Trot around the world with these signature chocolate dessert recipes

From decadent layer cake to indulgent rice pudding, menus across borders offer delicious sweet treats that are the hero of cocoa. Here’s a guide to unique chocolate desserts, with easy-to-follow recipes.

Chocolate has always been known to be a globetrotter. Legend has it that the beloved ingredient was first brewed into a frothy drink by the Mayans and used as currency by the Aztecs before being brought to Spain by explorer Hernan Cortes. Soon it found a place in the colonies of the Philippines and the menus of the royal houses of France.

Over the years, the nutty, slightly bitter and earthy notes of cocoa have been incorporated into many delicious desserts, with each country adding its own unique twist to the treat. We’re rounding up some chocolate dessert recipes that bring flavors from around the world to your plate.

Taste the world through these unique chocolate dessert recipes

Brigaderio: Brazil

It is believed that this beloved Brazilian dessert was first created after World War II. The story goes that the politician Eduardo Gomes, whose military rank was Brigaderio, decided to run for president and his campaign was to give a treat to the public.

With milk and sugar heavily rationed, a combination of cocoa, sweetened condensed milk, butter and chocolate chips was used instead. Today the dessert is often served in paper cups or a small bowl and is very popular with adults and children. The best part? It’s easy to prepare.

Sachertorte: Austria

Perhaps one of the most popular desserts in the world, it is a decadent two-layer chocolate sponge cake, filled with apricot jam and topped with a chocolate glaze. The origins of the delicacy are attributed to a 16-year-old apprentice chef, Franz Sacher, who designed the confectionery to impress Austrian State Chancellor Von Metternich and his guests in 1832.

The original recipe is considered a well-kept secret, accessible only to the pastry chefs of the Hotel Sacher in Vienna. However, other classic recipes call for eggs, icing sugar, dark chocolate couverture, powdered sugar, apricots and flour. Serve your creation with whipped cream for an authentic experience.

Black Forest Cake: Germany

Layers of chocolate, whipped cream and cherries make up this decadent dessert that is very popular in Germany. The cake possibly takes its name from the Black Forest region of the country, known for its tart cherries and liqueur. Recipes are often passed down from generation to generation and the traditional version also calls for Kirschwasser, a cherry liqueur. That said, when in a pinch, you could swap that out for rum. For an authentic touch, garnish your cake with chocolate shavings and fresh cherries.

Havregrynskugler: Denmark

These popular Scandinavian treats are found at birthdays and Christmas markets and are slightly smaller than a golf ball. Although they look like truffles, they have their own unique flavor and texture. Their origin dates back to World War II when food rationing and shortages of wheat flour caused home cooks to get creative and look for substitutes.

Each bite offers a delicious mix of rolled oats (or leftover cake), sugar, coffee, cocoa, butter, vanilla sugar and sprinkles (or shredded coconut). Rum, almond, vanilla, peppermint essence, as well as orange juice and freeze-dried berries are also common. The dessert is best served with coffee and requires no cooking. Don’t forget to freeze your creation for an hour if you like the harder variant of the sweet treat.

Champorado: Philippines

Porridge and chocolate are known to be comfort foods. Put them together and you have a warm hug in a bowl. Champorado from the Philippines is eaten as a snack or breakfast and requires only five ingredients: sticky rice, tablea (chocolate discs), sugar, evaporated milk and water. You can also replace the table with dark chocolate bars.

The origins of this recipe date back to the galleon trade which introduced the Philippines to the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate. Over time, locals replaced the masa in the original sticky rice recipe for their own unique creation. Today, boxed mixes and special chocolate bars are sold in stores across the country for whipping up champorado at home. However, this recipe is quite close to the authentic version.

Chocoflan: Mexico

While we’re talking about Mexico, we’d be remiss not to touch on this unique fusion of the country’s popular desserts – chocolate cake and vanilla flan. The chocoflan is underlined by layers of the two sweet treats and a portion of caramel. It is believed to have drawn inspiration from the local flavors and cuisine of the French, who settled in South America in the early 20th century.

Classic instructions call for the cake mix to be poured in first, and during the baking process the mixture magically rises to the top, giving the dessert its popular name, “the impossible cake.” The recipe calls for gourmet ingredients like evaporated milk, cream cheese and eggs. Chilies and cardamom are added to the mix for a spicy kick.

Kladdkaka: Sweden

Dense, sticky and indulgent, this chocolate cake contains simple ingredients like eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla essence and coconut sugar. The recipe is simple and the result is a crispy exterior with a soft, gooey center similar to a brownie.

The origin of this cake is much debated, but a popular theory states that it was created during World War II when baking powder was hard to come by in Sweden. The name itself derives from the Swedish word “kladdig”, which translates to “tacky” or “messy”. Today it is very popular in pastry shops across the country. To cut the chocolate richness, you can add a few berries, fresh cream or citrus fruits as a garnish.

Brunsli: Switzerland

Any chocolate roundup would be incomplete without the Swiss treats. The country, best known for its dizzying variety of chocolates, has a wealth of chocolate desserts to try, from cakes to puddings. Brunsli is one of the most popular of them, present in pastries, Advent calendars and Christmas markets.

Its origin is believed to date back to the 1700s when chocolate cookies were presented at weddings and most other celebrations. Dense, rich and chewy cookies contain almonds, chocolate, orange zest and spices. They are also naturally gluten and dairy free!

Hero image: Courtesy of @worldfoodtravelsassn/Instagram; Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock

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