Say I Love You with a Surprise Heart Cake

Surprise Heart Cake

A vanilla loaf cake with a tunnel of red hearts hiding inside! A surprise that says I love you in a sweet, special way.

This cute cake is so easy to make with an impressive outcome that will have everyone thinking you’re a master baker. Maybe even a magician.

It requires making only one batter, a rich dense vanilla cake, plus a rainbow chip cream cheese frosting that will vie for attention.

To make the hearts, a cup and a half of the batter is tinted with red food coloring and baked off in a square pan. The hearts are cut out with a cookie cutter and stood up in the loaf pan like little soldiers.

Hidden Heart Cake

The remaining vanilla cake batter fills in the spaces all around them and then the entire thing is baked again. One would think those red hearts in the middle would turn out dry and overcooked but surprisingly they don’t taste that way. I think the food coloring helps keep them moist and the fact they’re in the center of the cake – the place that cooks last.

You can use this technique for any occasion! A green clover for St. Patrick’s day, a flower for Mother’s day, a tree for Christmas, your kids favorite character for a birthday, etc. . . the possibilities are endless.

I think this might become my signature cake. For every occasion, until it becomes tradition.

My own little party trick.

Everybody should have one.

Valentine's Day Heart Cake

Surprise Heart Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 52 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf cake

Surprise Heart Cake

A vanilla loaf cake with a tunnel of red hearts hiding inside!


butter and flour, for greasing pans
2 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 + 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red food coloring
4 ounces cream cheese (light or regular - not nonfat), at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 bottle (5.25 ounces) of Wilton rainbow chip crunch sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8x8 inch square baking pan and a standard loaf pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. Into a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter for 3 minutes on medium speed, add the sugar and beat 3 more minutes, add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. Add the egg yolks, beat 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Mix milk and heavy cream together. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture alternating with the milk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down sides of the bowl at least once during the process.
  6. Remove 1 + 1/2 cups of the batter to a small bowl. Mix in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon food coloring. Spread it evenly in the 8x8 pan and bake 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center. Cool on wire rack until barely warm.
  7. Using a 1 + 1/2-inch heart cookie cutter cut out hearts.
  8. Add a thin layer of cake batter to the loaf pan then stand the hearts up in it. Once you have them all stood up gently push the first and last ones together to squish them up against each other.
  9. Gently spoon in the rest of the batter, filling in the sides and gently covering the hearts with a thin layer of batter.
  10. Bake until a toothpick comes out from the cake (not the hearts) clean about 40 - 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack then turn out from pan and cool completely.
  11. Beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
  12. Beat in half the confectioners' sugar until combined, add the remaining half and the vanilla extract. Beat on medium 5 minutes until light and fluffy, stopping to check the consistency every few minutes. If it seems too thick you can add a teaspoon of heavy cream or half & half, too thin add a few more tablespoons confectioners' sugar.
  13. Mix in the rainbow chips by hand. Use immediately to frost the cake. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature for serving.


Technique adapted from McCormick

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

Surprise Heart Cake #Valentinesday

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