures with loving detail every chocolate cake oozing chocolate ganache, every glossy icing, and every delicious crumb of chocolate goodness.
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Format: Hardcover
It's delightful to enter Marcel's world of "chocolate enchantments"!! The recipes are not for the weak of heart when it comes to rich and chocolaty. Chocolate Heart of Darkness Cakes and Excessively Expressive Espresso Fantasy (pictured on the cover)are sure to satisfy even a non-chocophile. One of the features that I have come to enjoy in Marcel's books is his "Chef's Touch". He did not disappoint in Cakes. His Chef's Touch at the end of each recipe is filled with practical technical information, tips for beverage accompaniment, and wonderful vignettes. From his witty introduction to mouth watering recipes and practical advice on technique and equipment,and to the Chef's Touch, this book truly is a chocolate lover's delight and a good read!
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By A Customer on September 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For chocolate lovers, bakers, and people who love to eat sweets, this book is for you!! First of all, it is a beautiful book -- with a luscious photo to accompany every recipe. I particularly find the "chef's touch" to be very helpful especially for those desserts that can be made over two to three days (saves the cook from having to do everything in one day!). Having tried Desaulniers' recipes in prior books, I find them to be quite detailed (although some can be challenging). I like the very organized way the recipes are laid out together with the equipment needed. I have yet to try out a recipe of his that did not get rave reviews from my dinner guests!! My only problem with the D by C Cakes, is which recipe to start with!!! What a yummy dilemna!!
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Format: Hardcover
What I love most about Marcel Desaulniers' cookbooks are that the recipes in his books are what you will actually taste in his restaurant. I was so ecstatic when I visited his Trellis restaurant and tasted some of his chocolate desserts and found that they taste exactly like what I have made from his cookbooks. This is not always what I have found in the past. For example, many of the cookies from the Mrs. Field's cookie cookbook would never sell at their stores, they are so far removed from the real thing.
This is a spectacular cookbook. The instructions are all very detailed, and some incorporate personal anecdotes and humor. The pictures alone send me to chocolate heaven.
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Format: Hardcover
Marcel Desaulniers is the most consistently amazing dessert cookbook author I've ever come across. Take, for example, Martha's Chocolate Freckles Fresh Blueberry Ice Cream Cake. It's based in a "Chocolate Freckles Cake," which is a non-chocolate cake with finely-chopped or grated chocolate mixed into the batter. A homemade blueberry ice cream fills the space between the layers - this is honestly one of the best ice creams I've ever had, with a tart flavor created by the sour cream, cream cheese, and lemon juice. The topping is sweetened, vanilla-flavored whipped cream, and further fresh blueberries are ringed around the top.
Next we made Marcel's First Birthday Chocolate High and Fluffy-on-Top Cake. This is a chocolate cake with a vanilla frosting. It sounds so simple, but it's so delightful! This is truly the ultimate icing: sweet, not too buttery, and remarkably fluffy. I have never had such a fantastic icing before, and intend to use it on cake after cake in the future.
You'll find everything in here from Chocolate Rocky Road, to Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake, Chocolate Caraway On-the-Rocks Trifles, Chocolate-Dipped Orange Fry Cakes with Coffee and Cream, Uncle Sam's in the Black Cake (with a toasted oatmeal raising topping), Chocolate Tender Passion, and much more! Each recipe comes with a gorgeous picture. The recipes are inventive and of consistently excellent quality; the directions are thorough without being labyrinthine. They're several pages long for each recipe, but I never feel lost. Marcel repeats the amounts of the ingredients in the instructions so you don't have to flip back and forth to the ingredient amounts.
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