Thursday, February 14, 2008

my bloody valentine

There is nothing quite so satisfying as achieving a long-held culinary goal. For years, I've longed to bake a Bleeding Heart Cake for an anti-Valentine's Day party. This year, I finally did.

The Bleeding Heart Cake looks sweet and innocent, the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. Appearances, however, are deceiving. Cut into it... and watch the blood run.

Directions for the Bleeding Heart Cake come from Do it myself!, a website run by two sisters who bake incredibly creative, unique cakes. If you'd like to bake a Bleeding Heart Cake yourself, you should check out their tutorial.

Bleeding Heart Cake

(Recipe not for one. This cake is no fun without an audience.)

Use whatever kind of cake you'd like for the base: it should go with buttercream, but that's the only requirement. It doesn't need to be fancy - as far as I'm concerned, the cake just serves as a base to hang the buttercream upon. I pulled a recipe for basic white cake from Google and followed that.

This can be a single-layer or multi-layer cake, though you'll probably want at least two layers if you want lots of blood. It can be baked in heart-shaped pans, but if you're like me and would only ever use heart-shaped pans for Bleeding Heart Cake, it's much cheaper to just use round pans and cut the cake into hearts.

Next, you'll need buttercream. I used Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe, which worked very well. I flavored it with pomegranate liqueur, and tinted it a lurid shade of pink. (The photos don't really capture the awfulness of the color.)

For the blood, which is a berry sauce, you'll need red berries, either fresh or frozen. Puree them in a food processor, and strain the seeds if you object to seeds. Add sugar to taste.

Assembly is the fun part: take your layers, and sandwich them together with buttercream. Put the cake on a cutting board or a platter, something that can be easily moved. Flip the cake over so that you're looking at its underside.

Cut out a hollow for the berry sauce, and slather both the hollow and the underside of the cake in buttercream. Be generous. You don't want any of the sauce to seep into the cake.

Fill the hollow with berry sauce. Take whatever you're planning to serve the cake on - cake platter, cutting board - and press it gently atop the hollow. Carefully flip the cake over, so that it's right-side up. Cover all remaining exposed surfaces in buttercream.

Doesn't it look sweet and innocent?

To cut the cake, use the biggest knife you have. A butcher's knife or cleaver is good. A sword may also be effective, if messy.

Mmm... blood. Delicious berry blood.

When you've finished making jokes and taking photos, carve up the cake and serve with all the berry blood that didn't fit into the hollow. Enjoy.


Yulinka said...

That's awesome. A bleeding cake! Great idea. But wouldn't you rather stab torts than tortes? (I just noticed your blog tagline.)

adele said...

Hmm. You may have a point there.

Alex said...

It looks beautiful. Terribly sorry I missed it.

Julie said...

That's a cake that deserves an audience -- worth fashioning a Valentine's party around it. Very amusing!

Janani said...

This is so effing cool.

adele said...

Thank you.