© David Malosh

For Valentine's Day, Mindy Segal bakes cookies and cakes for her friends, including these irresistible chocolate-buttermilk cakes with sweet mascarpone filling.

January 22, 2016

“I would love to say that I celebrate Valentine’s Day by baking for my husband, but he’s not into sweets,” says pastry chef Mindy Segal of Mindy’s HotChocolate in Chicago. Instead she makes cookies and cakes and gives them to her friends in vintage tins. (Wisconsin’s Elkhorn Antique Flea Market is a favorite source.) Recipes in her rotation include rugelach, Central European preserves-filled pastries called kolaches, cinnamon–chocolate chip scones and chocolate-buttermilk cakes with sweet mascarpone filling, a throwback to Hostess cupcakes. “I grew up on Drake’s cinnamon crumb cakes,” Segal says. “Who doesn’t like to snack on a little cake?” 1747 N. Damen Ave.; hotchocolatechicago.com.