Our founder always treats her nearest and dearest to something extra-special on February 14th. This year, she’s baking two kinds of swoon-worthy cakes: rich flourless chocolate minis and our white, coconut-topped cover star. Follow her simple steps, and share a little piece of your heart, too.
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martha stewart piping frosting
Credit: Johnny Miller

Every year at Martha Stewart Living, we challenge ourselves to create something beautiful and delicious for Valentine's Day. Sarah Carey, our editorial director of food and entertaining, and I meet to discuss such pleasant "problems," and this year we came up with two delectable confections: mini flourless chocolate cakes, and a layered vanilla heart cake garnished with raspberries, crème-fraîche frosting, and coconut. They both say "I love you" twice: once when you look at them, and again when you devour your serving!

flourless chocolate heart mini cakes topped with swiss-meringue buttercream
Credit: Johnny Miller

The chocolate Roberta heart recipe, which we've adapted into sweet individual servings as Roberta Heart Cakes with Buttercream, was developed many years ago in my catering kitchen by baker Roberta Kins, who once made 38 large ones in a single day for a party (hence it's named after her). We all loved this dessert, and it was a big hit with our clients, too. The chocolate cakes get a flavor boost from dark rum and instant espresso. They puff up slightly in the oven, then set into a delicate, truffle-like consistency as they cool. I used a pastry bag fitted with small leaf and star tips to decorate the tops with Swiss-meringue buttercream.

Raspberry-and-Custard-Filled Vanilla Heart Cake
Credit: Johnny Miller

For the white layer cake, our Raspberry-and-Custard-Filled Vanilla Heart Cake, we enriched a light genoise-like batter (a European sponge made with eggs and butter) with fresh vanilla bean for extra flavor, and crème fraîche for richness. We sandwiched vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberries between the layers (strawberries would also be tasty), then artfully arranged more fruit on top.

Neither of these gorgeous desserts is really difficult to make, so I hope you will enjoy them with your loved ones. Happy Valentine's Day!

A Berry Sweet How-to

To make our raspberry-and-cream-filled confection, you'll need a 10-inch heart-shaped pan ($11.49, amazon.com), a long serrated knife to cut the cake into two layers, a 4 1/2-to-5-inch heart cookie cutter, and an offset spatula to spread the icing easily. Let the cake cool completely, then follow these steps to assemble and decorate it.

heart shaped cake layers with raspberry filling
Credit: Johnny Miller

Slice Cake Horizontally

Then stamp out a smaller heart from the center of one layer. Spread pastry cream over the other half and top with berries.

cut out heart shaped cake layers with raspberry filling
Credit: Johnny Miller

Spread More Cream

Dollop more of the pastry-cream mixture over the berries, and gently smooth it so they are covered.

heart shaped cut out cake layer
Credit: Johnny Miller

Stack and Chill

Place the layer with the cutout on top, bottom-side up. Refrigerate cake for about two hours to firm up the filling before frosting.

heart shaped cake layer with whipped frosting
Credit: Johnny Miller

Ice Top and Sides

Our crème-fraîche frosting contains gelatin, so it stays silky when spreading. Fill the hollow with more pastry cream, then smooth it out.

heart shaped cake with coconut flake layer
Credit: Johnny Miller

Coat with Coconut

Sprinkle the top heart border with sweetened, shredded coconut that has been baked for a few minutes to remove excess moisture.

adding raspberry top layer to heart cake
Credit: Johnny Miller

Finish with Berries

Fill the hollow with whole raspberries. Start by outlining the small heart shape, then work inward to cover it.

Makeup by Daisy Toye; Tracksuit by Suzie Ko.

Martha Stewart Living, January/February 2022

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