Tom and I aren’t really big on Valentine’s Day. When we were dating, our anniversary fell 5 days after Valentine’s Day so we celebrated that instead. But, to be honest, I think we would feel the same way if our anniversary was in June.
Our very romantic, exciting Valentine’s Day consisted of me throwing some beef stew into the crockpot before work this morning and defrosting and reheating some biscuits from my freezer. Oh, and did I mention that we ate in front of the television? Yep, we are real romantics.
Still, this morning I thought to myself that I should at least make a dessert of some sort. I had all the usual baking staples at home, and I had some leftover chocolate bars from Christmas that never got used. I figured I could make a chocolate cake or some brownies. I started flipping through my copy of Nigella Lawson’s Feast and came across her chocolate raspberry heart cake. I am not really one for hearts, in all honesty, but something about this cake was just entirely too cute. As a bonus, the only thing I was really missing from the recipe was some heavy cream.
That said, I did change the recipe quite a bit. For starters, I halved the recipe and baked it in a square baking dish before cutting out heart shapes with my cookie cutter. I also changed her filling up (I can’t believe Nigella, of all people, goddess of all things too-rich and, well, too much in general, didn’t add sugar or some framboise to her cream!) and the ganache, too. Oh, and I added some berry sauce. OK so basically I kept the recipe for the cake. I did find this link to her original recipe, if you want to check it out. I have to say I wasn’t looking for a healthy dessert by any means, but this one actually isn’t THAT bad. The entire recipe only has half a tablespoon of butter and each cake only ends up with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream in the center. It’s a basic hot milk cake that is chocolate flavored. The ganache is a pretty small portion, too. So, you don’t have to feel that guilty eating it (nevermind the fact that I also ate the scraps…you know, the parts of the cake that didn’t make it into hearts).
Individual Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cakes
Inspired by Nigella Lawson
1/3 cup milk
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1.5 eggs (I beat an egg and then throw half out to achieve “half” an egg)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (if you don’t have this, process some granulated sugar in your food processor until it is finer)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1.5 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Framboise
1/2 cup raspberries
2 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
raspberries, for garnish
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rasperries, fresh or frozen & thawed (I used a triple berry mixture I had in the freezer of blueberries, raspberries & blackberries)
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8″ square baking dish with cooking oil or butter.
Heat the milk and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave, just until the butter is melted. Stir the vanilla into the hot mixture. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar until very light and frothy. Beat in the milk mixture until incorporated. Mix in (I just use a rubber spatula for this part) the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl until everything is combined.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, in the baking dish. Then, invert the cake onto some parchment paper that you have placed on top of the cooling rack. Cool completely.
To make the raspberry cream:
Crush the raspberries slightly with a fork, or pulse just once or twice in your food processor to break them up a bit.
In a separate bowl, start beating the cream. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and Framboise. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in the crushed raspberries (and their juices) so as not to deflate the cream.
To make the ganache:
In a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl on top of a smaller pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate and the cream together. When almost completely melted together, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the mixture a few times until glossy.
To make the raspberry sauce:
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water to a boil in a small saucepan, and then stirring in the sugar to dissolve. Add the berries and the simple syrup mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
To assemble the cakes:
Using a 3″ or 3.5″ cookie cutter, cut the cake into 4 hearts (or whatever shape you want). Slice through each heart horizontally to form two parts. Add 1/4 of the raspberry cream to the bottom heart and then sandwich with the top heart. Spread 1/4 of the ganache over the top of the individual cake and top with raspberries for garnish. Repeat with the other 3 cakes. Drizzle with raspberry sauce.