“I think that Valentine’s Day is only as good as you want it to be. You know, I don’t think it should be anything fancy, nothing crazy. As long as you’re spending time with that person that’s special, I think that’s a great Valentine’s Day.” Prince Royce
I tend to agree with Prince Royce (American singer and song writer) that Valentine’s day does not need to be anything fancy, nothing crazy. So with this in mind, I bought my husband of 25 years a few of his favourite things: some coffee beans from Rave; a bottle of good red wine and a card. The only thing that was missing was a personal gift from yours truly, so I decided to bake a cake.
To backtrack a bit, Valentine’s day did not start off well. I had the early shift at work (a 5.30am start) and no sooner had I walked through the door than the fire alarm went off for no rhyme or reason. After struggling for a while I rang the doorbell of the gentleman upstairs to see whether he could reset the alarm – he was unable to do so. So after one slightly distressed call to the Assistant Manager (it was his day off from the early shift), he came in and saved the day. He reset the alarm and peace descended once again.
All was going well until one of our regular customers came in and when I mentioned that my day had started badly because of the fire alarm going off (and me not being able to reset it) he said that he knew as he could hear the fire alarm going off down the road. Feeling mortified that I had not only woken the gentleman upstairs, but possible others in the street, we got talking about Valentine’ day and our respective plans. I mentioned that I was planning on baking my husband a cake. To this, the gentleman said ‘what, just for your husband?’ With this question, I knew that I would now need to make a couple of cakes. The least I could do under the circumstances.
Still interested in exploring vegan baking, I found a recipe for vegan mini chocolate and raspberry loaf cakes on www.biddieskitchen.com. The bake was a relatively straight forward one, albeit that the icing was something that I had not made before. It was a combination of crushed, fresh raspberries, icing sugar, melted coconut oil, vanilla bean paste and a pinch of salt. Although I said that the recipe was straightforward, I changed the method for the icing slightly. Instead of combining and whisking the raspberry puree, coconut oil, vanilla bean paste together and then adding the icing sugar until the correct consistency was obtained, I combined the raspberry puree, vanilla bean paste, salt and icing sugar together and then gradually added the coconut oil until I got the required consistency. This allowed me to created an icing which could be piped rather than spread on top of the mini loaf cakes. Irrespective of the method, the end result was a rich and decadent chocolate cake with refreshing and tasty icing. Not only was the icing refreshing and tasty, but it also had a lovely consistency to pipe.
I tried out a couple of simple finishes – one with multi-coloured sprinkles and the other with heart-shaped sweets. I boxed up the the cakes in a kraft boxes and tied them up with raffia and wooden hearts. I kept the one with the hearts for my husband and then hand-delivered the other to the gentleman I had disturbed when I set off the alarm on Valentine’s morning. He was delighted with his unexpected Valentine’s gift and had plans to eat a slice before an evening meal with some friends in the village. Lo and behold, not long after I returned home, I got the message below in my inbox.
“I can tell you straight away…..it’s delicious! I’ve obeyed instructions and eaten the icing and the cake together….a perfect combination. And I rather like the bit of crunch with the little sugar sprinkles.
Thank you very much…..and I hope you won’t have to bring a peace offering for any sounds that might go off tonight!! On the other hand…….”
My husband eventually got his cake when he returned home that evening, after a few days away on business. I am not sure who was more excited at receiving their cake, but it seems that both enjoyed their sweet treat. As they say ‘the way to man’s heart is through their stomach’.