I have been making this Zuccotto recipe for years. I love that it is unusual, sophisticated, and really easy to make. I also enjoy that it can be made a day ahead of time. In fact, it tastes better when you make it in advance. The amaretto has time to seep into the pound cake layers and the chocolate layer makes friends with the almond whipped cream. Granted, when uncut, this dessert is not much to look at. But when you slice it open, and see the gorgeous layers of dark chocolate and whipped cream flecked with almonds, all becomes right in the world. Of course, you could make your own pound cake for this, but in all honesty, I don’t think that it is worth the effort. A plain old Sara Lee works just fine here. You could also change out the liqueur and use brandy, Kahlua, Frangelico (I just got a brilliant idea, replace the almonds with hazelnuts for this combination), or Grand Marnier.
1 (12-ounce) pound cake (I used a thawed Sara Lee)
1/4 cup amaretto
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds (toasted)
cocoa powder for dusting
Coat a large bowl (1 1/2 quarts) with cooking spray. Cover the cooking spray with plastic wrap and let the wrap hang over the edges. Slice the pound cake into thin slices, and cover the bowl with the pound cake. Save some slices for the top. Brush the cake with amaretto.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Let cool.
Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until thickened. (Giada does this in two steps, but I am lazy and whip my cream all at once.) Fold half of the cream into the chocolate mixture.
Spread the chocolate mixture on top of the pound cake.
Add the sliced almonds and almond extract to the remaining whipped cream. Fold gently until combined.
Add the almond whipped cream on top of the chocolate mixture.
Cover the top of the zuccotto with the remaining pound cake slices.
Chill for 3 hours, or overnight. Unmold onto a cake plate or platter.
Dust with cocoa powder and slice.