I think it is always nice to know how a celebration originated, and Valentines Day is no exception.
The Web definition from Princeton states: Valentine Day: a day for the exchange of tokens of affection.
An excerpt from Wikipedia states: Saint Valentine’s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.
The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“).
Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
I decided that the best way was to make little cakes, and what better than chocolate.
The ingredients were fairly straight forward, making sure that you had chocolate with at least 65%, I went 70%. The chocolate and hot water step made me re-read the instructions again, but as you can see from above it worked fine.
The creamed mixture with the eggs. The chocolate mixture with the addition of the sour cream. The final mix ready to put in your chosen baking tin.
I chose a heart-shape and a special silicone flower-shape I had purchased in Europe some time ago but you can get one from Amazon here.
You can either decorate your cakes or leave them plain it is entirely up to you. I decided to cover these two in melted chocolate, and cover one in coconut and the other in flaked almonds.
I then decided to do a chocolate iced version with walnut pieces and one with plain red icing.
To keep things more simple, I dusted both shapes with icing sugar and served them with whipped cream and orange zest.
I just had to taste test both shapes with the cream and orange zest. As above YUM… YUM… YUM. By far my most favourite way to serve these little morsels of deliciousness.
Hope your Valentine enjoys them as much as I did.
- 4 ozs (112g) coarsely chopped dark (at least 64%) chocolate (( used 70%)
- 1/2 cup very hot (simmering) water
- 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup cake flour ***
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) butter softened (141.8g)
- 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350˚F (160˚C).
- Grease whatever tins you have decided to use.
- Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour simmering water on top and let stand for 3 minutes.
- Add cocoa and espresso powders, whisk together until smooth. Stand 15 minutes.
- Stir in sour cream until blended.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.
- Add vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
- Turn mixer to low, and add flour mixture in 3 parts to the butter/egg mix, alternating with the chocolate mixture in 2 parts.
- Scrape down the bowl, then mix at low speed for a few more seconds.
- Fill the tins about halfway and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Baking time for my heart shape was 18 minutes.
- Baking time for the flower shape was 20 minutes.
- If using a 1 cup bundt pan baking time around 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool pans on racks for about 5 minutes.
- Turn out onto cooling racks. (You may need to loosen cakes from edges of pan with a small heatproof spatula. (Mine came out ok without).
- Decorate as you wish.
- In Australia we do not have cake flour. Doing research on the net I found most people would put 2 tablespoons of cornflour (maize) in a cup measurement and then top up with plain flour. This was the method which I used.