Valentine’s—or Any—Day Chocolate Cake

Valentine’s Day is soon upon us and it is as much a celebration for families as it is for sweethearts. It is a day to celebrate everyone you love. In our house, of course, that means a special chocolate cake.

For years I made the tried-and-true Berghoff Flourless Chocolate Cake (page 200, The Berghoff Family Cookbook), and when we became a gluten-free household I simply omitted the dried bread crumbs used to coat the buttered cake pans. In all other respects the recipe is gluten free.  For entertaining the recipe is perfect because it makes two large, rich cakes. But this year I wanted something smaller for our family of five.

So I developed a new recipe for a gluten-free, dense, fudgy, deliciously rich chocolate cake that is perfect for Valentine’s—or Any—day. It can be decorated simply with powdered sugar and a heart-shaped stencil, or it can be glazed with a shiny chocolate glaze and decorated with a Valentine’s Day motif. I like to have the kids help me decorate. The cake can be served (after it is baked and cooled) at room temperature, or refrigerated and served cold. Leftovers can be wrapped and frozen.

Being as busy as most working mothers I was looking for, and found, some recipe shortcuts. For example, the simple step of melting semi-sweet chocolate. Most recipes call for chopping the chocolate before melting it.  I discovered that Baker’s Chocolate now makes 4-ounce packages of semisweet chocolate that is conveniently scored into 16 rectangles, easily broken apart—no need to chop. A second shortcut is to mix the cake right in the pot that you use to melt the chocolate—no need for several bowls (see recipe instructions). And a third shortcut is to purchase already cut parchment rounds (I like King Arthur Flour for these)—no need to trace and cut the parchment to fit the pan bottom before baking the cake. Every little bit helps to trim time from the preparation.

So wish your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day with this dense, delicious chocolate cake. And, once you taste it, I’ll wager that you, like me, will bake it all year long, whenever there is an occasion for an extra-special dessert. Garnish it, of course, with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Valentine’s—or Any—Day Chocolate Cake

Yield: 12 slices

Valentine’s—or Any—Day Chocolate Cake


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or solid nondairy alternative such as Earth Balance
  • 2 (4-ounce) packages Baker’s Easy Break Semisweet Chocolate Bar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • ½ cup 1,2,3, Gluten-Free Flour (or gluten-free flour of choice with xanthan in the mix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)
  • Powdered Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream, or nondairy topping, as needed for garnish
  • Fresh raspberries, as needed for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray with nonstick cooking spray an 8-inch spring form pan or pan with a removable bottom. Line bottom with parchment paper circle.
  2. In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter. Break chocolate bars into 16 pieces each and add to butter.
  3. Remove pot from heat and stir in the sugar until chocolate is completely melted.
  4. Add vanilla, flour and salt and, using a hand-held mixer, beat until smooth.
  5. Add eggs, one by one, beating after each. Scrape batter into baking pan. Bake until cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Set pan on a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. Run a thin spatula around the pan edges and remove the cake pan bottom. Remove the cake from the pan bottom and transfer to a wire rack.
  8. Decorate simply with a heart stencil and powdered sugar.
  9. Or glaze the cake the Chocolate Glaze. Let glaze cool for one hour. Decorate heart using a simple powdered sugar glaze. Slice into 12 slices. Serve each with whipped cream or nondairy whipped topping and fresh raspberries.

Chocolate Glaze

Yield: About 1 cup

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter or solid nondairy alternative such as Earth Balance

1 cup gluten-free mini chocolate chips

In the top half of a double boiler over simmering water, melt butter. Add chocolate chips and stir until completely melted.

chocolate chips

Pour glaze over baked cake, top and sides. Let sit for 1 hour.


Powdered Sugar Glaze

Yield: 1 cup

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk or nondairy alternative, or as needed.

Place sugar in bowl. Add milk and stir until thick and smooth.

raspberry cake



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