Each year as Valentine's Day draws near plans for a romantic evening begin formulating in my brain. With three young children around I find it hard to spend the money to go out. By the time we pay a babysitter and the dinner check, a good portion of the month's dining budget is shot. I thought I would start sharing some ideas for a romantic evening in, just in case you're in the same position I am. Being the kind of girl I am, I thought I'd begin with dessert.
My sister-in-law has the most delicious recipe for Red Velvet Cake; it's moist and flavorful, everything you want your Red Velvet Cake to be. I divided her original recipe in half to have just the right amount for 6 people (my version is what follows), and increased the amount of cocoa because I like mine a little more chocolaty. This dessert is really more of an elegant cupcake than a souffle (since it has no attributes of a souffle except that I baked them in ramekins), but souffle sounds more romantic. I used 8-oz. ramekins, but you could use a cupcake pan and bake enough for a crowd.
Chocolate-filled Red Velvet Souffles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Raspberry Preserves
Chocolate Centers (adapted from a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens):
1 c. milk chocolate pieces
1/4 c. whipping cream
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar 1 medium egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 Tbsp. red food color
1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. vegetable oil raspberry preserves
In a small saucepan combine chocolate, cream and butter. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Let chocolate cool 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 30 minutes to 1 hour, until a fudge-like consistency.
Divide filling into 6 portions. Working quickly, use yours hands to roll each portion into a ball. Return balls to freezer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 6 8-oz. ramekins (alternately: line muffin tins with cupcake liners).
In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
In the bowl of a mixer, whisk oil, buttermilk, egg, food color, vinegar and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing just until combined and a smooth batter forms.
Divide half the batter between the ramekins. Place a previously-made chocolate center in the middle of each ramekin. Spoon the remaining batter over each ball of chocolate, dividing the batter evenly again between the 6 ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes (rotating pans about halfway through) or until the tops spring back when gently touched.
Remove pan from oven. Invert cakes onto serving plates, add a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with raspberry preserves.