When I was in elementary school back in the 1970s, exchanging valentines on February 14th was so exciting. Back then most of the valentines were homemade (and most didn’t come with a piece of candy attached). We each made a cardboard mailbox decorated with wrapping paper to sit on our desk and collect our little notes during the class party. We’d overindulge in sweet pink cake, frosting and punch, and stagger home happily to sort and reread the cards.

Now that Solomon and Celia are in 7th and 9th grades, there are no more class Valentine’s Day parties or foldable Snoopy cards, no conversation hearts or pink lollipops or frosted cupcakes. This year we will celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. My love notes will come after dinner in the form of a light and springy angel food cake with whipped cream and homemade fresh raspberry sauce.

This angel food cake recipe from Betty Crocker is simple to make and comes out beautifully.

Making a fruit sauce is delightfully easy. I don’t like to use a lot of added sugar, especially when I’ll be serving it with a sweet dessert, so I use fruit juice and agave nectar to sweeten and thin it. You can use strawberries, blueberries or blackberries instead of, or in addition to, the raspberries (of course the blue and black berries won’t give you the same pinkish reddish Valentine’s Day hue), and experiment with different fruit juices like pomegranate, apricot or mango instead of orange.

Straining the sauce only takes a minute but it’s an important step so the final sauce isn’t too full of seeds that get stuck in your teeth.

Reserve a few fresh berries to garnish the plates, with a sprig of mint if you have any growing in your yard.

I’d love to hear how you make Valentine’s Day special in your home. Please leave a comment below sharing your ideas or traditions.

Recipe: Fresh Raspberry Sauce

  • Prep Time: 5 min(s)
  • Total Time: 5 min(s)
  • Servings: Makes a little more than 1/2 cup sauce.

A fresh raspberry sauce recipe to accompany cake.


    • 1 cup fresh raspberries (from 2 pints of raspberries)
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey


    • Puree all the ingredients in a blender. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds and drizzle it over cake or ice cream or stir it into yogurt. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months.

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