Hidden Heart Valentines Pound Cake shows your love in every slice; a heart in every serving! This Valentines cake is a surprise cake that’s a box mix hack. It’s fun and will thrill your Valentines!
Ever since I shared this surprise inside heart cake in 2013, it has been a favorite across the internet!
Making a heart cake for Valentine’s Day is always fun.
But no one will suspect this chocolate pound cake has a pink heart in the middle!
Everyone gets one since there is a heart in every pound cake slice!
This Valentines Day cake can be made with regular or gluten-free box cake mix too!
Don’t let this cake scare you!
This is not a cake that takes advanced baking skills or talents!
This Valentines Day cake is part baking and part craft project.
If you can bake a box cake mix, you can make this exciting jaw-dropping surprise cake!
With easy step by step instructions and only a few ingredients it will become a holiday favorite recipe.
And no one will guess how you made it!
Heart Cake Ingredients
This recipe is flexible. You can use a pound cake mix or if you have a favorite recipe and enjoy baking from scratch, you can do that too!
- Butter or Vanilla Pound Cake mix or recipe
- Chocolate Pound Cake mix or recipe
- Pink or Red food coloring
- Cherry Extract
Select your favorite box mix or recipe.
Both regular and gluten-free mixes work great!
Any food coloring may be used however to get a deep saturated color as seen in the photos I recommend using a gel food coloring.
For the pink heart I used Wilton in ‘rose’ color.
You can find this food coloring wherever baking supplies are sold including craft stores with a baking section.
Some natural or grocery store food coloring will fade when baked.
Gel food coloring will not.
PRO TIP: To add the color I use a toothpick to add a very small amount. Blend it in and add more if needed.
A little goes a long way with gel food coloring.
Adding a flavor extract to the pink pound cake is optional!
However finding a delicious complementary flavor makes the heart cake even more special!
I chose cherry which works well with chocolate.
Make it Gluten-Free
Select gluten-free cake mixes and you can make it gluten-free!
The gluten-free mixes I used are in the Notes section of the Recipe Card at the end of the post.
Can a Different Type of Cake Mix Be Used?
I selected pound cake because is it denser and more substantial.
Especially if making the cake gluten-free, pound cake ensures the cake will be sturdy.
Can I Use Store Bought Pound Cake?
You can for the heart inside!
Chances are it will be a traditional white (frozen pound cakes) or light yellow.
If that is ok with you, go for it!
If using a frozen pound cake allow it to thaw before constructing the cake.
Supplies for the Hidden Heart Pound Cake
- Heart Cookie Cutter – 3 1/2-inches at the widest spot and 3-inches tall (NOTE: a smaller cookie cutter may be used but not a larger one)
- Large Serrated Knife (or a bread knife)
- Loaf baking pan.
How to Make Hidden Heart Pound Cake – Step-by-Step
All the specific steps to make Hidden Heart Valentine’s cake are in the recipe below (it’s printable too).
Here is a high level summary:
STEP 1: Prepare the butter or vanilla pound cake mix. Add pink coloring and cherry extract. Bake as directed in the mix and allow to fully cool on a cooling rack.
STEP 2: Slice the pink pound cake the depth of the cookie cutter being used. Example: if the cookie cutter is 1-inch deep, the cake slices should be 1-inch. (photo below). Cut out a heart using the cookie cutter.
STEP 3: Slice the entire pink pound cake and cut out hearts from each slice (photo below). The excess cake can be eaten or saved to make pound cake bread pudding!
STEP 4: Prepare the chocolate pound cake and spoon a small amount in the loaf baking pan (aproximately 1/2-inch deep).
STEP 5: With a helper, line up the pink cake hearts with the bottom point in the chocolate batter and the hearts next to each other (no spaces). NOTE: there will be space in the front and back however to take a photo the pan was on its side so no space shows on the bottom of the pan in the photo above. (see below)
STEP 5: Fill in the rest of the pan, spooning the chocolate cake better on either side of the pink hearts to support them then covering them on top.
STEP 6: Bake and cool as specified in the recipe card below. Slice and enjoy!
Storing the Valentines Cake
In the Refrigerator
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
In the Freezer
Once the heart cake is totally cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Place in a freezer plastic bag. Freeze for 4-6 months.
More Holiday Recipes You’ll Love!
- Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes for Easter!
- Firecracker Meringue Cookies
- American Flag Fruit Cookie Dessert Pizza
- Easter Rice Krispie Treats
- Easter Cake with a Surprise Inside (a box mix hack)
- Homemade Peanut Butter Cups Hearts
Try these Dessert Recipes too!
- Luscious Lemon Pie
- Rhubarb Fool
- Banana Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- Hummingbird Cake
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Hidden Heart Valentine’s Pound Cake
- Favorite Vanilla or Butter Pound Cake recipe or mix (1 loaf)*
- Favorite Chocolate Pound Cake recipe or mix (1 loaf)**
- 1/8 teaspoon Pink Food Coloring (I used Wilton ‘Rose’ gel food coloring)
- ½-3 teaspoons Cherry Extract flavor to taste
- 1 Heart-shaped Cookie Cutter (3 ½ inches at the widest spot by 3 inches tall)
- 1 Serrated Knife
- 1-2 Loaf pans
Making the Pink Pound Cake
- Preheat oven to the temperature specified for the butter or vanilla pound cake.
- Assemble the vanilla pound cake per the recipe or mix directions.
- ADDING THE COLOR. To make the brilliant fuchsia-colored heart, add 1/8 teaspoon Wilton Rose coloring to the mix (if desiring a more tame pink, begin to add small amounts dipped from the container with a toothpick, mix and add more if needed; it is very concentrated coloring). Mix, incorporating the color uniformly in the batter.
- ADDING THE FLAVORING. Begin adding cherry flavoring by the ½ teaspoon until reaching desired flavor. Note: I used a natural Cherry flavoring and wanted a strong cherry flavor to stand up to the chocolate in the outer cake so ended up using 1 tablespoon.
- Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan. Bake as instructed in recipe or mix directions.
- Remove, cool and remove from the pan. Allow to cool completely.
- Reheat oven to specified temperature for the chocolate pound cake recipe or mix.
Cutting Pink Cake Hearts
- Place cherry pound cake on a cutting board. Using the depth of the heart cookie cutter as a guide, cut the pound cake into slices the same thickness as the cookie cutter (e.g. my cookie cutter is 1 inch deep so I made slices that were 1 inch thick).
- Place each slice flat on the cutting board and using the cookie cutter cut one heart out of each slice. Set aside scraps.
- Butter a loaf pan the same size or larger than the pan used for the cherry pound cake.
Making the Hidden Heart Cake
- Prepare the chocolate pound cake recipe or mix according to the directions. Spoon a very small amount into the prepared loaf pan (enough just to cover the bottom).
- Place cherry pound cake hearts in the middle of the prepared pan; point down, back-to-back touching each other.
- This step is easiest accomplished with a helper! Begin on one end of the loaf pan, with one person holding the hearts upright on their point, place a spoonful of batter on one side of the first heart and then a spoonful on the opposite of the first heart. Proceed up the pan in this manner until there is a small amount of batter on either side of all the hearts; this will stabilize the hearts and ensure they stay on their point during baking.
- Fill in the remaining batter on both sides and cover the top of the hearts. Note: the top may be rounded due to the shape of the top of the hearts.
- Bake the pound cake to the mix directions for the chocolate pound cake. Check for doneness earlier than suggested. NOTE: Due to the pre-baked cherry pound cake center the pound cake may done earlier than if baking regularly.
- Remove from oven; allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack.
- Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. Note: I found the gluten free pound cake sliced best after refrigerating. Can be kept in the refrigerator tightly wrapped for up to a week or frozen and then defrosted to be eaten at a later date.
Originally published: January 27, 2013
Suja md says
Wow! this is my new favorite recipe!
Amanda Wren-Grimwood says
How cute is this! I’ve always wondered how these cakes are made and this was really easy to follow. Thanks for this.
This is such a cute, festive idea! Loved making it with my kids last weekend.
So much fun for valentines day! Can’t wait for my family to cut into it tomorrow to see the surprise.