Valentine’s Day 1989 was the first time that I cooked for Ralph. We had been dating for nine months, without me so much as making him a cup of tea. I did not want to be in the kitchen. I was not myself.
Ralph had started to think that I really couldn’t cook at all. He thought that my friends and family were all pulling his leg, when they told a ‘food story’ about me.
The difficult journey that I had chosen to take, with my two baby girls, was the most selfish thing that I had ever done. Nature did not intend for me to focus inwards. It felt unnatural.
So many years wiser now, I understand that, as deeply as I had fallen in love with Ralph, it was more than my need to be with him that led me to change my life’s direction. I also felt a primal responsibility, as a mother, to teach my daughters to choose their partners well. The upsetting decision that I made, so many years ago, allowed my daughters to grow up in a home full of romance. We even refer to our girl-time as romantic. It’s lovely…
On February 14th, 1989, I went back into the kitchen to prepare my first Valentine’s dinner for Ralph. I remember doing something with fresh pasta and roasting Cornish hens but most vividly I remember the ‘knock it out of the park chocolate raspberry perfection’ for dessert.
Chocolate Raspberry Buttercreams
preheat oven 350*F
Butter and flour a 9″ x 9″ square pan [I used a round pan]
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melt butter and chocolate together
then allow to cool
Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla together until thick
Add flour and cooled chocolate mixture and blend until well mixed
Pour into prepared pan
Bake 35 minutes – cake will still be moist in centre
Allow to cool completely
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 ounce unsweet chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter
Melt chocolates together then set aside
Bring sugar and water to a boil.
Boil 1 minute then remove from heat
Beat eggs til frothy
Beat well [5 minutes on high] Mixture should look thick and lemony
Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time.
Add cooled melted chocolate.
Beat until very thick and fluffy. [It will take forever but it will happen. I cover my mixer with a tea towel to keep from having frosting everywhere!
Spread a thin layer of raspberry jam over the top of the cake
Spread buttercream carefully over jam.
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
Melt chocolate and butter together
Using the tines of a fork, drizzle chocolate over the frosting
Refrigerate for several hours before serving
Thanks so much for reading.