Valentine’s Day happens to be one of my favorite days of the year. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because it’s supposed to be a day for celebrating romance. As a matter of fact, while romance in the movies is adorable, it freaks me out in real life. Do people really want giant bears, and to be drowning in roses?! Sure it looks great in a styled Instagram photo. But let’s be practical here. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be crammed in an overpriced restaurant with 50 other couples sitting one foot away from each other like ducks in a row listening to each other’s conversations. That’s not to say Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be acknowledged. I won’t say no to flowers on Valentine’s Day, or cheesily asking if I’d be your Valentine. However, I’d much rather have someone show love by randomly picking up my favorite snacks, or sending me relatable memes, or if you’re crafty or artsy, I’ll seriously appreciate something you made by hand. It’s the millennial in me, I guess. That’s me — but don’t think for a second that when friends ask me what they should be doing for their significant other, I don’t come up with cheesy elaborate schemes (something along the lines of romantic movie level showing affection).
I, however, love Valentine’s Day for an entirely different reason. Aside from the fact that it’s a themed holiday and I love themes, and that everything comes in my favorite color — Pink– it also happens to be someone very special’s birthday. This person is the inspiration behind Measuring Cups Optional, the core of our family, and the glue that holds all the aunts, uncles and cousins together, despite how spread out we are across the globe. Valentine’s Day is my favorite day because it’s my Tayta’s birthday!
We’re celebrating with Chocolate Pomegranate Cakelets. I used a combination of my favorite “Hob” cake molds (which can be found in The Shop), and heart-shaped cake molds I picked up at Michael’s. No cake molds? No problem. You can also use a muffin pan.
I’m absolutely blessed to live close enough to my Tayta that I can stop by any day of the week to drink Turkish coffee and watch whatever the latest Turkish Soap opera she’s following. It’s these little moments that mean the world to me. I may or may not also collect recipes while I’m there, by jotting them down in my notes, or recording video of her giving me all the steps and measurements to even the most complicated dishes.
It’s fitting that Tayta’s birthday falls on Valentine’s Day. She has so much love for each of her children and grandchildren. I’m telling you, we all think we’re the favorite. Although, I’m starting to think she strategically makes everyone feel like they’re the favorite, and we’ll never quite know who the real favorite is.
NOTE: The Hob cake molds only require 15 minute bake time, while the larger heart shaped molds, and cupcakes require 25-30 minutes.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cooking spray for cake molds
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 8oz package cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Spray cake molds generously with cooking spray
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Stir until combines
- Add in eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and pomegranate juice and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Bake “Hob” molds for 15 minutes
- Bake cupcake-sized molds for 25-30 minutes
- Cool completely before frosting
- Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth a creamy, about 2-3 minutes
- Add vanilla extract and pomegranate juice and beat until combined
- Add in the sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until smooth