Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, which means it’s time for lots of heart-shaped desserts, right?
For me, Valentine’s day is best celebrated with food. Ryan can attest that it does not matter to me whether we go out for an expensive dinner or stay in and eat a home-cooked meal; what matters is that I’m spending it with him and that we have good food and drink.
As I’m getting older, I actually prefer the simpler, quieter, and less extravagant at-home Valentine’s Day. No fussy pink stuffed animals or overcrowded restaurants or expensive champagne.
Instead, let’s make all our own food and make it heart-shaped. I’m swooning over this heart-shaped pizza at How Sweet Eats, which is what we are making for our Valentine’s Day. I mean, the only thing better than that is having someone to share it with and not judge you when you polish off half of it by yourself.
After your heart-shaped pizza (or whatever meal you choose), you and your Valentine can enjoy this fudgy chocolate beer cake!
The funny story is that I used to make heart-shaped desserts throughout the entire year. My senior year of college, when I first lived in my own apartment, my mom gave me a lot of her baking supplies so I wouldn’t splurge my barely-existent student employee income on everything and anything KitchenAid or Wilton. She gave me tons of stuff: springform pans, cake pans, muffin pans, etc; most of them were heart-shaped from Valentine’s Day baking she used to do when my sister and I were in elementary school.
Overjoyed to have my own mini kitchen full of supplies, I baked and baked and baked whenever the opportunity arose, using my heart-shaped pans for everything. I particularly recall when my English literature seminar on John Milton decided to celebrate his birthday with food (because English majors are all geeks like that). I volunteered to make the cake, and so I arrived at class that day with a pumpkin beer cake shaped like a heart with “Happy Birthday Milton” frosted on it. Yes, a heart-shaped cake for England’s great grump of a poet, whose birthday during the furthest time of year from Valentine’s Day.
I kid you not. I also have made heart-shaped chocolate stout cheesecake in October, heart-shaped Guiness cake in September…and I realize now that all my heart-shaped cakes have been made with beer. What can I say, I love beer.
I still have most of those heart-shaped pans, but I’ve also bought some normal cake pans. Then again, the heart-shaped pans are too appropriate, because I have such an inordinate love of cake.
Thankfully, for those of you who love cake as much as I do, there’s this lovely yet surprisingly lightened-up fudgy chocolate beer cake. Yes, beer and chocolate all in one cake. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all, so I just put all the things I love in this cake. There probably was even some puggle hair in it because that stuff floats around our house no matter how many times I vacuum. Dog owners know what I’m talking about; everyone else can just pretend they didn’t read that last part.
This chocolate beer cake is cocoa-y, fudgy, sweet, and addictive. Surprisingly, it is also lower in fat, thanks to Greek yogurt, and lower in sugar. The beer adds a soft and fluffy texture that gently melts in your mouth, and the double leaveners add some fluff and height to the cake.
You can frost it, but it’s so soft and sweet that I just used a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar. And I say that as the person who loves frosting so much I once ate all the buttercream roses off my sister’s birthday cake (sorry about that, Anna!). If you do want to frost it, some simple vanilla buttercream or a powder sugar glaze would be amazing.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 7 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-process), sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Add the Greek yogurt and cream for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla to the creamed mixture and beat to combine.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. With the mixer on low, slowly add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Add the milk and the beer to the stand mixer and mix until combined.
- Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. Let cool in pan.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve!
- I used pumpkin ale as it is a sweeter beer. You can use any beer you like, but stouts and ales would probably work the best.
Best of all, this cake is still delicious even if you make it in a regular cake pan or bundt cake pan! The only real problem is trying to stop after one slice.
What are you making and baking this Valentine’s Day?