Celebrate The Borgia’s and Feast

Last year saw the end of my beloved series The Tudor’s on Showtime, but I was thrilled to see the they were producing The Borgia’s– that infamous Renaissance family. 

Showtime and Macy’s got together to produce a Borgia’s Feast and I thought I would try one of the recipes to savor during the premiere episode on Sunday, April 3rd.

I chose a dessert inspired by Lucrezia Borgia and created by the Food Network’s Cat Cora. The recipe is for Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Budino which is really a small, very moist chocolate cake. Sour cherries are served around the dessert which is topped with a white chocolate and ginger sauce. 

If Lucrezia was known as deliciously sexy this recipe is titillatingly luscious. Very smooth, pudding like, with a warm chocolaty taste and a divine sauce.

The official recipe can be found at www.originalborgiasfeast.com. Below is my adaptation for half the recipe and a few minor changes. 

Cat Cora’s Sweet and Spicey Chocolate Budino


Makes 12 small cakes

  • 1/4 pound high-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chile pepper, ground (or more/less to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 TBS  unsalted butter, softened
  • White Chocolate Candied Ginger Crème Anglaise, recipe follows
  • 1 can of sour cherries, mostly drained but save some of the liquid for garnishing the plate


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin tins with vegetable or canola oil. Wipe out excess oil with a paper towel. Set the tin aside.
  3. Melt softened butter in a large bowl set over a saucepan of hot water (double boiler) over very low heat.
  4. As the butter is melting, grate the chocolate or chop it into small shards with a chef’s knife.
  5. Once the butter has melted, add the chopped chocolate and allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely incorporated.
  6. Remove the bowl from the hot water and set aside.
  7. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the whole eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, chile powder, and flour.
  8. Mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
  9. Slowly temper (add carefully) the sugar/egg mixture into the chocolate/butter mixture, stirring vigorously until well combined.
  10. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup three-quarters full.
  11. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. The edges will have just begun to pull away from the pan, and the top of each budino should still look moist and shiny at the center.
  12. Remove tins from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
  13. While the tins are still warm, place a baking sheet over the top of the muffin tin and invert it.
  14. Carefully lift the muffin tin to release cakes.
  15. Transfer the cakes to a serving platter or individual dessert plates.

Budino is at its best if served warm, but is also delicious at room temperature. Serve with warmed candied ginger white chocolate crème anglaise poured over the top, some sour cherries around the base of the cake as well as right on top.

Candied Ginger White Chocolate Crème Anglaise


  • 1 TBS candied ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz high quality white chocolate bar, broken into squares
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 TBS sugar


  1. In a small heavy saucepan bring cream, white chocolate, and candied ginger just to a simmer over low heat, about 10 minutes. Do not bring to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together yolks and sugar until smooth and evenly combined.
  3. Add hot cream mixture little by little, whisking continuously, and transfer custard mixture back to saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.

Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated/covered, but bring to room temperature before serving.