The day after Christmas I went to the supermarket and the Valentine's candy was already out. I have already had a handful of wine orders asking what to pair the wine with for a special Valentine's Day dinner. I have to say I am impressed by the early excitement this holiday is already showing. Let's face it, we all love to celebrate, so why not embrace it.
There’s no denying it, a heartfelt dessert, is one of life’s sweetest ways to say I love you. Offering confectionery to your beloved on Valentine’s Day has been a tradition celebrated and expressed by lovers since the Middle Ages.
Sparkling hearts, winged Cupids and dreamy white doves have always reigned supreme as traditional symbols of Valentine’s Day commemorations, however, for me, chocolate is synonymous with the celebration of this love-filled holiday.
Of course the best Valentine’s Day treats aren’t the ones you buy; they’re the ones you make yourself. This Chocolate Lover’s Cake with Raspberry-Chambord Sauce will remind your sweetheart just how much they mean to you. The cake’s fudge-like center and rich chocolate taste are the perfect ending to a day basking in the glow of love.
What’s perfect about this sweet-treat is the ease of preparation. Mixers, blenders and other heavy kitchen equipment are not needed and the cake batter and raspberry sauce can be prepared the day prior. All of this, giving you, more time to spend with your sweetie. While eating dinner, place this dessert in the oven and it will be ready to enjoy before you know it. Trust me; your heart will skip a beat when you take your first bite.
Chocolate Lover’s Cake
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2.5 ounces good quality dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Whisk together cocoa powder, flour and sugar until well combined. Set aside.
Over low heat, stir chocolate and unsalted butter in a small heavy saucepan until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
Whisk in cocoa mixture until smooth. Then slowly whisk in lightly beaten egg and egg yolks, one at a time. Going slowly will prevent the eggs from scrambling in the warm chocolate mixture.
Butter two ¾ cup (6 ounce) ramekins, divide batter between them. The cake batter can be refrigerated at this point up to one day ahead. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake uncovered in a 350°F oven about 20-22 minutes. The edges of the cake should be set but the center should remain somewhat shiny. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake will emerge with some wet batter attached.
While cakes are still warm, cut around the edges with a knife to loosen and turn out the cakes onto serving plates. Plates can be decorated with red decorating gel found in the baking aisle of the grocery store.
8 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 cup Chambord liqueur
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
In a heavy saucepan, slowly bring to a boil raspberries, sugar and Chambord liqueur. Simmer for several minutes, breaking up the raspberries with a wooden spoon.
Run the mixture through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Discard the seeds.
Return the mixture to the stove and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 1 teaspoon cold water. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch to the simmering raspberry sauce until the mixture is thickened; about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Sauce can be refrigerated at this point or kept warm to spoon over the cake. If you make the sauce ahead of time, warm up before serving.
To serve the cakes, place slightly warm cake on a serving plate. Spoon the warm raspberry sauce over the top of the cake. Garnish with sprigs of mint and raspberries if desired. Decorate plates with red decorator’s gel.
Do you have leftover sauce? Spoon it over vanilla ice cream for another special treat.
Cathy is currently in the development stages of her vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living. She lives with her husband and two sons. You can visit her at noblepig.com.
by Maia Harari