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Valentine's Hidden Heart Cake

February 7, 2017


No apologies for still writing about all things heart-shaped.  I'm a bit of an old romantic and I like to make a bit of a fuss of my old man. 


This hidden heart cake is not an original idea and you will find lots on the internet but I have always wanted to try something like this.  It's fun to make and you can change the shape inside to suit the occasion.  How about a mini Christmas tree or the initial of a loved one?  I'm sure you can be more inventive than me so for now I'm going to stick with a heart, we are, after all, only a few days away from Valentine's.


This cake is not difficult just a little fiddly and you need to allow a bit of time as the heart in the middle is a baked sponge that is cut out and placed in the middle of the uncooked cake mixture.


I baked the red sponge in a square cake tin but you could use any shallow baking tin. I added some dried strawberry pieces to the mix but I didn't find it was worth the bother the seeds make bits look black and I couldn't taste the strawberry.  I tried to kid myself that I could but really they were wasted. 


Once the red sponge is cooked and cold, cut heart shapes  and place in the loaf tin on a layer of almond cake mix.

Fill in around the hearts with the rest of the mix, you don't have to worry if it doesn't quite cover them as it sorts itself out when the cake is cooked.

 When it's baked there may be just a small indentation where the hearts are, don't worry, you turn it upside down to decorate so the dents are underneath.

Leave to cool completely in the tin as it is quite fragile until cold, I guess this is because of the cooked hearts in the middle.


Cover with a delicious icing and decorate how you want.  I have put on some chocolate dipped strawberries in the main picture and a drizzle of chocolate.


I have also made one with coloured up white chocolate hearts, you could use fresh flowers or shop bought heart shaped chocolates and some glitter.



Whatever you do have fun making and decorating your cake.  When it's cut open it's sure to impress.




Hidden Heart Cake


 Serves 8 - 10

Active time (including cooling) 3 hours




For the red sponge

70g         Salted butter - softened

70g         Caster sugar

1              large egg

80g         Self-raising flour

½ tsp     Baking powder

½ tsp     Vanilla extract

Red food colouring


19cm loose bottomed sponge tin, base lined

Heart shaped cutter  approx. 4cm deep


For the almond cake

200g       Salted Butter - softened

200g       Caster Sugar

3              Large eggs

175g       Self-raising flour

50g         Ground almonds

1 tsp      Almond extract

2 tsp      Baking powder


2lb loaf tin well greased (mine was 28cm long x 10cm wide x8cm deep) NB I lined mine but there is no real need.


For the buttercream icing

100g                       Unsalted butter - softened

200g                       Full fat cream cheese

1 tsp                      Vanilla extract

100g                       White chocolate

50g                         Icing Sugar


For the decoration

6 – 8                       strawberries

50g                         Dark or milk chocolate melted


NOTE – you could just use heart shaped chocolates or undipped strawberries.  Whatever you fancy !





Make red sponge

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160C (Fan) or 180C (Conventional)

  • Ensure your butter is very soft.

  • Place all your ingredients into a bowl and beat until combined. (I use a hand electric whisk).  Add sufficient red colouring to give a vibrant mixture.

  • Add a tablespoon of hot water to loosen the mixture.

  • Place into prepared sponge tin and bake in pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes.  If you press the top with your finger the mixture should bounce back when cooked.

  • Remove from oven and leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes.  Remove from tin and leave to cool completely.

  • When cold, cut heart shapes out of the sponge.  If you do this when the sponge is still warm they may fall apart.  You could pop the cooked sponge in the freezer to firm it up but do not freeze completely.


Make the almond cake mixture.  Method is the same as for the red sponge.

  • Ensure your butter is very soft.

  • Place all your ingredients into a bowl and beat until combined. (I use a hand electric whisk)

  • Add a tablespoon of hot water to loosen the mixture.


Now comes the fun part, assembling ready for baking

  • Put a layer of almond cake mixture in the base of the loaf tin, approx. 2cm deep

  • Place the cut-out hearts fat-side down in a line in the middle of the mixture, making sure there are no gaps between the hearts.

  • Fill in around the line of upside down hearts with the almond cake mix.  Do not worry if it doesn’t cover the hearts completely as it should rise and cover them.

  • Bake in a pre-heated oven for  20 - 25 minutes.  It’s quite hard to check if it is cooked as a skewer in the centre will hit the cooked red sponge, so try and use your judgement.

  • Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool completely.


While the cake is cooling  make the buttercream icing and chocolate strawberries

  • Melt  the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Once melted leave to cool completely but not set.

  • Drain any water from the cream cheese and beat with the butter until smooth and fluffy.

  • Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and continue to beat.  Taste it to see how sweet it is and add the icing sugar a little at a time until you are happy with the sweetness.

  • Dip the strawberries in melted chocolate and leave on baking parchment to set, reserve the remaining melted chocolate



  • Cover the cake with the icing, making it as neat or as rustic as you like.

  • Decorate with reserved melted chocolate and dipped strawberries


And there you have it, a cake with a hidden heart centre.  Don’t let on how you made it, we’ll keep the secret just between us.


Jane x




Next time a  chocolate cake sure to melt the heart of any Valentine.





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