The Secret Ingredients of Valentine’s Day

Secret ingredients of Valentines Day Caught you smiling!  How is it this picture evokes so many fond and joyful memories of our younger days?  I credit these hearts as the precursor to text messaging.  Keep it short and simple. ...

Secret ingredients of Valentines Day
Secret ingredients of Valentines Day

Caught you smiling!  How is it this picture evokes so many fond and joyful memories of our younger days?  I credit these hearts as the precursor to text messaging.  Keep it short and simple.  Find some play and joy to make someone laugh or just to let them know that they are on your mind.

There are a few secret ingredients to make some one?s day and make them smile.  Homemade is on my list, somehow chocolate always makes the list and it must be prepared with love.  One of my favorite chefs remains Ina Garten.  Ina,  or the Barefoot Contessa,  consistently comments that no matter the menu you serve, you must always make the dessert memorable.  Here is my suggestion for an easy Valentine?s dessert that I promise will be memorable shared from Ina?s 2001 recipe book, Parties!

I will make a new serving suggestion that will WOW your guest or guests.  Whether this is served following a dinner you have prepared at home or if you bring the party back to your home after a dinner out, I can promise a lot  of fanfare with this very simple dessert.  Warning:  This Chocolate Ganache Cake has brought men to their knees.

Ina Garten begins by crediting Devon Fredericks and Susan Costner who wrote the first Loaves and Fishes Cookbook in 1978 with this recipe.  My suggestion, make the cake fresh and frost this with the warm ganache at serving time, maybe even adding a decadent scoop of a French Vanilla ice cream.  This trick of the warm Ganache will WOW your guests and make this simple and decadent treat a standard in your recipe box.  You can engage your dinner guests in helping to create this molten lava or you can sneak away to the kitchen and create this surprise.   This single layer cake is a piece of art!

Chocolate Ganache Cake

The ingredient list is modest, so I suggest no substitutions for Ina Garten?s Chocolate Ganache Cake.

Cake

Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 16-ounces of Hershey?s chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl in an electric mixer with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla.  Add flour and mix just until combined.  Do not overbeat, or the cake will be tough.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until just set in the middle.  Do not overbake!  Let cool in the pan about 15 minutes and then invert onto your favorite festive serving platter.  Cool completely before covering with plastic wrap.  Do not refrigerate.

Ganache

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
Directions:

For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips and instant coffee granules in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally with a whisk.   When you are ready to serve, pour this rich decadent ganache over your prepared cake and serve immediately.  Again, I often opt to include some French Vanilla ice cream atop this treat and a pot of piping hot coffee is always appreciated as well.

Take the time to make this Ganache at the last minutes and you too can make this dessert even more memorable.  Homemade, chocolate and prepared with love these are the secret ingredients. Enjoy your Valentine?s Day and share the love!