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Now that Christmas is over most people seem to be taking a breather but for food bloggers there is no time to waste. Valentine's Day is coming in a little over a month and it's time to get started on making delicious treats for this special day!
While we most often think about our significant other on Valentine's Day, it's fun to celebrate with other people as well. When I was in college there was a group of 5 girls that would always hang out together. Even though some of us always had boyfriends on Valentine's Day we would always enjoy a meal together on Valentine's Day and usually a cake or dessert as well. It was a nice way to show each other that we cared on a day set aside for just that.
This year I'm sure my husband and I will be enjoying a delicious dinner and dessert prepared by me. I love cooking intimate holiday meals just for us because I can really go all out with the food and presentation. However, there are some other people in my life that I want to celebrate with.
Since I've moved to Maryland the majority of my friends have been other teachers. I didn't grow up here so I don't have any connection to the area while about 75% of the population has known each other since birth. It was hard fitting in at some times but I've made some good friends through out the years with other teachers in my building and the county. I'm in a book club with 5 other teachers and we get together once a month. I have a couple of other friends who I go out with to new restaurants.
To show my appreciation on Valentine's Day for my teacher friends, I wanted to make something fun and delicious. I think most people think chocolate on Valentine's Day and when I think chocolate I go right to strawberries. Did you know that M&M's® has a new flavor for Valentine's Day? It's M&M's® Strawberry and it was just what I needed for my dessert. I recently found it when I was at my local Walmart store and I picked up a few bags just in case.
I decided to whip up a homemade chocolate cake and cut it into the shape of a heart. Since some people might think it's a little strange giving a heart shaped cake to a bunch of my friends, I wanted to make it really fun. I hollowed out the middle of the bottom layer and filled it with M&M's® Strawberry. Then I topped it with the other cake and spread it with pink colored buttercream frosting. Then I decorated it with the leftover M&M's® Strawberry.
The cake was super cute and I couldn't wait to cut into it and see the M&M's® come tumbling out of the cake. I thought it would be a great surprise so I didn't tell anyone that the cake was filled. Since I get to work early I set it on the table in the faculty room along with a DOVE® Valentine's Day tin (because who can resist chocolate on a Monday morning?) and an American Greetings® Valentine's Day greeting card just sharing how glad I am to have a wonderful staff that have become wonderful friends. I found both of these at Walmart at well. I love that it's such a great one stop shop for everything Valentine's Day!
People at work loved the cake! Not only did they think it tasted great but they loved the idea of filling it with M&M's®. It was a hot topic of conversation every time I walked into a new classroom. Plus, the chocolate in the DOVE® Valentine's Day tin were gone well before lunch time. It was nice to share a treat and a gift with people that have become such good friends to me!
- ¾ c. butter (1½ sticks), softened
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 t. vanilla
- ½ c. cocoa powder
- 2 c. flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. salt
- 1½ c. milk
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 3-4 c. powdered sugar
- 3 T. milk
- 1 t. vanilla
- pink food coloring
- 1 bag M&M's® Strawberry
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9" baking pans with cooking spray. I like to put a circle of parchment paper at the bottom of the pans as well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla.
- Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add half the flour mix and stir to combine. Stir in the milk, mixing until well combined. Add in the remaining flour and mix well until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the two prepared pans, dividing it in half.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center combined out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges, remove from pans, and cool completely.
- Meanwhile, place the butter in a large bowl to make the frosting. Beat it with a mixer until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add in the milk, vanilla, and pink food coloring and mix until smooth.
- Place the chocolate cakes on top of each other. Cut a V shape at the bottom to make the bottom of the heart. Cut a rolling V (like a bird) at the top of the cake to make the top of the heart.
- Remove the top layer of the cake and set aside. On the bottom layer cut out a heart in the cake, leaving about an inch from the outside. Scoop out the middle of the heart, leaving an inch at the bottom.
- Pour as much of the bag of M&M's® Strawberry into the heart cut out as will fit.
- Spread the lip of the heart that remains with the pink frosting. Place the top layer of the cake on the bottom layer, shutting the M&M's® Strawberry inside.
- Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Use any remaining M&M's® Strawberry to decorate the top and bottom of the cake.
Want to make your own Valentine's Day treat? Check out this COUPON to save $1.00 on ANY TWO (2) M&M's® Brand Chocolate Candies, 8oz or larger.
What would you make for Valentine's Day using M&M's® Strawberry? I want to hear your ideas! If you need more inspiration check out the #SendSweetness inspiration board!