Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Strawberry Brownies

February is supposed to be the month of love.  Well it hasn’t shown much love to us here in West Michigan.  Perhaps, that is Mother Nature’s fault.

So far this month, we have suffered through the Polar Vortex (snow and very bitter cold temperatures) and then freezing rain that caused mass power outages and school closings for days.  My neighborhood was without power for over two days and it was not fun.  Thankfully, I have a gas fireplace that provided some heat in the freezing temperatures.  Hopefully, the remainder of February will be more kinder to us.

Below is an icy tree in my backyard after the freezing rain and a rabbit eating an apple I tossed out for them.  The third photo is courtesy of Andrew Sietsema who has an apple orchard in the nearby Fruit Ridge area in NW Grand Rapids.

The ghost apple was caused when the rotting apples slid out of their icy shells to leave behind a nearly entire apple “ghost”.

Because, we do have Valentine’s Day to look forward to, here is a recipe for Strawberry Brownies.

These strawberry brownies are so simple and easy to make and are a pretty pink.  As pretty as they are, the brownies are delicious to eat as well.  The main ingredient of this recipe is a strawberry cake mix.  After the brownies are baked they are topped with a glaze made with powdered sugar and water.  I made two batches of the brownies for this post.

Strawberry Brownies

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 box Strawberry Cake Mix (without pudding in the mix)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Strawberry Extract (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, and strawberry extract with a stand or hand mixer until combined.  The batter will be thick.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Be careful not to over bake.  Remove from the oven when the brownies are just set.  Allow the brownies to cool for 10 minutes; lift carefully from pan using ends of parchment to lift.

Mix the powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add just enough water until thick but spreadable.  Spread evenly over the warm brownies.  Allow to cool and the glaze is set before slicing into squares.

Notes:
1.  The brownies can also be baked in a 9 inch square baking pan.
2.  Recipe is adapted from Family Savvy.

 

Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Cake

If you are looking for a sweet treat to make for someone special on Valentine’s Day, I can recommend this cake.  It is also fairly easy to make, using the convenience of a boxed cake mix.  It is a pretty cake (and decadent) with the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, chocolate cake and strawberry buttercream filling.

We know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th and that many people give cards, flowers, candy, and presents to their loved ones.  I love getting a heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  The chocolates seem to just taste better for some reason.

The history of Valentine’s Day has a lot of legends surrounding it.  Legend has it that Valentine’s Day is named after a martyred Christian Saint named Valentine.  There is doubt as to which Valentine the day is named after because legend also mentions three Valentines.

However, it was Chaucer’s poem The Parliament of Fowls in 1381 that may have linked the day with love.  This poem was in honor of the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia.  In the poem, Chaucer links the mating season of birds and Valentine’s Day.  (There was a medieval belief that birds select their mates on February 14th.)  Source

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

I found a print copy of the poem on Amazon for less than a dollar and felt the need to purchase it.  This print version has Middle English on one side and the modern English translation on the facing page.  It is quite an interesting poem.

chaucer

I  make this cake at Christmas time for us as well as to give as food gifts, but Valentine’s Day seems like a good time to serve it also.

white chocolate cake

Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Cake:
1 box devil’s food cake mix (Duncan Hines preferred)
1 cup water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 round (9 inch)  cake pans.  Blend cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds).  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour batter in two prepared pans and bake 24-29 minutes.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cakes on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove cakes from pan and cool completely before frosting.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, prepare the filling and frosting.

For the Strawberry Filling:
1/4 cup pureed strawberries
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar

With electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and powdered  sugar together.  Add the strawberry puree and mix on medium low speed until incorporated.

For the White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt

In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed,  beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the melted and cooled white chocolate chips, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract and beat until blended.  Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Spread the strawberry filling between the two cake layers.  Frost sides and top of cake with the White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting.  Decorate with white chocolate curls, if desired.  Store cake in refrigerator.

white chocolate cake 5white chocolate cake slice 3

Notes:
To make chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler to shave the edges of a bar of room-temperature chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

valentine