Chocolate: A Love Story…and a cookbook giveaway! November 18, 2009

<untitled> 058 Two pieces of useless information about me:

1) I consider both carrot cake and red velvet cake merely vehicles for cream cheese frosting.

2) As some of you have heard before, I am not a fan of chocolate as most people are.

Having recently received a copy of Chocolate: A Love Story from Little Brown, I wasn't quite sure what I would tackle first. Let me say that this is one of the most visually moving and interesting cookbooks I've gotten in a long time – more a food coffee table book than a cookbook, per se. The graphic design elements in the book are like nothing I've ever seen from a cookbook. I was in a full swoon as soon as I opened it.

Trying hard to focus on the recipes as much as I was the design of the book, I got sidetracked as to what I would make first. Flipping through the pages in need of a dessert for a dinner party, I spied a carrot cake. SOLD! Wait…there's no frosting. There's no cream cheese frosting. Keep movin' along then. After I went through the rest of the book, I came back to that carrot cake recipe. A simple cake – something both Mike and I are fans of – chock full of candied ginger, dates, and a just a smattering of chocolate to sweeten things up. 

<untitled> 052
My first words of wisdom about this recipe are: the batter is a little scary. There is no sugar in this cake – it uses only honey as the sweetening agent. When I tasted the batter before pouring it in the pan, it tasted very mild and almost flour-y. Very thick and gloppy and intimidating. Don't worry – just make sure all of your ingredients are equally combined in the batter and throughout the pan.

I used a mixture of finely and coarsely grated carrots for a little more "tooth" in the cake – something everyone enjoyed. Being fans more of darker chocolate than its sweeter counterpart, I used Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate in mine – use whichever you prefer. For my dinner party dessert, I served it with a little maple ginger snap ice cream. The combination was a huge hit. You could also serve this with some cream cheese ice cream as a witty take on the classic. 

<untitled> 054 I have a copy of Chocolate: A Love Story to give away, courtesy of Little Brown. All you have to do to win this cookbook is leave a comment after this post and tell me what your favorite chocolate indulgence is. A random winner will be chosen at 10 am EST on Friday, November 20th. Please, please, please make sure to include an email address somewhere so I can contact you if you're the winner!

Modest Carrot Cake – makes between 6 and 8 generous servings – recipe originally from Chocolate: A Love Story by Max Brenner

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup good quality wildflower honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flower
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups freshly grated carrots (about 8 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped California dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped into chunks (i used Scharffen Berger)

– Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

– In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the milk and orange juice.

– In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the carrots, dates, ginger and chocolate until just combined.

– Pour the batter into the prepared pan and rap the pan a few times against the counter to knock out any air bubbles. Bake until the crust is a light golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.


Dawn Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

My favorite chocolate indulgence is dark chocolate pecan bark. Just a small piece satisfies that occasional craving because like you, I am not a huge fan of chocolate but do love a red velvet!!!!

Lindsay the Scoop Adventurer Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

My new favorite chocolate indulgence are strawberry-chocolate covered pretzels, but anything dark chocolate will do:)

Angela Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter!

Suzana Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

I relate so much with your feelings about carrot cake and chocolate. I *love* cream frosting and I’m not a chocoholic – 2 capital sins for purists! My favourite chocolate indulgence has to be spicy hot chocolate, which is just perfect for cold days like today. Thanks for the recipe, I may just give it a go and skip the frosting. ;)

The Cooking Ninja Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

My favourite indulgence is this chocolate pear cake that I make. It’s out of this world combination.

Sean Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

The lack of sugar is kinda scary like you said! Good pairing with the ice cream also. Favorite chocolate treat for me is a chocolate fondant.

Laurel Nov 18, 2009 08:11 am

Great recipe, thanks! I definitely will try this. I am not really a chocolate person either, but I love molten chocolate cake–my favorite is with peanut butter inside at Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay, CA. Of course, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are good too :)

Kim Nov 18, 2009 09:11 am

chocolate indulgence? that’s simple…. chocolate fondue at the melting pot…. specifically dipping a brownie into the chocolate fondue….so delicious it makes me head spin.

Vicki Nov 18, 2009 09:11 am

I don’t really dig on chocolate, but every now and then I like a cup of hot chocolate with cayenne.

JMK Nov 18, 2009 09:11 am

Dark chocolate covered sponge candy is my favorite treat. And dark orange chocolate is even better!!!

LeeYong Nov 18, 2009 09:11 am

I love anything with dark chocolate in it or on…. OH YUM!!!! I have to say my favorite is a chocolate cheesecake with a lovely raspberry sauce… or a chocolate flourless torte. Hell, I even eat paper with chocolate drizzled on it!
Thanks for the giveaway…

carmen Nov 18, 2009 09:11 am

My favorite chocolate indulgence is a homemade brownie topped with vanilla ice cream!
carmencooksblog at gmail dot com

LTF Nov 18, 2009 09:11 am

My favorite chocolate indulgence is probably a simple crepe with nutella filling. Makes me think of Paris.

Gala Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

It came so neat out of the pan and it does look very tasty!
uumm….chocolate indulgence is probably a tablespoon of nutella, and then another one. :)

Dani Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

My favorite chocolate indulgence is a brownie, preferably with walnuts, definitely with a glass of milk. My email address is Thanks for a chance at the giveaway.

Anne Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Oh, It’s hard to say just one thing, since chocolate is so wonderful, but I think my absolute super-indulgence is chocolate mousse. I make it with a dark, but not bitter, chocolate, and it’s sinfully good.

Jana Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

I LOVE dark chocolate truffles, yummy! This cookbook sounds divine, I hope I win!

Jane Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Love this! ♥

Shawnas Kitchen Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Definitely my Grandma’s Peanut Butter and chocolate candy-tastes like a very rich Reese’s peanut butter cup!

JK Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

all.. things.. chocolate!! :)

Claudia Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

I love chocolate covered Toffee – once I open a bag of those I cannot stop – grin.

Lynn Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

I love Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Bar. I know dark chocolate is better for you, but I have an affinity for their milk chocolate. Yum.

karen Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Chocolate covered almonds are my downfall!

Elizabeth Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

My favorite is the Dark Chocolate Covered Prezel Slims from Trader Joe’s. Oh man! That are to die for.

Jessica Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Ina Garten has a recipe for chocolate cake (maybe it’s called Aunt Beatty’s cake?), and when I make it, it doesn’t last the day – it’s so good!

Emily R Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Probably my favorite chocolate indulgence is a really good dark chocolate fudge sauce over ice cream.

Julia Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Whoopie Pie: Chocolate fudgy cookie with a vanilla buttercream. It is from a local bakery called Susie Cakes in Costa Mesa, CA. My mouth is drooling just thinking about it.

kallie Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

dark chocolate hot fudge over a mint chocolate chip ice cream

angela Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

at our house we like to make dark chocolate and sea salt won tons broiled in the oven with a lil butter brushed on top. The kids help me make them and then we enjoy them hot out of the oven. If we are out of wontons, we used filo dough and roll the chocolate and sea salt into cigarrette shaped deliciousness.

SarahD Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

Chocolate and peanut butter fudge! Yum!

Megan Gaddis Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

I love to make a chocolate zucchini cake that is to die for… I can’t make it often as I’ll over indulge. But that’s ok because it has a veggie in it, right?

amy strauss Nov 18, 2009 10:11 am

i am a typical chick who loves an excessive amount of chocolate! ah! but, my most favorite my recipe for vegan chocolate peanut butter bomb cupcakes, plopped with cocoa ganache and a decent amount of semi-sweet shavings. mm!

Nutmeg Nanny Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

I do indeed love chocolate. My favorite indulgence is truffles. I just love how they melt in your mouth…yum!

Sara Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

That cake looks absolutely delicious! Definitely a must try.
My favorite chocolate treat is chocolate covered strawberries or blueberries — the sweet chocolate is delicious with sweet-tart fruit.

Lizzy Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

Wow, I love the idea of that cake. Yum!
I am a true chocoholic, but a chocolate-peanut butter combination makes me weak in the knees!

Helen Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

I wonder how you feel about red velvet cakes with a buttercream frosting and not with a cream cheese frosting. A bakery near me does that and I think it’s sacrilegious!
My favorite indulgence is truffles from Vosges. tingtingng(at)gmail(dot)com

doreenre Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

My favorite indulgence is chocolate-covered anything! I prefer it in combination w/ something else than on it’s own.
*fingers crossed*

Rebecca Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

I love chocolate in so many forms, but I’d have to say my favorite is the straight-up chocolate chip cookie. Boring, perhaps, but oh-so wonderful!

Brittany Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence is the vegan chocolate death cake at The Grit in Athens. I love it so much, I made sure to have several at my wedding – way better than a traditional wedding cake! :)

Lindsey Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

Dark chocolate covered almonds!

jiyoung Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

chocolate ice cream!

Nancy Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

I love my daughter’s chocolate covered caramels with sea salt. So yummy.—-
Your carrot cake sounds delicious and I will make the cream cheese frosting just in case I miss it too much. It freezes really well and I usually keep some in the freezer to put on lots of things.

Sunny Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence is peanut butter chocolate cups, I cannot resist the combination of pb and chocolate. yumm!

Sarah Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

I don’t know that there is a chocolate indulgence I don’t love… However, I suppose I’ll go with dense fudge-y brownies, mmm… Your cake looks lovely! I love the idea of baking it in a fluted pan. Just beautiful!

Jessica C Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

I love a great chocolate souffle (Morton’s steakhouse has a yummy one), but a cheap box of brownie mix is my go-to when I need a quick fix!

Nancy B Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

Favorite chocolate indulgence….tough to pick just one. I’ll go with the easiest: a wedge of dark chocolate with chipolte, allowed to melt slowly on my tongue.

pigpigscorner Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

Dark chocolate and salted caramel!

Josie Peyton Nov 18, 2009 12:11 pm

are we really limited to just ONE indulgence?!?! nutella poundcake always pleases my tastebuds, as does a warm slice of chocolate pecan pie… for a decadent, chocolate explosion in my mouth, I always choose symphony bar brownies or a slice of flourless chocolate cake… all heavenly!

Eve Nov 18, 2009 01:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence is chocolate cake with chocolate creme whipped frosting. Mmmm. I can eat the whole thing by myself.

Q. Nov 18, 2009 01:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence: a tie between Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake (which has buttermilk and coffee in it – YUM) and crepes with Nutella (because I think of my trip to Paris with my boyfriend when I eat it).

Arghavan Schumacher Nov 18, 2009 01:11 pm

Chocolate mousse and Nutella. There is nothing better! Except maybe a chocolate martini…

julie Nov 18, 2009 01:11 pm

Definitely chocolate cream pie.

yourstrulydear Nov 18, 2009 01:11 pm

i love lindt chocolate truffles, the hazelnut flavor!

Shelly Nov 18, 2009 01:11 pm

I love pecans dipped in chocolate hazelnut spread…i can’t keep the two of them in the house at the same time :)

Jaya K Nov 18, 2009 02:11 pm

A flourless chocolate prune armagnac cake… but I won’t ever say no to a chocolate bar!

Livia Nov 18, 2009 02:11 pm

Honestly, I like solid candy bars of chocolate (even with wacky flavor combinations), but for baked goods I tend to prefer plainer things (or carrots).
libitina2 at yahoo

Susan Nov 18, 2009 02:11 pm

My favorite chocolates are sea-salt truffles, which I try to make every time my husband insists on watching more than four hours of sports in a row. This has resulted in me throwing away a lot of pants, since he insists on doing that every week.

heather Nov 18, 2009 02:11 pm

Babbo’s Date Chocolate Pudding Cakes [ or Molly’s Winning Hearts and Minds Cake [ — the second I fully intend to have as my wedding cake as well some day!

Valeria Nov 18, 2009 03:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence is a Lindt 99% cocoa chocolate bar.
You can’t get more chocolatey than that!

Michele P Nov 18, 2009 04:11 pm

My fave chocolate indulgence is chocolate coconut needhams that a local candy maker sells. I only buy them at this time of year, during the craft fairs, but omigosh they are so good! Rich and decadent…and a great treat!

jule Nov 18, 2009 06:11 pm

i adore chocolate in every form. heck, i eat unsweetened cocoa straight from the jar.
i’d have to go with real hot chocolate though, the way i remember it from my childhood – thick, not drinkable but rather eaten with a spoon.

anonlurkermom Nov 18, 2009 06:11 pm

I love your site

Arielle Nov 18, 2009 06:11 pm

Haha, I love how you refer to cake as a “vehicle”. Cream cheese icing is delicious though.
My favorite chocolate something would have to be black forest cake… either that or a chewy brownie (no nuts) YUM!

A&N Nov 18, 2009 06:11 pm

I love the absence of sugar in this cake.
My most memorable chocolate cake is something I’ve recently posted. It helped me with a lot of problems! My email address is

A&N Nov 18, 2009 06:11 pm

I love the absence of sugar in this cake.
My most memorable chocolate cake is something I’ve recently posted. It helped me with a lot of problems! My email address is

Stacey Snacks Nov 18, 2009 06:11 pm

I love carrot cake, but NOT the cream cheese frosting…..I am intrigued, though a bit scared……but I will try this!
I like the addition of the ginger.
I will let you know!
Oh, and my favorite chocolate indulgence, would just be a nice big bowl of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream!

Laurie Stone Nov 18, 2009 07:11 pm

My fav…is no longer available; Russell Stovers French Chocolate mint candy bar. Now I try most chocolate mint recipes I can find.

T. Martin Nov 18, 2009 07:11 pm

3 words: Chocolate Bread Pudding. And to gild the lily, a Kahlua chocolate sauce to go on top. Nov 18, 2009 08:11 pm

I absolutely love Snocaps. Its also my mom’s favorite candy so when I’m away from home they remind me of home.

Sadlebred Nov 18, 2009 08:11 pm

Do I have to name one favorite chocolate indulgence? If it’s chocolate, I love it. From homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to the candy bar of the moment Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Singles. I still love Hershey’s chocolate milk. It brings back so many memories from when I was a kid. This time of year, heat it up in the microwave for a minute, and you get some of the best hot chocolate ever. Anything chocolate will do!

Tina Nov 18, 2009 08:11 pm

favorite chocolate indulgence: dark chocolate with caramel.
thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing.

jo Nov 18, 2009 08:11 pm

A piece of warm chocolate pudding cake w/o any ice cream to distract from the chocolate!

Shannon Nov 18, 2009 08:11 pm

Without a doubt…milk chocolate pots de creme! Open mouth, insert big spoon!

Madame Sucre Nov 18, 2009 10:11 pm

tastey and healthy!! must make for my toddler! ( well its for me of course but I have to show you that I;m a good mom as well as a successful baker LOL )
My friend who lives in Canada and I who live in Kuwait have a challenege going every week. We’d randomly pick a number from tastespotting , and whatever the recipe is we’d make it in a week and show pics . yours is our first challenege !:)

L. Nov 19, 2009 01:11 am

So many to choose from, but I think my most favorite would have to be a rich chocolate pudding. Yum.

christine gadoury Nov 19, 2009 03:11 am

… nothing better than a classic chocolate bundt cake soaked to capacity with a simple syrup of of either rum or amaretto, sugar, and water… 25% indulgent taste, 75% memories of late nights with good friends.

The Teacher Cooks Nov 19, 2009 04:11 am

Just a small piece of dark chocolate will get me through the day. Nov 19, 2009 06:11 am

why chocolate velvet cake of course…. it’s kind of like one giant reeses cup, except better…

Anna/quilted giraffe Nov 19, 2009 06:11 am

I like to indulge with really good dark chocolate, 72% or more. Mmm.

pumpkinpie Nov 19, 2009 06:11 am

Hot chocolate cake, especially in these colder months!

Jen Nov 19, 2009 07:11 am

I really love Heath Bars! Not fancy at all. And having tasted this wonderful cake (thanks Tami!) it’s true that the unexpected chocolate bits throughout really made it special.

The Purple Foodie Nov 19, 2009 07:11 am

Such a nice giveaway. I think you are the second person I know who doesn’t like chocolate. I’d so love to win! Thanks for the awesome giveaway

Paula - bell'alimento Nov 19, 2009 07:11 am

Ah, well there are SO many but my most favorite chocolate indulgence(especially this time of year) would be an authentic Italian Hot Chocolate. It’s made with insanely rich chocolate & it’s so thick & creamy it’s almost pudding consistency. NOTHING LIKE IT!

Lynnette Nov 19, 2009 01:11 pm

I am not a huge fan of chocolate either. However, every now and again I come across a chocolate recipe that I simply must try. One such encounter quickly became my favorite chocolate indulgence- Chocolate Mocha Mousse Cake. Since this discovery I am open to reading about and trying new chocolate recipes. Your cake picture has captured my attention and would absolutely love to give it a whirl!!!

Caryn Oxford Nov 19, 2009 02:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence is the chocolate covered Macadamia nuts from Teuscher in the Highlands…. sinful….

Elizabeth Nov 19, 2009 02:11 pm

Absolute best chocolate indulgence is raw hemp chocolate, from a co-op in Toronto called ChocoSol.
In terms of chocolate IN something – nutella on crepes.

Pam Forester Nov 19, 2009 02:11 pm

Chocolate covered raisens and popcorn. That is dinner on a really good night! Yum.

starre Nov 19, 2009 02:11 pm

chocolate gelato

Sharon Nov 19, 2009 03:11 pm

Dark Chocolate in any form!

katie Nov 19, 2009 03:11 pm

Oh dear. It hurts me that you don’t love chocolate. Really hurts me Tami. :)
My personal favorite is white chocolate bread pudding..from a little restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama called Kozy’s. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

shutterboo Nov 19, 2009 04:11 pm

Chocolate creme brulee. yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy.

Katie Nov 19, 2009 06:11 pm

My latest chocolate indulgence is frozen Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies dipped in no fat Vanilla yogurt. Sounds weird, but it is tangy, cold, sweet and refreshing all at once.

cara mae Nov 19, 2009 08:11 pm

hot chocolate – the way it was meant to be – a mug of what is essentially melted chocolate, preferably dark and with a hint of citrus. there’s a chocolate bar here in DC that serves it up, but i first discovered it in the main piazza in bologna, italy.

Barbara Nov 19, 2009 08:11 pm

Into my one mug of coffee in the morning, I put Splenda, cream, cinnamon, and just the tip of a spoonful of dark chocolate cocoa powder. It is rich and lovely. Nov 19, 2009 08:11 pm

My Mom’s Chocolate Texas sheet cake. So good. Makes me homesick for my Mom.

Shannah Nov 19, 2009 10:11 pm

My favorite chocolate indulgence is basically any chocolate I can get my hands on. Whether it’s Hershey’s or Theo or a dark chocolate mocha, I’m pretty much happy. Nov 20, 2009 04:11 am

My favorite chocolate indulgence is plain dark chocolate itself! However, shoud it be a recipe, I would go for my mom chocolate brownies: that’s the ultimate treat for me! They’re chewy and crispy at the same time, and taste like heaven!

Tartelette Nov 20, 2009 08:11 am

Ha! I missed the deadline…doh :)
Love the recipe for that carrot cake! Will have to make it for Thanksgiving next week!

Dennis Clemons Nov 10, 2010 04:11 am

Wow nice blog.. Bravo… And visit my site for Cheap Chocolate Fondue Pot : . Thanks :-D