Make Valentine’s Day Extra Sweet

Valentines Day can often feel like a forced day to be happy and in love. For me, it’s a time to remember those I love. Sometimes I celebrate with just my husband and other times I invite friends into the fold to have a delicious meal and stimulating conversation. Even those that are having a hard time can’t help but relax and enjoy when this dessert is served. And it is truly Seriously Simple to prepare.

I have made many a chocolate cake, each that have their own special attributes— Ones that have multi-layers with different buttercreams, ones with ground nuts instead of flour, ones covered with chocolate ganache and then there is this one. The rich chocolatey batter is embedded with chunks of caramel that soften and melt slightly as the cake bakes. A light sprinkle of sea salt adds an even richer taste sensation. If you make this ahead just make sure to warm it before serving. Don’t worry if you have leftovers. Just freeze, defrost and enjoy for another meal.

Kudos and thanks go to well-respected cookbook author and blogger Betty Rosbottom who concocted this heavenly combination. I found this recipe on her website and contacted her ( to see if I could share it with my readers. She happily agreed. When I asked how she developed this recipe she explained that she tasted something like this while in Paris and then set out to recreate it for her readers. I’ve adapted it and hope you love it as much as I do. Make sure you look for good quality dark chocolate. If you can find hand made caramels the cake will be that much better. And remember this cake is great for any happy occasion!

Dark Chocolate and Caramel Cake

Serves 8

7 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ pound bittersweet chocolate chips or bars, cut into small pieces (I like Ghiradelli 60%)

4 large eggs

½ cup fine sugar

¾ cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel or sea salt

8 caramels, like Kraft’s, cut in half

Powdered sugar

1 quart best quality vanilla ice cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  1. In a Pyrex measuring cup or other glass bowl combine the butter and chocolate and cook until the chocolate and butter are melted; about a minute and a half. Check after 30 seconds and using a rubber spatula blend together. Remove and cool.
  1. Meanwhile combine the eggs and sugar in an electric mixer and on medium-high speed mix for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture lightens in color and thickens slightly. Reduce the speed to medium and add the chocolate-butter mixture. Then add the flour, baking powder and salt and carefully incorporate until blended. Transfer the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Use a rubber spatula to even out the top.
  1. Push the caramel pieces into the batter carefully so they are equally placed. Use the spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 22 to 28 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean from the center. Cool the cake on a cooking wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Run knife around the inside edge to avoid sticking. Once cool release the sides.
  1. To serve: Using a sharp knife remove the bottom springform from the cake and discard the parchment paper. Transfer onto a serving platter, decorate with powdered sugar, slice into wedges and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Advance Preparation: This can be made through step 4, cooled completely and covered with plastic wrap and then foil and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead. It can also be frozen and defrosted. To reheat, remove foil and plastic wrap and bring cake to room temperature. Reheat in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.

Whitefish Terrine with Beet-Horseradish Relish



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons matzo meal
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock, fish stock, or water
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground whitefish or a mixture of whitefish, pike and buffalo fish
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  • 1 jar (5 ounces) prepared horseradish cream
  • 2 medium beets, cooked


  • Lemon slices
  • Parsley sprigs


  1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9- by 5- by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the eggs with the matzo meal. When well combined, add the stock, fish, cooled carrots and onion, salt, pepper and sugar, and continue to beat until well blended.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Pick up the pan with both hands and slam it down on the counter to settle any air bubbles. Drizzle the lime juice over the top and sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a long wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Place the horseradish cream and cooked beets in a food processor and process until puréed. Transfer to a small container, cover and refrigerate.
  6. Remove the terrine from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Wrap in aluminum foil and chill overnight.
  7. Loosen the sides of the terrine from the pan by running a knife blade along the edges. Invert the terrine onto a plate, and then turn upright on a platter. Slice the terrine into 3/4-inch slices. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley and serve. Pass the beet-horseradish sauce separately.

Advance Preparation

Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Serves 10 to 12 people.

Pistachio and Dried Fruit Haroset



  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted natural pistachios
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sweet Passover wine
  • 1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Fresh mint sprigs (for garnish)


  1. Stir pistachios in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine dates, cherries, apricots, wine, and juice in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in honey, lemon juice, orange peel, and spices.
  4. Chop pistachios; mix into haroseth.
  5. Garnish haroseth with mint sprigs.

Advanced Preperation

This can be made a day ahead. Cover and chill.

Makes about 3 cups.