This hidden heart Valentine’s Day cake is a fun and impressive dessert to serve the people you love–just don’t tell the how easy it was to make!
OK, please don’t hate me for posting a Valentine’s Day dessert at the beginning of January. It’s just that I’m SO EXCITED about this little hidden heart cake. And I’ve been waiting FOREVER to post it.
I’ve had the idea for this bundt cake floating around in my head since last Easter when I posted this hidden bunny cake. (Which you should totally make this year.)
I just wasn’t sure I could get the heart’s hidden-ness to work in a bundt pan (because of the curve and all. . .)
But it turns out that it’s totally possible to do. And it’s not even difficult!
Yes you heard me right: this Valentine’s Day cake is an incredibly easy cake to make because I, in my laziness, opted to use cake mixes.
In fairness, I don’t think we need to relegate this cake just to February. Hearts are fun and appropriate all year long! And I could see this being an adorable gender-reveal cake if you use pink or blue velvet in place of the red.
You could also substitute chocolate cake for red velvet if you need extra chocolate in your day and the ganache on top of this cake isn’t quite enough for you. (Story of my life!)
A few notes:
You’ll want to be sure your heart cookie cutter will fit in your pan. I used this cookie cutter and this pan (in a 10-cup size) and they worked perfectly. You can use other cookie cutters and pans of course, just be sure the heart is small enough to fit into the pan with plenty of room; remember your white cake batter won’t go all the way to the top of the pan.
You’ll bake the cake you use for the hearts in a jelly roll pan. This will result in hearts that are fairly thick so don’t forget to slice them in half before you put them in the pan. This allows them to fit around the pan’s curves better.
If you have trouble cutting the hearts out without the cake crumbling, freeze the cake for 30 to 60 minutes; it will firm up and be easier to cut.
Pack the hearts in as tightly as you can get them so you don’t have gaps where only white cake is showing. (If this happens when you slice your cake just shave a little off the sides and the heart should appear.) See photo above for a visual.
You’ll have a lot of leftover red velvet cake. You have tons of options for what to do with the scraps: eat them (my personal favorite), make them into cake balls or cake pops, use them for decoration—the possibilities are endless!
Just be sure you bake up a hidden heart Valentine’s Day cake sometime soon. They’re too fun not to!
This hidden heart cake is an impressive dessert for Valentine's Day or any day of the year!
- 1 15.25-ounce box red velvet cake mix + ingredients to make the cake
- 1 115.25-ounce box white cake mix
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cups chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, then spray the paper with additional cooking spray. Set pan aside.
Prepare the red velvet cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 16 to 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with your fingertip and a cake tester inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan to room temperature, then gently flip the cake out onto a large cutting board to cool completely. Once cake is fully cooled, use a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out about 25 hearts.**
Place the hearts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freezer for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Leave them in the freezer while you prepare the white cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with cooking spray and set pan aside.
Combine cake mix, milk, butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour 1 1/2 cups of batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the frozen hearts on the batter with the top of the hearts facing downward. You’ll probably need to slice the hearts in half to get them to fit neatly around the curve of your pan; pack the hearts in tightly to minimize gaps between them.
Carefully pour the remaining white cake batter in the pan over the cutout hearts.
Bake 44 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
Heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it just begins to steam. Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let sit for 4 minutes, then whisk until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle the ganache over the cooled cake and refrigerate the cake to set the ganache. Slice and serve.
**If you have trouble cutting the hearts out, freeze the cake until you're better able to cut it. This should prevent the cut-outs from falling apart.
Method adapted from Food52