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Hearts of Chocolate Valentine's Cake

Hearts of Chocolate

Hearts of Chocolate Valentine's Cake

There is no cake recipe involved with this one.  I believe that cake mixes are very good, and with a little altering tips, cake mixes can become spectacular.  Different fruits go better with varying chocolates.  Let your own chocolate love, or that of your Valentine, guide your decisions on what fruit to pair with what chocolate.  Perhaps you love that creamy white chocolate paired with strawberries, or super dark chocolate with pomegranate.  The recipe is an outline of flavor what can be adapted generally with the same ratios.

Products Used
1. Fat Daddio's 6" Heart Cake Pan
2. Fiestaware Place Setting {pictured in Scarlet}
Not pictured: KitchenAid Professional 6 Quart Stand Mixer

 

 


 

 

 

Directions

Here again there is no recipe for the cake itself.  I used one of my favorite brands of cake mix and simply added 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla and 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring.  You could add other flavors as the mood strikes.  I have altered cake mixes off and on to achieve differing flavor profiles.  This is not a complex process to do.  You can generally add up two a couple of tablespoons of liquid or dry extra ingredients like flavorings or more cocoa with cake mix forgiveness, and no major altering of the final texture or moisture levels of your baked cake.

Chocolate Ganache is a rich mix of heavy whipping cream and chocolate.  There are so many recipes on the web for this item that I decided not to enter my own as it is a relative standard representation.  The important thing to remember is that whatever chocolate you use to mix with the cream is what flavor it will become with cream.  I use better quality chocolate because of this very reason.  There are times to choose economical ingredients, and I do not believe special treats and desserts are the place for economy.  I like very dark, high cacao content chocolates.  I would not use any chocolate less than 50% cacao because of this very reason.  The higher ratio cacao content chocolates also make a deeper chocolate color, which is what I wish to see in my ganache final result.  If you add your melted cream and chocolate into your mixer you can whip it for a short few minutes to make it more spreadable, but remember that it will set up quick so be ready with your cake before making this item.  Ganache can also be left melted without the whipping, cooled slightly and then poured over your cake.  This Hearts of Chocolate Valentine’s Cake has a whipped version.  I put the melted mixture in my KitchenAid stand mixer for about 4 minutes till it started to lose its gloss and thickened slightly.

Tips

  • The Fat Daddio pans really have a fine, slick surface for cake baking.  I had no trouble using it, and do not have any major words to say at this time beyond the obvious, which is grease the pan well and flour before pouring in your batter.
  • Cakes need accurate temperatures to bake well.  Calibrate your oven or use a oven thermometer.  Time your cake and check it at the appropriate time recommended on the mix or in your recipe.  You can always add a few minutes of time if needed.  Test the cake with a toothpick or cake testing pin to check for doneness.  Cakes can fall or lump up in the center in the cooking process.  I would like to address this issue further, and will in a later article.
  • I torted the center of my cake with a very different frosting.  I took 3 tablespoons of raspberry brandy and put it with together with ¼ cup of some raspberry preserves.  I was looking to create a simple syrup of sorts to add to my confectioners’ sugar.  I melted the brandy and preserves on the stove in a saucepan till it boiled, and kept that slow boil till the smell of alcohol faded.  I did not want that for this particular project.  After this cooled to room temperature.  I added about a half pound of confectioners’ sugar to my mixing bowl with a couple tablespoon size lump of butter and then melted liquor and preserves.  I added heavy cream to finish it to the consistency I wanted.  Frosting does not have to be an accurate mix of items in most cases.  I do taste it to make sure the flavor is right.  I often keep frostings in the fridge for use on other cooking projects, so I do not worry if I have leftovers.  Those leftovers are handy, just use them within a few weeks of preparation.
  • To frost cakes with ganache, I use off-set icing spatulas.  The off-set is also very useful for cake sides with angles.  When using ganache, I like to leave little swirls and graceful light dips in the cake.  For me, this is aesthetically pleasing.
  • One more word on cake work is that you must take the time to level your cake with a knife or leveling tool prior assembling a stacked cake, even if it is only one tier.  Use the cooked “bottom” of the cake for the base and for the top.  Put the cut sides together with your torting frosting.  This will give you an even, level, smooth surface to apply your frosting to.  This will give you a finer, more appealing and beautiful final appearance.
    Written by: Alecia Kay
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