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The Chocolate Chef: Uncovered - Chocolate Secrets Revealed

The Chocolate Chef: Uncovered - Chocolate Secrets Revealed

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The Chocolate Chef: Uncovered - Chocolate Secrets Revealed

381 pages
3 hours
Jun 12, 2015


If you are not a chocolate lover, you may not want to consider this book because it could make you change your mind!
If you are a chocolate lover, get ready for a luscious ride through the world of chocolate! The Chocolate Chef: Uncovered weaves the exotic history of chocolate and cacao into the modern day. Provoking excitement, joy, and laughter, much sought after secret chocolate recipes are divulged. Your imagination will not only be captured, but provoked into creating your own unique luscious chocolate creations.
Bad chocolate makes bad desserts and truffles. Good chocolate makes fantastic ones! Your guide, Robert Cabeca, will teach you how to develop your palate to discern the delicate flavors hidden in Artisan Chocolate so you can choose the right chocolate to make your creations stand apart from all the others.
Revealed are 45 closely held recipes including 35 Chocolate Truffle recipes, Death by Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Soufflé Brownies, Fudgy Triple Chocolate Cookies, and unbelievably exquisite Hot Chocolate Recipes. Truffle recipes like Dulce de Leche, Crystallized Mint, Balsamic & Strawberry, Grande l'Orange, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Hazelnut Croquant Crunch are just a few of the amazing creations you will be able to make to meet your exacting expectations.
Chef Cabeca has taught thousands of chocolate lovers just like you how easy it is to make luscious Chocolate Truffles and desserts. His method is simple: To take you by the hand and guide you step by step as if you were right there in his kitchen baking with him. Whether you are a beginner or an enthusiast, this book will teach you how to make chocolate treasures you will be thrilled to serve your family and friends.

Jun 12, 2015

Despre autor

Born in 1964 into a family that revolved around delicious Middle-eastern and Mediterranean food, Chef Cabeca fell in love with chocolate at an early age and has studied the science of chocolate for over 28 years. He is obsessed about living a healthy lifestyle, at the behest of his Dr. Sister and Naturopath, so he has also studied the positive impacts of chocolate on abundant health. Chef Cabeca loves making beautiful and delicious foods & desserts with chocolate. Predominantly self taught, he took a few recreational classes at NYC’s Institute for Culinary Education. Additionally he learned pulled sugar art from Ewald Notter and wedding cake design from Colette Peters. Chef Cabeca’s restaurant career began when he was 15 years old as a dishwasher/prep at Richard’s Seafood in Doylestown, PA. He has held every position in the restaurant business since then, from Dishwasher to chef/owner. One of his favorite things to do is host parties and brunches in his home, where an abundance of fine food is prominently displayed for devouring. He really loves bringing people joy through food, and aspires to provide that “WOW!” experience through a combination of interesting ingredients and beautiful plating. He loves for people to feel just a bit special through food. His ability to enhance that experience by combining specialty chocolate with his food sets him apart from the typical chef. He has been honored to appear as a chocolate expert on the WAMU Kojo Nnamdi show in 2012 and also compete in The Cooking Channel’s “Best in Chow: The Great American Doughnut War, D.C.” in 2014. Over the years he has been featured in numerous publications and TV & radio interviews talking about his love for chocolate. He has also exhibited his chocolate truffles to rave reviews in Atlantic City & D.C. Robert loves to teach people. In fact, he had been an Information Technology Instructor for several years at Chubb Institute helping adults learn new skills as they change careers into the IT field. (Students & faculty really loved it when he brought in home-baked treats!) More so, he has taught thousands of chocolate-adoring fans how to discover chocolate in new and fun ways, through chocolate tasting and palate development classes, and chocolate truffle making classes. He tries to teach simply by using everyday language, avoiding complicated terminology. He has written this book as if your were with him in his kitchen, working side by side, learning how to make delicious truffles and pastries. Chef Cabeca continues to strive to learn the newest trends in chocolate and food so as to combine them into magical luscious temptations.

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The Chocolate Chef - Robert Cabeca


(L to R: Scotty, Mickey, Melody, Maryann, Chef, Andrew, Jen, Ed, Terry, Latif, Cole, Charley.)

Wonderful friends who helped in the making of this book. (Hoelting)

Over the years many friends, family and acquaintances have been encouraging me (or outright begging me) to write a cookbook. I have muddled over it and fantasized about it for a very long time. Well, obviously, that time seems to have come to fruition, once that I finally decided to do it. I had thought that mayyyybe I could eek out a short book of 50 or 75 pages in total. Well to my stunned surprise, 275 pages later (without photos), I had to actually shorten it! (there might be another book coming soon...) So I have focused this book on Chocolate Truffles, and a few other specialty chocolate items for your pure chocolate enjoyment!

My Secret...

This is a book about a secret. A secret love affair with Chocolate, and how I have indulged in it for the past 28 years. I really do love chocolate. A lot! Just ask my family, friends, colleagues and anyone else who knows me. When I am introduced to someone, it is usually followed by a loud whisper AND HE MAKES CHOCOLATE!

I have been working with chocolate for about 28 years and I think I started eating it ever since I can remember! However, my ideas of what chocolate was 45 years ago, and what it is now, are worlds apart. As a young boy, chocolate meant something really sweet and tasty; usually in the form of sugary candy bars. And it was meant as a treat or reward, you know, something special. I was always eager for a $0.05 cent Hershey’s Bar®, a Cadbury Fruit & Nut® bar, a Nestle Crunch® bar, a Kit Kat®, a Milky Way® or a Three Musketeer’s® bar (those are all trademark references to their legal owners, ahem). When I was about 12-ish a friend of the family gave my brother a whole box of Three Musketeer’s bars for Christmas. I warmed up to my brother real fast! But I think he only gave me one. However, I may have stolen one or two more. Sorry bro that you found out like this!

As you may be able to tell, it was all about the sugar sugar sugar and sugar when it came to chocolate! If I knew how to read ingredients then, I would have also discovered that there was actually very little resemblance of chocolate in any of those candy bars. But at that age, I unfortunately still would not have been able to stop myself from eating them. Did I mention I loved sugar? (Honestly I still cannot resist the European version of a Kit Kat® or Nestle Crunch® bar! Oh, ok...Cadbury Fruit & Nut® bar too. (Why did I make this book about divulging secrets? Argh.))


How about some more practical information, like maybe why I hope you are really interested in this book? Like having FUN WITH TRUFFLES! This book is written for the chocolate enthusiast and beginner alike. It is not, however, geared towards the professional community as it lacks scientific details and resources they require. When I was a beginner, and budding Chocolate Enthusiast, I had no patience for copious amounts of scientific details! Just get to the chocolate! So, this chocolate recipe book is designed, with that in mind, especially for you!

But don’t let that fool you! There is no lack of comprehensive information which will explain fundamental methods and guidelines of working with chocolate and other temperamental ingredients. I have made a significant effort to ensure that you have all the information you need to successfully create amazing Chocolate Confections, not just from within this book, but with any chocolate recipe you find, or that your imagination can fantasize about and create.

You will be challenged as well. We start out with very simple methods and I give you my recipes for basic Chocolate Truffles. We then get a little more difficult when we start to infuse mixed ingredients. After some successes there, we make some salted caramel, gastrique, and candied fruits. You will be put to the test when you make the layered pistachio truffle, the most difficult recipe in the book. You will also find my Death by Chocolate Cake recipe along with an incredible chocolate ganache cheesecake recipe. This book would not be complete without my 15 year secret Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Whatever your skill level, I will walk you through each recipe step by step so that you will feel a great accomplishment when you are done. Enough so that you will want to share your finished yummies with friends and family. Or maybe just lock yourself in your room with a spoon!

Find The Joy

One of the main intentions of writing this book for you is directed at the sole purpose of bringing you joy through the elixir of Chocolate! Unfortunately there seems to be a myth that making Chocolate Truffles and working with chocolate is arduous work, messy, and, well, nigh impossible if you are not professionally trained in the art. Just to be clear, I have not been professionally trained. I took a couple chocolate hobby courses but never any professional level instruction. I did a lot of my own experimentation over the years to the delight (except once or twice) of friends and family and co-workers! If you have a desire to make Chocolate Truffles, then by all means you should! And, yes, you most certainly can! Read on to let your passionate creativity for chocolate out of its closet. (Is there a secret in there?)

For The Love Of Chocolate

You are going to find that this book is not just about recipes, as eluded to above. There are already many similar books printed. I am hoping to take a little different perspective. This book is about my experience in the discovery and creation of each of these recipes, what they mean to me, and why I created them the way that I did. In addition to the other secrets I divulge in this book, you will discover that the secret of my passion is the desire for everyone who has tasted my confections experience something remarkable, and why that’s important to me. (There is a lot of bad chocolate out there, and I didn’t want mine to be included in that group!)

I will most certainly be providing all the recipes and formulas, processes and procedures. However, I think the ordinary style most prevalent in the majority of cookbooks, as it were, is a bit stale and uninteresting. This I think is a direct result of the numerous vibrant food blogs available. Once you read a vibrant blog, an ordinary cookbook just seems, well, ordinary. So I am putting my spin on what I love about my favorite cookbooks, and add a personal touch, which I hope will allow us to take an adventure in chocolate... together.

As such, this will be more of a conversation. (Just to be clear that you don’t think I am talking to, and answering, myself, there is an official The Chocolate Chef facebook page and website where we can actually interact). In this way, I want you to not only know what you are doing in the recipe, but also to fully explain why you are doing it. Then, I want to give you enough comprehensive information so that you can unleash your own creativity and influence the recipe with your own personality and genius! It is only then that I will feel that I have succeeded in conveying the true joy I have found working with chocolate.

Why have I chosen this path? Because every recipe that I have used from a book, blog, magazine or newspaper, etc., I have changed in some way that conveys an experience I want friends, family, customers, etc to experience. Recipes are an inspiration to me because I think that I can, frankly, make it better. And I want you to make my recipes better by influencing them with your own personality and your own creativity! When you share your food with others, I want them to know that it is a direct result of your effort, your creativity and your passion for fantastic food! Your family and friends deserve to experience the creativity of your inner joy, and so do you! So, play, have fun, be happy!

Getting Personal

Just a little about my background so you have some insight to what has positively influenced my cooking, and my life. My Father, Bill, was from the seaport New Bedford, Massachusetts and my mother, Claire, was from a large family in Haifa, Israel. Both knew how to cook up a storm, and each had secret family recipes that were never written down, but only shared by word of mouth from generation to generation. Though my dad did not frequently prepare meals, he would jump in on special occasions and whip up some Portuguese Stuffing or New Bedford style Stuffed Cohog Clams (that recipe is still not written down), among other creative items. He never baked any sweets that I can remember. Then again, he worked two jobs most of the time, so he pretty much left the majority of cooking and baking to mom, which meant of course she would be asking one or more of us kids to help her out in the kitchen.

Old family photos of Bouche de Noel and assorted cookies.

Claire (Cla Cla, as she was affectionately known) really knew how to cook amazingly fresh incredible foods and baked goods. Her heart was in everything she created! It brought her so much joy, and even more joy when she shared could with others. Our house was constantly filled with company, visitors and guests all the time. I remember the kitchen smelling great almost 24 hours a day. My parents always loved having guests over. Everything revolved around food. If there was food, there was company. If there was company, there was food. Simple as that. Even though we had significant financial hardship for several years in the 70’s, after the company my father worked at closed abruptly, it never stopped them from sharing the joys of our house.

The holidays were Moms forte! She always involved me, my sister and brother in all the cooking. I personally loved working on the desserts and cakes. And doughnuts. And cookies. You get the idea. One of my greatest memories is making Cranberry Orange Walnut bread with her when I was about 10 years old. She decided to make about 20 loaves of her Cranberry Orange Walnut bread for the holidays. She got out a big giant bowl (I think I could have fit in it if I curled up) and put all the ingredients in it. She had me roll up my sleeves all the way up my arm and then mix the batter getting it all the way up past my elbows! I felt like the batter was going to eat me up alive there was so much of it. But it was great fun and it had such a positive impact on me for a long time. I loved to help make sweets as often as I could with her and I, of course, loved eating them even more.

This rich culinary history in my family was my segue into the culinary world which would eventually lead, to among other things, my intense love for chocolate and being the Chef & owner at my Chocolate Themed Cafe’, Chocolate Crust.

A Little Experience Please

Fast forward to the late 1980’s.... I am living in Washington D.C. working at a restaurant called LuLu’s New Orleans Café (now closed) at 23rd & M St, NW. It was a brand new, New Orleans style, restaurant run by the wonderful Auger family. My primary job was as an entertaining waiter, though I had taken on other responsibilities as well. I was also performing marionette, magic, and clown shows in the D.C. region, so my skills as an entertainer helped me get better tips!

Me with some Darryl Osher marionettes, 1994

At this same time, I had been experimenting with chocolate a bit. A few years earlier I had learned a recipe from the pastry chef at another restaurant I worked at called Lafitte, which was also a New Orleans style restaurant in D.C. She had made this massive decadent chocolate cake, called Death by Chocolate, which was an insanely intense Chocolate Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Cake. (I really really wish I could remember her name because she was an all-around amazing pastry chef!) It was her take on the original created in in the 1970’s.

Even though I have long since lost the original recipe, I have tried to recreate it to the best of my ability over the years, but it never quite seems to match my memory of it. So I have put my recipe here in this book for you to make and judge for yourself. I have used this recipe as a base for many chocolate wedding cakes.

So, back at LuLu’s, I was sharing my trials and tribulations of chocolate with one of the waitresses there and she suggested we start a business making truffles. I thought that was a splendid idea! So off to her kitchen we went to start experimenting with all kinds of chocolate and flavor combinations, and candying citrus and ginger, and so much more. Just yum! We had a lot of fun being mad confectionary scientists.

Unfortunately, at this point in the late 80’s, artisan chocolate was rarely available. Even couverture chocolate was difficult to acquire. We were finally able to get some basic confectioners chocolate at a local restaurant supply store. I honestly cannot remember the brand nor where were got it from. But I must say it was good compared to the chocolate I was typically used to.

I was living in Potomac Maryland and my roommates (who were wedding dress designers) knew several people that might be interested in our Chocolate Truffles. So we started selling our truffles and candies to them, which were very well received! We would also do blind taste tests with the standard truffles that were available then like Godiva, Neuhaus, and the like. And we kept coming out winners.

Alas, our partnership did not last since my personal life started falling apart and I had to focus on other things. But the intense lessons that I learned had laid the solid foundation for a future filled with chocolate delight.

I segued into several other fields of work that included being a professional entertainer, manager at a Domino’s Pizza, and later IT geek (Information Technology and Information Security consultant). The IT field led me to New York, NY in 1996 to 2006. However, through all those segues, I continued pursing my love for food and chocolate.

My IT clients and employers were ecstatic when for Valentines day I would bring in about 30 different kinds of Chocolate Truffles, candies, cakes, cookies, and more. (Well, there was one grumpy Branch Chief who yelled at me every time I brought chocolate or cakes in, because it meant his diet was ruined that day.... As if he were somehow compelled to eat them....hence the yelling.)

My First Go

One of my other significant inspirations was attending the New York City Chocolate Show in 2001. What an amazing collection of chocolate from all over the world! I bought so much chocolate that day. When I finally got home I felt like the stooge in the magicians trick of the endless bag. I just kept pulling out boxes and bags of chocolate from a bag I couldn’t seem to empty.

I learned a terrible and sad truth that day which shaped the core of who I am as a Chef and as a Chocolatier. Just because chocolate comes in a nice box or package or it has pretty designs on it, it does not mean that it actually tastes any good at all! I threw away so much of what I bought that day because either the flavors or the quality were so bad. I ended up keeping only about three of the 30 vendors chocolates I purchased. I was devastated!

I took this to heart and vowed that whatever food or dessert I make should always taste at least as good as it looks. I have put much of my time and energy into my recipes to try and make things taste amazing and look luscious. I don’t always succeed, but I never stop trying. Ever. Evvvvverrrr. I have come to believe and experience that true quality really comes from the heart. If you don’t love working with chocolate or food, no matter how hard you try, it will never be good enough.

I took much less money with me when I went to the chocolate show the following year, and had more extensive conversations with the chocolatiers to learn about their chocolate before I bought any of it. I learned I could determine very quickly what a manufacturers chocolate was going to taste like just by listening to them talk about their product. I still spent a good amount of money, but I did not have to throw away nearly as much chocolate that year.

I continued to attend in subsequent years and would usually go with a dear friend, Stan. His love for chocolate was interminable. It’s like playing ball with a dog. Nothing else mattered but the chocolate! However, his tastes were a bit more conservative than mine, even though he wanted to try on the dress made out of chocolate!

In 2002, I started a wholesale pastry company out of my tiny apartment in Jersey City, NJ. I made breads, pastries, wedding cakes and, Chocolate Truffles. I ended up selling my products to about 40% of all the café’s and coffee shops in downtown Jersey City. Not a bad market share! I am sooo grateful for Yvonne and Nilsa, of Subia’s Organic Market, for believing in me enough to be my first client!

I had a good following and reputation, and more importantly, people really enjoyed my creations. One time my brother had called at the last minute to ask if he could stay at my place for a couple days while he was in NYC for work. That night I received an urgent call from one of my customers who needed an unexpected large order. My brother jumped right in and helped me crank everything out fast. It ruined our night out together, but we got great bro time from it!

During this time is when I had the opportunity to really get into creative baking. This led my advance into finer Chocolate Confections where I started using more advanced techniques working with chocolate. I also started making chocolate and sugar sculptures, which I have a love/hate relationship with (love making them, hate when they break). I fell in love with E. Guittard chocolate (the couverture line of Guittard), Albert Uster, and Cocoa Barry (the couverture line of Barry Callebaut). I was also newly discovering many varieties of artisan chocolate made by smaller manufacturers. (All chocolate mentioned in this book is listed in the back in the references section.)

Turning A New Cocoa Leaf

In 2007 I moved back to D.C. I honestly had no intention of pursuing a career in chocolate or pastry and was heavily focused on escalating my IT career. So in 2008 I opened Robert’s Gourmet Chocolates. Yeah...how’d that happen?! After getting settled into my new home, it was only natural for me to start baking for the office. It went from there! lol.

This time I really focused on artisan chocolates for confectioners and chefs. I wholesaled my chocolate to chocolate stores, café’s and restaurants all over the D.C. Metro area, and retailed my chocolates through word of mouth and online. Due to persistent demand, I also began to make wedding cakes again. I let my creativity flourish more than it had in the past and I had great success and really great fun.

My brother John & I at the Philadelphia Candy Show, 2009. Thanks bro! It was awesome!

I wasn’t able to do all this by myself. I was totally fortunate to have my amazing family and friends lend a hand or two. I remember my first Chocolate Show. It was the Bucks County Chocolate Show in 2009. I was so thrilled to be attending this inaugural event, primarily because it was in my hometown area. Also, because I involved my entire family and many friends. At one point, in my dad’s dining room, I had my brother, his partner, my sister and her husband and children all folding and packing chocolate boxes! It was so much fun and I was so very grateful to be doing this with everyone. I really felt the encouragement and excitement that gave me the energy that I needed to forge ahead.

I had a good friend along, Casper, who was also a serious Chocolate Enthusiast. He actually had been helping me make Chocolate Truffles and had helped me define a few delicious flavors. This then led to me setting up at an exhibition in Atlantic City the following year. My brother, Casper and a good friend (& part time employee), Jon (who is now an amazing Sous Chef in D.C.), all really stepped up to the plate to make that event amazing! This was all just the beginning of what was yet to come.

Jon, Casper & me at the Philadelphia Candy Show, 2009

It was through all this that I met Biagio, of Biagio Fine Chocolate, in Washington, D.C. His store was the premier chocolate store in the country, if not the world, supplying the best quality fine artisan chocolates from around the world. When he decided to change careers 2011 I was humbled that he decided to sell the store to me, which I rebranded into Cocova a year later.

At Cocova, we began teaching formal chocolate tasting classes and also Chocolate Truffle making classes. In 2 ½ years I had the incredible pleasure of teaching thousands of students the multifaceted joys of tasting chocolate and making Chocolate Truffles. I had the honor of meeting the most amazing Chocolate Makers and producers in the world, and my education in the world of chocolate grew exponentially. At one point, the store carried over 1000 unique

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