Kitchen Keeper: Valentine’s Day Treat

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Valentine’s Day is here and with that comes lots of chocolate and flowers. This makes for one happy pregnant momma! πŸ˜‰ Benjamin was so sweet and brought me flowers early so I’ve been enjoying them for several days now. But, of course, husbands aren’t the only givers of chocolate! Oh no, there are so many ways we can make chocolate special for our husbands. πŸ™‚ Benjamin likes rich dark chocolate, so I decided to surprise him with some cute lil chocolate cakes!

First of all, let me just say that my wonderful husband is teaching me how to use our DSLR camera….so you’ll see lots of pictures, which is me experimenting with the camera settings and aiming for good pictures. You’ll probably see some improvement over the months as I practice, but if you want to skip all the pictures and the tutorial and get straight to the recipe, keep on scrolling and you’ll find it!

Let me also say that this recipe was experimental and had some hiccups along the way, but I am so pleased with the final result!

Mini Chocolate Heart Cakes

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Start by adding all of your dry ingredients together. And….ahem…use a bigger bowl than I did. πŸ˜‰

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Next, mix together your wet ingredients in a separate smaller bowl.

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Pour your wet into your dry and mix. Then carefully pour that steaming water into your mix. Doesn’t it look purty?

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Now pour your batter into two greased and floured 9×13 pans. I liked the 9×13 pans because they made a thinner cake and because my cookie cutter was smaller I knew I wouldn’t want a very thick cake. Bake @350 for 20 minutes. (Like my blue oven? πŸ˜‰ )

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I will just take a pause here and show you a product I LOVE! Pam baking spray. I used to actually grease and flour all of my cake pans until I discovered this stuff. It actually has flour in it and works just that same without the messiness of swirling flour around in your pan. I don’t think I have ever had a cake that did NOT come out of its pan beautifully with this stuff. Ok…commercial is over!

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And now, while your waiting for your cakes to bake, you can clean up the mess! I’m a big proponent of cleaning as I go. Of course, if I weren’t pregnant I would be there licking that bowl! πŸ™‚ But, sigh, down the drain goes those finger lickings of batter.

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And after you’ve washed your dishes or thrown them in the awesome dishwasher, you can make your cream cheese frosting!

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Once your cakes have cooled and you’ve finished making your frosting you can cut those little hearts out (that sounds so unromantic!) and then pipe some of that goodness on top. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. It will be covered my chocolately beauty later on.

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Then make your ganache and drool, I mean pour that stuff over your little cakes. I recommend putting a bowl underneath your cooling rack to catch the drippings. Otherwise you’ll run out of ganache VERY quickly. What can I say? I like recycling!

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And once you’re done you can use some leftover cream cheese frosting to pipe some pretty hearts on top!

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Mini Chocolate Heart Cakes

Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream

Ganache:

  • 6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray (or grease and flour) two 9×13 pans.
2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
3. In separate smaller bowl whisk together milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and extracts.
4. Add to dry mixture and stir till combined. Carefully incorporate boiling water until smooth.
5. Pour batter into pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
6. Let cakes sit in pans for a few minutes then take out of pans and allow to cool on racks.
For Frosting:
7. Place butter in mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and continue to beat for about 30 seconds.
8. Incorporate vanilla extract and powdered sugar on low speed. Then turn to a higher speed till light and fluffy.
9. Slowly add the heavy cream then continue to beat until even fluffier.
10. Once you have cut out your heart shaped cakes, pipe or spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top.
11. To make ganache, cook heavy cream on stove till almost simmering. Then pour over chocolate chips and stir until smooth and silky. Let it sit for about ten minutes, then carefully pour over prepared cakes. Β Allow to cool before serving.
12. Optional: use remaining cream cheese frosting to decorate tops of heart cakes.

Chocolate cake recipe adapted from HERE.

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