February 3rd, 2012
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I thought I’d share a few loving ideas and tips.
These days a lot of people like to make “reservations” for their dinner, which can be a great idea. Everyone wants that 7:00 pm time so remember to get your reservations sorted out early!
Sweets for your sweety!
If dining out isn’t your style, you can always make a SIMPLE dinner at home for your honey. Let me stress the easy – you want to spend time with each other, not glued to the stove!
Whether you’re headed out or eating in – try wowing your sweetheart at home with an AMAZING dessert, made with all your burning love – a Flaming Chocolate Cherry Heart!
(Photo from Living 2 Eat)
This can be made up to one day ahead and then finished off right before serving. Cut a Devil’s Food Cake (you can buy it if you must) into a heart, top it with a dome of chocolate cherry ice cream and then cover in a fluffy meringue (special tip: you can freeze ahead at this point, if not preparing the day of).
When ready to serve, give the meringue a quick golden toasting in the oven. Once out of the oven, drizzle it with rum and carefully light it. Be sure to pay careful attention to the safety details here – AND don’t get too carried away with the flame.
Here’s to a d’lish Valentine’s Day with your honey! -Kathy
Flaming Chocolate Cherry Heart
This actually makes enough for four, so when serving for two, just freeze any leftovers for later nibbling. Also, cut cake into a heart or another cute design if desired.
1 8-inch high-quality Devil’s Food chocolate cake layer, homemade (recipe follows) or purchased, trimmed to a 5-inch heart (reserve cake trimmings for later snacks)
1 pint chocolate cherry ice cream (I like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia)
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp 151 rum
High-quality chocolate sauce (optional)
Place trimmed cake on a large freezer-to-oven plate, pie pan turned upside down, or other metal bakeable tray or plate.
Soften ice cream slightly and cut away the container. Turn out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Drape the ice cream with another large piece of plastic wrap and mold the ice cream into a dome shape, 5 inches in diameter at the base. Place ice cream on the trimmed cake and immediately place in freezer while making the meringue. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 1 week in advance. Thoroughly wrap the cake and ice cream with plastic and keep frozen.)
To make the meringue: In a grease-free mixer bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until just barely getting peaky. Then beat in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff and glossy.
Remove the cake from the freezer, remove the plastic and place on baking tray. With clean hands, pile the meringue on the frozen cake, covering all surfaces and swirling and making cute peaks in the meringue with your fingertips. Immediately place the cake back in the freezer, uncovered, and keep frozen until ready to serve. (This step can be done up to 1 day in advance.)
Note: Be sure the cake is frozen for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
Serve and flame the dessert: Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place cake in the oven for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until meringue is nicely browned all over and meringue tips are golden browned.
Bring to the table immediately and place on a trivet. Flame immediately: place 151 rum in a metal ladle or large spoon and warm it over a candle. Then light the rum and carefully pour it over the cake. (Be careful not to dribble any 151; it is on fire!) When the flames go out, cut the cake in wedges and serve on plates drizzled or decorated with chocolate sauce.
Chef’s Note: The trick is to keep the whole thing really well frozen before baking the meringue in the oven. Leftover cake can be re-frozen. For serving 4 people, use the entire 8-inch cake layer and double the ice cream and meringue amounts.
Devil’s Food Cake
Makes 1 8-inch round or square cake layer
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsps (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsps sour cream
2 Tbsps whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round or square cake pan. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking powder.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed, then turn mixer up to medium and mix until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick poked in cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the side of pan and turn cake out onto a rack to cool thoroughly.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®