The Valentine’s Day Re-Cap and Another Red Dessert

Welcome  Last week was Valentine’s Day, of course, and I shared a bit about my husband and his many loving words of wisdom on Friday.  But I didn’t share about our low-key Valentine celebration.

Today’s Scripture  This is another scripture I shared during our 14 Days of Scripture for Your Marriage last week on Facebook.  I think it fits our discussion today.

Food For Thought  When I was young and single, I had many grand visions of what Valentine’s Day would look like once I was coupled with the right man.  My dear, sweet husband is my perfect soul mate and we’ve now celebrated 17 Valentines all together, but let me assure you, none of our V-days have matched any of those romantic visions I had from long ago.  But they might just have turned out even better, although much more simple.

Over the years, we’ve had some interesting Valentines together.  When I was big in my running phase, my Valentine gift was running gear.  He’s given me beautiful jewelry.  There’s been an occasional flower or two in there.  The year our daughter was born, we had just bought my new vehicle the week of Valentines, so we agreed no gifts that year.  However, he brought home a GIANT teddy bear for our newborn!  One year, we spent a three-day weekend in Branson for the Valentine holiday, only to be met with one disaster after another the entire weekend, including a food of snow for the drive home.  We’ve had homemade Valentines, cheap ones, and elaborate ones, but I truly believe they were all saying the same thing: we are still truly, passionately in love with each other.

This year, with money being a little tight, we decided to combine my birthday and Valentine date into one occasion, so last weekend he took me out for dinner, followed by a bookstore date.  Bookstore dates are fast becoming our favorite way to spend time together on an outing!  In addition to my dinner, we bought each other books as our Valentine gift this year.  I told him the dinner and books were enough, no need for cards or flowers or candies or any of that.  We were set.  But low and behold, when he came home from work on Valentine’s Day, he was carrying a tray of chocolate-dipped strawberries for me.  When I playfully scoffed that he shouldn’t have done that, he simply said, “But it’s tradition.”  This is, I believe, the 8th Valentine’s Day in a row he has brought me this special treat.  He spoils me, not in an obnoxious way (I don’t think), but in a “put your needs before my own” kind of way.  And I continue to pray that I’m able to return the favor, at least a little bit.

Dark Red Velvet Cake
Using less red food coloring and the addition of chocolate chips makes this cake more of a red-brown hue, but every bit as tasty as the classic.


Today’s Recipe  My husband brought me the chocolate-covered strawberries and I baked him a cherry cheesecake.  Our daughter was a tad bit offended that we neglected to get her a yummy treat, although we did get her a book at the bookstore when we got ours.  Her grandmother gave her a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day and she just had a big chocolate birthday cake a couple weeks ago.  Trust me, she’s fine.

Being the mom I am, though, I decided to bake her a treat, too.  She doesn’t like cherries, but she sure does like red velvet and chocolate!  So I baked a simple Dark Red Velvet Cake in a 9×13 pan, covered it in some Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (our new favorite!) and she was a happy little Valentine!

This version of red velvet cake is a darker red, not the neon shades that some people associate with this classic cake.  I just can’t bring myself to use an entire container of red food coloring, especially my dark red paste, because it can be bitter.  I still follow the same red-tinted cocoa path and use the vinegar-baking soda reaction that is part of the traditional recipe, but with a toned-down hue and the addition of milk chocolate chips.  This is such a simple cake to bake.  There are no fancy layers to contend with and the cake transports well in the 9×13 baking dish or pan.

Dark Red Velvet Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Cake:

  •  2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 oz red food color paste (you will need more if using liquid)
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pint buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

For the Frosting:

  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (depends on the texture you prefer and the moisture level in your home)

Spray a 9×13 baking dish or cake pan with cooking spray.  Set oven to 350 degrees.

In small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and red food coloring with a fork.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t notice a color change at this point.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

In large mixing bowl, with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat on medium speed until combined.  Beat in cocoa mixture.

Continue to mix batter, alternately adding flour mixture and buttermilk.

In small cup, mix baking soda and vinegar and quickly add to cake batter, beating until fully incorporated, but don’t overbeat or the cake will be tough.  Scrape down sides of bowl and fold in chocolate chips.

Spread in prepared pan.  Batter will be thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.

Place cake pan on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To prepare frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add cocoa powder and vanilla and continue to mix.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating until desired frosting consistency is achieved.  Frost the cooled cake.