Valentine’s Day is a week away, and I’m starting to make plans. David and I usually eat in. I’ll probably roast up a little rack of lamb because it’s so perfect for two people. There’ll probably be some smoked salmon and champagne involved. Desserts’s a little harder. Last year I made crepes. This year I’m updating an old favorite–Valentine Cakes for Two.
These little chocolate-cherry cakes are perfect for two (or four if you’re really disciplined). Enjoy them for Valentine’s Day dinner and that’s it. They’re gone. There’s no whole cake with two slices removed tempting you for the next few days.
But there will be some leftover cherry filling, which you can virtuously stir into your yogurt the next morning.
Chocolate-Cherry Valentine Cakes for Two
There will be a little leftover cherry sauce, which is excellent served warm over pancakes or waffles or served chilled over ice cream or yogurt.
10 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries (2 cups), halved
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate
4 shortcakes, also known as dessert shells
2 tablespoons chopped roasted almonds, plus a few whole for garnish
Bring cherries, sugar and 1/4 cup water to boil in a medium saucepan. When mixture starts to simmer, whisk in cornstarch mixture. Continue to simmer until mixture thickens to sauce consistency. Off heat, stir in extract and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, mix 1 cream and chocolate in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup or other microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power until cream is just hot enough to melt the chocolate, 45 seconds to a minute, whisking to make a smooth glaze.
Place 2 of the shortcakes on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Fill each well with as much of the cherry filling as will fit. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of almonds. Cap with remaining cakes, well side down.
Pour glaze over each cake, letting chocolate cascade down the sides. Remove rack from baking sheet, scrape chocolate back into measuring cup, set rack back on baking sheet, and repeat pouring chocolate over cakes until they are completely coated Let cakes stand until chocolate sets. Can be loosely covered with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature overnight.
Set a cake on each dessert plate. Garnish with cherries and almonds and serve.