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40 fancy, fun and easy Valentine's Day dessert recipes

From decadent cakes to heavenly mousses, we've got your sweet tooth and sweetheart covered this Valentine's Day.
/ Source: TODAY

Want to make something sweet this Valentine's Day for your special sweetheart?

Maybe that person is your significant other, your kid, a friend or yourself (hey, you deserve it all!). Whomever you're offering attention to on Monday, we're is making it easier with these lusciously love-filled dessert ideas (to come after your deliciously devoted dinner, of course).

Whether you want a gorgeous cake adorned with flowers, an easy boxed mix-based cake that looks completely professional by the time you're through, or a decadent dessert that's fun and playful, we've got you covered — chocolate-covered.

So love yourself and others — and do it with dessert!

Cakes

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This truly is one of the easiest cakes in the world to make and — dare we say it — one of the sexiest! The simplest and most classic of ingredients create this decadent dessert oozing with rich chocolate.

Truly, madly and deeply chocolate: Pools of rich salted caramel separate layers of chocolate cake, which are then swathed with dark chocolate frosting and sprinkled with flaky salt. Prep the wondrous cake layers and caramel up to three days before assembling (chilling actually improves the texture for stacking), so you can make it look effortless.

It's hard to do a Valentine's Day dessert roundup without including at least one or two red velvet cake recipes. Naturally perfect for the holiday, the delicate combination of moist, velvety cake and cream cheese frosting is always a crowd-pleaser.

Christina Tosi's Valentine's Day Layer Cake

There's nothing sweeter than making someone you care about a Valentine's Day cake perfectly suited to his or her taste — and in this recipe, you can substitute any of your favorite fillings as a cake layer.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

The combination of smooth peanut butter and rich chocolate make this five-ingredient dessert incredibly decadent and irresistible to any peanut butter cup fan. Plus, the recipe uses boxed cake mix, so it doesn't get much easier than that.

Mini Conversation Heart Cakes

This Valentine's Day, design your own Sweethearts for your sweetheart! These cakes are so much fun to bake, decorate and customize.

Serve these warm, molten cakes with chocolate ice cream for that over-the-top chocolate dessert experience. These are also wonderful because they freeze easily in case you don't have time to bake up a storm on Monday.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Craig Strong

Coffee is the secret ingredient to making this chocolate cake super moist and flavorful. It's easy to make and can be decorated with plump berries and edible flowers when you need an easy cake recipe for a special occasion.

Vegan Matcha-Dark Chocolate Cake

Mashed ripe banana and Japanese ceremonial matcha powder make this cake one of the most beloved recipes in Candice Kumai's cookbooks.

Red Velvet Layer Cake

Red Velvet Layer Cake

Christina Tosi

The bold color contrast of rich, ruby-red velvet cake layers and cool white cream cheese frosting makes this scrumptious cake as appealing to look at as it is to eat.

Jean-Georges' Molten Chocolate Cake

Jean-Georges' Molten Chocolate Cake

Jean-Georges Vongerichten

These cakes are truly a treat for the senses: the rich chocolaty scent, the decadent taste and, of course, the satisfying surprise of seeing the river of warm chocolate pour out when you cut into them.

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes

There's something extra-special about a personal, individually sized cake … especially when it's a molten chocolate cake served warm out of the oven.

Rainbow Heart Cake

Rainbow Heart Cake

Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke goes beyond classic desserts with her creative ideas for making amazing over-the-top cakes. Here are her step-by-step instructions for how to make her stunning surprise-inside rainbow heart cake.

Get love drunk with a double infusion of booze — it's in the filling and the chocolate sauce. The fragrant bourbon and chocolate give this cheesecake an extra dose of decadence.

Cookies and bars

These bars are rich, creamy, satisfying and make any store-bought peanut butter cup pale in comparison. You can also use crushed pretzels instead of graham crackers for a saltier boost. Serve 'em straight from the fridge so they don't get too soft.

Hidden Surprise Valentine's Cookies

Getting the gorgeous dual-hued stripes in these heart-shaped cookies takes a bit of effort, but the surprise inside, alongside the buttery, sweet flavor, makes this treat completely worth it.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Heart Cookies

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Heart Cookies

Kristen Tomlan, founder of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

Not only is the cookie dough beautifully bake-able but also safe to eat uncooked. This really elevates the classic peanut butter cookie you know and love. You can have fun decorating for the holiday! Use a mix of chocolate, white chocolate, food coloring and sprinkles to make it fun and festive.

XO Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

You can ice these with royal icing and top with whatever you want. Or you can go this route more decadent route and smear some frosting on them, then sprinkle some pretty rock candy for a bit of bling.

Salted Peanut Butter-Caramel Bars

In this recipe, peanut butter is used along with medjool dates and coconut sugar to create a silky and delicious date caramel that rests on a shortbread crust. Top it all off with heavenly dark chocolate.

Flourless Soy Sauce Brownies

The use of this yeasty, salty condiment in a brownie is surprising, but it brings a complex depth of flavor to this classic sweet treat. The soy sauce amplifies the chocolaty flavors, bringing a rich caramel glow. The taste very much resembles salted caramel.

Gluten-Free Skillet Brownie

Gluten-Free Skillet Brownie

Giada De Laurentiis

This recipe is just as delicious and decadent as a normal brownie, but a tad better for you because it doesn't use refined sugars or all-purpose flour. Also, the almond flour adds even more delicious flavor and texture — it's a win-win!

If you don't tell people these cookies are gluten-free and vegan, they'll never know. They've got that perfect balance of crunchy and chewy, plus, they just pop with chocolaty goodness.

Whether you freeze the dough into individual cookie balls to bake at a later date, or bake in a skillet for one giant, sensational, ooey-gooey golden-brown cookie, this is ultimate comfort food. Top it with good-quality vanilla ice cream for an extra sumptuous treat.

These homemade bars taste just like the beloved classic cups. Velvety chocolate enrobes creamy peanut butter in a perfectly sized two-bite treat.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

When it comes to these red velvet brownies, it's all about the frosting. It doesn't get more heavenly than a kiss of rich cream cheese frosting.

Pies, tarts and other confections

Valentine's Day Ombre Cherries

A fun twist on chocolate-dipped cherries, these ombre-colored treats look absolutely beautiful on any table spread and they only require three ingredients to make.

Siri's Chocolate Fondue

This is a truly simple dessert to pull off, and yet it appears super impressive. Besides, there's nothing more deliciously romantic than dipping assorted fruits and cake into chocolate.

Make your date salivate with dates! When the medjool variety are heated up they get this delicious caramel flavor that’s balanced perfectly by any kind of nut butter. Add a little chocolate and flaky sea salt and you've got yourself an incredible and easy dessert.

Vanilla Bean Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

All you need is a few pantry staples and 20 minutes to make your own churros, plus an easy chocolate dipping sauce. The result is a batch of warm, sugar-flecked pastries that melt in your mouth.

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Elizabeth Heiskell

Your guest will never know that their restaurant-worthy dessert only required three ingredients and minutes to make. This is a showstopper every single time!

Individual desserts are the perfect way to add a little romance. One of Al Roker's favorites are these made-from-scratch strawberry shortcakes because they're small, sexy and a great mix of flavors and textures. And yes, it's worth the extra effort to make homemade whipped cream and biscuits.

Classic Key Lime Pie

Classic Key Lime Pie

Jocelyn Delk Adams

For those who love a bit of tartness in their sweets, Key lime pie is a timeless favorite. Jocelyn Delk Adams shares how to make it with a homemade graham cracker crust, which brings the confection from fine to fabulous.

Love is definitely in your future if you make this tart filled with salted caramel, lavender-infused ganache and topped with toasted marshmallow.

Sunny Anderson's bread pudding is an ode to the famed Mother's Restaurant in New Orleans. She uses croissants as the base and swirls in rich chocolate and bourbon infused whipped cream.

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

These bite-sized beauties taste decadent but feel very light — so go ahead and eat as many as you'd like. It's the perfect portion of rich, creamy filling combine with the sweetness of strawberries — a win-win.

Quick Coffee-Chocolate Mousse

This quick dessert recipe is for you have very little time to make something, but still want to give everyone a special treat. These take just 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to chill, and you can make them a day ahead.

Nothing warms you from the inside out quite like a cup of rich, creamy hot cocoa on a cold day. This perfectly chocolaty recipe is one of Martha Stewart's favorites and is a totally drinkable dessert.

These truffles are inspired by brigadeiros, a confection popular throughout Brazil. Here, the traditional chocolate sprinkles get swapped for a festive Valentine's color combo.

There are so many recipes for chocolate mousse, but Julia Child's, which uses egg yolks and butter, yields silky, smooth and decadent results every time.

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

Gesine Bullock-Prado

These truffles are great to give as a Valentine's Day gift, but they're so tasty, you just might want to keep them all for yourself.