The oppressive heat of the Florida summer is finally starting to wind down, and it’s time for me to gear up the baking again.
Although, not this week. Due to my guilt at not writing anything since June, I had the brilliant idea of giving a report out on the desserts that I’d tried on a recent cruise that Scott and I took. We were on Carnival, which can be a hit-or-miss when it comes to desserts eaten outside of the main dining rooms. And NOTHING beats their Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.
So, let’s dive on in!
Key Lime with Graham Cracker Crust and Almond Napoleon – Upper Deck Buffet
Florida is a good place to track down decent Key Lime Pie. The best place that I’ve ever had a slice was Key West (go figure). So, you would assume that any port in Florida would have access to the right ingredients.
From the first bite, I could tell that they had probably used a lime-flavored gelatin instead of the fresh lime juice. Granted, it is harder to keep ingredients fresh on a cruise ship, so substitutions are common (I won’t go into the “Mushroom Alfredo” that I know started life as cream of mushroom soup). And I will give them props for making everything fresh on board (they claim). However, not terribly impressed by it. Perhaps they should have borrowed some of the fresh limes from the bar.
The almond napoleon also left me a bit wanting. A napoleon is not something that I have had a lot of, but I’m pretty sure that the pastry part is not supposed to be limp. And I think that there should have been a bit of almond flavor. And it had what I think were blueberries in it. However, they had no flavor, so I don’t know for sure.
Bitter and Blanc – Main Dining Room
I believe that this was supposed to be their version of bread pudding. Normally I stick to the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake at dinner, but this was for research (and I just can’t bring myself to order more than one dessert, even if it is a cruise ship and everyone is doing it.) Anyway, I was excited to try this after reading the description.
Overall, I enjoyed it. The semi-sweet chocolate custard was lovely (I would have loved a little dish of it to pour on top since I there didn’t seem to be enough of it, and the vanilla custard soaked immediately into the rest of the pudding), and the “bread” was flavorful. There was also a lot of it. The top was covered with four croutons (toasted bread cubes, for lack of a better description), that I ended picking off since they were a bit too much on the crunchy side for my taste. Once I got past the top bit of custard, I was faced with about three inches of nothing but bread until I reached the bottom. I dug around until I found more chocolate custard on the bottom, but I was so full from the bread, that I didn’t finish it.
Banana Cake – Upper Deck Buffet
Normally I am not one to like banana in desserts, but this was a delightful surprise. They called it a banana cake, but it was more of a pie, having a lovely crisp crust on the bottom and yummy and banana-y custard filling. If I wasn’t eating different desserts for research and they offered this dessert every day, I would have stuck with this one any time we ate in the buffet restaurant. Sorry about the half-eaten quality of the picture. Scott dove in before I could get a full glamor shot. The cake is also accompanied by two chocolate chip cookies. Those are pretty good, but I don’t cover them in this post.
Warm Chocolate Melting Cake – Main Dining Room
This must be the Mecca of all chocolate cake desserts. I had never had anything like it the first time I ate one, and I doubt that anything will come close. This is not a chocolate dessert for the faint of heart. This is a warm, dense, gooey, cup of soul-soothing chocolate like no other. The top appears to be just another small dish of chocolate cake topped with powdered sugar. The first spoonful soon betrays the secret hidden inside each cup – this cake has molten goodness straight to it’s core. And this isn’t milk chocolate, either. This is grab-you-by-the-tastebuds-and-shake-you-like-a-dog semi-sweet chocolate. Served with vanilla ice cream so you aren’t too overwhelmed by the chocolate.
I want one right now. I have the recipe. I will have to try making it.
Linzer Torte and Pear Torte – Upper Deck Buffet
I took one bite out of each of these because that was enough. The Pear torte was really a piece of chocolate cake that had a bit of candied pear on top with some vanilla custard or something like it (custard is very popular, I’m noticing). The Linzer torte was a piece of spice cake smeared with a flavorless red jam and latticed with an equally flavorless pastry. In comparing pictures of Linzer tortes with the above photo, I’m thinking that they may need to hire a new executive pastry chef. Thank goodness for the chocolate chip cookie.
Carrot Cake – On board coffee shop
Sweet mother of carrot cakes, this is a tasty thing to eat! Again, Scotty dove in before I had a chance to get a full shot.
This was everything a piece of carrot cake should be – nutty, carroty, just enough spices in the cake, slightly sweet cream cheese frosting…my mouth is drooling just at the thought of it!. And to top it all off, your own marzipan carrot! We split this while playing multiple rounds of trivia on a rainy afternoon (Silly people thought they could beat me at Ultimate Disney Trivia. Peasants.)
I have one or two more that I tried, but frankly I’m on so much of a sugar high from just writing all this that I need to stop! I promise that I will update more often now that the weather has cooled off. Sure, it’s in the high 80’s vs the mid to high 90’s, but that is a start, right?
Until next time,
Peace, Love, and Cupcakes