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Heart Surprise Cake for Valentine’s Day

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Surprise cakes are popping up everywhere, whether they’re gender reveal cakes or cakes with flowers, letters, numbers, or symbols hidden inside. That’s why, for Valentine’s Day, you’ll be right on the cutting edge if you make a cake with a sweet surprise inside – a pink heart for your Valentine.

heart cake side by side

To make one of these secret surprise cakes, you need a little bit of extra time and a lot of patience. The idea is you basically make two cakes: You bake the first one, slice it, and then use a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes in each slice. Then you press together all of the heart shapes into one long roll, put it in a loaf pan, and then pour the dough for the second cake around it. When it’s baked it looks normal from the outside, but when you slice it there’s a surprise heart on this inside.

Even though this cake is fun to make as a Valentine’s Day surprise for your loved ones, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra pair of hands around when you’re lining up the heart slices and pouring the dough. We made this cake solo and we couldn’t quite get all of the hearts to stand still in the loaf pan while we were pouring the chocolate dough – so we wound up putting half the hearts in line, pouring in dough around the edges to hold them in place, and then adding on the second half of the hearts. No biggie, but just a heads-up that it’s a little trickier with only one pair of hands.

Heart slices

We adapted this recipe from Bhawish’s Kitchen with one significant change: We didn’t use any food coloring or artificial dyes for the heart cake – we used beet juice. Talk about being good to your heart!

Heart Surprise Cake for Valentine's Day
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
A heart surprise cake adapted from Bhawish's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • For the pink cake:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 T. beet juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • For the chocolate cake:
  • 1 cup (two sticks) butter
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Prepare the pink cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, then add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add two of the eggs, beat until smooth, and then add the two remaining eggs, vanilla, and beet juice and beat until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the butter mixture and beat until evenly mixed. Pour the batter into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes (insert toothpick in the center to test; cake is done when toothpick comes out clean). Let cake cook for 10 minutes, then remove from loaf pan. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the chocolate cake: In a medium bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, then add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add two of the eggs, beat until smooth, and then add the two remaining eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the butter mixture and beat until evenly mixed. Set batter aside.
  4. Prepare the pink hearts: Slice the pink cake into ¾-inch-wide slices. Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut a heart-shaped piece out of each slice. Stack up all of the hearts.
  5. Prepare the cake: Pour about 1 inch of chocolate cake batter into the bottom of a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Gently place the stack of hearts into the pan, making sure that there are no spaces between the heart shapes. Pour the remaining batter around the sides of the hearts and on top of the hearts, covering them completely. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Let cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Frost the cake and serve in slices.

One thing to note is that you’ll have a bunch of oddly-shaped pieces of pink cake left over. (Leftover cake? Is that really a thing?) You can easily set it aside to make cake pops or a trifle (cake cubes layered with pudding), plus you can freeze it to use at a later time. Or you can do what we did and just set it out on the table in front of a bunch of hungry tweens and teens who just came home from school and pretty soon you won’t have any leftover cake to worry about.

When you slice into this chocolate cake, there's a heart-shaped surprise inside! Plus - no artificial coloring; only beet juice.

When you slice into this chocolate cake, there’s a heart-shaped surprise inside! Plus – no artificial coloring; only beet juice.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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2 Responses to Heart Surprise Cake for Valentine’s Day

  1. Stephanie February 13, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    I love this idea! What a fun recipe for the family to make and you inspired me to come up with some of my own “surprise” recipes! Thank you!!!!

  2. Midou February 26, 2016 at 5:15 am #

    LOVE the ideas that Kathy & Sugary Flower posted!! I third the fairy tale vote! A back to scoohl theme would be fun toward the end of the summer. You might do a beach or swimming theme that would go along with that common summer past time. I like the idea of some equipment based ones, and I also think a hand molded onigiri theme would be fun. A patriotic theme would be fun for the 4th of July. Transportation would be a fun, as well as animation (like an animated character). Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!!

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