Sweets for your sweetie

Sure, a box of chocolates is nice… But even better is a homemade dessert. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to indulge in some ooey-gooey chocolatey goodness.

From the 50PLUS.com archives, here are some of our readers’ favourite treats.

Mix-in-pan Chocolate Cake

Need a quick treat without a lot of prep or clean up? As the title says, all of the ingredients are mixed right in the pan in this easy recipe from 50PLUS.com reader, Trudee. A topping of chocolate chips and nuts means no frosting is required.

1/3 cup salad oil
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 to one cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup broken walnuts

In an ungreased 8-inch square cake pan, combine oil and chocolate. Heat in 350 degree F oven for about 4 minutes, until chocolate melts. Stir to combine.

Add water, sugar, egg, flour, soda, salt and vanilla. Beat with a fork until smooth, uniform and
creamy, about 2 minutes.

Spread evenly in the pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.

Bake cake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until just cake is just starting to withdraw from sides of pan and until the cake tests as done. Cool and cut in pan.

Makes 9 squares. This is even better a day after it’s baked.

Italian Love Cake

The origins of its name remains a mystery, but this layered treat offers the perfect marriage of cheesecake and cake all covered with a creamy chocolate topping. This version comes from 50PLUS.com reader blueyes42.

1 marble cake mix
1 carton ricotta cheese (editor’s note: about 2 Ibs.)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix cake according to instructions on box and pour into 9 x 13″ pan.

Beat sugar, cheese, vanilla and eggs until smooth and pour over unbaked cake.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour (check at 45 minutes as mine did not take 1 hour). Cool.


1 small box chocolate instant pudding
1 cup milk
8oz cool whip

Beat pudding and milk until blended. Fold in cool whip and spread over cake.

Hint: This cake is better if refrigerated over night.

You can experiment with other cake mixes (except chocolate) and use whichever pudding goes best with the cake. Enjoy!


Slice-of-Romance Bars

Pretty in pink with no food colouring required! 50PLUS.com reader O’Doud updates classic Nanaimo bars with cranberry puree for a Valentine’s treat. A drizzle of white chocolate gives them a “designer look.”


1-3/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened medium coconut
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped (see note)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten


1/3 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 ounce white chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil


In a medium bowl, stir together graham wafer crumbs, coconut and pecans; set aside.

In medium-size heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and egg. Place over low heat and cook for about 6 minutes, or until smooth and lightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in crumb mixture. Press into greased 9-inch square baking pan. Place in refrigerator for about 45 minutes or until chilled.


Put cranberry sauce in blender and process until smooth. Measure 3 level tablespoons and set aside.

In large bowl, stir together icing sugar, cornstarch and salt until well blended. Add 3 tablespoons cranberry puree, butter, milk and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over the base; cover pan lightly with plastic wrap and chill for about two hours or until firm.


Put semi-sweet chocolate and butter in small heatproof bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of hot (not simmering) water, until chocolate is about three-quarters melted (water should not touch the bottom of bowl), stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from saucepan and let chocolate melt completely; stir until smooth.

Spread evenly over chilled filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate if firm.

Repeat melting process in clean bowl with white chocolate and oil. Using a fork, drizzle over top of semi-sweet chocolate.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Makes 24 bars.

Note: To toast pecans, spread on baking sheet and bake at 350 F (180 C) for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden.


– Be sure to use the lowest speed on your electric mixer when starting to beat the filling – a
high speed will send the icing sugar flying out of the bowl.

– Splurge and use premium chocolate for these bars – besides the wonderful flavor, it’s also
easier to spread.

– To measure icing sugar, lightly spoon into dry measuring cup until filled slightly above rim; level off with straight edge of knife. (Do not shake or rap cup, as this will increase the amount of icing sugar in cup and make a filling that is too stiff.)


Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate can come in many forms including this delicious trifle with layers of chocolate brownie and chocolate mousse submitted by 0’Doud.


1 box brownie mix, baked according to package directions and cooled.
1 box large box instant chocolate mousse or jello mousse, make according to package.
12 oz. Cool whip
1 bag Brickle chips (editor’s note: toffee chips or equivalent of Skor bars, chopped)
2 shots Kahlua

Poke holes in brownies and pour Kahlua over it. Crumble up.

Layer 1/2 of brownies in a glass bowl, then 1/2 of mousse, 1/2 Cool Whip, 1/2 Brickle chips.

Repeat and refrigerate overnight.

(Editor’s note: if you’re not a fan of mousse, you can use instant chocolate pudding instead.)

Sex in a pan

This curiously named dessert also goes by the monicker of “Four layer dessert” if you’re serving youngsters. If you want to make it five, add an extra layer of whipped cream between the cheesecake layer and the pudding. (This version courtesy of 50PLUS.com reader LadyOnTheLake).

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powder sugar
1 cup whipped topping (Cool Whip)
1 small box chocolate pudding
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1 cup whipped topping to cover cake
1 chocolate bar (to garnish)

First layer: blend together pecans, flour, and butter. Layer into a 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, let cool.

Second layer: mix together cream cheese, powder sugar and 1 cup of whipped topping. Layer gently onto pecan crust.

Third layer: (now you see why it is so heavenly) mix together vanilla and chocolate pudding with milk, layer into pan and allow to thicken.

Fourth layer: add rest of whipped topping and cover with shaved chocolate from your candy bar.

Chill until ready to serve.

*Note* Recipe can be made lighter if you use light cream cheese, skim milk, light whip and
light pudding mixes.


Chocolate Whipped Cream

If you only have time to make one thing, this fluffy treat from 50PLUS.com reader Firesign can go on almost any dessert as well as strawberries or your favourite hot beverage.

2 cups chilled whipping cream (500 ml.)
1 cup icing sugar, sifted (measure before sifting)
1/2 cup cocoa
1/8 Tsp. salt

Sift sugar, cocoa and salt together. Stir into cream in a deep bowl until blended. (It takes a
while for the cream to start absorbing dry mix, as icing sugar and cocoa are very dry.)

Keep stirring and scraping down sides of bowl til blended. Beat on high until stiff. (It doesn’t take very long.)

This topping is also good on apple pie, strawberry pie or banana cream pie. To really impress your guests, use as topping on after-dinner hot coffees such as Monte Cristo or Spanish Coffees. They will love it!