While I will never claim to be a fan of Valentine's Day, I am most certainly a fan of Valentine's Day desserts. I'd say the traditional "date night" dessert would have to be a chocolate lava cake of some sort, likely garnished with a sprig of mint, a single strawberry and sprinkle of powdered sugar. Although it's tasty, it's dated and should probably go to the dessert retirement home. (Nobody wants that sprig of mint, anyway.)
It's time we think outside of the box….and into the cage. A white chocolate cage, that is! I've been wanting to do a post about chocolate cages for a while because they are actually pretty easy and the payoff is a unique and fancy-pants dessert. They're also great at masking what would otherwise be a couple un-exicting, un-frosted cake layers. This white chocolate cage is absolutely perfect for my annual Valentines dessert. Individual devil's food cakes are filled with whipped cream and raspberries, then hidden within a fun white chocolate pattern. So to my Valentine traditionalists out there….You'll be thrilled to see your beloved chocolate cake and berries still make an appearance this V-day. It just got a much needed makeover.
Devil's Food Cakes
Makes 2 4-inch layer cakes
Devil's Food Cake INGREDIENTS
1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature 1/3 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan, line with parchment paper, then grease the paper.
In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated, then mix in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk until the batter is completely mixed and smooth. Slowly mix in the coffee and beat until just incorporated.
Pour into the pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
2 (6-ounce) containers of raspberries, rinsed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Combine 2 cups of raspberries and the sugar in a shallow saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the raspberries are broken down and thickened. Set aside to cool.
Set the remaining raspberries aside to top the finished cakes.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on medium so the cream doesn’t splatter, then increase the speed to high once the mixture starts to thicken. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the Cakes
Use a 4-inch circle cookie cutter to cut 4 cake circles. Set the scraps aside to eat later! (or, while you make the raspberry filling:) Place one cake circle on a small plate and top with a large spoonful of raspberry filling. Scoop a large spoonful of whipped cream on top. Place second chocolate cake circle on top, then repeat the raspberry and whipped cream. Assemble the second cake in the same way.
Arrange remaining raspberries in a circular pattern on top of the cakes, then place in the fridge while you make the white chocolate cage.
White Chocolate Cage
1 1/2 cups white chocolate
Cut 2 strips or parchment paper that are 3" tall by 13" wide and set on a flat surface.
Place the white chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir, repeating until the chocolate is just about melted. Scoop the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag, then cut off the very tip of one of the corners.
Working quickly, pipe lines across the parchment paper. (You can do whatever design you like here, so get creative! Just remember that all the lines need to be connected in some way.) While the chocolate is still wet, carefully pick up the parchment strips and place on another flat surface. (This will give your chocolate cage clean edges.)
Watch the chocolate so that it doesn't harden too much. You want it cooled enough that you can touch it without smudging it, but soft/flexible enough to bend. It only took a couple minutes for my chocolate to get to this point.
Remove the cakes from the fridge and carefully wrap the parchment (chocolate side in) around the cakes. Let the white chocolate fully harden for another 5 minutes, then carefully peel away the parchment. Unless your kitchen is cool, it's best to keep the cakes in the fridge until serving.