Little Love Cakes

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Oh, my little love cakes, you are so cute.  It’s too bad that all of my boyfriends cannot enjoy you. My husband and youngest are allergic to eggs, and my oldest explained to me very clearly that he was more of a “chocolate person”. Therefore, this weekend I will make my vegan chocolate cake with strawberry frosting for the most important men in my life, but I will save you, little love cakes, as a sweet, Valentine’s gift to me. Huzzah!
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I adapted this recipe from Bill Yosses’ Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream and Raspberries (Food & Wine 2005 issue). If I were to describe these cakes in one word it would be “light”.  The vanilla cake itself is soft, tender, and light as air. It’s a cross between an American-style butter cake and Angel food cake.  I think what makes it so ethereal is that egg whites are used instead of whole eggs.  I also used an all-purpose flour that is made from soft winter wheat (White Lily Flour).  Soft winter wheat has a  low protein content, so it makes for a more tender cake.  The cakes are very much like a Victorian sponge.  Instead of raspberry jam, however, I used a delicious raspberry sauce from one of my favorite baking blogs Wicked Good Kitchen.  It’s gorgeous, and tangy, which provided a nice zing to the cake.  I also added whipped cream, and then sandwiched the two with another cake heart. The last component is a delicious lemon cream that is piped on top.  It has a sweet, creamy, citrus taste, which pairs nicely with the raspberries.  

Let’s do it.  First, I cut out heart shapes from the all-ready baked vanilla cake.

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I then took one heart and flipped it to its flatter side.

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I piped some best ever raspberry sauce on top.  Click here for the recipe.

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I topped the raspberry sauce with some lightly sweetened, whipped cream.

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Then I placed another heart over top, making sure that the flatter side faced out.

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I piped the sweet tangy, lemon cream on top.

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And then added three raspberries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

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Little Love Cakes
Yields 8
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For the cake
  1. 3 Large Egg Whites
  2. ¾ cups Whole Milk
  3. 2 and ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  4. 1 and ¾ cup plus 2 TBS (210 g) Cake Flour, or White Lilly All-Purpose Flour
  5. 2 and ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  6. 1 stick plus 1 TBS (128 g) Unsalted Butter, softened
  7. 1 cup plus 2 TBS (212 g) Granulated Sugar
  8. ½ tsp. Salt
For the lemon cream
  1. 2 Large Eggs
  2. 2/3 cup (133 g) Granulated Sugar
  3. 1/3 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  4. ¾ tsp. Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  5. 1 stick plus 3 TBS (156 g) Unsalted Butter, softened
For assembly
  1. Whipped Cream
  2. Raspberry Sauce or ½ cup Seedless Raspberry Jam
  3. Fresh Raspberries and Powdered Sugar for garnish
To make the vanilla cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15” x 10” jelly roll pan. Line the pan with parchment, and then grease the parchment. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla extract. Pour in the remaining milk and mix. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set both bowls aside.
  3. In a bowl connected to a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until lighter in color and fluffy (about 7 minutes). Add the dry ingredients and the egg white mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time. Be sure to alternate between the dry and wet (beginning and ending with the flour).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and with an off-set spatula, smooth out the top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden in color, and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the lemon cream
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar continuously together. It will begin to foam, and after about 6 minutes will thicken nicely. Remove from heat and pour into a food processor. Set aside to cool for about 7 minutes. Add the softened butter and salt and blend until smooth (about 1 minute). Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold.
To assemble
  1. Cut out your hearts and set aside. Fill a piping bag with the raspberry sauce, or raspberry jam. Fill a piping bag with the lemon cream. Finally fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the whipped cream. Okay, here we go. Place one heart on a platter. Pipe the raspberry sauce on top of that heart. Pipe out the whipped cream on top of the raspberry sauce. Place another heart on top of the whipped cream to create a most beautiful sandwich. Pipe out the lemon cream on top of the heart. Add three raspberries, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You did it! Now, do the others.
Special equipment needed
  1. 3-inch heart cookie cutter
  2. 15” x 10” jelly roll pan
  3. Standing mixer with paddle attachment
  4. Off-set spatula
  5. Food processor
  6. Saucepan
  7. 2 piping bags (no tip needed)
  8. 1 piping bag fitted with large star tip
Adapted from Food & Wine (2005)
Project Pastry Love http://www.projectpastrylove.com/
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  • jane

    Oh my sweet Lizzie . . I will be your Valentine! These little cakes were perfect. Not too sweet, not too tangy . . the cake was a lovely texture – just right for the lemon & whipped creams. Your idea to make the raspberry filling from scratch was right on! I love this dessert . . for a “girl’s gathering . . for Spring . . for a Mom who loves you on Valentine’s Day . . xo

    • Liz

      They were good, weren’t they? Thank you for being my taste taster!! xoxo

  • Each layer of your little cakes looks so pretty and luscious that you could have stopped at any point and the cakes could have been complete! But I am glad you didn’t! (I am intrigued by the information about the White Lily flour and how it lends itself to the light texture of this cake. Is White Lily flour made with soft winter wheat all year? Interesting and useful. Thanks!)

    • Liz

      White Lily Flour is my new go-to. Okay, so here is a little fun fact about soft winter wheat… it is planted in the fall and grows for a short period of time. It becomes dormant in the winter, but begins to grow again in the spring, and finally it is harvested in the summer. I sound like a baking nerd, don’t I? Or a flour nerd? Anyway, use this flour for your next cake 🙂

      • Wow! Good to have a flour nerd friend when you are interested in baking! Now I need to bake a cake so I can see the difference! Thanks, Liz!

  • YES! Liz, I am totally loving everything about your sweet Little Love Cakes…so perfect for V-Day and so pretty! I am so glad you are a convert in accepting soft winter wheat flour (White Lily) into your kitchen for cake baking. Its performance is nothing short of PHENOMENAL. Food scientist, recipe developer and cookbook author (and lover of all things Southern and baking), Shirley Corriher, had me embracing it after reading her fabulous book, Bakewise. Thank you for trying out my recipe for Raspberry Sauce and for linking over. You ROCK. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day, girl! xo P.S. My heart goes out to your husband and son. I, too, recently developed a wicked food allergy…to corn and anything derived from it (basically, nearly all food additives). I hope your sweet Valentines enjoy their special Chocolate Cake!

    • Liz

      You Rock, Stacy! That was one of the nicest comments! Thank you 🙂