Drunken Cherry Chocolate Torte and my “Spice up the Holidays” party!

by aimee @ shugarysweets on December 4, 2012


Warning: This post is lengthy and full of drool worthy photos!

Let’s start at the beginning though. Just in case you haven’t been following along!

Food Network along with Captain Morgan Rum invited me to be a part of their new “Spice up the Holidays” campaign.  For this campaign, I was required to come up with one beverage, one appetizer and one drink recipe. And then throw a themed party to “Spice up the Holidays”!!!

Some great prizes will be awarded to the winner of this series, but best of all, Captain Morgan will donate $1000 to the winner’s charity of choice! So no matter which blogger wins, it’s a great outcome! It’s been fun to connect with some of the other bloggers on this journey as well. I’ve attached their websites at the bottom of this post, so be sure to check out their holiday party and recipes too! Everyone has shared some great stuff, including recipes, entertaining tips and ways to simplify for the holidays!

But back to me.

And my party.

I chose to throw a Tropical Party, it was really a no-brainer since my three recipes were all tropical related! Plus, I really like to go low-key when it comes to decorating! And by putting up some simple grass banners with tropical flowers (from a past birthday party), the theme came together quickly. I invited 3 of my favorite couples to attend! Several even showed up with their own leis and tropical shirts!

We did have one couple show up a little late…missing out on our great group shot! However, not too late to enjoy some meatballs! (sorry Lois, but this is the price you pay for showing up late)!

Planning for the party went very smooth. I made the Hot Choc-Colada on the stove top in advance and allowed it to simmer for an hour before the party. About 15 minutes before guests arrived, I put the drink into a big white thermos (thanks to a tip from one of my readers)! It stayed hot until the very last sip was poured!

I also dipped half of the rims of our drink mugs in the honey and toasted coconut before the party. I chose to only do half because my husband preferred to have his without the garnish (he also will drink a margarita without salt on his rim, WHAT????).

 His tip was great though, because a few of the others chose to not have the garnish.

I also put the whipped cream in a piping bag in the refrigerator before the party started. Having it ready to serve worked out perfectly. Extra toasted coconut was placed on our table for those who preferred a little extra crunch (like me!).

It didn’t take us long to guzzle down these drinks!

I was even caught taking the last of the refills! mmmmm…..

The Rum Glazed Meatball Skewers made their appearance for a short while too! These tasty meatballs are filled with toated coconut and pineapple, then served in a rum glaze for a delicious tropical flair!

I made the meatballs ahead of time and placed them in a glass 13×9 baking dish in a 200 degree oven before the party started to keep them warm. I sliced up the pineapple into bite sized chunks as well, and used the pineapple top as part of our table decorations! (have I mentioned I like to go “simple” when it comes to decorating?) About ten minutes before guests arrived, I skewered meatballs and pineapples with fancy toothpicks and placed them on an oven safe plate (and returned them to the warm oven).

This party came together so quickly and easily. By focusing on keeping it simple, and not having a million different food and beverage choices, I was able to be less stressed.

I will be honest, I did worry about not having enough food!

But, with dessert waiting for us, those worries were quickly forgotten! If the drinks and appetizers didn’t fill you up, a big slice of this dessert might just do the trick!

(and if you’re still hungry, you can steal from your friend’s plate…nice job Greg)!!

I learned through all of this, I don’t need to have a dozen different appetizers to throw a great party.

Inviting over some of my closest friends and serving some delicious food and drinks, we were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company for many hours! And thanks to Captain Morgan, we had an extra bottle of rum to enjoy some Rum and Cokes after the last of the hot chocolate was consumed….

Be sure to stop back next week. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 12,  by our judges: Captain Morgan and Spike Mendelsohn 

***Captain Morgan provided me with several bottles of rum, along with a gift card to purchase the ingredients for the recipes seen here! All opinions are my own! Drink responsibly!

Drunken Cherry Chocolate Torte

Yield: 12 serving slices

Triple layer Chocolate Torte topped with Drunken Cherries!

Ingredients

    For the Crust:
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted macadamia nut pieces
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • For the Middle Layer:
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (1/4oz pkg)
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • For the Top Layer:
  • 6oz white chocolate (good quality), chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • For the Drunken Cherries:
  • 1 bag (16oz) frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

    For the Crust:
  1. Prepare a 9inch springform pan by buttering the bottom only. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the nuts with granulated sugar until finely ground. Add flour and salt. Pulse in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough forms (crumbly). Press dough into bottom of pan. Poke with a fork all over. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
  3. For the middle layer:
  4. Pour cold water into a cold saucepan. Sprinkle with entire packet of gelatin and allow to bloom (absorb the water) for about 2 minutes. Turn saucepan on low and whisk gelatin water for several minutes until completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat 5 Tbsp of gelatin mixture (save the remaining for the next layer) with Nutella and mascarpone cheese. Mix until completely smooth. Set aside.
  6. In a clean, dry, and cold mixing bowl (I spin a couple ice cubes in my bowl, then dry it out quickly with a paper towel), beat whipped cream with cocoa powder and granulated sugar on high. Whip until soft peaks form (several minutes). Fold in nutella mixture, combining gently until completely incorporated. Spread mixture over cooled crust.
  7. For the top layer:
  8. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of cream over low. Add 2 Tbsp of reserved gelatin mixture and heat on low until fully combined. Add white chocolate and whisk constantly until smooth and melted, about one minute. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (about 5-10 minutes, mixture may thicken).
  9. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat remaining 1 cup of cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold a scoop of the beaten cream into the white chocolate mixture, to allow the chocolate to lighten up. Then fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate. Pour over nutella layer of torte.
  10. Refrigerate torte for 2-3 hours, until layers have set.
  11. For the cherry layer:
  12. This can be made a day ahead of time. Place frozen cherries into a large bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of rum over cherries and allow cherries to thaw at room temperature, completely.
  13. When thawed, drain juice from cherries by placing strainer over a separate bowl. You should have over 1 cup of cherry juice drained. Return cherries to a medium sized bowl in the refrigerator.
  14. Using 3/4 cup of the reserved cherry juice, add 1/4 cup more of rum. (for a total of 1 cup juice/rum mixture).
  15. In a small saucepan, whisk cherry and rum juice with 1 cup of granulated sugar. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. When cooled, return cherries to syrup mixture and refrigerate until ready to serve (or serve immediately).
  16. To serve: Use a spatula to run across the inside of the springform pan to make sure chocolate layers don't stick. Remove from pan. Serve cake with cooled drunken cherry sauce. ENJOY!
http://www.shugarysweets.com/2012/12/drunken-cherry-chocolate-torte-and-my-spice-up-the-holidays-party

Rum Glazed Tropical Meatball Skewers

Ingredients

    For the Meatballs:
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple (drained VERY well)
  • 3/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 2-3 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 cranks fresh ground black pepper
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 pinches crush red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup lit coconut milk
  • 4 cranks black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple (drained VERY well)
  • 1 fresh pineapple, chopped into chunks

Instructions

  1. For the meatballs, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients, using hands to combine completely. Roll into bite sized balls (I made about 60-70 meatballs, 1 1/2 inch). Lay meatballs one inch apart on foil lined pans and bake for 22-30 minutes, until completely cooked. Remove from oven.
  3. In the meantime, combine brown sugar, rum, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, salt, cornstarch, water, garlic salt, red pepper, coconut milk and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a whisk to combine completely and heat until sauce begins to thicken, about 5-8 minutes. Reduce to simmer and add crushed pineapple. Stir occasionally until heated.
  4. To serve, pour hot glaze over hot meatballs. Serve in a bowl with a container of toothpicks. OR, for a special touch, skewer one meatball with one piece of fresh pineapple and place on a platter. ENJOY!
http://www.shugarysweets.com/2012/12/drunken-cherry-chocolate-torte-and-my-spice-up-the-holidays-party

Hot Choc-Colada

Ingredients

    For the Hot Chocolate:
  • 1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 4 cup water
  • For the Spiked Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream (cold)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut

Instructions

    For the Toasted Coconut:
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Pour bag of sweetened coconut flakes onto large baking sheet. Bake for 60-90 minutes, turning every 15 minutes until brown and toasted! Store in ziploc bag with all the air pressed out.
  2. For the Spiked Whipped Cream:
  3. In a cold mixing bowl, whip heavy cream on medium-high until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar and rum until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. For the Hot Chocolate:
  5. In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, condensed milk, cocoa powder, salt and pineapple juice. Do not boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add rum and water. Continue heating until desired temperature.
  6. To serve:
  7. Place honey in small saucer. Put toasted coconut in a small bowl. Dip rims of glass into honey, letting the excess drip off. Immediately press rim into toasted coconut, coating rim completely. Pour hot chocolate into glass, about 1 inch from rim, depending on style of glassware. Pipe whipped cream onto each glass and sprinkle with excess toasted coconut. Serve hot! ENJOY!
http://www.shugarysweets.com/2012/12/drunken-cherry-chocolate-torte-and-my-spice-up-the-holidays-party

Now, go check out some of the other bloggers recipes and party ideas: (follow along with hashtag #CaptainHolidays )

PARTICIPANTS: 

·         What’s Cooking, Chicago?

·         Big Red Kitchen

·         BakedBree

·         The Comfort of Cooking

·         Doughmesstic

·         Foodie with Family 

·         What’s For Dinner

·         The High Heeled Hostess

·         The Realistic Nutritionist 

Linked To: Chic and Crafty I’m Lovin It

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Medeja December 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm

That torte looks sooo good and since I love cherries it looks even better than good!
Medeja recently posted..Idėja: Spalvoti Ledukai/ Idea: Colorful Ice CubesMy Profile

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Averie @ Averie Cooks December 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Oh what a FUN POST! The pics, the drinks, you all look like you’re having a blast! And drunken + chocolate + dessert…those are words I like hearing in a recipe title! Love this one and the whole spirit in this post!

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Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust December 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Can I come to one of your parties some time? Looks like FUN! Love the torte too, yummy!
Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted..Salted Caramel Chocolate Latte & Peppermint Hot Chocolate {Mr. Coffee Latte}My Profile

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Heather @ Bake, Run, Live December 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

The chocolate torte looks delicious- and the perfect ending for your party!
Heather @ Bake, Run, Live recently posted..Vanilla Sugar CookiesMy Profile

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Liz December 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Perfect time to have a tropical party! It looked like so much fun and your food looks delicious! If only I lived closer…….:)
Liz recently posted..Cinnamon Raisin Egg Nog Bake & An Egg Nog Challenge!My Profile

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Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking December 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Looks like you’re having a blast. Everyone is smiling ear to ear. Those are the best parties, when everyone is having the best time ever and the food is more than tempting. Just look at that spread.
Roxana | Roxana’s Home Baking recently posted..Peanut Butter Cup Blossom Cookies #25recipestoXmasMy Profile

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Joan@Chocolateandmore December 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I want to come to your next party! It looks like you had so much fun! I want the hot chocolate and the torte and if I have room, I’ll take some of the meatballs in a doggie bag please!
Joan@Chocolateandmore recently posted..Mint Chocolate BarkMy Profile

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Jocelyn @BruCrew Life December 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

I definitely want an invite to the next party;-) It looks like so much fun and of course, you make the best food:-) Holy cow that dessert is amazing looking!!! I think I will start with that first!!!
Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Pineapple Filled Cupcakes and a Sweets & Treats Boutique GiveawayMy Profile

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Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel December 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

I’ve been loving all of your recipes, Aimee! And I totally wish I could have crashed that party–hello, everything looked incredible and rum makes parties better–it’s a fact or something :) I have my fingers crossed that you win!
Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..Marshmallow DreidelsMy Profile

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Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl December 8, 2012 at 10:23 am

Aimee, you are the cutest! This party looked like a blast, and I’m loving all of these recipes!
Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl recently posted..Gingerbread Lemon Cupcakes {with Vanilla Bean Cream}My Profile

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Cathy @noblepig December 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I love the tropical holiday idea. This hot chocolate looks absolutely amazing!
Cathy @noblepig recently posted..Giving Away Pulled Pork for a Year!!My Profile

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