A great friend to us in the Paula Deen Test kitchen, Debby Maugans, shares a recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day. Debby is the reining southern princess of making irresistible desserts for two. In her new book Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers from St. Martin’s Press, she tempts us with over 120 recipes all loaded with chocolate and all suited for two. We found them quick to mix, quick to bake and, best yet, quick to clean up. Perfect when you want just a little something sweet. This Valentine’s Day (or any day) tempt your sweetie with Debby’s Chocolate Raspberry Cake Hearts.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake Hearts
Yields 2 cakes.
Unsalted butter for greasing the pan
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons very hot tap water
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
4 teaspoons raspberry liqueur, divided
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and divided
¾ cup heaving whipping cream, divided
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
fresh raspberries for garnish
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400º F. Lightly butter and flour an 8-inch square cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper; butter and flour the paper, and set the pan aside.
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into a small bowl. Place the eggs, sugar and water in a small deep mixing bowl; beat with a handheld electric mixer until the mixture is thick and a heavy ribbon falls when the beaters are lifted (about 4 minutes). Sift half of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture; fold in gently. Sift and fold in the remaining dry ingredients. Fold in the melted butter. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 11 to 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely.
Turn cake out onto a cutting board lined with wax or parchment paper. Using a 3 1/2-inch heart-shaped cutter, cut out four cakes. Discard scraps or reserve for nibbling. Stir together the preserves and 2 teaspoons of the liqueur; gently brush the tops and sides of the cakes with the mixture.
Place 2 ounces of the chopped chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl; microwave on medium power until the chocolate is soft (about 1 ½ minutes). Stir until smooth. While the chocolate is warm, beat ½ cup of the whipping cream in a small deep mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Quickly beat in the chocolate. Immediately drop the mousse mixture over two of the heart cakes and spread to within ½-inch of the edges. Place the remaining two heart cakes, preserves sides down, on top of the layers covered with the mousse mixture and press down gently to adhere. Smooth the sides of the cakes and refrigerate 30 minutes while preparing the glaze.
Bring the remaining ¼ cup cream and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate and liqueur; whisk until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Cool until the glaze is thickened but still pourable (about 15 minutes). Pour the glaze over the cakes, spreading the glaze to cover them. Chill until firm (at least 2 hours or up to 1 day). Garnish with fresh raspberries.
Debby Maugans is the author of Small-Batch Baking, Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers and writes the weekly “Table for Two” food column for The Birmingham News. A food writer and stylist for more than twenty five years, Maugans developed recipes for Fannie Flagg’s popular Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook. She is a contributor to www.pauladeen.com. Debby lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Visit her at www.smallbatchbaking.com.