So I just bought Martha’s new Cakes & Cupcakes special edition magazine last week. Clearly I was done for. Remember Monday’s post? My addiction to all things cheesy and embarrassingly domestic? Well pair that with a magazine addiction… (People, Glamour.. Cooking Light, I don’t discriminate) – andddd you get little individual heart cake for Valentine’s Day! And they are freaking adorable. These are the cakes that are featured in my heart healthy February Magazine issue :) Low cal, lower fat… portion controlled… perfect way to say I love you to your sweetie! And make sure he’s still kicking on your 40 yr anniversary.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day and all things chocolate I asked one of my best friends, Amber, and registered dietitian extraordinaire to give us the real sweet deal on the health benefits of chocolate! She’s joining Ashley and I on our mission to bring you the latest health buzz, we’re both so excited for you to meet her! She’s one of the funniest girls I know, and one of the absolute smartest chicks out there.
Amber grew up in Chicago with me, going to high school and college together (with Ashley too!) – after that she took off to Boston to spend a year as a dietetic intern at a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. She currently works at the hospital as an inpatient and outpatient dietitian, providing nutrition support to critically ill patients staying at the hospital, and medical nutrition therapy counseling to outpatients to improve their health and well-being through diet.
Back in our college days…yikes.
Amber (on the left) & her roommate in Boston! Work hard play hard :)
Amber Scherkenbach, RD LDN
In honor of National Heart Month (and Valentine’s Day), Kristina and I thought it would be fun to discuss the heart healthy benefits of one of our favorite foods, chocolate! If you’re like me, chocolate is a daily necessity. That’s why I keep a bag of dark chocolates in my freezer. Just one (alright, sometimes two) square is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and is a real treat after a long day of work.
There’s been so much buzz around chocolate lately and whether or not it’s good for you. Well thanks to one of chocolate’s main ingredients, cocoa, some types of chocolate do offer heart healthy benefits. Cocoa is full of flavanols (also found in red wine!) which help lower blood pressure, improve vascular function, and may help lower cholesterol. It also has antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage associated with heart disease. Yay!
Click through slideshow below
Yields 6-7 individual heart cakes
Cakes can be made 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Just having dessert for two? – Leftover cake can be frozen up to 1 month in the freezer.
For the Cake
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- ¾ cup plus 2 tbs. sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ cup plus 1 tbs. plain nonfat yogurt
- 3 tbs. vegetable oil
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbs. egg substitute (Egg Beaters*)
3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter
Fresh raspberries for garnish
For the Chocolate Ganache
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup light unsweetened soymilk (or nonfat dairy milk)
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Raspberry Filing
- 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
- Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, yogurt, oil, and egg substitute. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Carefully pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Using a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, carefully cut out hearts, trying your best to cut hearts as close together as possible. You should end up with 6-7 hearts. Slice the cut out hearts in half horizontally with a serrated knife to form two layers: top and bottom.
- Spread about ½ tbs. of the raspberry jam on the top of the bottom layer of each cut out heart (if you had 6 hearts, you should have six bottoms spread with jam). Place the top layer on the bottom to form mini heat layer cakes.
For the Chocolate Ganache
- Combine sugar, cocoa powder, and soymilk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth.
- Working quickly so the chocolate does not harden, carefully pour the ganache evenly over each of the heart cakes. Smooth the edges with a butter knife. Let cakes sit for at least 25 minutes, or until the ganache is set.
- Garnish with fresh strawberries.
Nutrition Information (for approximately 6 heart cakes); Calories: 346, Fat: 11 grams