Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Valentines

We don't do much to celebrate Valentine's Day in the Lick The Bowl Household. When Mr. H and I first got together I had high expectations for this holiday, it is the day of love after all. I expected dinner out, a romantic movie at the theater, red flowers, puffy hearts, chocolate and all that other cuddly crap! Before you start rolling your eyes at me I have to mention that we started dating in high school and I didn't know any better. haha! It only took me one year together to realize that the holiday is way overrated.

We started dating in March of 1999, so he was off the hook that year, but in 2000, I expected the works and I was sadly disappointed. I was stubborn- heck, I still am- but as the man in the relationship I thought he needed to make the reservations for dinner WITHOUT me having to tell him. He didn't and I refused to make them myself so needless to say, we drove around town for a couple hours trying to get into any restaurant without having to wait for 3 hours for a table. A few hours later, we were both grumpy and hungry and decided to just go to our favorite Tex-Mex joint and enjoyed a fajita dinner and dessert for 2 for less than $20! I realized then that it didn't matter where we ate, whether or not I got chocolate truffles or long stemmed roses. It mattered that we were together.

I was a brat, I admit it, but I like to think that I've more than made up for it over the years. Now on Valentine's Day, I bake up a favorite chocolate dessert or a steak and potatoes dinner for the man I love. We are both happy to stay in and eat dinner in our lounge clothes in front of the television watching our usual DVR'd sitcoms. This year will be no different, though we have a new little Valentine to spend the evening with- he will be having milk.

This cake combines two of Mr. H's favorite things- chocolate cake and cinnamon sugar. They happen to be my favorites too. The vegan cake was light and moist, tender and quite flavorful. It was even simple enough that little Hayden helped me whip it up for his Poppa. My family loved this cake too. There was one large slice left and we all hovered around the pan with forks in hand and devoured it. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Cinnamon Sugar Cocoa Cake adapted from Hawaii's Best Local Desserts via Food Librarian


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cold coffee or cold water


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add oil, vinegar, vanilla and coffee or water to the bowl. Stir together with a whisk - but be sure you don't overbeat. (Do not make this in a KitchenAid mixer or electric mixer - a fork or whisk are just fine. You'll see bubbles because of the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar.)

When combined, immediately pour into the 9 x 13 pan. Evenly sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar topping.

Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.


Coleens Recipes said...

What a perfect Valentine treat!! Hayden is such a cutie!! I agree that Valentines is over rated. We've been married 41 years and last year, picky-picky husband drew a big heart and the words "Happy Valentines Day" (spelled incorrectly of course) in the snow on my car windshield...I loved it.

Ruth Hiebert said...

That little Valentine of yours is growing so fast and is better looking every day. What a cutie,Hayden is.

From the Kitchen said...

I agree! Flowers are way too expensive at Valentine's and restaurants are way too crowded--how romantic is that. My husband knows I prefer the $5.00 bouquets from the grocery store over roses anyway. He also knows I like to purchase them myself!!

Now, let's talk about your little Valentine. That face is saying "Uh, mom, milk is o.k. but couldn't I just gum a piece of that cake?". Enjoy!


CookieCrazedMama said...

Even though our house sounds a lot like yours, I still won't give up hope that one day my husband will surprise me! It's that small part of me that's a hopeless romantic, generally triggered by "The Notebook"!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Happy Valentines Day to you and your sweet family as well. Let them eat chocolate.

Heather at Kitchen Concoctions said...

I am a firm believer that you should celebrate your loved ones all year round, but it is fun to have all the cheezy and goofy Valenitne's celebrations! This cake is droolwrothy! I have not done much vegan baking but would like to experiment with it more.

Becky @ Becky's Place said...

Your boy's so durn cute! I agree that V-day is way hyped up. We typically stay home and enjoy something we wouldn't normally eat/buy and have a yummy dessert, too.

Unknown said...

This looks like a great snacking cake :)

Hayden is such a cutie. I love your photos of him.

Debbie said...

I love the picture of your little cutie!!! So precious. You are so right - Valentines Days is very overrated. I enjoy being home and just sharing a dinner and treat with my husband and son and a good movie too!!!!

Foodiewife said...

It was on Valentine's Day that Craig proposed to me, so that's a special memory. We've both decided that it's Amateur Night at restaurants, with overpriced menus and too many crowds. Like you, I make something special for my husband. We do exchange cards. Every day is like Valentine's Day, as it should be, anyway. I've seen how Mr. H looks at you, so you're in good shape. So happy that you now have two different Valentine's to share the day with. When Hayden's older, he'll love this cake, too.

Kerstin said...

Oh my goodness, Hayden is getting so big - what a cutie!

We always stay in for VDay too and make something special for dinner :)

jasmine said...

Your little boy is just beautiful!

Unknown said...

I am not complaining but just inquisitive. Why is it that women expect a man to show his love through a card, candy, flowers, a meal or a gift? Is Valentine's Day a one way street? Cupid's golden arrows met both gender's hearts.

Monica H said...

Hi Damyon,

I think as females we grow up watching romantic movies on the big screen and we want those things too. We want to be romanced and swept off our feet and all that stuff is just part of the package. At least that's my theory and as a young girl having never had a Valentine, that was my dream anyway.

But it is absolutely NOT a one-way street. I am a giver by nature and I always had a gift and card for my boyfriend (now husband) even when he didn't have one for me, whether it be a homemade CD or freshly baked cookies or a nice pair of boxer shorts, I showed my love for him on that day. I think Valentine's Day is so commercialized (as is every other holiday) and that's just what we are ingrained to expect. That is until one realizes that it's not about the stuff, it's about the people in your life that you love. But I know there are plenty of people out there that do expect the MAN in the relationship to shower them with gifts and for those people I can not speak.

Thanks for your question and for stopping by!

~Monica h

Deb Baker said...

Happy Valentine's Day! Hayden is so cute and precious! I'm going to make this tomorrow, and I'm going to sub walnut oil for the canola. I think it will add a nice flavor to the cake. This looks like the perfect recipe. Thank you!

Barb said...

I made this cake last night since I had everything on hand. It was super easy to make, moist and delicious. My valentine loved it :-)

Abby said...

I think Valentine's Day should be about anybody and everybody we love - including our children! Happy First Valentine's Day to Hayden!

Gorgeous cake, too, as always. You are both lucky to have each other!

Jillian said...

Your baby is a little doll! They sure do grow up fast.

As for Valentine's Day...I expected the same as you I guess. After a while I realized it just wasn't gonna happen.

After 10 years of marriage I got my Valentine - a bouncing 9 lb 2 oz baby girl! Now I celebrate Valentine's Day every year with a birthday party. She'll turn 14 tomorrow. :)

Debbie said...

Your food is wonderful and your son is sooooooo adorable!! Keep up the great work...such eye candy and i have tried recipes...never fails...everyone LOVES whatever I cook from your blog! Thanks!

AllThingsYummy said...

Awwww...such a cute.

Gotyourholidayon said...

How adorable is your son!!!!! And your recipes look amazing. Can't wait to try them.

Haley said...

That baby boy is precious! So cute!

Katie said...

That looks wonderfully moist and fudgey. I totally agree with you about Valentines day. Its not what you get but who you spend it with :)

andrea brionne said...

this looks delicious!

Avril said...

Goodness is that little Hayden the sweetest little guy ever!!!!

The cake looks pretty darn good too! Fun to find a cake that you MUST NOT use a Kitchen Aid mixer...ONLY a fork or spoon. LOVE it!

Theresa said...

Oh my my! THAT is one cute baby!

Unknown said...

Beautiful! I love spending V-day in as well. It's not worth the fuss. ;-)

Runy said...

He is the cutest!

Unknown said...

This cake looks amazing! And your baby is so cute!

Nathalie said...

I baked this one up for a co-worker's birthday tomorrow.

Fingers crossed that I pulled this was super simple to make and I am looking forward to eating it only change to your recipe was making it with instant coffee...since I don't have a coffee machine and I love the combo of coffee and chocolate. I will let you know how it went.

thanks for blogs...I want to taste everything and I love your stories. amazing!

Nathalie said...

So, the cake was a hit! My co-workers liked it very much. Not too sweet and just the right proportion of chocolate and sugar. I will definitely be baking this again!! Thank you so much. I'm trying the nutella cupcakes on Saturday. :)

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