Image © boaphotostudio, under a Creative Commons license.
Always wanted to make a love heart cake, but don't want to invest in a heart shaped baking tin?
This easy step by step guide shows you how to make a heart shaped birthday cake with only a round cake pan and a square one. While they are perfect for a birthday party, you could also prepare these love heart cakes for an occasion like Valentine's Day if you wish.
You Will Need
Ingredients: 350g self-raising flour, 350g softened butter, 350g caster sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 6 eggs (at room temperature), 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Equipment: An 8" (20cm) round cake tin, an 8" (20cm) square cake tin, a cake board or large serving plate, an electric whisk or mixer.
1) Preheat your oven to 170°C (325°F). Grease your cake tins with some softened butter or margarine. You could also line them with baking paper for extra safety.
2) Prepare your cake mix: sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add in all the other ingredients one by one (make sure the butter is really soft!) and mix them together with the electric whisk. Keep whisking until you obtain a smooth mixture with no lumps.
3) Divide the batter evenly between your two cake tins, smooth the top with a spatula or spoon. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes. Before taking them out of the oven, check that they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cakes: if it comes out clean, they are ready! Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before removing them from their tins and placing them on a wire rack to cool for another 15 minutes.
4) It's time to assemble your two cakes into a heart shape: on your cake board, place the square cake angles pointing up and down so that it looks like a diamond. Cut the round cake in half with a bread knife and place each semi-circle onto a side of the square, forming a perfect heart shape!
Once this is done, your heart cake is ready. Below are some amazing decoration ideas for your cakes.
Using Buttercream Frosting:
1) Sift 600g of icing sugar into a bowl. Add 300g softened butter and beat using an electric whisk or mixer. Add your chosen flavouring (vanilla extract for example) and some food colouring (a few drops of red colouring will create a beautiful pink heart cake). Add a few tablespoons of boiling water and beat until you get a smooth mixture.
2) Fill a piping bag (with the star nozzle) with your frosting. Pipe the frosting onto the cake, forming little stars, starting from the outside and working your way to the middle.
Top Tip: You could make two colours of icing and alternate the colours when you are piping them onto the cake (for example, red and white). Alternatively, if you do not have a piping bag, you could smear the icing onto the cake with a palette knife or spatula.
Using Fondant Icing:
1) Same as above, make a batch of buttercream frosting: sift 600g of icing sugar into a bowl. Add 300g softened butter and beat using an electric whisk or mixer. Add a tsp of the flavouring of your choice but don't worry about colouring as it will be covered by fondant icing! Cover your cake in the buttercream frosting with a spatula or palette knife - this does not have to be neat as it is just a crumb coat.
2) Roll out a block of ready-to-roll icing of the colour of your choice (red, pink or white would be perfect for your heart shaped cake). Once it is rolled out into a thin layer, wrap it around your rolling pin and gently place it down on the cake. Smooth the icing down with your hands and trim the excess with a knife.
3) Add any decorations you would like. You could write on a personalised message with an icing pen, add sweets of your choice, or even pipe buttercream patterns on top of the fondant icing!
Tips And Recommendations
This cake in the shape of a heart should serve 8-10 people. Children as young as two can enjoy a piece of it, but it contains a lot of sugar so be mindful of the portion sizes.
Although it is best eaten fresh, the sponges can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) for up to five days. Once the cake is decorated, you can keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two days. You can also freeze this cake: leave it in the freeze for an hour so the icing sets, then wrap it in clingfilm before placing it back in the freezer in an airtight container for up to two months.
If you are in a hurry, you could make this recipe even easier by using ready-made cake mix. Simply follow the instructions on the box and bake the circular and square cakes, before following the guide to creating a heart shaped cake above!
These heart shaped cakes can also be made with whichever cake mix recipe you choose: sponge cake, chocolate cake, lemon drizzle, the list is endless!
If you have guests with allergies, you could substitute the self-raising flour for a gluten-free alternative such as spelt.
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