My mom recently picked up some chocolate-drenched cannoli from a local kosher bakery to cap off a family dinner. They looked pretty, but I didn't have high hopes they'd be tasty, because they were pareve -- something that, frankly, cannoli shouldn't be. In place of the traditional ricotta cream, these were filled with something bizarre, waxy, and marginally chocolatey.
Their inedibility exceeded my expectations, but it also reminded me how grateful I am to have some truly terrific pareve recipes in my dessert arsenal. This Ultimate Pareve Chocolate Cake recipe is the perfect example.
Because it's made with oil, it possesses none of the off flavors or strange mouthfeel that margarine can impart. It's not just "pretty good for a pareve dessert," it's great. Period. In fact, it's my go-to recipe for any occasion that calls for chocolate cake. I'll frost it with a proper buttercream for dairy celebrations, and drizzle it with pareve ganache or serve it unadorned alongside some berries after a meat meal. Beautiful, with a tender crumb and intense chocolate flavor, this cake embodies my philosophy about pareve desserts. They should never try to be something they're not (i.e. dairy). They can't be merely "good enough." They've got to be fantastic, no matter what sort of meal they're topping off.
Photo © Miri Rotkovitz