Valentine's Day Cake
Layered with raspberries and whipped cream, and topped with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, this heart-shaped génoise cake makes an irresistible Valentine’s Day confection. A light yet rich French dessert, génoise is similar in texture to a moist sponge cake, though not as sweet. For added festive flourish, use a heart-shaped template to create a cocoa-powder heart on the cake’s top.
 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Raspberry Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
2 pints fresh raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)


Raspberry Simple Syrup
Makes about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons framboise


Whipped Cream
Makes 4 cups

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 11 1/2-by-9 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment paper, and set aside.

2. Set the bowl of an electric mixer over, but not touching, a pot of simmering water. Combine the granulated sugar and eggs in the bowl, and whisk until mixture is warm to the touch, about 2 minutes.

3. Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick and pale, about 4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Sift in the flour in three additions, folding gently after each. Combine the butter and the vanilla, and add in a steady stream as you fold in the third addition of flour. Fold gently, and transfer to prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

4. Bake until the cake is springy to the touch and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When ready to use, turn out cake onto a cutting board or cake turntable covered with a clean piece of parchment paper, and carefully peel the bottom layer of parchment paper off the cake.

5. To assemble: Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Brush cut sides of cake liberally with the raspberry simple syrup. Spread bottom layer to within 1/2-inch of edge with half of the whipped cream. Cover cream with an even layer of raspberries. Spread remaining whipped cream over berries. Place top of cake cut-side down over cream. Dust top with confectioners’ sugar. Create a heart-shaped template from the cake pan, and cut out a smaller heart in the template’s center. Lay template on top of the cake, and dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve immediately.

Raspberry Simple Syrup
Prepare an ice-water bath. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Stir in the framboise, and set the pot over ice bath. Stir occasionally, until completely chilled. Can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Whipped Cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Serves 12

Note: Be sure to warm the eggs and sugar before beating, then carefully fold in the dry ingredients to avoid overdeflating the mixture.



   

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