Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world, although each country has different customs and traditions. It’s the day we share flowers, chocolates, cookies or special cards (“Valentines”) with loved ones.

Most of us have early memories of trying to write our name on the valentine cards for our class. And, then there was the decorated shoebox to put the valentines in. It was decorated with red hearts, white paper doilies and ribbon. I don’t remember if I used glitter, but I did like gluing little red, blue and silver stars on everything.

Other than that, all I remember was how special a heart-shaped box of candy was. It didn’t matter if it came from parents or from a boyfriend, that was a special gift.

Though romantics still think of fine chocolates, flowers, dinner and maybe dancing, many will decide to stay home and prepare a special meal together. If you’re staying home, make the dessert a special one. The three most popular flavors for desserts will probably be chocolate, caramel and coconut, and who doesn’t like cake?

A homemade Caramel Cake will be a labor of love for that special Valentine. Making caramel icing is like making pralines — you cook it to the softball stage then off the heat, you beat the caramel mixture until it begins to thicken and gets to spreading constituency. Once caramel is to a spreading consistency, you have to work fast to frost the cake before the icing hardens in the pot. Try it. A creamy caramel frosting is worth the effort.

If you have to have chocolate but also like caramel, make the Morganza Cake, which is a delicious chocolate and caramel combination. That cake uses a Devil’s Food cake mix and the homemade Caramel Frosting.

The Wait Cake, a deliciously moist coconut cake, will be a hit and should be served in your prettiest plate. It’s one of those cakes that gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. It’s called The Wait Cake because it’s made one or two days ahead of time, and it’s sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be served. The original instructions say for it to sit for two days but one day is fine.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at