Whether you’re baking for a romantic partner, a friend or family member, or for yourself – Valentine’s Day makes for the perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Whipping up some home baked heart-shaped biscuits, rich red velvet cake, and fluffy choux buns can be a great way to show a loved one that you care, or to treat yourself to something a bit special.
These 10 Valentine’s Day baking ideas are all about fun shapes, bright colours, and decadent flavours. Let us know which ones you’ll be trying in the comments below!
1. Red velvet cake
Red velvet cake certainly lives up to its name with it’s smooth, moist texture, and rich chocolatey flavour. Each light, fluffy bite will melt in your mouth, and is often described as “heavenly’ by those who love it. This cake also has a striking appearance; it’s deep red colour makes it the perfect Valentine’s treat, and sets it apart from your typical vanilla or chocolate sponge cake. This beautiful bake is typically finished with a sweet, cream cheese frosting, and can also be topped with fresh berries.
If you want to have a go at making your own red velvet cake, then check out this classic recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (which uses red food colouring to achieve the red flavour), or this one from Good Housekeeping, which takes a more natural approach, and uses beetroots to add colouring instead.
Or to see a video tutorial, you can check out the video below.
2. French macarons
French macarons are sweet, delicate, cream-filled cookie sandwiches, consisting mainly of egg whites, almond four, and sugar. These mini delights are soft and chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and are particularly lovely when enjoyed as part of an afternoon tea. They’re also beautiful to look at, and are reminiscent of cobbled Paris streets, and quaint patisseries.
Another great thing about French macarons is that they’re incredibly versatile, and you can flavour them in almost any way that you like – from champagne and raspberry, to strawberry cheesecake through to lavender and white chocolate. You might want to take a look at this list of 50 different macaron flavours from diys.com for some more ideas.
Alternatively, if you’ve never made macarons before and you’re looking for somewhere to start, then why not try this easy vanilla macarons recipe from Delicious Magazine? Or check out the video below to see how to make some French chocolate macarons.
3. Iced heart cookies
These classic iced biscuits are quick and easy to make, but are sure to brighten up your day – or put a smile on the face of someone you love. Many of us will have fond memories of making cookie cutter biscuits as a child, and revisiting these memories to make some Valentine’s Day-inspired delights can be a fun and nostalgic way to spend an afternoon.
Before you get started, it’s worth investing in some heart-shaped cookie cutters (or another shape of your choosing if hearts aren’t your thing). You can pick these up for a few pounds on Amazon. Or, if you’re feeling extra creative, then you could try cutting your shapes by hand, or making your own cutters out of tin foil – you can find out how to do this here.
The next part is as simple as making a cookie dough from flour, sugar, milk and eggs, cutting them to shape, baking them in the oven, and choosing how you want to finish them – there are endless colours, flavours and toppings you could choose from. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, then consider using this recipe from Delish, which will show you how to make classic cookies with pink and red buttercream icing, and sprinkles. Or you could try this recipe from The Happy Foodie, if you want to make crisp lemon heart-shaped cookies, with a layer of bright pink icing, dotted with tiny white hearts.
If pink icing isn’t for you, then the video below will also show you how to make some irresistible-looking Italian butter cookies, dipped in chocolate!
4. Chocolate tart
For chocolate lovers, this sumptuous tart could be the perfect sweet treat. It consists of eggs, dark chocolate and cream beaten together, and poured into a sweet, crisp pastry shell, which is then baked until firm. A basic tart will be flavoured with chocolate alone, while other versions can get more adventurous; adding in salted caramel, hazelnut, orange, or various other tempting flavours. Tarts can also be topped with fresh berries, for some additional colour and flavour.
If you’re looking for a smooth, creamy desert, that’s quick and easy to make (and will offer the ultimate chocolate fix!), then this simple chocolate tart recipe from Jamie Oliver could be for you. Or if you’d like to really push the boat out, then you could try this chocolate orange tart from The Happy Foodie, this white chocolate and raspberry tart from Good Housekeeping, or this salted maple chocolate tart recipe from Sainsbury’s Magazine.
If you’d rather make individual chocolate tarts, rather than one large one, check out the video from Gordon Ramsey below.
5. Strawberry choux buns
Choux buns are light, crisp, pastry balls, which can be filled with a sweet or savoury filling, like whipped cream, custard, greek yogurt, or cream cheese. “Choux” is the French word for cabbage, and in this context it is used to describe the cabbage-like shape of these little buns.
While they might be dainty, they certainly pack a delicious punch – and the even more amazing is that the dough consists of only three ingredients; butter, plain flour and eggs. You can then experiment with different flavours by trying different fillings. A popular choice is to add a creamy filling, along with some fresh strawberries. If this sounds appealing, then take a look at this strawberry choux bun recipe from Delicious Magazine. Or other sweet fillings and toppings you could try include caramel and coffee, rose and almond or vanilla and white chocolate.
If you’d prefer a savoury, low-sugar alternative, then you could try this recipe from Great British Chefs which has a cream cheese and herb filling, or this smoked salmon choux puff with horseradish cream recipe from Del’s Cooking Twist.
When making choux buns, some people choose to dollop them onto a baking tray with a spoon, while others prefer to use a piping bag – which are available for purchase on Amazon.
To see exactly how to make a basic choux pastry, have a watch of the video below.
Warm croissants, served with fruit and a cup of tea or coffee can make for a special treat on Valentine’s Day morning – or any morning for that matter. There are also few better smells to wake up to than freshly baked pastries.
The warm, flaky buttery pastry of a croissant is perfectly tasty on it’s own – or you might choose to cut yours open and spread it with butter and jam if you have a sweet tooth, or to fill it with a slice of ham and cheese for a savoury alternative.
Croissants can be challenging to make to start with because the croissant dough needs to rest regularly to be able to develop all its layers. So it’s important to leave yourself enough time, and to see it as more of a project, than a quick bake. If you want to make a batch of classic croissants, then why not try this recipe from Waitrose? This recipe is relatively quick as far as croissant recipes go; taking a total time of 1 hour 30 minutes (but possibly longer depending on the warmth of your home, as this can affect how long it takes the dough to rise while at rest).
Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry and want to whip up something quickly, then you could try this 3-ingredient nutella croissants recipe from Gimme Some Oven. It takes just 40 minutes, and all you need is some ready-to-roll puff pastry, one egg and some nutella.
Or for more inspiration, check out the easy croissant recipe in the video below.
7. Sweet or savoury tear and share bread
Tear and share bread can make the perfect accompaniment to any meal, or can just be eaten as a delicious snack, with a spread or dip of your choice. With the emphasis on sharing, this bread makes for a great treat to indulge in with a loved one – though it also keeps well, so there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it by yourself over a few days.
When it comes to tear and share bread, the flavour possibilities really are endless. If you have a sweet tooth, then you could make these lemon and raisin buns from Catering-Online, this cinnamon spiced tear and share bread from Allinson’s, or this fig and rosemary tear and share bread from Only Crumbs Remain.
If you prefer savoury breads, then there are a whole host of interesting recipes you could try, such as this sundried tomatoes, black olives and mozzarella bread from Jamie Oliver, this garlic and herb bread from The Happy Foodie, or this smoky jalapeno bread from Priya (who starred in series 10 of the Great British Bake Off).
You might also want to have a watch of the video below to see how to make tomato tear and share pizza bread.
8. Vanilla cupcakes
Sweet and simple, the cupcake has long been used to celebrate Valentine’s Day, birthdays, weddings, baby showers – and almost any celebration you can think of. While cupcakes come in a range of great flavours, what tends to strike the recipient first is the elaborate way that they are decorated; often piped with intricate icing swirls and topped with fruit, sweets or chocolate.
If you’re baking for someone else, and aren’t sure what flavour to go for then it’s almost impossible to go wrong with vanilla; as it’s gentle, distinct flavour is loved by many. This vanilla cupcake recipe from Mary Berry will show you how to make light, fluffy cupcakes, with pastel pink icing and a sprinkle of your choice, in just 40 minutes. Or, you could try this vanilla cupcake recipe from RecipeTinEats which applies a Japanese baking technique to classic butter cupcake ingredients to keep the sponge moist for a minimum of four days.
If you fancy experimenting with other flavours other than vanilla, then why not try making these banana cupcakes from Baking With Granny, or these lemon and blueberry cupcakes from The Baking Explorer.
We also love these vanilla cupcakes that each have a secret heart baked inside. Check out the video below to see how it’s done.
9. Baked jammy donuts
Donuts are so cheap and easy to get hold of in the supermarket, that very few of us think of making them at home. However, there’s something so much more satisfying about enjoying a mouthwateringly soft donut that you’ve baked yourself, or that someone has baked for you.
If you’re making donuts yourself, then you’ll also have the option to bake them, which is a healthier alternative to the deep-fried version that we typically come across in shops. This baked jammy donut recipe from So vegan puts a healthy spin on the traditional donut by using a classic yeast dough instead of a cake mixture (for a lower sugar and fat content), and cooking them in the oven – rather than in a deep fat fryer or a large pan of oil. While this recipe uses a strawberry jam filling, you can substitute this for a filling of your choice, such as raspberry or blackberry jam, custard or chocolate.
If you’d prefer to create donuts without a filling, then you could also consider making baked ring donuts, with a glaze or icing instead. Have a watch of the video below to see how it’s done.
10. Chocolate truffles
Truffles are some of the most romantic sweet treats around; and making someone their own homemade truffles (rather than buying some) can make the gesture feel much more personal. Or if you plan to treat yourself, and enjoy them on your own, then every bite can feel so much more rewarding; knowing that you took the time to make them at home.
Although truffles are rich, velvety and incredibly decadent, the fact that they’re bitesize in nature means that they can be enjoyed in smaller doses – which is great if you fancy a mini sweet treat, rather than a larger dessert.
In their traditional form, truffles are essentially balls of chocolate ganache (chopped chocolate, added to warm cream) coated in powdered chocolate, nuts, desiccated coconut, crushed raspberries – or whatever takes your fancy! They typically don’t require the use of an oven, as once the ganache balls have been rolled, they’re placed in the fridge to set, and will be ready to serve a couple of hours later.
If you’re feeling tempted by the idea of homemade truffles, then it’s worth checking out this dark chocolate truffle recipe from Jamie Oliver, which uses brandy, mixed nuts and clementine zest – or why not try this white chocolate truffle recipe from BBC Good Food?
You might also want to have a watch of the video below which will show you how to make eight different types of truffle; including tiramisu, brigadeiro (traditional Brazilian fudge balls), oreo, and peanut butter flavours. All truffles shown in the video are no-bake apart from the red velvet truffles which do require some oven time.
While there are limits on how we can spend our time at the moment, many of us have found comfort in cooking and baking over the last year. The wonderful thing about time spent in the kitchen is that there’s always something new to try; whether that be a new technique, new flavours, or a brand new recipe entirely. And if you’re in need of some fresh inspiration, then a Valentine’s Day theme can hopefully offer you a few ideas.
These Valentine’s Day recipes can be taken up by absolutely anyone; and can be enjoyed with a partner, family, friends, or as a tasty treat for yourself. So whether you consider Valentine’s Day to be romantic or not, it’s still a great excuse to explore your creativity in the kitchen.
For some additional ideas, you might also want to take a look at our articles: 8 recipe ideas from around the world, 9 baking ideas with a healthy twist, or 8 technical baking skills that you can learn at home.
Are you planning to try any of the recipes above? Or perhaps you have some additional ideas that you’d like to share? Join the conversation on the food and drink section of the community forum, or leave a comment below.