February 12, 2016

Festively fun 1950s Catch-a-Valentine Cake recipe


It occurred to me recently just how much I love baking and making sweets for Valentine's Day. As a day where all things dolce are celebrated and noshed upon, I'm certainly not alone here, but I think part of why St. Val's Day desserts jump out at me so much is because, generally speaking, this is a holiday where sweet really, really reigns supreme.

There are arguably not a ton of standard savoury dishes for this day (though those with aphrodisiacal qualities, such as raw oysters, have long been firm favourites for a Feb. 14th dinner, as have been luxurious eats such as steak, lobster, and lamb), where sugary treats come out on top and most of us, even those who often eat very health consciously, are apt to indulge in something sweet, fun and tongue pleasingly wonderful.

I generally whip up one or more chocolate dishes for Valentine's Day, but I love anything pink or red as well, from tinted popcorn balls to homemade marshmallows to frosting topped sugar cookies. Today's mid-century recipe for the smile-inducingly named Catch-a-Valentine Cake has pink in spades and would be equally lovely for Easter, Mother's Day, a bridal or baby shower, birthday party, wedding or anniversary.

Fabulously simple to make, yet wonderfully impressive looking, this festive take on a classic marble cake (with two different coloured versions of the same cake batter, as opposed to two separate flavours of cake, though you could certainly use extracts to flavour one or both of them, if so desired) is a cinch to whip up and a fun treat for any February 14th related celebration.



{Beautiful to look at and wonderful to taste, this elegant 1950s Valentine's Day cake recipe is such a crowd pleasing choice. Naturally, if shorting isn't something you're too fond of, feel free to substitute butter, margarine, or another suitable cooking fat of your choice. Vintage recipe image source. Click here for a larger version.}


Valentine's Day itself might not be everyone's cup of (sweetened) tea, but most of us will agree that our eyes turn as wide as saucers when desserts celebrating this festive occasion are laid out before us, be they at home, in a restaurant or at the local grocery store.

This cake - which can easily be made GF by using your favourite store bought white or golden gluten-free cake mix - is free of chocolate, so it's a good choice for those who might be unable to eat it to to medical reason or simply not a fan. It's one of those delightful vintage cake recipes that looks fancy, but is not at all complicated and which most home cooks can successfully put together and bring to the table, where a chorus of cheers is bound to erupt from excited diners.

If you can't find candy hearts of any sort for the top, strawberry slices can easily be formed to make a heart shape and tiny food cutters (such as this lovely little set) can be used to cut hearts and other shapes from berries and many other fruits (and vegetables), too.

I hope that as Valentine's Day draws near, you'll get a chance to indulge in a sweet treat that truly brings you culinary joy, be it a classic cake like this 1950s gem, a decadent box of mixed chocolates, a rich soufflé, a refreshing ice cream sundae, a luscious fruit tart, a fragrant cinnamon bun, a crunchy French macaron, or anything else that - rather fittingly, one might say - your heart desires. I know I will be! :)


*PS* Thank you deeply to each of you for your understanding and kindhearted blog comments regarding the recent death of my computer. As the new one I ordered from Dell on Feb. 3rd hasn't even shipped yet (*le sigh*),

I'm thinking that - best case - I'll be receiving it on the three week end of the delivery time estimate I was given when I ordered. As mentioned in my post here last week, I am still online, just substantially less as I'm making due with accessing the web just from my phone. Hopefully my new laptop will get here soon and I can slip right back into my usual online routine (complete with a tons of catching up!).

32 comments:

  1. For me Valentine's day has always been more about the sweet treats than anything else! However, it seems to have creeped up on my this year and I haven't even thought about anything to bake. This cake looks pretty incredible! And I just love those fun vintage descriptions.

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    1. I hear you there big time! I usually remember to post a festive recipe or two, but actually finding the time to prepare a Valentine's Day feast (or even just a fancy dessert) can be a whole 'nother matter entirely, especially this year with everything that's been going on in our lives in recent months. I do have all the ingredients needed for a few things (cheesecake, trifle, apple pie, etc) to hand though, so hopefully I can whip up something later today just in the nick of time. :)

      Big hugs & joyful Cupid's Day wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  2. More cake, you really spoil us. I adore cake, it's so indulgent. Here in Britain, we love it with a cup of tea. For someone who loves Britishness, our stiff upper lip attitude and pomp and ceremony all over the place, I really am not a tea drinker. I love the idea and il have the odd cup now and then but, I can't seem to love it. I prefer iced tea. O well, I do love cake though, that is for sure.
    Loved your interview on the Boyer Sisters site. Wishing you all the happiness in the world my dear xx

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    1. Thank you ever so much, my dear friend. I tend to find considerably more vintage dessert recipes online than I do savoury mid-century offerings, so you can bank on a steady stream of sweet treats at "Cafe CV". :)

      Many hugs & happy Valentine's weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  3. What a delicious looking pink bomb. No V-day for us Danes, but I could easily whip up this cake any other time of year. How irritating that your new pc is late, let's cross fingers you'll get it soon, dear. Wishing you a lovely weekend. :)

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    1. Absolutely! It would be splendid for Easter or Mother's Day as well, if we're thinking about springtime celebrations in particular.

      Thank you very much. It isn't per se late yet, but I am getting a touch concerned about the fact that it hasn't even shipped out at this point. Tony and I agreed that if I haven't gotten an email informing me of such come the end of Monday, we'll be on the horn with them bright and early Tuesday morning (as that will be a day shy of two weeks from when I placed my order on Feb. 3rd). Hopefully it will ship this weekend, but only time will tell.

      Thank you as well for all of your wonderful recent comments. I appreciate them - and you - immensely.

      Oodles of Valentine's weekend hugs!
      ♥ Jessica

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  4. Hello Jessica,
    Meanwhile, I hope to solve soon the problems with your computer! Here, too, we had a complicated period, between cars, internet and other boring things .. even for all these reasons I hope to live a peaceful and enjoyable weekend! This cake is really tasty and lovely, I love the rose is so reassuring, as well as romantic! Also I'm greedy almond and vanilla! These days I'm eating very healthy (today, for lunch, just pasta with cauliflower, curcuma and pine nuts) and I try to play sports (although here it's cold and always raining) so ... Sunday I will be able to enjoy a wonderful cake like this! I wish you a beautiful Valentine!

    a huge hug

    serena

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    1. Oh dear, I'm really sorry to hear about the tidal wave of issues that has been hitting the shores of your life lately, too, sweet dear. Here's to hope that the second half of February is worlds better for both of us - starting with a terrific St. Valentine's Day celebration this weekend.

      Big hugs & festive wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  5. I love this post! Thank you for sharing the image and recipe. Happy Valentine's Day, Jessica!

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    1. My absolute pleasure, Cindy. Thank you for your lovely comment and festive wishes. I hope that your celebration rocks as well!

      ♥ Jessica

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  6. Oh no, as you know, I was away from computers, so I didn't know about your computer! I hope it comes soon! I have a Dell that I haven't used for years, but when I did it was very good! I have to say that I loooved this photo, the cake looks amazing and delicious! I love sweets, so I would have loved it even with purple and green and blue balls, but truly, it looks so beautiful!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. The tail end of your comment made me burst out in a big smile. So true, so true! Though I do have more of a "salty tooth" than a sweet one, I love a good dessert every now and then, too, especially when the holidays roll around.

      Big hugs & happy Valentine's Day wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  7. I'll be baking, but something much simpler: banana bread.
    My husband's computer died today. I feel your pain and hope yours gets there soon.
    Happy 14th :)

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    1. Oh, that's so rough. I'm really sorry that your DH's computer bit the dust as well. It's amazing, you know. We spend so much on these devices and barely get - if we're lucky! - a few years out of most of them. As much as I adore and appreciate modern technology, something about that fact will never entirely sit right with a vintage adoring gal like me.

      Fingers crossed you're able to find a great new one for him as well.

      Many hugs & happy Valentine's wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  8. I love your vintage recipe posts. Your idea of adding strawberries in place of the candy hearts, is a great one. PS. my condolences for your computer, hope the new one arrives soon ;)

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    1. Thank you sweetly, dear Akram. I do as well. I'd figured I would have at least received an email saying it had shipped by this point, but no dice. Tony and I agreed that it we haven't gotten one by the end of Monday, we'll ring them up pronto on Tuesday morning.

      Big hugs & happy wishes for a great 14th!
      ♥ Jessica

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  9. OMG that cake has my mouth watering. I hope your new computer arrives soon. The image of you working online with your phone makes me cry.

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    1. You're so caring, Ally. Thank you very much. I've naturally had to scale back a lot, but am still trying to keep up with things like blog comments here on my site and the most pressing of my emails as best I can. Still, far from ideal and not how I expected this February to unfold in the slightest. That's life though - curveballs and all, and things could of course be worlds worst, so I can't really complain (though I am a bit surprised my new laptop hasn't even so much as shipped yet - super soon, I hope!).

      Wishing you a fantastic 14th!
      ♥ Jessica

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  10. Wow...this Valentine Cake is a work of Art! and it's so mouthwatering!..
    ciao ciao

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    1. Ciao Aure, thank you very much for your lovely comment. It really is a delicious, classic cake isn't it?

      Have a wonderful Valentine's weekend,
      ♥ Jessica

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  11. I wish I was at your house for Valentines! I can't say no to a sweet treat... I've never really associate the holiday with anything other than chocolate, but this seems an oversight now in the presence of this magnificent cake. Pink marbling - what a great idea <3 Hope your computer hurries up and arrives, how endlessly frustrating that it hasn't shipped yet!! x

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    1. Joyful Valentine's Day greetings and wishes, sweet CiCi! Growing up my mom always made frosted (heart shaped) sugar cookies and usually a cake, cupcakes, or another dessert that was Valentine's related, but that didn't necessarily involve chocolate, so I think I've just subconsciously carried on the tradition. :)

      We're giving them until tomorrow night to send an email saying that it has shipped out and if such hasn't shown up in my inbox yet, we'll be giving them a call bright and early on Tuesday morning (as Tues will be one day short of two full weeks since I placed my order). Hopefully they'll ship really soon! At this rate, it's looking like I might be lucky if it gets here in three weeks (the long end of their 2 - 3 week delivery estimate at the time the order was placed).

      I hope that your weekend is going splendidly and that you've having a joyful holiday!

      Tons of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  12. this is a impressive looking cake!
    but because i try to cut short with sweets i´ll make some goodies from veggies and potatoes and cheese..... :-)
    happy valentines day for you and tony!!! <3 <3 <3
    xxxxxxxxx

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    1. That sounds every bit as delicious to me, lovely Beate. I enjoy a great dessert every now and then for sure (and really enjoy blogging about them), but I've always had more of a "savoury tooth" than a sweet one.

      I hope that you and R. have a marvelous celebration and a great second half of February!

      Big hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  13. Wow, Jessica. You find the best vintage recipes! That cake is so festive and delcious looking. Sorry your new laptop in delayed. This must be so stressful for you.

    Hope you at least have a fun Valentine's Day with your sweetie :)

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Theresa. It is a bit surprising that my new computer hasn't even shipped yet. Granted they did clearly state 2 - 3 weeks estimated delivery time when I ordered, but I thought (back then on the 3rd) that it would have had least shipped by now. So far, not as of this morning. If I haven't received an email informing me of such by tomorrow night, I'll be on the horn with them bright and early Tuesday morning, at the very least to try and ensure there haven't been any delays or such with my order.

      I hope that you and your family have a splendid, fun filled 14th!!!

      Many hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  14. Hmmm yummy !
    I wanted to Bake a cake ..but I think I will be to tired ... Hope my boo doesn't care ! Haha

    <3
    Http://lornasharp.blogspot.com

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    1. I hear you there, my dear. I'm pretty knackered this weekend myself, too.

      Tons of joyful Valentine's Day wishes to you both!

      xoxo ♥ Jessica xoxo

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  15. Jess,
    For a kind and graceful friend like you, I will patiently wait for as long as it takes, 'cause not only that you deserve it, but that I know what a pain-in-the-*** computer components can be! :)
    ..
    Reading this post, I have remembered what my grandma used to say "Sponge cake is everything". At that time I did not understand it - but as time passed and I stared getting her words: start with regular sponge, add this and that and you'll end up with something amazing.
    Like this cake right here.
    A bit of food coloring makes all the difference, and suddenly your guests get to say "I eat colors" :)

    Wonderful, magical - that's baking!

    Have a LOVE(ly) Valentine's day!
    M.

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    1. Sweet Marija, you are such a kindhearted person. Thank you very much for your understanding and patience. I am rather surprised that my new laptop hasn't even so much as shipped yet. We're giving things until tomorrow night and if I still haven't received an email saying that it has shipped out, we'll give them a call on Tuesday morning. Granted, I was told at the time I placed my order that it would take 2 - 3 weeks to arrive, but I am a bit surprised it hasn't even shipped yet and definitely want to make sure that there's no hold ups on Dell's end that I haven't been informed of (hopefully not!).

      Wise words indeed from your grandma. Sponge cakes are incredibly versatile and easy, so there something every home chef can be really well served by.

      Please know that you're in my thoughts and that I am sending you countless joyful Valentine's Day wishes, my dear friend.

      Soooo many hugs!
      ♥ Jessica

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  16. Gorgeous cake and so right you are about how our eyes turn as big as saucers when delicious looking sweets are laid out in front of us. For me I think the combination of pink and red desserts for Valentine's day is the most fun! It reminds me of the fun of being a little kid in school during this holiday! <3

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    1. Isn't it though! I adore the sweet treats of Valentine's Day and Easter. Pretty themes and pastel shades - plus all the awesome chocolate! :)

      Big hugs, honey!
      ♥ Jessica

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