Valentine's Day 2013

Last week Tim and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a fancy dinner in instead of going out to eat.  In typical “us” fashion, Tim cooked the meal and I made the dessert.  We both unfortunately worked a little late that night and had a delayed start to our evening, but we managed to get home and put all our “to dos” aside for some time together.  I even put on a red dress and some makeup instead of changing immediately into sweatpants.  That’s huge for me.  We popped open a bottle of wine, and Tim got working on his seafood theme.  He made us Guinness soaked mussels and garlic bread for an appetizer.  I felt bad when we realized either something was missing from the mussels OR they were a little too Guinness soaked, but that’s okay.  For our main course, we had lobster and butternut squash risotto and a side of grilled asparagus.  Tim even busted out my heart-shaped cookie cutters and served my risotto in the cheesiest way possible.  After we ate (a lot), we exchanged gifts.  Tim got me a soda stream which I’m psyched about (I don’t have to buy seltzer ever again!), and I got him new man toys for his grill.  We then moved onto dessert, which was my responsibility.  I felt like baking a cake, so a cake I baked.  And because it was a cake for Tim, I tried my hand at something different and a little fancier than usual.  And I did NOT try to healthify it, but I think I would try to next time.  Just to see the difference.

Black Forest Valentine’s Cake 

Recipe inspired by Brown Eyed Baker


For the cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the cherries…

  • 1 or 2 cans (at least 20 ounces) cherries, drained
  • ¼ cup B&B (or any brandy)

For the whipped cream…

  • 3 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water, and don’t be alarmed that the batter is thin.  Divide batter between the two prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  4. Reserve desired number of cherries for decorating.  Combine the remaining cherries and the B&B, set aside.  If not using alcohol, combine the remaining cherries with the cherry juice from the jar.
  5. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft to almost-stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.
  6. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops and place one layer on a serving platter.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries and place on the cake layer.  Top with whipped cream until spread over cherries in an even layer.  Place the second layer on top, and frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream.  Decorate as desired.  I got crafty with Hershey’s kisses in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Black Forest Cake

This was seriously tasty, and I loved making my homemade whipped cream.  It was just fun to do something different, even if there was no way the two of us would polish off this entire cake and we ended up throwing some of it away.

All in all, it was a lovely and low-key Valentine’s Day.  I loved every second of it, and felt (feel?) very lucky.

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?