Treat your valentine to these blissfully decadent chocolate squares, created by layering two slices of rich chocolate cake with decadent orange cream and ganache. 

Chocolate squares with orange cream

Preparation: 40 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
Makes 12 chocolate squares

Ingredients:

For the cake
330ml all-purpose flour
375ml sugar
170ml cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
188ml cup milk
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
188ml boiled water

For the chocolate ganache
125ml butter, softened
90ml of melted unsweetened dark chocolate
63ml orange liqueur
63ml whipping cream
480ml powdered sugar, sifted

For the orange cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
500ml powdered sugar, sifted
65ml milk
2 tablespoons softened butter
63ml shortening
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
pinch of salt

Method

Bake the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Line a baking tray and grease with cooking spray.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well. In a separate bowl whisk eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Gradually combine both mixtures and add hot water until blended.
4. Pour the batter into the lines baked tray. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tray.
5. Remove the cake from the tray and place the cake on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, place on a cutting board and slice into even squares. You should have 12 even squares, depending on how large or small you prefer them. Slice each square in half again, so that you have two layers of each square.

Whip up the orange cream
1. In a small saucepan, combine the flour and milk and cook over a low heat, while stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps. Do this until the mixture develops a thick spreadable texture. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will separate. Once the mixture is thick, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool until room temperature.
2. With an electric beater at a medium speed, beat the shortening and butter until creamy. Add the cooled mixture from the saucepan, orange extract, and salt and beat well.
3. Turn up the speed on your beater and gradually add the sugar to the mixture. Beat for 4 minutes until light and fluffy.
4. Place in the refrigerator to cool while you create the ganache.

Prepare the ganache
1. In a seperate mixing bowl, at medium speed, cream the butter with an electric beater.
2. Add the whipping cream, chocolate and orange liqueur to the butter and mix well.
3. Turn up the speed on your beater and gradually add the sugar to the mixture. Beat for 4 minutes until thick and spreadable.

The fun part – decorating
1. Place the lowest slices of each square on a flat surface in front of you and spread each slice with orange cream. Spread generously. You can use the picture as a guide.
2. Place the top slice on top of the layer of orange cream and spread ganache on the top layer.
3. Sprinkle with grated dark chocolate, or orange curls (see recipe below).

To create orange curls
1. You’ll need one orange. Use a citrus peeler to peel fine strips of orange rind.
2. In a small saucepan, add 100ml of light brown sugar and two tablespoons of water and bring the mixture to a boil. This will create a syrup.
3. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has developed a syrupy consistency, remove from the heat and add the orange curls.
4. Once coated with syrup, remove from the pan and place on a flat surface to cool. Once the curls have cooled, you can use them to decorate your squares.

Wrap these in individual cake boxes and gift to friends and loved ones on Valentine’s day. But feel free to sample one or two first! Enjoy.

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