Pretty gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes layered with cherry conserve… drizzled with decadent dark chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate-dipped strawberry.
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Valentines Chocolate Cakes – Love in a layer cake
These gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes are so pretty. Little layer cakes that are full of all the ingredients of love… Chocolate sponge and Red Velvet Sponge, paired with cherry jam and a fresh chocolate-dipped Strawberry… All temptingly drizzled with chocolate ganache. And they are perfect for sharing.
February always seems to come so fast after Christmas. Maybe time just races the older we get, but every year I am shocked at how quickly Valentines is upon us. And although I’ve never been big on the whole commercial shebang of Valentine’s Day, chocolate cakes are always welcome. Especially when they are as beautiful as these.
Valentine’s Day – an annual commercial ‘expectation’
Although the romantic connotations of Valentine’s Day date back to the Middle Ages, modern times dictate that (as with most festivals and celebrations) we should part with hard earned cash in the interests of profit. According to figures, Britons spend over a billion pounds every year on Valentine’s gifts and treats, which given the state of the economy, is quite phenomenal. In the US, the amount of money people throw at this ‘day of love’ is an incredible $27 Billion. I’m honestly shocked. Clearly, it is an opportunity for card and gift sellers to get seriously commercial.
Gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes to show you care
For me, the celebration of love should not be reserved for 1 day. It should be marked frequently by words and actions that permeate our lives 365 days a year. And that includes the making and sharing of food, whether it be gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes on February 14th or a delicious bowl of warming Vegetable Soup, snuggled up in front of the fire on a cold winter’s evening.
Indeed, the opportunity to celebrate love and affection through food is always there. The effort put in to create something delicious goes way beyond a card or a novelty gift. And… is something that costs very little other than time and thought. Trust me, these gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes will speak volumes.
Even better… You get to share your delicious creations with your chosen mate too.
The symbolism of love
Think of symbols of love and hearts often come to mind. From Strawberry Cookies and Maple Shortbread, to cakes and even Pizza, baking heart shapes is an easy option. From pans and moulds to sprinkles and chocolates, all offer the possibility for heart-shaped treats.
The colours of love on the other hand, are mostly seen to be pinks and reds. These encourage vibrant, beautiful and eye-catching foodie treats. Including the option for strawberries, raspberries and cherries… the key fruits symbolic of love.
But if that doesn’t encourage your enthusiasm, think chocolate! The need to throw chocolate into the mix for Valentines is almost compulsory… No excuse needed… Chocolate is the food of 21st Century love…Whether dark, milk or white.
With this combination of visual and flavour options, Valentines is possibly one of the easiest events to cook for in a way that visibly marks emotional attachment. And these Valentines Chocolate Cakes offer to fulfil expectation in abundance. Even the strawberries are heart-shaped.
Naturally-coloured red velvet layer for Valentines Chocolate Cakes
Look closely and you will see that sandwiched in my gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes is a ‘red velvet’ layer. To be honest, I often wonder whether ‘red velvet’ is style over substance. It seems to be neither one thing or another… Or is it just an ‘almost’ chocolate cake with food colouring? Either way, the idea of filling sponge with a load food colour just to make it red doesn’t much appeal. So, for this recipe, I made a decision to try doing ‘red’ naturally.
Using beetroot powder (or not)
I confess the colour didn’t go quite to plan! I either added too much cocoa or not enough ‘red’. Indeed, not having made red velvet anything before, I wasn’t too sure about the ingredient balance. And though food colouring was substituted with natural colour in the form of beetroot powder, it was clearly not enough.
What the beetroot did add though, was a slightly earthy flavour, which nicely balanced with the chocolate. It was delightful! And absolutely worth leaving in, if you can get hold of any. (Healthy Supplies is a good source).
On the other hand, if you want a beautiful rich colour and hue associated with all things red velvet, there is a definite need to throw caution to the wind on the dye front. And also, to limit the darkening properties of the cocoa… The recipe below for Valentines Chocolate Cakes has been very slightly amended to allow for a deeper red sponge than I achieved. But feel free to ditch the powder and use some food colouring paste, instead.
Layering Valentines Chocolate Cakes with jam and drizzling with ganache
The sponges in my gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes have also been layered with a slathering of cherry conserve. It pairs perfectly with chocolate and gives a delightful fruity tang and contrasting texture. But if cherry isn’t your thing, strawberry or raspberry jam work equally well.
Then for pure decadence, make some smooth, rich, dark chocolate ganache. It isn’t hard and drizzled over the cakes looks divinely inviting. Top with a big fat juicy strawberry, for utter romance.
Other Valentines recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist
There are lots of recipes on the Gluten Free Alchemist which can be used as valentines treats, either because of their shape, colour or attention to the detail of chocolate. All are gluten free and are perfect for saying ‘I love you’… whether to partners or kids (who may equally want to feel part of the celebrated sentiment). Here’s some GFA inspiration:
- The Best Maple Gluten Free Shortbread
- Strawberry & White Chocolate Heart Cookies
- Raspberry White Chocolate Macaron
- White Chocolate Crème Brûlée with Berries
- Mini Vegan-Gluten Free Chocolate Cakes
- Real Chocolate Truffles
- Baci di Dama – Hazelnut Ladies Kisses
- Raspberry Lemon Trifle
- Cherry Bakewell Cocktail with Prosecco
- Viennese Fingers – Chocolate Dipped
More ‘free from’ Valentines Inspiration from around the web
- Vegan Aquafaba Pavlova with Coconut Cream & Berries – Mandy at Veggielicious
- Decadent Chocolate Roulade with Coconut Cream – Laura at Dairy Free Kids
- Healthy Homemade Chocolate Waffles – Eva at The Healthy Tart
- Gluten Free All Butter Shortbread – Vicki at The Free From Fairy
- Raspberry Coconut Dark Chocolate Hearts – Nova at Cherished By Me
- Valentine Day Biscuits – Lauren at Dilan & Me
Made gluten free Valentines Chocolate Cakes?
Do let me know if you make my Valentines Chocolate Cakes. Leave a comment below and tag me on Social Media (links at the top of the page with your yummy pics. For all other gluten free inspiration, don’t forget to check out our amazing gluten free Recipe Index.
Valentines Chocolate Cakes (gluten free)
- 2 x 9 inch square baking tins
- measuring jug
- round cookie cutter (medium-sized)
- flat-bladed knife
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- heat-proof glass bowl
Chocolate Sponge – double layer
- 130 g gluten free plain flour I used GFA mix A – see NOTES
- 75 g ground almonds
- 1½ tsp baking powder gluten free
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½ tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 40 g cocoa powder
- 220 ml/g milk
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 150 g unsalted butter softened
- 140 g golden caster sugar
- 80 g soft light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs UK Large – at room temperature
- 75 ml greek yoghurt
‘Red Velvet’ Sponge – single layer
- 75 g gluten free plain flour
- 40 g ground almonds
- ¾ tsp GF baking powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- pinch fine sea salt
- 7 g cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp beetroot powder if you don’t have this, add an extra tablespoon flour instead
- 120 ml/g milk
- ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
- 75 g unsalted butter softened
- 70 g golden caster sugar
- 40 g soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg UK Large – at room temperature
- 40 ml Greek yoghurt
- red food colouring paste to preference of colour
- 100 g good quality cherry conserve approx weight
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 225 g dark chocolate good quality
- 240 ml/g double cream
- 8 to 10 fresh whole strawberries
- edible sprinkles and sparkles
Sponge- for both cakes
- Base line 2 x 9 inch square baking tins (chocolate sponge) with baking paper (1x 9 inch for the red velvet).
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, salt, cocoa and beetroot powder (if using), ensuring all lumps are broken down. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- In a jug, mix together the milk and vinegar and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
- Cream together the butter and sugars with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, followed by the eggs (one at a time) and beat until smooth.
- Add the yoghurt and beat again.
- If adding food colour, add at this stage and beat in. Use paste rather than liquid as it is more concentrated and will avoid the batter becoming too runny. Add colour to the shade required.
- Fold in the milk-vinegar mix alternately with the flour about a third at a time, until just combined (be careful not to over-mix).
- Spoon the batter into the tins and smooth the top(s) to level.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When completely cool, chill the sponges for about 45 minutes to firm up slightly before cutting.
- Using a round cookie cutter (about 6½ cm diameter) carefully cut as many cake circles as you can from the sponge and set aside. (Save the left overs for trifle).
- Warm the cherry conserve in a microwave (or in a small bowl over simmering water) and stir until smooth.
- Layer the sponges chocolate then red velvet then chocolate with cherry conserve between them.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat-proof bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream until just coming to a simmer over a low to medium heat. Do not allow to boil.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for a couple of minutes to melt, before stirring through until smooth. Stir gently and slowly.
- Allow the ganache to cool, stirring occasionally. Be careful to keep an eye on the consistency. You want it slightly thickened, but still fluid enough to pour and spread.
- When ready, spoon a little ganache over each cake (a little more than a tablespoon per cake), gently spreading (while it is still liquid) across the surface. Allow a little to run down the sides.
- Decorate the top of each cake with sprinkles and leave to set.
- While the ganache is still fluid, dip the strawberries to half-coat and set aside on baking paper to allow the ganache to set.
- Place a strawberry on top of each cake. Share and enjoy…
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