This Valentine’s Day, bake something special for those you love…My easy recipes will bring joy and fun to the day and your efforts will be greatly appreciated with smiles all around.
Italian Red Velvet Cake
(This cake I bake for my children)
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
2 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup coconut
1 cup oil or 1/2 cup shortening
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz Mascarpone
1/2 cup chopped pecans
For the cake – Blend the butter and oil with the sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour and baking soda and then alternately add it with the milk to the egg yolk mixture. Fold in coconut and nuts. Very gently fold in the stiff egg whites and place the mixture in 3 greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
For the frosting – Blend the first 3 ingredients until smooth and then add the nuts. Spread frosting on the cooled layers.
Raspberry Panna Cotta
(This Italian specialty I make for my husband)
1 1/2 tbsp cold water
1 1/4 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp raspberry extract
8 drops red food color
For the raspberry sauce
6 oz raspberries, plus extra for garnish
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup Chambord Royale liqueur
In a small bowl, whisk water and gelatin. Let set to bloom, 7 minutes. Spray 2 heart shaped ramekins with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk cream, milk and sugar in a pot over medium-low flame until sugar is melted and the cream is hot, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in raspberry extract, red food color and bloomed gelatin until gelatin melts.
Pour mixture among each prepared ramekin. Cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, run a butter knife around the edges of each ramekin, to loosen the panna cotta. Place a serving plate on top of the ramekin and quickly flip over to invert the panna cotta onto the plate. Repeat for the second ramekin.
Whisk 6 ounces of the raspberries, sugar and Chambord in a 2 quart pot over medium flame. Cook until sugar melts and raspberries break down, about 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard seeds and return raspberry sauce back to the pot over medium heat. Cook until sauce reduces, thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, let set to cool, 10 minutes. Place in a bowl and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve chilled raspberry sauce, drizzled around the panna cotta and garnish with remaining raspberries.
(I bake these for my grandchildren – who have my heart)
1/2 cup strawberry-flavored milk, at room temperature
6 strawberries, hulled
For the frosting and topping
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the strawberry milk, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25 to 30 min. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
Using a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece of cake out of the top of each cupcake about the same size as the strawberries, stopping about 1/2 inch from the bottom. Stuff with the strawberries, then cover with a small piece of the removed cake.
Make the frosting: Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Transfer half of the sugar-cocoa mixture to a large bowl; add the butter and 1/4 cup cream and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the remaining sugar-cocoa mixture and 1/4 cup cream and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top each with a strawberry half.