But there is always time for a little romance isn’t there?
Or at least that’s what us girls like to think, the fact that the menfolk in our lives probably wouldn’t even notice this cake is heart-shaped should not put you off! What they will indeed notice is that its DELICIOUS.
I first made this cake from Nigella Lawson’s Feast book about three years ago and have since made it in many guises and versions including little cupcakes and with blueberries instead of raspberries.
I’ve simplified her recipe somewhat but am glad to say it hasn’t compromised the taste. Buy your chocolate from lidl or aldi, and feel free to replace some of the very dark chocolate with milk if that’s your taste - I’m not really into being intimidated into “having” to like the latest food fad. If you like it use it if not tailor the recipe!
FOR THE CAKE:
75g/1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp real vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
175g plain flour
3 tbsp best cocoa (I used Green&Blacks)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
FOR THE FILLING:
100ml double cream
FOR THE GANACHE ICING:
100ml double cream
100g dark chocolate, minimum 70per cent cocoa solids
1/2 tbsp golden syrup
Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170c.
My heart shaped tin was a gift from my friend KT and I think came from HomeStore+More but they are widely available. I only have one so I cook it all in the one tin and then split it across the middle once cooled but the recipe does call for two tins! And of course you can make it in square or round tins aswell, it won’t be any less delicious!
Grease and line two shallow 23cm heart-shaped tins with cut-out hearts of baking paper. Pour the milk into a small pan with the butter and heat until warm and the butter has melted. Or you can just stick a jug in the microwave. When hot, add the vanilla.
Whisk the eggs and sugar till thick, light and frothy, really frothy; I use the flat paddle of my Kenwood mixer for this, but you could equally well use a handheld electric whisk.
Combine the flour, cocoa and bicarb. Still beating the eggs and sugar, or going back to beat the eggs and sugar, pour in the hot buttery, vanilla’d milk and when incorporated, slowly fold in the flour-bicarb-cocoa mixture, either with the flat paddle on slow or with a rubber spatula by hand. You will need a final scrape-down and fold with a rubber spatula in any event.
Divide this mixture between the two tins and bake for about 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack and let cool in their tins for about 10 minutes before turning the cakes out, and then turning them over so that they are sitting on the wire rack, out of their tins, the right way up. (This is because they are such tender sponges that the wire racks will leave indentations.)
Now, I know the cakes look very thin and flat at this point, but I promise you the finished cake has the requisite depth once it’s filled and iced.
Leave the cakes until cool before icing. You can make them a day in advance, but they are sticky so you must wrap them in baking parchment before wrapping in foil.
To fill the heart, whip the cream until thick but not stiff. Add the raspberries and crush with a fork, though not too finely. The cream should turn wonderfully pink, in a rose-and-white mottled fashion. Sandwich the hearts with this raspberry cream.
For the Ganache
Put the cream, the chocolate cut up in small pieces, and syrup in a pan over low to medium heat and when the chocolate seems to have all but melted into the warm cream, take off the heat and start whisking - just with a little hand whisk - until you have a smooth, glossy mixture. Pour, and then spread, preferably with a palette knife, over the top of the cake to the edges of the heart (not worrying too much about drips).
Take out your punnet of raspberries and, about 1cm or slightly less in from the edges of the heart, stud the chocolate topping with the raspberries (hole side down) or however, indeed, you like.
You can see from the picture that all is not lost, or not quite, if you are heavy-handed and sadly lacking in the decorative arts. This photo is really of one that I made and not taken from Nigella’s own site I am proud to say …
I have also made the same cake using a regular madiera mixture with cocoa added and then iced as above for a lighter version – also YUM!