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For a new twist on Valentine's Day desserts, think pink

Take a bite of Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake and taste the love.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Take a bite of Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake and taste the love.

Red hearts and red roses are hallmarks of Valentine's Day, but red food?

Yes, there are strawberries, delicious and in season locally, raspberries and red velvet cupcakes. Put rhubarb, watermelon and red peppers in the crimson category.

We'd rather drape the day in pink, with a four-layer cake frosted with clouds of wispy froth. Or eat pink layer bars. Or toast our undying devotion with a Pink Heart made girly with Chambord raspberry liqueur.

The Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake pictured here was a grand experiment inspired by a photograph in the current Better Homes and Gardens. The cake is delicious, and here are a couple of suggestions:

• If you don't want to make the cake from scratch, use a mix. The layers will rise enough to split. Let them cool completely before splitting, otherwise it may tear.

• Even if you use a mix, make the frosting. It's light and lovely, so much nicer than the premade variety.

• A few drops of red food coloring will intensify the pink frosting. You can see the difference in the photo from the top layer of frosting and those between the layers, which were only colored by two tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice.

• The recipe calls for the batter to be baked in 6-inch round cake pans. If you make them in the more common 8- or 9-inch pans, the layers will be too thin to split. (A mix will call for the larger pans; make more frosting.)

• Refrigerate after frosting for at least 30 minutes. If you leave it there longer, such as overnight, let the cake sit out for about 30 minutes before slicing.

A pastel Valentine's Day? How sweet it is.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8586.

>>MODERATE

Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake

3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Cherry frosting:

1 cup sour cream

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

1 to 2 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6-inch round cake pans or the same size springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans.

In bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.

Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.

While layers are cooling, make frosting. In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, whipping cream, powdered sugar and cherry juice. Add food coloring if you want a darker pink. Beat on medium-high until fluffy.

Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate. To serve, top with drained and blotted maraschino cherries and grated chocolate.

Serves 8.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens magazine, February

>>easy

Pink Party Squares

Layer 1:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg, well beaten

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Layer 2:

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

8 ounces sweetened flaked coconut

Layer 3:

1/4 cup butter

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon milk

Red food coloring

For layer 1: In a pan over low heat melt butter, then add brown sugar and egg. Stir constantly until smooth and shiny. Remove from heat and add graham cracker crumbs. Press mixture into 9- by 9-inch pan.

For layer 2: Stir together sweetened condensed milk and coconut. Spread evenly over first layer.

For layer 3: Combine butter with confectioners' sugar and milk. Add a few drops of red food coloring, until desired shade of pink is reached, and stir until smooth. Spread on top of coconut layer.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Makes 25 squares. (These are sweet; cut small.)

Source: Recipezaar.com

>>easy

Pink Heart

Ice

1/2 ounce Creme de Cacao

1/2 ounce Chambord raspberry liqueur

Milk or cream

In rocks glass filled with ice, add Creme de Cacao and Chambord. Fill with cream or milk.

Makes 1.



Source: Webtender.com

For a new twist on Valentine's Day desserts, think pink 02/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:30am]

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