I am not as good a baker as I would like to think. I do love desserts and cakes, pastries, tarts and the list goes on but am not sure if I can whip up a cake which is perfectly frosted the same way I can whip up a curry. I would love to and I really enjoy creating desserts but am just not an expert. When I see perfectly frosted cakes and glossy tarts and pies - I am in dessert envy mode, and admire the creators. There is something romantic about desserts, there is no doubt that food brings people together, but desserts brings hearts closer. And I think chocolate tops the list when it comes to romance. Good old black forest pastries with dark chocolate and red cherries - a cliché but I guess nothing says I love you better than this . This is for my other half, and even thou I want to say more, some times silence does express a lot more :)) . I did not want to do the heart shape, it would be just too mushy for me....but the heart-shaped cookie cutter was staring at me almost daring me to. I fell for it....!! Well the outcome was adorable ! What do you think ?
I think this recipe is from cooks.com or allrecipes.com ( am not too sure) I did alter the recipe, instead of hot water I added hot espresso and that too a dark roast ( bitter) My other half is not so fond of very sweet desserts so I replaced some amount of sugar with pudding mix. The result was just FABULOUS !! Well it was very soft and it was a bit challenging to cut it into heart shapes. I did not add much sugar to the whip cream and I used gelatin as a stabilizer. I just loved creating this desert and the best part, my picky dessert eater (my other half) loved it. I can't wait to see what you guys are planning for V-Day. Please feel free to leave a link.
2 cups dark roast hot coffee ( you can use a light or medium roast, the dark gives a nice intense favor)
1 cup unsweetened coco powder
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup ready chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pre heat oven to 350 F. Grease cake pans or line it with parchment. I prefer parchment as it is easy to get the cake out.
In a bowl mix the hot coffee and coco powder till it dissolves and let it cool. Mix all the dry ingredients except sugar ( all purpose, baking soda, baking powder, pudding mix and salt) If you do not have pudding mix you can increase the sugar by 1/4 cup. (total sugar then being 2 1/4) The original recipe calls for 2 1/4th sugar, I replaced 1/4 sugar with 1/4 pudding mix. I loved the result, the cake was very moist and not too sweet.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla, now add the flour mixture and the coco and coffee liquid alternately a bit by bit, till done.
Spread batter in the pan, bake for 30 - 35 min.
For the whipped cream filling
1 can /bottle of maraschino cherries ( preserve the liquid)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup water
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chill mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for at least 15 min. Mix the gelatin and water and microwave for about a min, till the gelatin is dissolved. let it cool, at least 10 min, gelatin is still a liquid.
Remove the mixing bowl and whisk from freezer and add, sugar, whipping cream and vanilla extract and beat till the beat marks began to show.
Pour the gelatin in a steady stream while mixing and beat till stiff peaks form and use immediately.
Most often at least with me, when I use whipped cream frosting, it does not stand well and if not served immediately the whipped cream collapses into an ugly mess. You need to stabilize the whipping cream so it stays for longer and does not collapse , there are various stabilizers you can use and different methods of doing it, I think this technique and gelatin as a stabilizer really works for me.
Now in a bowl take about half of the whipped cream and cut some cherries (about 1/2 of the bottle) into it and mix well. It really depends on how much cherry you like, again I did not want my cake to be very sweet so I went easy on the cherries.
For the assembly
Make sure the cake has cooled for at least 2-3 hours or more. It should be cold to touch. Maybe there is a better way of doing this but with the limited knowledge and equipment...this was the best i could do. Place the cake on an aluminum foil. Dig in the heart shape cookie cutter into one side of the cake, ( you want to get as many hearts as you can ). Tuck your hand below the foil and push the heart shaped cake along with the cutter up. Slowly remove the cutter from the cake and cut the cake in half ( lateral) make sure you don't have a broken heart but cut it so you can layer it with whipped cream filling. Cut as many hearts as you can from the main cake. Keep aside. You can use the cake crumbs for cake pops.
So sprinkle the solution/liquor liberally over the cut hearts.
With help of a butter knife spread the cherry mixed whipped cream frosting over one half of the cake, place the other half over it and then with a butter knife spread plain whipped cream frosting, place a cherry on top and garnish with chocolate shavings ( it will also hide any imperfections ;)) Enjoy!