If you’re looking for an extra special treat to make for your special someone this Valentine’s Day, then these cute heart shaped cakes may be just what you need to bake. Especially if they love both chocolate and strawberry. I wanted to make a layered cake in these flavours for Valentine’s Day, and decided that it would be really fun and fitting for the occasion if I made the whole thing heart shaped. As I have a heart shaped biscuit cutter, the idea of making small separate heart shaped cakes was born. They consist of layers of chocolate sponge and strawberry flavored frosting, that has been encased in a shell of milk chocolate. I used a square 7 x 7 inch baking tin, and was able to make a total of 6 cakes from my recipe. These are actually something that came up with for Valentine’s Day last year, as some of you may have seen in pictures on my Instagram back then.
For the Cake Sponge:
- 150g Self Raising Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- Small pinch of Salt
- 125g Caster or Granulated Sugar
- 7 tbsp Corn or Sunflower Oil
- 2 tbsp Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla Flavouring
For the Frosting:
- 125g Unsalted Butter (softened to room temperature)
- 300g Icing Sugar
- 50g Cream Cheese
- 1 – 2 tsp Strawberry Flavouring (adjust amount to suit taste)
- Red Gel Food Colouring
For the Decoration:
- 300g Milk Chocolate
- 3 Fresh Strawberries
For the Cake Sponges:
1) Preheat the oven to 180°C or Gas Mark 4.
2) Sift the flour into a bowl and add to it the baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and sugar. Fold it together evenly.
3) In a separate bowl, add the oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk everything together.
4) Gradually add the dry mixture to the liquid mixture and beat together until everything is evenly mixed.
5) Take your baking tin (I used a square 7 x 7 inch baking tin) and gently grease the bottom and sides with butter. Cut a strip of baking paper so that it is the same width as the tin, but a bit longer than it. This is so that you can fold it up and around 2 of the sides of the tin. This will help us when we come to remove the cake from the tin.
6) Take your cake mixture and evenly spread just a layer of it over the bottom of the tin, making sure you get into the corners. The layer should be no thicker than about 1cm.
7) Place the tin near the middle-top half of the oven for around 10 minutes. After, turn the tin around and leave it for a further 5 minutes.
8) Remove it from the oven and leave it to cool for a few minutes as the cake will be softer while it is hot. Use a pallet knife along the 2 sides of the tin where the baking paper does not cover the sides to gently make sure the cake is not stuck to the tin. Then using the excess sides of the baking paper as if they were handles, gently lift the cake out of the tin and leave it to cool fully on a wire rack.
9) Repeat steps 5 – 8 at least 2 more times in order to make a total of 3 very thin square chocolate sponge cakes.
10) When all the cake is fully cooled, take one of the cake squares and place it down flat on your work surface. Take a heart shaped biscuit/cookie cutter and use it to cut out 6 heart shapes. Gently peel the heart shapes from the baking paper and keep them to one side, but not stacked on top of each other. Any off-cuts of sponge can be put into a tub to enjoy with any left over frosting and melted chocolate that you may have left over at the end.
11) Repeat step 10 with the other 2 squares of cake sponge. You should end up with a total of 18 heart shaped chocolate cake slices.
For the Frosting:
1) Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the cream cheese. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add to the bowl as well.
2) Cream everything together fully into a paste using a fork.
3) Add some red gel colouring and the strawberry flavouring. Make sure you mix it in evenly. Repeat this if required until you get a nice deep pink colour that you like. You could also opt for making the frosting red if you prefer.
4) Take 3 of your cake hearts. Gently spread a layer of the frosting onto just 2 of these so that the top of them are covered fully. Make it a similar thickness to that of the sponge. Then stack the 3 hearts on top of each other so that the one you did not spread frosting on to is at the top. Put this to one side.
5) Repeat step 4 for the remaining cake hearts. You should be left with a total of 6 cakes made up of 3 layers of sponge and 2 layers of frosting.
6) Next take one of the cakes and gently go around the sides where you can see the frosting, spreading it with more frosting. The aim is to fill in any gaps that there may be as we need a flat surface for the chocolate to cover. Then gently scrape around the sides of the cake with a palette knife in order to remove any excess and to smooth out the sides.
7) Repeat step 6 with the remaining cakes. Your cakes are now ready to be coated and decorated.
For the Decoration:
1) Wash your strawberries and use a knife to cut a ‘V’ shape in the top at the sides of the stem. Pull on the stem to remove and discard it. You want to then cut the strawberries in half so that you can see the ‘V’ shape still in the top of each half of strawberry. This will make them look a little bit like heart shapes. Keep these to one side.
2) Next, break up the chocolate and put it in a mixing bowl, place the bowl over a saucepan of water on the hob. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil so that the chocolate starts to melt. Once it is boiling, bring it down to a simmer so that the chocolate does not burn. Stir the chocolate to help it melt. Once the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat.
3) Meanwhile, take a mixing bowl and rest a wire rack over the top of it. Place one of the cakes on top of the wire rack. Also take a tray big enough to hold all 6 cakes, and place a sheet of baking paper that is the same size on top of it.
4) Carefully spoon the melted chocolate on top of the cake over the bowl and let it run over and drip down the sides until it is covered fully. You may want to use the back of the spoon to help spread it around.
5) Place one half of a strawberry on top of the middle of cake so that the ‘V’ we cut is at the top. Let it have a couple of minutes to let any excess melted chocolate drip off into the bowl below.
6) Then carefully move the cake over to the parchment paper on the tray we set up earlier. I found the easiest way to do this was by putting 2 forks underneath it at either end and lifting it that way. If you find some of the chocolate gets smeared off whilst moving it, you can patch this up by dipping the back of a spoon in the chocolate and smearing it across the problem areas.
7) Now repeat steps 4 – 6 for the remaining 5 cakes. If the chocolate starts to become too thick, then simply pop it back onto the saucepan on the hob and heat it back up a little bit to melt it again.
8) Once they have all been covered and decorated with a strawberry, you can move the tray over to the fridge to let the chocolate harden off. Leave them there until it is time to serve them. You may find some of the strawberry juice runs out and down the sides of the cake, but it will not affect the cakes. Due to the fresh fruit, you will want to eat them within a day or so of making them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!