Skip the chocolates and chalky Valentine monstrosities.
Make this decadent Venetian beauty instead.
BLOOD ORANGE & CAMPARI CAKE
(recipe from Russell Norman’s Polpo)
8 blood oranges
350g plain Greek yogurt
600g superfine sugar
4 medium free-range eggs
250g butter, melted and cooled
350g fine semolina
100g ground blanched almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Finely grate the zest of 4 blood oranges and set the fruit aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the yogurt, half the sugar, and the lightly beaten eggs. Stir in the butter and the rest of the dry ingredients, including the orange zest. Transfer this mixture into a greased round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes, or up to an hour depending on your oven. It is done when a toothpick pressed into the middle of the cake comes out dry. Leave it to cool. As the cake is cooking, you can make the syrup. Bring the juice of all 8 oranges, the remaining sugar, and the Campari to a simmer in a saucepan. Skim off any white impurities. When the sauce reduces to a medium-thick syrup, remove from stove. Transfer the cake to a large dish. Prick the cake with a toothpick. Spoon the syrup onto the warm sponge cake until all the syrup is absorbed. The cake is ready to be sliced. Offer it with a scoop of excellent vanilla ice cream.