The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Valentine's Day

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leighbakes's picture

Read the original blog post here!

On Valentine's Day, I rediscovered a heart-shaped cake pan in the back of my pantry and knew I had to put it to use. Since it was my first cake attempt, I wanted to use another fairly simple recipe, so I found this recipe for dark chocolate cake on Dark Chocolate Cake. It got some pretty excellent reviews from the site's readers, including one person who wrote, "I am a pastry chef, and this is the only chocolate cake that I will make from now on." Awfully high praise! When I pictured the finished cake, I couldn't get the image of a glossy chocolate ganache-covered heart cake out of my I dug up a recipe for red wine chocolate ganache I'd seen on What could be more sexy and romantic than dark chocolate cake with red wine ganache for Valentine's Day? Okay, here's something you should know about me (if you haven't already noticed): I'm a chocoholic. This means that I often don't consider a dessert worth eating unless it contains a fair amount of chocolate. This also means that I'll need you guys to urge me to try recipes that aren't all about chocolate. I'd gladly welcome any non-chocolate recipe suggestions any time! I didn't really run into any problems mixing the batter, although it did take a long time to prepare the chocolate mixture, sift all the dry ingredients, and beat everything together. I tend to be a slow worker, but I also lack some of the tools that would make all this a lot easier, like a freestanding mixer. The cake came out looking good, though I found those big cracks down the middle distracting. Is that normal for a cake? Maybe I filled the pan too high. Because I wanted to cover this cake with poured ganache instead of frosting, I knew I had to flip it over to hide those cracks. I did, and it looked pretty great. Because I had a lot of extra batter (the recipe fills three cake pans, which I don't have), I made some extra cupcakes. These looked nicer than my last ones, but just like last time, one oozed in the oven. Seriously, why does that happen? Of course, the oozy cupcake became my taste test. I liked this cake a lot, and I can see why it got good reviews: it had a delicate texture and a nice chocolate flavor. It wasn't as moist as my last batch of cupcakes, though, so I think I'll stick with that other recipe the next time I make chocolate cupcakes. But if you're looking for a classy dark chocolate cake, this is a lovely one. More on those cupcakes later! Back to the cake... The ganache was a breeze to make. I liked the way it tasted, though it's not for the faint of heart--that stuff is rich. The very thin layer I poured over the cake turned out to be plenty; if I'd spread it on, it might have been overwhelming. As for the pouring process, it went well except for two snags. Because the cake was so rounded on the bottom, it cracked a little when I flipped it over, which showed through the ganache. Second, it was difficult to coat the sides of the cake as thickly and neatly as I'd have liked. If I were to do it again, I'd make a little more ganache for that purpose. Here's a photo of the cake covered in ganache, plus an ill-advised decoration attempt. I've learned my lesson: ganache and edible red gel do not look good together. I wanted to make a border of gel hearts, but they barely showed up on the dark background. Should've known better. As you can see, I ended up with more of a broken-heart cake than a heart cake...which seemed a little more cynical than what I was going for. I decided to cover up my bad decoration and the crack down the middle with a design using pecans. It was very experimental, but I'm pleased with the outcome. The result was a tasty cake with just the right amount of tasty ganache. The pecans didn't hurt a bit, either. My mom, who loves all things rich and chocolatey, was in love. This was the first thing I'd baked entirely from scratch that I was truly proud of! I'll save my stories about frosting those cupcakes for my next post. As always, thanks for reading and thanks for commenting! It's great to have supportive readers to keep an eye out for me as I stumble through this self-taught baking course.


korish's picture

I have baked bread for few times and feel comfertable working with the dough, but sweeets that's another story. This is my first posting sweet cookies here I origenaly had it on my blog


One of my favorite cookies that I had as a child were mint cookies with mint glaze on them, it was so refreshing to have a mint cookie with some milk on a cold winter night. With valentine's day just around the corner I decided to find my moms recipe and recreate them with a twist so they would fit more with valentine theme. This is a simple recipe that is easy to make and kids will enjoy helping.

Cookie Ingredients.

2 eggs yolks. (keep the whites for glaze)
2 cups organic sugar.
2 cups sour cream or heavy whip.
5 cups Organic white flour.
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 1 table spoon vinegar*
1/2 teaspoon of mint extract. (the amount depends on type of mint concentrate that you are using, here we will assume that this is a basic store bought mint extract).

Glaze Ingredients.

2 egg whites
2 cups of powdered sugar.
Juice of 1/2 a lemon or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
1/2 teaspoon of mint extract.
food color.

*First we should look at soda and vinegar, take your baking soda and combine it with vinegar in a separate cup.

Combine all the ingredients, add the baking soda and mix with mixer or by hand till the dough is one consistency, the dough is somewhat wet, you might need to oil your hands when working with the dough. Place the dough in a fridge for 1/2 hour to cool.

Glaze instruction.

Combine all the ingredients and mix till the glaze is semi stiff, don't mix the glaze early because it will start drying out and will become hard to work with. The best time to do this is when you start baking you cookies. Add your color to the glaze while mixing otherwise it will be snow white.


Take your dough and divide it in 2, oil the surface and roll it out with a roller in to 1/4 inch thick sheets. Cut the dough in to desire shapes, the dough is somewhat sticky so be careful when removing it from the surface, place on cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes till the cookie is golden on the bottom and still light on the top. You don't need to oil the cookie sheet if you are using heavy whip.

When the cookies are ready remove them from the oven and glaze them ether by dipping them in the glaze or by using a brush. I found it easier to use a silicon brush and to apply the glaze while the cookie is still hot, this way the glaze will melt and have a nice and even consistency.



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