When I first saw the front cover of 'The Joy of Chocolate', my first two thoughts were "Who wants chocolate cabbage?" and "How did they do that?". I've made this 3 or 4 times for my wife's birthday, and was excited when I saw this contest. This is my version of The Chocolate Cabbage.
Step 1: It's all in the cabbage and the chocolate
When you choose the cabbage leaves, you want the outer leaves. Inner leaves tend to be too small or too cupped or rounded. Choose ones clean and without holes and tears.
Good chocolate goes without saying. I chose a Scharffen Berger with 62%. Choose hersheys at your own risk.
Step 2: Sponge cake--the core of the cabbage
This is sponge cake in a bowl. Again, I'm not going into the details of the sponge cake. Sponge cake is sponge cake--usually. Interestingly enough, the recipie that came in 'The Joy of Chocolate' never worked for me. I pulled one off the internet, and for the first time it worked great. Let it cool thoroughly. I was impatient and the bottom squished. You need 2 oven worthy mixing bowls about 8" across that hold about 2.5 quarts. If you like scoop out a hollow spot add jam or whipped cream to the crumbs, put them back in, and put on the top.
Step 3: Temper you chocolate
I won't go into all the details of tempering, but let me tell you, it's absolutely necessary. I've been lazy in the past and didn't temper. You do get chocolate cabbage leaves, but it doesn't look as good, and it doesn't taste as good. Tempering also makes the rest of the process easier. Take my word for it and go look at a tempering instructible.