CHOCOLATE, SUGAR, AND A BIG PINCH OF LOVE
SURBHI GANDHI February 10, 2023
This year, we’d like to make a splash and bring around Valentine’s Day to what has always been its best part – the desserts! We collaborated with the culinary sous chef at Parallel Hotel, Udaipur to bring you a lowdown on everything – from cookies to cupcakes, truffles, pies, cheesecakes, and more in between.
Tease their taste buds with these decadent dessert pairings perfect for surprising your significant other. Better yet, make them together…Whether it’s a slice of cheesecake, a cookie or two, or chocolate fondue, there’s no better way to say “I love you”!
- 90ml full-fat milk at room temperature, plus 20ml extra for the cocoa paste
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 200g self-raising flour
- 100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp salt
- 300g caster sugar
- 300g unsalted butter, soft but not oily, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- A drop or two of food colouring (gel or paste, ideally)
- For the icing - 45ml full-fat milk, warmed 260g icing sugar, sifted 30g unsalted butter, soft ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 200C/390F.
- Grease and flour in a 23cm bundt tin and set aside.
- For the cake, put the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl and whisk lightly, just to combine.
- Sift the flours and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place, then add the sugar and mix on a low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the butter and half the egg mixture, mix until well incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat for one minute.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, making sure the first batch is fully incorporated before adding the second.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then divide the batter equally between three small bowls.
- Warm the extra 20ml milk in a small saucepan, then put it in a small bowl with the cocoa powder.
- Stir to make a smooth and very thick paste, then mix into one of the bowls of cake batter.
- Tint the second bowl of cake batter with the food colouring, adding a drop or two at a time until it’s the colour you want. Leave the third bowl of batter as it is.
- Spoon the three bowls of batter into the prepared tin in six alternate blocks, two of each colour, then use a skewer or knife to make one zigzag-shaped swirl through the mix, to create a marble effect.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, then remove and set aside for 10 minutes.
- For the icing, combine the warm milk and icing sugar in a small bowl. Add the butter and vanilla, whisk smooth, then add a drop or two of food colouring and mix again.
- Spoon over the cooled cake, so it drips unevenly down the sides, leave to set for a few minutes, and serve.
- 80g walnut halves, plus an extra 12–24 halves to garnish.
- 120g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes, plus extra for greasing
- 220g icing sugar 90g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt 80g ground almonds
- 230g egg whites (from 6 large eggs)
- 1 tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 70ml boiling water
- 1½ tsp ground espresso coffee
For the icing
- 250g icing sugar
- 2½ tsp instant coffee granules
- 35ml hot full-fat milk 15g liquid glucose
- Heat the oven to 170C/335 F.
- Spread the walnuts on a baking tray, roast for 10 minutes, then remove and, when they’re cool enough to handle, roughly chop into 0.5–1cm pieces.
- To make the batter, start by browning the butter. Continue to cook until the butter is foaming, swirling the pan so the solids brown more evenly. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, then leave to cool slightly.
- While the butter is cooling, sift the icing sugar, flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl, then whisk in the almonds.
- Put the egg whites in a bowl and use a fork to froth them up a little – you don’t need to whisk them.
- Pour the egg whites and dissolved coffee granules into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
- Add the browned butter and mix until the batter is thick, shiny and smooth.
- Fold in the walnuts and ground coffee, then cover with cling-film and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Heat the oven to 200C/390 F. Butter the moulds of your chosen muffin tin, dust with flour and tap away any excess.
- Spoon the batter into each mould, filling them three-quarters full, then bake for about 25 minutes if using a regular muffin tin, 14 for a mini-muffin tin, or until the tops are a little cracked and a skewer comes out clean.
- Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until smooth, then set aside.
- Remove the tin from the oven, set aside to cool for five minutes, then gently tap it against a work surface, to encourage the cakes to fall out. Put the financiers on a rack to cool.
- To serve, spread the icing on top and finish each financier with a walnut half, a dusting of icing sugar and finely ground espresso.
- 850g strawberries,
- 135g caster sugar
- 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 2 egg yolks
- 50ml sauternes dessert wine
- 80g mascarpone, at room temperature
- 80ml Grand Marnier 1 shot (30ml), espresso (optional), 150ml double cream
- 140g biscuits
- Heat the oven to 200C/390F. Line a 24cm x 14cm loaf tin with clingfilm, so it drapes over the sides.
- Cut the larger strawberries into quarters and smaller ones in half.
- Put 550g strawberries in a 30cm baking dish, then stir in 100g sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and two-thirds of the orange zest.
- Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the strawberries have produced a syrup, then leave to cool.
- Whisk the egg yolks, sauternes and 20g sugar in a medium heatproof bowl, then set over a saucepan of simmering water (ensure the base is not in contact with the water).
- Whisk for four to five minutes, until the mixture resembles a thick, foamy cream, then take the bowl off the pan and leave to cool, whisking once or twice as it does so. Set aside to cool, then mix in the mascarpone using a spatula.
- In a small bowl or cup, mix the Grand Marnier with the shot of espresso, if using.
- Put the double cream and the remaining orange zest and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip to soft peaks – about a minute.
- Blitz the remaining strawberries with the remaining tablespoon of sugar for 30 seconds.
- To assemble the cake, pour the roasted strawberries and their syrup into the lined loaf tin.
- Cover with a row of biscuits, pushing them down so they soak up the syrup. Turn over the biscuits and push them down again, to soak the other side, too. D
- rizzle half the Grand Marnier mix over the biscuits, then spread the sabayon on top in an even layer.
- Spread the whipped cream evenly over the sabayon, then pour the blitzed fresh strawberries over the cream.
- Top with a second layer of biscuits and drizzle the remaining Grand Marnier evenly over the biscuits.
- Push the biscuits into the blitzed strawberries, then turn them over to soak the other side. Pull the cling film tightly over the top, and refrigerate for at least five hours, or overnight.
- To serve, unwrap the cling film lid and put a large plate on top of the loaf tin. Hold the plate and tin together, then quickly flip over to invert. Gently lift off the tin: the cake should release itself from the tin and on to the plate; if it does not, tap the tin gently until it does.
- Peel off and serve at once.
Dreaming of a decadent dessert table for your loved one? Delight them with the ultimate tablescape – all you need is a variety of textures, colour, a pedestal stand, and accessories in the form of candles and flowers. Get the look with our sweet offerings here.