I think we can all agree that the best part about Valentine’s Day is CHOCOLATE! Even when I was single, I didn’t dread this relationship-centered holiday (a trait that definitely puts me in the minority). Instead, I looked forward in anticipation to a day that encouraged me to enjoy my favorite sugary treat. Now that I am in a relationship, Valentine’s Day obviously has meaning beyond chocolate. However, I still use this holiday as an excuse to create and indulge in decadent chocolate desserts.
For the past couple of years, Nick has cooked for me on Valentine’s Day. Though I am embarrassed to admit it, this tradition began last year due to the February 14th premier of House of Cards Season 2. Ha! Anyway, when he suggested that he cook for me again this year, I was thrilled! I immediately offered to take care of dessert– not because I don’t trust his baking skills, but because my chocolate-obsessed self wanted to control what chocolatey treat we had for dessert. I know, I have issues.
I knew I wanted to make a flourless chocolate cake, because let’s be real- what is more indulgent than that? And, because I know no boundaries, I decided to take it up a level and top it with hot fudge sauce. The secret to this cake recipe is espresso powder. It doesn’t make the cake taste like coffee, but instead enhances the chocolate flavor immensely. Trust me- Nick hates coffee, but LOVED this cake. I bought my espresso powder at Whole Foods, but it should be available at most grocery and specialty food stores. Most recipes only call for a little bit, so a small jar will last you a while!
The hot fudge sauce recipe is an old favorite my mom’s friend and co-worker Kathy. I had never made hot fudge sauce before, assuming for some reason that it was complex and time consuming. However, it is exactly the opposite! Why hasn’t anyone ever told me how quick and easy it is to make?!? This is a great recipe to have on hand when you need to spice up a dessert (or give as gifts!).
The combination of the dense chocolate cake with the warm, melty fudge sauce was euphoric, and I highly suggest you give it a try!
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment. If serving in ramekins, parchment is not necessary. Simply butter all sides of the ramekins well.
- Combine chopped chocolate, sugar and espresso powder in bowl. Pour in ¾ cup boiling water. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and chocolate is fully melted.
- Add butter and vanilla to chocolate mixture. Stir well. Wait a few minutes until chocolate is cooled and then add eggs.
- Pour batter into pan (or ramekins.) Bake until center is set: 55 to 60 minutes for springform or 35-40 minutes for ramekins. Edges of cake will appear cracked.
- Let cake cool in pan for 20 minutes. For springform, remove from pan, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. For individual cakes, let cool and serve as is in ramekins.
- Place cream and butter in heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the cream just comes to a low boil.
- Add both sugars and stir for a few minutes until they dissolve
- Reduce heat and add salt cocoa. Whisk briskly until smooth. Remove from heat and store in air-tight container.