Chocolate is often described as “decadent,” and rightfully so. Few foods can make people feel as if they’re being indulgent as well as chocolate. Perhaps that’s what makes chocolate such a great fit for Valentine’s Day. When giving that special someone some chocolate on February 14, you’re not just giving them something delicious, but also a chance to indulge in a forbidden fruit.
But chocolate desserts can be more than merely decadent. In fact, this recipe for “Pasticcio di Cioccolato con Lampone (Individual Chocolate Cakes With Fresh Raspberries)” from Michael White and Joanna Pruess’ “Fiamma: The Essence of Contemporary Italian Cooking” (Wiley) is both decadent and, thanks to the fresh raspberries, refreshing. The individual cake is an ideal Valentine’s Day gift, as it serves to emphasize how that special someone is the only one for you.
Pasticcino di Cioccolato
con Lampone (Individual Chocolate Cakes with Fresh Raspberries)
Makes 8 servings
1 1⁄3 cups cake flour, sifted
1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 pint fresh raspberries
Vegetable cooking spray
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray or fill 8 of the cups with paper or foil liners.
Sift the flour, 1⁄3 cup of cocoa, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside.
Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Set the bowl over a pan partially filled with simmering water. The water should not touch the bowl. Using a whisk, beat the egg-sugar mixture until it feels very warm to the touch and all of the sugar has dissolved. Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the electric mixer.
Whip the egg-sugar mixture on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes until it triples in volume and is very thick and light colored. Add the vanilla and whip 2 to 3 seconds longer to blend. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the flour-cocoa mixture.
Place about 11⁄2 cups of the batter in a separate bowl and fold in the melted butter. Do this gently, as you do not want to overwork the batter. Fold this into the remaining batter. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Remove and cool completely on a rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, combine the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cocoa, beat into soft peaks, and set aside.
Remove the cupcakes from the tin and place them on dessert plates. Spoon the whipped cream on top, divide the raspberries among the plates and serve.