After Christmas, New Years, and the December holidays are over, I'm always spending January counting down the days to Valentine's. Sure, there are lots of people who grumble about Valentine's Day, citing that it's become this Hallmark holiday, but I still maintain a very romantic notion about it and most other holidays (ah, romantic in the 'idealization' sense). After all, life's too short not to be celebrating the happy things in it! and I'm a firm believer that we should celebrate everything we love on Valentine's Day, not just significant others. (I'm such a holder of this philosophy that I think, the dork I am, that I even wrote an essay arguing such in eighth grade.) Finally, when it comes down to it, through all of that lovey-dovey hubbub, Valentine's Day is the holiday of desserts, so what's not to love?
This double chocolate espresso pound cake with rose-scented cream cheese frosting is one of the desserts on my Valentine's Day radar this year. The combination of rose and chocolate is just so classic that I can't ever really escape it, especially ever since watching Like Water for Chocolate. The key here balancing the light sweet scent of the rose in the cream cheese frosting with the robust dark chocolate espresso pound cake underneath--my friend who tried the cake called it the perfect "breakfast cupcake," given how dense and buttery but not-too-sweet the cake is. Oh, and why are these called "double chocolate"? Because they also have a healthy handful of bittersweet chocolate chips thrown in to the mix. Despite what Hallmark says, really Valentine's Day is about celebrating chocolate. (Though I don't doubt for a second that there's a Hallmark card out there that says just that!)
So here's the countdown: 19 days left until Valentine's Day, the holiday of desserts! What are you making to celebrate what you love?
Read on for recipe...
Double chocolate (espresso) pound cake
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible
makes 6-7 large cupcakes, more if using regular-sized cupcake liners
2 Tbspn Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 Tbspn + 1 1/2 tspn black cocoa powder (or substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa)
1 tspn instant coffee powder or espresso powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (125 gr) AP flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (175 gr) granulated sugar
3/4 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
13 Tbspn (184 gr) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk to combine the cocoa powders, coffee powder, and boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Once the chocolate mixture is cool, whisk in the vanilla and eggs until combined and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
5. Add half of the chocolate mixture and the softened butter to the flour. Mix on low until the flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for one minute to aerate.
6. Add the remaining chocolate mixture to the batter in two additions, beating for twenty seconds after each addition. Finally, beat in the chocolate chips.
7. Divide the batter amongst the paper cupcake molds, filling each about 3/4 of the way.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Rose-scented cream cheese frosting
adapted from Magnolia Bakery
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn rosewater
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
1 drop pink gel food coloring
1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the vanilla extract and rosewater and mix until combined.
3. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar.
4. Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition. Mix in the food coloring at the end.
5. Use to pipe onto cupcakes immediately. Top with shaved dark chocolate.
NOTE: I used a large closed-star tip for the frosting in these photos.