Fall In Love with These Red Desserts

Delight your sweetheart with a tasty treat!
February 8, 2024
Flourless Chocolate Berry Cake Photo by Faith Kramer

Looking for something red to give your loved one on February 14th? Delight your sweetheart with a tasty treat!

Faith Kramer’s flourless chocolate berry cake is the ultimate decadent dessert. 

“Roses and chocolate are traditional expressions of love in our culture and I wanted to create something that included those elements,” Kramer, author “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen,” told the Journal. “In the end I came up with this fudgy, gluten-free deep chocolate cake that is made all the more special by the rosewater-raspberry jam and rosewater-flavored whipped cream.”

Kramer’s cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day or for almost any occasion.

“Everyone always tells me they love it, so to me it really is a dessert of love!” Kramer said.

Flourless Chocolate Berry Cake 

Recipe by Faith Kramer adapted from “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen” (The Collective Book Studio)

Serves 8

This not-too-sweet cake is fudgy and dark with an almost pudding-like interior. It is a dense and gluten-free chocolate cake with a subtle floral note of rose water and the sweet tang of raspberry jam. Rose water can get strong fast, so be sure to taste as you go. It’s available in specialty, Middle Eastern and Indian markets. The cake is worthy of your best-quality chocolate, but semi-sweet chocolate chips will work fine. It is very rich when topped with the rosewater-flavored whipped cream.

1/2 cup unsalted butter or vegan stick margarine, plus more for the pan
10 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, divided
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup almond flour
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 to 1 teaspoon rose water
3 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar or additional unsweetened cocoa, optional
Whipped cream topping, optional (see note for instructions)
Raspberries or sliced strawberries for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the paper.
Cut the ½ cup of butter into cubes. In a 7- to 8-inch heat-proof mixing bowl, combine the butter and chocolate. Put a few inches of water in the bottom of a 5- to 6-inch saucepan and place the bowl over it. Water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. (You can also use a double boiler.) Bring the pan of water to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to low and stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth. Turn off the heat but leave the pan and bowl in place.
Separate four of the eggs. In a medium bowl, whip the whites with an electric hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, remaining 2 eggs, sugar, vanilla, cocoa and almond flour until smooth. Working in batches, fold the chocolate mixture into the almond flour mixture. Then, working in batches, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate-almond mixture. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is somewhat firm and springs back to the touch. (The cake will still be wet and fudgy inside.) Let cool in the pan. Once it is totally cool, remove the sides, invert onto a plate, and remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment. Using a long, serrated knife, gently cut the cake in half horizontally, creating two layers. (For best results, slice into layers only when totally cool or even chilled.)
In a small bowl, mix the jam with 1/2 teaspoon of rose water. Taste, and add additional rose water, if desired. Place one cake layer cut side up on a platter. Spread it with jam, place the second layer on top, cut side down. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or spread with whipped cream topping (if using). Decorate with raspberries (if using).
Note: To make whipped cream topping: In a large bowl, whip 1/2 pint heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon rose water with an electric hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Taste, and add more rose water, if desired.

Dawn Lerman’s pomegranate infused sugar cookies are crunchy on the edges and soft and gooey in the middle. 

“I baked them in middle school for a boy that I had a crush on and they were more effective than Cupid’s arrow at winning his heart,“ Lerman, a board-certified nutrition expert and the author of “My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love and Family, With Recipes,” told the Journal. 

“Over the years I have tweaked the recipe using monk fruit instead of white sugar, and pomegranate juice instead of food coloring,” she said. “All the sweetness with an extra helping of healthy love.” 

Pomegranate Infused Sugar Cookies

Yields 12 large cookies or 24 small

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 1/4 cups oat flour (or you can make your own milling oats in a blender)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. of pomegranate juice
1/3 cup of monk fruit sugar or your sugar of choice for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Blend wet ingredients into the mixture. Chill batter for 20 minutes.
On a baking sheet, lined with baking parchment or lightly greased, spoon out the batter. Flatten with a spatula (or better yet, get your hands dirty). Sprinkle it with your sugar of choice.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Red Fondant Heart Cake Photo by John Paul Endress

Since Judy Elbaum likes to bake, one of her favorite Valentine’s Day endeavors is preparing a heart-shaped cake. Cover the heart with red fondant and you have a stunning and special dessert.  

“If you’ve never worked with fondant before, I encourage you to try it,” Elbaum, founder of the “Leave it to Bubbe” blog, told the Journal. “It handles quite easily, is fun to work with, is somewhat reminiscent of play dough and it produces a very professional looking cake.” 

Elbaum’s heart cake is sure to delight your Valentine.

Red Fondant Heart Cake 

2 – 9” by 2” heart-shaped baking pans
1 box of Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake—18.25 ounces
1 32-ounce container of red fondant (You can find kosher fondant online or at stores that sell baking products and supplies)
Confectioners sugar
Decorative icing flowers to garnish cake

For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour the two heart-shaped baking pans.
To prepare the cake batter, follow the directions on the cake mix box.
Divide the batter evenly into the two heart-shaped pans.
Bake for approximately 25-to-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the fondant:
Remove about 1 pound of red fondant from the container. Place in the microwave briefly to soften for about 10 seconds at level 3 per instructions on the container. If necessary, place in the microwave for another 10 seconds to make the fondant pliable.
Place red fondant on a wooden or plastic board where you can roll it out with a rolling pin. Roll the fondant into a circle, which is approximately 14 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.
If the fondant becomes sticky, sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on the board.
Gently lift up the fondant and place it over the heart cake. It should take on the shape of the cake. Trim the excess fondant from the bottom of the cake.
You can repeat this process with the second heart cake or freeze it for future use.

* Do not hesitate to get creative and use different types of cake mixes and fondant; for example, chocolate cake with white fondant, or a white cake with chocolate fondant.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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