Valentine’s dark chocolate cake

Valentine’s Day is all about baking and chocolate. This heart-shaped cake fits the bill for a love-day treat if you like your cakes dense, intensely chocolatey and not too sweet.

I adapted this recipe from one in the February issue of Food & Home, which was for an immense cake. Their recipe was for a huge double-tiered cake, which would have meant the two of us scoffing cake non-stop all weekend. This is a far less indulgent cake if there’s only two (or one) of you.

valentines cake

  • 70 g cake flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 100 ml buttermilk
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 65 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 30 g butter
  • 25 g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 C. I made my cake in a silicone heart-shaped cakeform (dimensions 20 x 18.5 x 4 cm). If you’re doubling the recipe, make the cake in a 20 cm spring-form cake tin lined with greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder three times in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Beat the sugar and eggs with a fork or in a mixer until pale and thick.

Fold in the flour mixture to the eggs and sugar, alternating with buttermilk. When mixed, add in the melted butter and vanilla.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake until the cake comes away from the sides

To make the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over boiling water. Sift in the icing sugar and mix to combine.

Easy peasy chocolate cupcakes

I’ve been trawling the internet for the best and easiest chocolate cupcake recipe, and I think this is definitely it. Martha Stewart’s recipe for one-bowl chocolate cupcakes couldn’t be easier. A lot of cupcake recipes call for copious amounts of oil, but these use only three tablespoons of it, relying instead on yoghurt or buttermilk for moisture. Moist they are, and darkly chocolatey too.

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes around 22 cupcakes.

  • ¾ cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the over to 180C. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix for about two minutes until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each two thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back with touched with a knife.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

Simple icing:

  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 4 T melted butter
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and mix well until smooth. To make chocolate icing for some of the cupcakes, melt 3-4 blocks of dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate with a teaspoon of butter, and mix into some of the vanilla icing.

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cupcakes

Healthy carrot cake loaf

I got this recipe from 101cookbooks.com. I love carrot cake but find it’s often oily and too sweet. I love this healthy cake, because you don’t have to feel guilty about eating lots of it. I’ve adapted the 101cookbooks recipe a bit, leaving out the cream cheese icing and adding my own “icing” which is more of a yoghurt dressing. The cake is really nice with the “icing” and chopped strawberries, but it’s also good without.

Carrot Cake Loaf

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 100g finely chopped walnuts
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, heated until just melted
  • 1/2 cup dried dates, seeded and finely chopped into a paste
  • 3 ripe bananas (1 1/4 cups), mashed well
  • sultanas
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yoghurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 3 tablespoons seed mixture (I used an omega mix with sesame seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • fat free/ low fat smooth cottage cheese
  • fat free/ low fat yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • fresh chopped strawberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Butter a 9x5x3 / 8-cup non-stick loaf pan (or 8×8 cake pan). (If using non stick, line the pan with baking paper).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the walnuts and set aside.

Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit.

In a separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Add the sultanas.

Whisk in the yoghurt and the eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together.

Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake – it’ll be less if you are using a standard cake pan. Remove from oven and let cool.

Mix together the yoghurt, cottage cheese, cinnamon and agave or honey. Add more sweetener to suit your taste. Stir in the chopped strawberries, if using them. When the cake has completely cooled take it out of the tin and cut into slices. Top with the “icing”.

Only put the “icing” on top of slices of cake that you plan to serve immediately. As it’s not real icing, it will make the cake soggy if left on too long.

Slice of Carrot Cake