Posted February 4, 2014 04:42 pm - Updated February 5, 2014 10:41 am
All dressed up for Valentine’s Day, these mini frosting-filled Red Velvet Cakes, covered with a coating of melted dark chocolate-flavored candies that hardens like the covering on an ice cream bar, will remind you of Ding Dongs® – those little cream filled cakes that are once again being marketed by Hostess Products. They are fun cakes to “play” with because they start off with a doctored-up Duncan Hines Cake Mix and are finished with a glaze made with Ghirardelli Chocolate Dark Melting Wafers, a candy making and dipping product that requires no tempering and sets up flawlessly every time. You don’t have to fill the centers of the cakes, which is really easy to do, but if you do, they’ll provide a surprise that tastes like whipped cream and tastes like silk. Equally silky is the cup of hot cocoa you can enjoy with your cakes, made with Harry & David’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Mix, or if you prefer, a demitasse-size cupful of hot chocolate, prepared with nothing more than melted bittersweet chocolate and some milk. A table set with Red Velvet Cake and hot cocoa says “Luv U 4evr, Valentine” for relationships both domestic and romantic, but should you feel the need for further expression, a handful of dark chocolate truffles, or some conversation hearts, can go a long way to further the point. Colorful candy hearts with phrases like “Be Mine,” “Crazy 4 U,” even “Txt Me” are great, but Red Velvet hearts, the ones that say “Baked with Love” are better.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cooked "Whipped Cream" Frosting
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, combine milk and flour, whisking until smooth and thick; remove from heat. Pour mixture into a small bowl and gently press a piece of plastic wrap over the top to prevent a “skin” from forming. Cool, then place in the refrigerator until mixture is very cold, removing wrap with any skin that has formed. On medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and mix well. Add cold milk/flour mixture, in thirds, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy and the sugar crystals have dissolved so that no coarse grains of sugar remain. (This could take as long as 10 minutes.) Makes 2 cups.
Bittersweet Hot Chocolate
1 cup milk, whole or low-fat
4 ounces Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Dark Chocolate
Bring the milk to a simmer in small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and quickly add the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Return to heat and warm until a bubble or two forms on the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Froth mixture with an immersion type frother, if desired before pouring into demitasse cups to serve. Makes 4 servings.
Glazed Red Velvet Cakes
Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for making individual Glazed Red Velvet Cakes. Baked in a jellyroll pan, a four-inch cutter will make will make six large cakes, a three-inch cutter, about 12 smaller ones. After cutting out cakes, save leftover cake for making crumbs for decorating the tops of cakes.
1 (16.25-ounce) box Duncan Hine’s Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 small (3.4-ounce) box Hershey’s instant White Chocolate Pudding Mix
2 tablespoons natural cocoa (For the purposes of this recipe, King Arthur Flour’s all-purpose baking cocoa was used.)
1¼ cups buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooked “Whipped Cream” Frosting (recipe follows)
1 to 2 (12-ounce) packages Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping Dark Melting Wafers
For the cakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark pans). With an electric mixer set on low speed, mix the cake mix, pudding mix, cocoa, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl for one minute to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat for two minutes more. Pour batter into a greased 15½ x 10½ x 1-inch jellyroll baking pan. (Use the back of a spoon to smooth batter into pan so that it rises evenly during baking.) Bake for 25 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly when touched. Remove pan to a wire rack and allow cake to cool. When cake is cool, cut out individual cakes, using a 1-inch high heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place cakes onto a wire rack set over a piece of waxed paper. (Use leftover cake for making cake crumbs – a food processor comes in handy for this task. The crumbs look beautiful used as decorative topping on glazed cakes.) To fill cakes: place Cooked “Whipped Cream” Frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a Bismarck pastry tube. Insert pastry tube halfway into cakes and applying gentle pressure, squeeze bag until cake is filled with frosting just to the top of the cake; level off excess frosting. To glaze cakes: melt chocolate wafers according to package directions. Spoon chocolate over tops of cakes, allowing the chocolate to run down sides of cake until cakes are well covered on all sides. (At this point, if you wish, sprinkle cakes with some of those leftover cake crumbs before the chocolate has set.) Allow chocolate to fully harden before handling cakes. Makes six large cakes (using a 4-inch cookie cutter), or 12 smaller ones (using a 3-inch cutter).