Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's a silly holiday but I can't help getting all lovey dovey when I see big red and pink hearts everywhere. I'm a hopeless romantic at heart what can I say. :-)
I hope you are enjoying this day with your sweetheart and if you're single: friends, chocolate, and some wine are just as good... if not better!
If you're in the mood for baking today, here's a flourless chocolate cake recipe you should try. It's the recipe for the Italian Caprese Cake which I topped with a meringue frosting. It's pretty easy, there are just a few tricky steps but I'll explain them through. This is Mr. Amore's favorite cake so I made it for him this Valentine's Day.
Ingredients for the cake:
Skinned almonds - 200gr
Sugar - 180gr
Butter (room temperature) - 200gr
Dark Chocolate - 150gr
The first step is to roast your almonds for about 10 minutes in the oven at 400°F. Just lay them flat on a baking sheet and they should brown some once done.
Next place them in a blender or mixer (I used my Nutribullet) and set aside.
I got a creamy, buttery texture with my Nutibullet but if your consistency is drier and more flour-like, it's fine as well.
Next step is to melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or in a microwave if you prefer).
Now mix the egg yolks, butter, sugar and almonds until thoroughly blended and set aside the egg whites.
The batter should be pretty thick at this point as pictured above.
Now in a clean glass or metal bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
This is the tricky part... you have to very slowly and gently incorporate the two being careful not to over-whip the egg whites.
This is what the final batter should look like.
Add to cake pan and bake in preheated oven at about 340°F for one hour.
Now for the meringue topping, whip up 4 egg whites, half a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and whip as done above, until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you like for decoration.
Now add the meringue topping to the cake and decorate as you wish.
Return to oven for about 10 minutes and voilà! If you have some topping left over you can make little meringues like these.
And if you happen to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers this Valentine's Day and want to keep them fresh for as long as possible here are some tips to make them last longer.
Cut the ends off under running water or in a bowl of water to make sure no air enters the stem.
Try adding half an espresso cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water. This is a homemade flower preservative that balances the pH of the water and helps keep the flowers bright and vibrant longer.
Happy Valentine's Day!