Sweet heart Romantic Valentine's Day cake is for someone special


LET YOUR ROMANTIC side show with this beautiful cake.

We give from-scratch directions for a delicious cake and icing but you could use a boxed mix (you'll have enough batter for two cakes) and canned white icing if you like. Be sure that the canned icing is soft enough to spread before using.

The cake can be decorated with chocolate shavings or chocolate flowers -- we give directions for both.

Throbbing Heart Cake

1 recipe rich dense chocolate raspberry cake, given below

1 recipe white chocolate buttercream, given below

22 to 25 profiteroles or pirouettes cookies, store-bought

36- to 40-inch length of one or two-inch wide ribbon to tie around cake

Fresh raspberries, for garnish, optional

Chocolate shavings, recipe below

Chocolate flowers, recipe below

To assemble: place cake on decorative platter. Ice top and sides abundantly with white chocolate buttercream. Stand profiterole cookies up and place around complete exterior of cake edges, side-by-side, and press into the buttercream to adhere. Tie the ribbon around the profiterole cookies to decoratively bind all together and finish with beautiful bow.

Mound chocolate shavings or chocolate flowers onto top icing of cake to cover completely. Dot here and there with a fresh raspberry, if desired, for a spark of color.

Rich Dense Chocolate Raspberry Cake

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons Framboise raspberry liqueur, plus additional liqueur for drizzling

1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one eight-inch round or one eight-inch heart-shaped cake pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, sour

cream, oil and 2 tablespoons Framboise and beat with mixer on lowest speed until well-blended. Add boiling water and combine. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on cake rack ten minutes before removing from pan. After removing from cake pan, prick inverted cake all over with the tongs of a fork and drizzle with the raspberry liqueur.

Let cool completely.

If a round cake pan has been used, cut a small triangle from the top of the cake and add to the bottom to form a heart shape. Don't worry about being perfect because the icing and cookies will hide any cracks.

White Chocolate Buttercream Icing 6 ounces white chocolate, use chips or cut a large block into small pieces

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 pinches cream of tartar

1 large egg

6 ounces unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks

To melt white chocolate, combine with three tablespoons water and place in a double boiler and melt slowly over simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, make the buttercream.

To make the buttercream, in a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and cream of tartar and stir. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, covered, for about one minute to dissolve sugar. Uncover and wipe down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush or damp paper towel to remove any sugar crystals. Cook until the syrup reaches 242 degrees on a candy thermometer.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with an electric mixer until pale and thick. Pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream (near the beaters to prevent spattering) into the beaten egg while beating constantly. When syrup mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until smooth. Gently beat in melted white chocolate until combined and smooth. Cool before spreading on the cake.

@Chocolate Flowers

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or squares

1/4 cup light corn syrup

Melt chocolate and corn syrup gently in a double boiler over simmering water or on medium in a microwave. Stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and hold in a cool place.

Once mixture is firm enough to roll, work with a small portion of dough at a time and roll into one-inch balls. Dough may be softened slightly in the microwave for five seconds at a time if it feels too firm. Working with your fingers press each ball into an elongated triangle to form the petal. Place these petals on wax paper.

To form the flower use a small round ball as the center. Carefully wrap each petal around the center, overlapping one another. You may want to flair the outer edges. Place the flower in a small shallow glass or cup which has been lined with foil and keep in a cool place to firm.

Chocolate Shavings

6 ounces white chocolate bar

Scrap a sharp knife or vegetable peeler against a large bar of chocolate that is slightly warmer than room temperature. Let the shavings fall on a chilled plate or wax paper and then chill to harden. Move the shavings with a chilled spatula to avoid melting them.

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