I love Valentine’s Day. Not for the romance or for the chocolate (I don’t need an excuse to eat chocolate ;). But I love Valentine’s Day for creative cookies, cakes, pies, and candies it inspires. I love the pink, red, and heart-shaped treats. As a nod to Valentine’s Day, I’ve created some Chocolate Filled Red Velvet Coffee Cake.
Like a traditional red velvet cake, the coffee cake dough for these little cakes is made with a touch of cocoa. It’s amazing how much flavor just a bit of cocoa can add. And of course, there’s some red food color in there to create its signature color.
The dough for the Chocolate-Filled Red Velvet Coffee Cake is made with yeast. I know there are a lot of home bakers out there who fear yeast. But honestly, yeast is not difficult to work with at all. There is only one important aspect you have to keep in mind when working with yeast: temperature.
You need your liquid (water, milk, and/or melted butter) to be warm enough to activate the dough, and it has to be cool enough not to kill the yeast. The easiest way to ensure your liquid is at the perfect temperature is to use a thermometer. I like my liquid to be between 105 and 110 degrees F.
The inside of these coffee cakes are filled with dark chocolate ganache. The cakes look fancy, but they’re actually very easy to shape. All I did was divide the dough into 8 pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, I simply rolled the dough on a lightly floured surface into an 8-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Then I covered the surface of the rectangle with a thin layer of ganache. After filling the dough, starting at the long side of the rectangle, I rolled the dough into a tight spiral. Then I used a pair of clean kitchen scissors to cut along through the top layers of dough. Finally, I shaped the dough into a heart.
While the red velvet and chocolate are delicious on their own, the cream cheese frosting is such a welcome addition. The creamy, tangy, vanilla frosting is the perfect balance to the decadent ganache filling.
If you’re looking for more delicious and festive Valentine’s Day treats, check out my Valentine’s Day Red and Pink Velvet Cake and these Cream Filled Mini-Chocolate Heart Cakes.
Chocolate Filled Red Velvet Coffee Cakes
- For the Coffee Cake Dough: 2 1/4 tsp active, dry yeast (or on envelope)
- 1/4 cup warm water (between 105 to 110 degrees F)
- 1 cup warm milk
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (divided)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp red gel food color (I used 1 1/2 tsp Tulip Red and 1/2 tsp Burgundy AmeriColor Food Gel)
- For the Ganache: 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate with 70% cocoa)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting: 8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- For the ganache: Warm the cream until simmering.
- Pour over the chopped chocolate.
- Allow the mixture to stand for a minute or two. Then mix until the chocolate is melted, and a shiny, smooth mixture forms.
- Allow the ganache to sit at room temperature until ready to use.
- For the Cake Dough: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water.
- Add the milk, 1/2 cup butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Add enough flour for a soft dough to form.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl and turn once to grease the top.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch the dough down. Divide the dough into 8 pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an 8-inch by 10-inch rectangle.
- Spread the chocolate ganache in a thin layer over the dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border.
- Roll the dough up, jelly-role style, starting with the long side.
- Place the role, seem side down, and fold the role in half.
- Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the dough down the middle.
- Then shape into a heart. (See photos in the post)
- Repeat the process until all 8 pieces of dough are formed in to hearts.
- Allow the cakes to rise for 1/2 an hour in a warm place, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
- Pre-heat the oven for 350 degrees F.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Instructions for the Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until just combined.
- Add the milk and mix until it is light and fluffy.
- Once the cakes are cooled completely, ice the cakes.
- Yields 8 cakes.
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