Chocolate Heart Cake with Ganache

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Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! It sure is a cold one here in the Northeast! All the better for snuggling, I suppose. ūüôā

Today I bring you a heart-shaped chocolate cake topped with thick fudgy ganache and raspberries. Pinterest takes all the credit here. This cake is created by pouring batter into one 8 inch square pan  and one 8 inch round pan then baking and slicing the round cake in half. See below.

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I used this oldie but goodie chocolate cake recipe which originates from Annie’s Eats. I then slathered on thick fudgy ganache (made using this recipe). Top with raspberries (little kid fingers are especially helpful here) and enjoy!

Wishing you lots of love and chocolate on this cold Valentine’s Day!

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Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling

I am crazy about these chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipes!¬† As you can see I have used¬†them here and here and here.¬† The cake is so rich and moist!¬† The frosting is fluffy and sweet, but not too sweet.¬† These recipes have been very good to me.¬† (I originally found them on Annie’s Eats. Thanks Annie!)

Well this past week my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary! (Isn’t that fantastic?) We¬†made¬†dinner for them and of course I was in charge of the cake.¬† I was set on using this chocolate on chocolate combination, but I really wanted to add a new spin with an elegant flair.¬† I decided to use raspberry filling!¬† I used Wilton’s recipe and I am so happy with how it turned out!

The raspberry and chocolate combination was really fantastic!

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¬ĺ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¬ĺ cup Hershey‚Äôs cocoa powder
  • 1 ¬Ĺ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¬Ĺ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¬†teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¬Ĺ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the Filling:

  • 1 16 ounce package¬†frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the Frosting:

  • ¬Ĺ cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup Hershey‚Äôs cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioners‚Äô sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract¬†
  • Garnish:

    • chocolate chips (optional)
    • fresh raspberries (optional)

    Bake the cake:

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans.

    Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour batter into prepared pans.

    Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.  Cool completely.

    Make the frosting:

    Melt the butter in a medium bowl.  Stir in the cocoa.  Alternately add confectioners’ sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Add small amount additional milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla.

    Make the raspberry filling:

    Drain raspberries, reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 1/4 cups. In large saucepan, combine liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely. Stir thawed raspberries into cooled mixture.

    Assemble the cake:

    Level off both cakes using a serrated knife. Place bottom cake on a cardboard cake circle.  Pipe a ring of the chocolate frosting around the outside edge of the cake.  Fill the area inside the ring of frosting with a thick layer of the raspberry filling.  Place the second cake layer on top. Frost the sides of the cake layers with chocolate frosting.  Pipe a decorative border of the chocolate frosting on top of the cake.  Fill the area inside this border with a thick layer of the raspberry filling.  Garnish with chocolate chips, fresh raspberries, and/or additional frosting if desired.

    Fresh Fruit Tart–And fun with tarts!

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    Tarts are one of the most beautiful and versatile desserts.  There are so many options when it comes to making a tart and the end result (a lovely classic that transports well) is worth the effort. 

    In most cases tarts are comprised of three (and a half) components.  By altering the choices you make for each component you can create a wide variety of flavors and textures. In other words, the possibilities really are endless.  The components can be adapted for any season or occasion! 

    THE COMPONENTS:

    (1) Crust, sometimes called the shell

    Tart crust recipes can really run the gamut.¬† From your grandmother’s recipe for¬†pate brise/pate sucre¬†(pie crust)¬†to simply tossing together any type of finely¬†crushed cookie with melted butter, to using ground¬†toasted nuts, there are many options that work well.

    Examples of different crust types:

    Banana Pudding Tart— Nilla wafer cookie crust

    Raspberry Chocolate Tart— biscotti cookie crust

    Plum Macadamia Nut Tart— macadamia nut crust

    Apple and Meringue Tartlets— traditional pate sucre (pie crust)

    (2) Filling

    You will often see pastry cream or a simple custard as a tart filling.  However, while those might be the most common, there is no reason not to be adventurous!  Chocolate pudding, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, lemon curd, and almond paste all work well and provide a nice canvas for the layering of interesting flavors.   For some tarts, the fruit (often stewed with sugar and other spices) serves as the filling.  Again, the options are endless. 

    (3) Fruit

    ¬†The fruit is what makes a tart so beautiful.¬† In other words, the fruit is the icing on the cake!¬† (Hahaha…excuse¬†the dorky baker’s joke!)¬† The fruit you choose and how you position it on the tart will determine the tone of the tart.¬† Piles of sliced cinnamon and sugar-soaked¬†apples will say rustic.¬† Daintily arranged delicate fruit like raspberries and blueberries will say elegant.¬† A¬†cafe near my office¬†sells fruit tarts¬†brimming with every berry you can imagine.¬† To me¬†it¬†says I am fresh and delicious. All say eat me!¬†

    Decide what you want the tone of your tart to be prior to arranging the fruit and then just go for it.¬† I think this certainly falls under the category of “the more the merrier.”¬†¬†Need¬†inspiration? Let the season guide you by selecting fruits that are bountiful simultaneously (think pears and figs)¬†or that are contrasting or complementary in color (aren’t peaches and raspberries so pretty together?!).¬†

    (3.5) Glaze

    Don’t forget to dress your fruit!¬† Simply heat some apricot or seedless raspberry preserves in a saucepan over medium heat and brush across your fruit.¬† Don’t glob it on; a simple sweep of the pastry brush will suffice.¬† It is well worth the extra few minutes.¬† It will give¬†your tart that polished look that says “somebody loves me.”

     

     

    While this is a very simplistic overview, note that tarts bear endless potential.¬† (I haven’t been saying that over and over¬†for¬†nothing!)¬†And that is exactly my point for writing this!¬† Don’t be afraid to try fresh combinations of fillings¬†and exotic¬† fruit¬†¬†and nuts.¬†Mix and match recipes¬†for new and exciting flavors!¬† Have fun!

    Fresh Fruit Tart:

    (pictured above)

    crust

    • 2 cups Nilla wafers, crushed into fine crumbs
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 F.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine all crust ingredients and stir with a fork until mixture is moist, like wet sand. Pour into a well-buttered 9- or 10-inch tart pan and press into an even layer, going up the sides of the tart.
    Bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is just starting to brown at the edges. Cool completely.

    filling

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extractIn a saucepan bring the butter, milk, and light cream to a boil. While this mixture is cooking, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and eggs in a bowl and whip using a whisk.

    When the cream/ milk/butter mixture reaches the boiling point, whisk in the egg mixture and cook to boiling.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent it from burning.  As it begins to thicken, clumps may form.  Use a whisk to smooth it out. Boil for 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to press the pastry cream through a strainer into a bowl.  Whisk in vanilla extract. Cover the surface with plastic wrap touching the pudding.  (This prevents a film from forming.)  Chill overnight if possible, or for at least a few hours. 

  • assemble

    • fresh fruit (kiwi slices, raspberries, and halved strawberries work well)
    • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

    Spread filling into cooled crust.  Arrange fruit on top.  Melt preserves in a saucepan and lightly brush over fruit.

    POM-gria

    j

    The very generous folks from POM Wonderful sent me several bottles of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice.  They also sent a very informative fact sheet containing some interesting information about pomegranate juice and the health benefits of drinking it.  Here are a couple of points that I found particularly interesting:

    • “Wonderful” is actually a variety of pomegranates known for¬†its “unique combination of superior¬†antioxidants, delicious taste, and deep crimson color.”¬†¬†I found this interesting because I thought “POM Wonderful” was just the name of the company!¬†I had no idea it referred to a type of pomegranate.
    • Pomegranate juice is often referred to as “the most potent antioxidant in nature” and is linked to improved cardiovascular and prostate health.

    POM Wonderful is 100% juice and does not contain any added sugar.  Each 8 ounce bottle contains 150 calories.  I have been sipping on these adorable little bottles of juice for a few weeks now (in fact I think I can credit them with nursing me back to health during a nasty flu virus). 

    Boston weather this week was much less than desirable, but suddenly, on Friday afternoon the sun came out!  I immediately determined it was SANGRIA time. What better way to kick off a beautiful weekend than with a batch of fresh sangria!?  I had a few bottles of POM Wonderful remaining and I knew they would make the perfect addition to my concoction!   

    POM-gria is not only delicious, but it is probably the most nutritious¬†a cocktail could possibly be!¬† The health benefits of red wine have been bludgeoned into our heads—right?¬† Take that wine and add “the most potent antioxidant in nature” (POM Wonderful juice), raspberries (also touted for their high level of antioxidants), orange and peach slices (hello Vitamin C), and there you have a cocktail worthy of every sip.¬†

    POM-gria (Sangria):

    • 1 12-ounce bottle of red wine
    • 3 oranges, sliced with skin still on
    • 2 peaches, sliced with skin still on
    • 1-2 cups raspberries, frozen or fresh
    • the juice of two limes
    • 2 8-ounce bottles of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice
    • 1/2 liter of Pomegranate flavored seltzer (Polar is great)

    Put the orange slices, peach slices, and raspberries into a pitcher or container.  Pour wine, lime juice, and POM Wonderful juice over all of the fruit.  Let it sit for at least an hour.  (Over night is best.) Just before serving add seltzer.  Serve chilled.

    Eating the wine-soaked fruit is the best part!

    j

    Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Biscotti Crust

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    This tart is rich, creamy, and delicious!¬† The biscotti is a nice surprise and it adds some dimension to the dessert.¬† The filling is so creamy!¬† And making it is shockingly straightforward.¬† The only thing I would do differently is I would be more careful when covering with plastic wrap.¬† As you can see from the photo, the plastic wrap did not go on smooth so little dips in the surface of the filling developed.¬† However, this subtlety did NOT affect the taste or the presentation.¬† It is really a lovely dessert—A perfect ending to a dinner party.¬†

    Also, there is something very Valentine’s Day about this dessert.¬† The berries, the chocolate, the richness.¬† Spoil your honey–better yet–spoil yourself!

    Raspberry Chocolate Tart with Biscotti Crust:

    Biscotti Crust:

    • 8 ounces biscotti cookies
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    Filling:

    • 1/3 cup raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
    • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

    Raspberry Sauce:

    • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
    • 2 tablespoons sugar

    Garnish:

    • Fresh raspberries

    Make the biscotti crust

    Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously grease a 9 inch fluted tart pan.

    Using your food processor, blender, or Magic Bullet*  puree the biscotti until they are finely ground.  Transfer crumbs to a bowl and add the melted butter.  Stir to combine.  Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 12-18 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool in the tart pan on a wire rack.

    Make the filling

    First make the raspberry sauce by pureeing the raspberries in your food fprocessor, blender, or Magic Bullet until smooth.  Pour into a strainer set over a bowl and use a rubber spatula to push the puree through the strainer into the bowl.  The seeds will remain in the strainer.  Add sugar and stir to dissolve.  Set aside.

     

    Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside.  In a saucepan, bring heavy whipping cream to a boil.  Immediately pour over chocolate and let sit for five minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in 1/3 cup of the raspberry sauce.

    Pour the filling into the cooled tart crust.  Smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    Just before serving, top with fresh raspberries! 

    Adapted from Joy of Baking.com.

    *Do you own a Magic Bullet?  It is a perfect tool for recipes like this tart!  In the time it takes to pull your food processor out, you can have small chopping or pureeing tasks done with the Magic Bullet !   It took literally minutes to puree the biscotti and then the the raspberries.  When working with small quantities, this little gadget is extremely efficient.