Cocoa and citrus hearts

Saturday is Valentine’s Day, and you surely don’t want to miss the chance to impress and delight your beloved one with a fantastic and romantic dessert 🙂 ! We’ll propose cocoa and citrus hearts: chocolate sponge cake, flavored with lemon zest, filled with orange custard and coated with a thin layer of chocolate icing.
cuori al cacao e agrumi san valentino

The preparation of the hearts is not difficult, but requires a bit of time. Do not worry, you can also prepare them the day before because the chocolate coating will keep them soft and fragrant 😉 . If you prefer something more spicy, take a look at the Spicy molten lava cakes.

Valentine’s Day was born in the fifth century, to replace the Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festivity. Although the party was born to celebrate the patron saint of lovers, it remained a festivity mostly religious, acquiring the bond with romantic love much later. Only in the fifteenth century, in fact, we can fin some love letters for 14th February, but it is mainly in 1800 that the holiday spread everywhere, when the United States began the industrial production of love cards.

If you try one of the recipes on the blog, take a photo and publish it on Instragam with the hashtag #fratelliaifornelli and tagging our profile @fratelliaifornelli.


Cocoa and citrus hearts

Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2 people
Difficulty Easy


For the sponge cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 135 g of powdered sugar
  • 90 g of flour
  • 35 g of potato starch
  • 12 g of cocoa
  • 15 g honey
  • vanilla
  • 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1/3 lemon

For the orange custard:

  • 125 ml of milk
  • 25 g of brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 15 g of flour
  • Orange peel

For the topping

  • 100 g of dark chocolate
  • 100 g of milk chocolate


For the sponge cake

  1. Separate egg yolks and egg whites.
  2. Together mix sugar, flour, starch, egg yolks, honey, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and grated lemon zest. Whip egg whites: you can help by adding half a spoon of lemon juice or a pinch of cream of tartar. Then, delicately add them to the previous dough.
  3. With a pastry bag, spread the dough in a baking pan lined with baking paper and bake at 180 °C for 10 minutes.

For the custard

  1. Heat the milk with orange peel.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar and flour. Stir in milk and cook until thickening.


  1. Once the sponge cake is well chilled, cut out hearts with a food ring mold. The number of hearts that you will get depends on the size of your mold 🙂 .
  2. Cut horizontally in half each heart and with a pastry bag fill with custard. Be careful not to get too close to the edge to prevent the cream from spreading out.
  3. Place the hearts on a grid, so to eliminate the excess of chocolate.
  4. Break the chocolate into pieces and let it melt in a double boiler. Pour warm over the hearts.
  5. Wait until everything is well chilled before serving.


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