Throwback Valentine’s Day Cake

So this is adorable.

Early on in my photography career, I was really interested in food photography and did a lot of experimenting with being a food blogger. In February 2011, I came up with this recipe for a Valentine’s Day cake and shared it with the world! Luckily for us all, I unearthed this old blog post and the original photos, which just make my heart ache for their simplicity.

There are so many things that I love about this, but one thing is that I was really trying. When you’re new to your photography career and don’t really have much work, you have to create the work. I tell this all the time to new photographers – just keep shooting! Make your own assignments, edit and produce them, and then make new assignments. People will start to notice, and you’ll be building a portfolio in the meantime.

I am now in my 10th year of full-time professional photography, and my career and life have changed drastically. But the work ethic remains and it has served me well. (And the cake is actually quite good, if I may say so myself.)

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Original Text and Photos, February 2011

Well, I promised I would make something more creative in honor of Valentine’s Day, so here it is! I broke out my lovely Kitchen Aid mixer (It’s yellow! Isn’t is beautiful?) and whipped up a delicious Vanilla-Raspberry Jello Cake just in time for V-Day. The recipe is incredibly simple, but I did include some helpful photographs below, so be sure to check them out! It starts with a simple white cake. I usually bake vegan because eggs kind of creep me out, so you’ll see my recipe below, but you could just as easily use a boxed cake mix, if you’re pressed for time. Then you prepare the raspberry or strawberry jello according to the directions on the package, pour it over the cooked cake and refrigerate it overnight! Next thing you know, you have delicious jello cake and you serve it cold with a dollop of whipped cream. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s the Recipe:

1 1/3 cups white sugar

1/2 cup margarine

3 cups unbleached flour

1 T baking powder

3/4 t. salt

2 cups non-dairy milk of choice

1 T vanilla

Lightly oil a 9×13-inch pan and set aside. Cream the margarine and sugar in a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand held mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, alternating with the “milk”, and continue to beat the mixture well between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat the mixture for 2 more minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


After the cake comes out, it should cool for at least 15 minutes before you add the jello part, so while it’s cooling, you have plenty of time to prepare the jello according to the directions on the pack.  I used Raspberry, but you could easily use Strawberry flavored or whatever flavor you like.

Once the jello is ready to go and the cake is cool, poke the cake all over with a fork. I mean all over, holes everywhere – but don’t destroy the cake itself! Slowly pour the prepared liquid jello over the cake and it will seep down into the holes.

Refrigerate the jello cake for up to 4 hours and serve topped with whipped cream. Delicious and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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