This is what I am making for all my girlfriends for Valentine's Day:
This chocolaty loaf calls to mind pound cake, but it's lighter and somewhat more textured. It's great with a glass of milk, but the swirls and ganache make it fancy enough to offer with dessert wine.
Makes one 8 1/2-inch loaf
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 1/2-by-4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl.
- Melt 5 ounces chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
- Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar; raise speed to medium. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk. Mix until just combined.
- Pour half of batter into melted chocolate; stir well. Alternating between remaining plain batter and the chocolate batter, drop large spoonfuls of batter into the prepared pan. When pan is filled, use a table knife to cut through mixture with a swirling motion.
- Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. (If bread browns too quickly, tent with foil.) Let bread cool slightly in pan on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of bread to loosen; unmold. Let cool completely on rack.
- Make ganache: Put the remaining 3 ounces chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until just about to simmer. Pour cream over chocolate; stir until mixture is smooth. Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Using a small offset spatula, spread ganache over cooled cake; let stand until set, about 1 hour. Bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.
I am going to package them this way:
Fold a piece of tissue paper in half three times, forming eight layers. Using a heart-shaped craft punch, cut out hearts. Cover the surface of an ironing board with paper towels; place a sheet of waxed paper on top. Arrange hearts on waxed paper, and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Cover with more paper towels. Run an iron, set to medium heat, lightly over the layers to set.