Happy Valentine’s Day

valentine-chocolate-heart-cake
There is still time for you to make this for your Valentine!

 

Valentine Chocolate Heart Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 eggs
  • Scant ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 2/3 cup light cream

Fresh mint sprigs, to decorate

Filling & Topping:

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • Generous 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp seedless raspberry jelly
  • Generous 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch wide heart shape cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl. Beat the eggs with the sugar, oil and light cream. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture, then stir to mix thoroughly, beating to a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack. For the filling and topping, place the chocolate and heavy cream in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and stir until the mixture cools slightly and begins to thicken. Use a sharp knife to cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread the cut surface of each half with the raspberry jelly, then top with about 3 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle over half the raspberries and replace the top, pressing down lightly. Spread the remaining chocolate mixture over the top and sides of the cake, swirling with a spatula. Top with the remaining raspberries and decorate with mint springs or decorate creatively!

Serves 12

Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.

THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.

www.thasc.com

Chocolate Cake…Ooh la la

Just In Time For Valentine’s

chocolate-red-wine-cake
A delicious mix of red wine and chocolate.

 

Chocolate Red Wine Cake

  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature for greasing pans
  • ½ cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting the pans
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Red Wine Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups (16 ounce box) confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Making the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and side of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with cocoa powder to coat, then invert and gently tap out any excess. Whisk together ½ cup cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and table salt in a large bowl to combine. Chocolate should be melted gently, using low heat and frequently stirring. On the stove top, Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan with a couple of inches of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate often until it is almost completely melted, about five minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate, yogurt, butter, water and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the layers are domed and fragrant, and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes.

Making the syrup:

Combine the sugar, wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep, covered, for at least 20 minutes. Strain the cinnamon sticks and cloves form the finished syrup. Use the syrup warm or at room temperature.

Coat the layers with red wine syrup; pierce the cakes, still in their pans, at one-inch intervals with a skewer or a paring knife. This creates channels for the syrup to seep into the cakes. Then, pour or generously brush the syrup over the surface of the hot layers, dividing it between them as evenly as you can. Transfer the soaked layers (still in their pans) to a wire rack to cool completely. When they are cooled and are no longer wet to touch, one to two hours, carefully turn them out of their pans and assemble.

Making the frosting:

Combine the butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. On the stove top, Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan with a couple of inches of gently simmering water. Stir the chocolate often until it is almost completely melted, about five minutes. In a slow, steady stream, drizzle in the melted chocolate and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate and frost top. Place next layer on top and frost top and sides. Decorate as desired.

Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.

THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.

www.thasc.com

Counting Down To Valentine’s Day

red-velvet-cheesecake
If you enjoy Red Velvet Cake, then you will fall in love with this cheesecake.

 

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Crust:

  • 1 2/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring (2 tablespoons)
  • 5 large eggs

Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10 x 3 inch springform pan. Mix the chocolate crumbs, sugar and butter together in a small bowl. Press into the bottom and 2 inches up the side of the springform pan. Bake 5 minutes. Let cool while you make the filling. Do not turn off the oven.

To make the filling: Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until melted. Set aside to cool. Combine the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and food coloring in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at high speed until the filling is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, just until combined. Pour into the cooled crust. Place the filled springform pan on a baking pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the cake appears set when gently shaken.

To make the topping: Mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla together in a small bowl. Spread over the cheesecake. Return to the oven, and cook for 5 minutes. Cool and chill for 6 hours or overnight before serving.

Makes 16 servings.

Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.

THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.

www.thasc.com

Count Down To Valentine’s Day

a-cookie-within-a-cookie
A great treat to make for you Valentine.

A Cookie Within A Cookie

Ingredients:

  • 21 Oreo Double Stuf Cookies
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Twist open 13 Oreos and scrape the filling into a small bowl. In a food processor, grind the separated chocolate cookies until fine; alternatively, put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine. Chop the remaining 8 Oreos into large chunks. Put the Oreo filling in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and brown sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth and well blended, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until completely combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping the bowl if necessary to incorporate the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until evenly distributed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the Oreo chunks with a spatula. The dough should be smooth, dense and somewhat pliable. Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon, drop well rounded balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, until the centers look dry but are still soft. When cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the cookies will keep for 2 to 3 days.

Tested in the THASC kitchen. Photo by THASC.

THASC is a unique small American business producing cards and other promotional products.

www.thasc.com