Nothing Says Love Like Chocolate and Cherries
January 26th, 2012 by Ruralite

chocolateSavor the pleasure on Valentine’s Day with recipes that are sure to please. From updated classics to a gluten-free delight, these delicious creations are the perfect choice for your Valentine.

There is no denying that when love is the secret ingredient, your baking will be the best. In addition to what comes from the heart, home bakers add special touches to their recipes, with simple ingredients, such as flavored gelatin, maraschino cherries, cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk and dates.

Gluten-Free Black Forest Trifle
Source: Courtesy of


1 8-serving size package of black cherry or cherry gelatin

2 11-ounce cans red tart cherries (liquid from 1 can reserved)

3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (from a jar of maraschino cherries)

1 6-serving package instant vanilla pudding

2½ cups milk

1 8-inch gluten free chocolate cake or brownies, preferably made the day before

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Cocoa powder, grated chocolate or chocolate curls for garnish

Maraschino cherries for garnish


Prepare the gelatin according to the directions except use 1 cup of cold water instead of two. Let it firm up for at least four hours or you can make the day ahead. Cut into about 1-inch squares.

Mix the reserved juice from the can of tart cherries with the maraschino cherry juice.

Prepare the instant pudding per instructions, using 2½ cups of milk instead of three. Let the pudding set up for 5 minutes.

Cut the cake or brownies into about 1-inch-square pieces. You do not need to be precise. Layer half of the cake into the bottom of a trifle bowl or clear glass serving bowl. Spoon some of the cherry juice mixture onto the cake, enough to moisten the cake but not drown it. Layer one can of drained tart cherries over the moistened cake, making sure the cherries go all the way out to the edges so they show up in the layers. Top with half of the pudding. Top with the cubed gelatin, then add the remaining pudding, another layer of cake—moisten the same way as the first layer—and the remaining can of drained cherries.

Whip the cream on high speed with the sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over the top of the trifle.

Top with a dusting of cocoa powder, some grated chocolate or chocolate curls and maraschino cherries. Refrigerate for about an hour to let the flavors meld or up to several hours ahead.

Serves 9

Date Pudding Cake With Caramel Infusion
Source: Courtesy of Bard Valley Medjool Dates


Butter and powdered cocoa to prepare pan

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dates, about 10, pitted and chopped

1½ cups boiling water

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1¾ cups self-rising flour, sifted

Caramel sauce

1 cup brown sugar

1¼ cups whipping cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup butter


Preheat oven to 350°F. To prepare baking pan, brush inside of a Bundt pan thoroughly with melted butter. Liberally sprinkle powdered cocoa over butter, then turn upside down and tap to remove excess cocoa.

In a small bowl, sprinkle baking soda over dates. Add water and set aside for 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, fold in date mixture and flour until well mixed. Batter will be thin.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to stand for about one minute, then carefully turn onto a plate.

To make the caramel sauce, set saucepan over medium heat and add sugar, cream, vanilla and butter. Cook, stirring often, until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for two more minutes.

While cake is still warm, use a wooden skewer to make holes all over the top of the cake. Pour half of the warm sauce over the warm cake. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if desired.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into slices and serve with remaining sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Source: Courtesy of


2 10 ounces jars maraschino cherries

2 8 ounces cartons mascarpone cheese*

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons amaretto or brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup water

42 crisp ladyfinger cookies

2 1.55 ounces milk chocolate candy bars, grated

*Chocolate curls for garnish


Drain cherries, reserving juice and 9 cherries; set aside. Chop remaining cherries.

In a large bowl, combine the cheese, sugar, amaretto, vanilla and 1 tablespoon cherry juice.

In another bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; gently fold into cheese mixture.

Combine water and remaining cherry juice. Arrange 14 ladyfingers in an ungreased 9-inch square pan. Brush with ¾ cup cherry juice mixture. Spread 11⁄3 cups cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Sprinkle with half of the chopped cherries and grated chocolate. Repeat layers.

Top with remaining ladyfingers and cheese mixture. Garnish with chocolate curls and reserved cherries. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

*Substitute for mascarpone cheese: Blend 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with ¼ cup whipping cream, or blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup cream.

Serves 14-16

Chocolate Curls
To make chocolate curls, take a bar of chocolate and warm it for about 15 seconds in the microwave. Run a vegetable peeler down the side of the chocolate. If curls do not form the chocolate is not warm enough. Warm a few more seconds. Keep cold until using.