Chocolate Heart Cake

If you make this dark and densely chocolatey cake in a heart-shaped tin it is particularly appropriate for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion when you want to show that you have cooked with love. The cake is best made the day before but glazed with chocolate shortly before eating. Use chocolate that contains at least 50 per cent cocoa solids.

Ingredients

  • 175 g/6 oz plain chocolate
  • 50 g/2 oz butter
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 75 g/3 oz dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1 red rose, to decorate

For the chocolate glaze

  • 175 g/6 oz plain chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 4 teaspoons plain yoghurt

Method

Butter a heart-shaped cake tin (approximately 20 cm/8 in across at its widest point), line the base with a piece of buttered baking parchment cut to shape and dust lightly with flour.

Break up the chocolate and put it with the butter into a bowl set over a pan of very hot but not boiling water, making sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl. Stir until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat. Put the egg yolks into a mixing bowl, whisk in the sugar and then very thoroughly whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon on to the mixture and stir in evenly. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they hold soft peaks. Using a metal spoon, fold the whites into the chocolate mixture a little at a time. Then spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until a small knife inserted in the centre of the wide part of the heart comes out just about clean — this cake should not be allowed to overcook.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for a few minutes — it will sink slightly. Then loosen the edges carefully with a knife and turn the cake out on to a rack to cool, removing the baking parchment and turning the cake the right way up.

To make the glaze, break up the chocolate and put it with the vanilla essence into a bowl set over a pan of very hot water, making sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then stir in the yoghurt.

Put the cold cake on a flat serving dish and place 4 strips of baking parchment just under the cake — one on each side of the cake to stop the glaze getting on to the plate. Pour the chocolate glaze on to the cake and spread it all over the top and sides with a palette knife.

Place one real red rose at the top of the heart to one side. When the chocolate has set, carefully pull out the strips of baking parchment from under the cake. Keep the cake at coolish room temperature but not in the fridge. Serve with crème fraîche or cream. A raspberry purée makes a lovely additional accompaniment.

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