The Recipe Spot
February 13, 2013
A Little Decadence To Sweeten Valentine’s Day
It’s February and that means idyllic thoughts of cupids, hearts, red roses and candy wrapped with oversized pink satin bows.
Valentine’s Day is today, February 14, the day in which love is celebrated.
It’s a day associated with exchanging of flowers, chocolates and greeting cards with words of love, all as tokens of affection.
Difficult to trace and shrouded in mystery, there are several stories surrounding the true origins of Valentine’s Day.
One tradition says Valentine’s Day may have started in ancient Rome, marking the beginning of spring with the annual pagan festival of Lupercalia, the festival of fertility, celebrated on Feb. 15.
Another story says Valentine’s Day is based on a Roman Christian priest named Valentine.
Valentine’s nemesis, the vitriolic Emperor Claudius II, prohibited his Roman soldiers from marrying to avoid any distractions, had Valentine arrested and jailed for secretly marrying young lovers.
It is believed that the pious Valentine was beheaded on Feb. 14 A.D. 270 for disobeying orders. Before his execution, he wrote a farewell letter from jail to the jailer’s blind daughter, whom he fell in love and whose eyesight miraculously was restored after reading the letter.
The letter was signed: “From your Valentine.”
Pope Gelasius (A.D. 496) proclaimed Feb. 14, St. Valentine’s Day as a day of celebration of courage and friendship honoring the intrepid priest for his uncompromising service.
Valentine was named a saint after his death and subsequently, Feb. 14 became a day for lovers.
By the 1300s and1400s, the art of writing love letters had become common practice.
But it wasn’t until the 18th century, when England began the annual ritual of exchanging delicate hand-made cards of lace and other tokens of affection such as confectionary items.
The traditions later crossed the Atlantic to the American colonies where candy and other sweet treats, along with decorative gifts adorned with the Roman cherub Cupid began to take hold.
Cupid, the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty, is a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Legend has it that Cupid was a mischievous boy who wounded gods and humans with invisible arrows, causing them to fall hopelessly in love.
Cupid has become one of the most famous icons of Valentine’s Day and often appears on various Valentine items such as cards, decorations and anything chocolate.
One of the best ways to warm your sweetie’s heart on a chilly February evening is with the age-old tradition of luscious, delectable treats made of chocolate.
So, honor your Valentine with this recipe for Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake, because there is no better way to say “Be my Valentine.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and lightly dust with cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with ¼ cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding. With an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar for sweetness. Dust the cake with some of the confectioners’ sugar and serve with the whip cream.