The History of Valentines Day:
Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday. The history of Valentine’s Day, and its patron saint,is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite. Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men, his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl (who may have been his jailor’s daughter) who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas. The association estimates that, in the US, men spend on average twice as much money as women. Info from history.com
For the cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup strawberry syrup
4 large eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 recipe Strawberry Cream-Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup buttermilk
Red food coloring.
For the syrup:
1 tray of strawberries
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp lime juice.
For the Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup strawberry syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottoms of 2 (9-inch) cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly coat each pan with baking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed with an electric mixer for approximately 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the syrup then.add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Clean the strawberries and put in a pot, add the water, sugar and lime juice. Simmer till the fruit is soft. Then pour this strawberries mixture through a sieve and press it through. This will make the strawberry syrup.
4. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add vanilla extract and enough food coloring to achieve desired color. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture, alternate with buttermilk, ending with flour mixture. Divide batter equally between prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5. To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, strawberry syrup, vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Put the frosting on the cake when the cake layers are cool.
*Arrisje’s Recipe Card. Click on the pic below. Save to your hard drive, then print as a 4×6 pic* read more