In anticipation of the year’s sweetest holiday, I sat down with Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Cat Cora to discuss, what else?, desserts! Here, this Mississippi-native talks about her love of cooking, shares her idea for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal and– most importantly – reveals her mouth-watering recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes...
Is cooking the love of your life? How did you first get into it?
Cooking is my passion and I’m so lucky and grateful to be able to do what I love every day. I followed the advice of my mentor Julia Child and enrolled at the CIA in Hyde Park, and the rest is history!
What do you think makes a date/evening romantic?
Setting the mood. Light some candles, play some nice jazz and don’t sweat the small stuff. Appreciate each other and the time you have together.
Do you have big plans for your sweetheart this year?
We’re going to have a nice home-cooked dinner together.
In your opinion, what’s the most seductive food/dessert?
Anything that can be eaten with your hands. If you can have a tapas style dinner you can feed each other and really enjoy the tastes and flavors in a more intimate way.
What’s the one sweet you just can’t resist?
I don’t have a big sweet tooth, but I can’t resist chocolate & peanut butter!
What’s a quick & easy dessert I could whip up for a guy that would really impress him?
My Chocolate Budino is a rich, gooey, Italian pudding cake that is very simple and fast to prepare but always a crowd pleaser. It’s my favorite go-to dessert.
For those with gluten intolerance, are there any recipes you can recommend?
Fresh fruit with nuts and cheese is a nice way to end a meal. And, it’s a bit healthier than a sweet dessert.
Other than cooking and your family, what else do you love?
I love staying healthy and active, and I try to do something fun and physical every day. We love to go ride our bikes down to the beach or go for a walk together as family. It’s a great way to stay fit, active and get in family time every day.
I know I’m an exception, but I don’t like chocolate. Is there a delicious (and easy) recipe that you would recommend to someone like me?
Fresh strawberries dipped in white chocolate is easy and delicious. Many people don’t realize, but white chocolate is actually cocoa-free. Also mini cupcakes, such as my Red Velvet Coconut Cupcakes are delicious and as fun to look at as they are to eat!
For more great Valentine's Day recipes from Cat Cora and her fellow Macy’s Culinary Council Chefs, visit macys.com/culinary council.