Well if this isn’t the perfect Valentine’s dessert for chocolate lovers, I’m at a loss. Actually, it’s a perfect dessert for just about any time of the year, Valentine’s Day just happens to be rapidly approaching at the moment. Rich, decadent, beautiful and totally delicious. Pretty swoon-worthy if you ask me. Entertaining and need an impressive dessert? These cakes are ideal because you can bake the cakes, make the creme anglaise, and puree the raspberry coulis the day before. All that remains on the day of your event…dipping cakes in chocolate ganache and assembly. Another reason to make these for your guests, they look as good as they taste. Stunningly beautiful. And a stunningly beautiful dessert that doesn’t require pastry chef skills…Yay!!!
As I mentioned this is an amazing dessert for any time of the year. In fact, this recipe was developed for my chocolate loving little princess, not Valentine’s Day. Her birthday happens to be in February and her only requirements…chocolate, and chocolate with red or pink decorations. I began looking through my cookbooks for anything that looked appealing and came up with a chocolate sour cream cake as my base. This recipe is drastically different from my starting point (a chocolate cake recipe in Baking Illustrated). It makes me so happy to create my own, especially when it turns out to be the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!!! Since I try not to use any artificial ingredients or colors, the use of raspberries made us both happy. And, what little girl (or any human, grown or little) doesn’t love an individual cake? It’s special, makes one feel honored.
Let’s talk about the decorating options. There are so many easy ways to embellish this dessert. For the ganache, I simply dunked the bundt cakes in the bowl of ganache allowing excess to drip off. After doing this, give the ganache some time to set up (an hour or two should be fine. In the top photo, I spooned a couple of tablespoons of the creme anglaise onto a plate, added the raspberry coulis in dots (helps to use a squeeze bottle), and used a toothpick to swirl the raspberry coulis into the creme anglaise. In the second photo, the raspberry coulis dots were drawn through in a straight line down the center of each dot, creating a heart shape. I also wanted to give an option where the creme anglais and raspberry coulis were not used. In the third photo, I blended up some freeze-dried raspberries into a powder, made a simple heart stencil using parchment paper, placed the stencil on my plate, and dusted the raspberry powder over the stencil using a fine mesh sieve. This powder may also be used to sprinkle on top of the cakes. All cakes are adorned with fresh raspberries that have been glazed with a melted, seedless raspberry jam.
If you want to guarantee awesome results when baking, the use of a scale for measuring ingredients is preferred. A quality digital scale affordable and definitely a worthy investment if you are serious about baking. In the previous recipes, I did not give weight measurements for my desserts. I was on the fence about it, being unsure if it would appeal to the masses since many in the United States still don’t use scales. Well, now that I’ve lured you into my world, let’s try using a scale for measuring ingredients when baking! I’ve also included volume measurements because I never want to leave anyone out. You can always use the spooning flour into measuring cups and leveling off method, it’s just not as precise.
Hoping you make the ones you love smile with these beautiful cakes!
Happy Valentine’s Day 💕
Yields: 9 mini bundt cakes Bake Time: 20-24 minutes
Special Equipment: mini bundt pans
- 6.4 oz. (1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 oz. (1 cup) cocoa (not Dutch process)
- 2 oz. semisweet chocolate (60-64%), chopped
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 8 oz. (1 cup) whole milk (simmering)
- 6 oz. (3/4 cup) sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 10 oz. sugar (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 oz. quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 8 oz. heavy cream
- 4 oz. heavy cream
- 4 oz. whole milk
- 1/2 of a vanilla bean
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- pinch of salt
- 1 package (10 oz.) frozen raspberries (not in syrup), thawed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- fresh raspberries
- melted seedless raspberry jam for glazing fruit (optional)
- Freeze dried raspberries, ground to a powder in blender
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Grease and flour 9 mini bundt cake pans
- Adjust rack to center position in oven
Begin by bringing the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Next, mix the cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate, and instant espresso together in a medium bowl. Add the simmering milk to the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth and all chocolate has melted. Cool to room temperature before adding sour cream and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Whisk the sifted flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/3 of the chocolate mixture. Mix just until incorporated and repeat the process two more times, mixing and scraping down the bowl until evenly incorporated.
Fill the prepared mini bundt pans about 2/3 of the way full, smoothing the tops with a small spatula or butter knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-24 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted a few moist crumbs should be attached and when pressed with your finger, the cake should lightly spring back. remove to cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting the bundt cake pan to unmold. Cool cakes completely before dipping in ganache. If making ahead, wrap cooled cakes in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight.
For the creme anglaise, begin by adding cream and milk to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the seeds from the split vanilla bean and the vanilla bean pod (I cut my vanilla bean in half horizontally, seal the half I’m not using in an airtight container and split the remaining half down the center). Bring the cream mixture to a simmer and then remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until well combined and light in color. Slowly, and I mean slowly, whisk in the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture. return to the saucepan and stir over a low heat until the custard begins thickens and a path is left when your finger is drawn across the back of a spoon. Place through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to ensure perfect consistency. mix in the pinch of salt, cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate until ready to use.
The ganache could be prepared ahead of time and reheated, but it’s so simple, I always do it right before I’m ready to use.
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk until completely smooth. This makes more ganache than you will need for the cakes but keeps well in the refrigerator and I don’t believe you will let it go to waste!
For assembly instructions, see the above paragraph under photo number 3.