Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake

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I don’t remember the last time I went out on Valentine’s Day. It’s been a good few years, and me and Husband have never been out for a romantic valentines meal. I mean, we might have took the kids for a Nando’s lunch or something at some point, but that’s about it.

We don’t do gifts either. We do mark the day, with a card and husband will cook us a nice meal at home. Usually a steak and a nice bottle of wine. We might also buy a new film to watch. So it’s special to us. But not in a big overdone romancing way.

I do however like an excuse to bake something. Any excuse really, Valentine’s, Christmas, Easter, Tuesdays. More so if it’s something chocolate. Last year I made valentines brownies and cookies, this year I went for this Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake.

This Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake is the perfect Valentine's Day treat!


Not going to lie, my first Chocolate Surprise Heart Cake didn’t even make it into the oven. The middle bit just didn’t work at all. I’d tried to use a regular red food colouring from Asda, and it just came out brown. Like cake. I’d also failed to make enough batter, so there wasn’t enough heart to support itself in the centre. Nor was there enough chocolate to cover even the pitiful amount of heart. We salvaged the chocolate batter and made cupcakes.

Roses are Red…hearts are brown?!

To get a bright heart centre, that still tastes good, you need a better food colour. Eventually, I settled on this red gel, which worked pretty well. I use a 9inch by 4 inch cake tin, and a heart cutter that’s around 2-3 inches tall. You can make it work with whatever you’ve got though, just make more or less batter. Save any leftovers for cupcakes. I really want to say save the cut offs of the red for cake pops or something equally cook, but we totally ate ours as they were!

Bright Red Cake Slices

Chocolate and Raspberry?

I top my Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake with a simple chocolate buttercream, and some little heart sprinkles I got from Amazon for about £2. I kept the heart plan, and the rest chocolate, but you could add some raspberries to your heart if you wanted to give it some extra flavour. I also only add quite a thin layer of buttercream. If you want more, double the recipe. If there’s any left, it freezes really well in an airproof container.

Side Of Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake

It’s Not that Hard, Promise

This is one of those bakes that looks a lot more complicated than it is. But, it’s really not. All you need is a freezer, a heart cookie cutter and some patience. I struggle with the patience part, but the longer that you leave your hearts to freeze, the better it will all cook together. You need at least 2 hours I’d say.

This Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake is the perfect Valentine's Day treat!

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The Recipe

Chocolate Heart Surprise Cake

A fabulously chocolatey Valentine’s treat.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Cooling time3 hrs 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, chocolate
Servings: 12 Slices
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Donna


For the heart:

  • 170 g Butter
  • 170 g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 170 g Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • Red Food Colouring – Use good quality and add a few drops at a time

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 220 g Butter
  • 220 g Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 190 g Self-Raising Flour
  • 30 g Cocoa

For the Buttercream:

  • 100 g Butter
  • 200 g Icing Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 100 g Milk chocolate – Broken into squares


To make the heart:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease your loaf tin
  • Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well before adding the next, then stir in the vanilla
  • Sift in the flour and fold until the mixture is smoother
  • Add food colouring a few drops at a time until the mix is a vibrant red
  • Pour the mix into your loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked, using a skewer to test the centre
  • When cooked remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes
  • After this, tip on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely
  • Chop the two ends off and discard
  • Chop the rest of the cake into 6 thick, even slices
  • Use the heart cookie cutter to gently press shapes out of the cake slices, discarding the edges
  • Either wrap each slice in foil, or place them flat, and separate, into freezer bags
  • Freeze for at least two hours

For the chocolate cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, wash and grease the same loaf tin
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time
  • Sift in the flour and cocoa
  • Fold together until smooth
  • Generously line the bottom and sides of the cake tin with the chocolate batter, ensuring there’s plenty left to top
  • Remove the hearts from the freezer and gently stand them on top of the chocolate bottom, close enough together that they can stand, I find it easier to start with the middle slice and add one each side of it until all gone, try to line them up as evenly as you can
  • Cover with the rest of the chocolate cake mix
  • Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes until cooked through
  • Remove from the oven and leave for five minutes
  • Tip on to a wire rack to cool completely

For the buttercream top:

  • Carefully mix the butter, icing sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl
  • In a small saucepan over a medium heat, melt the chocolate gently
  • Tip the melted chocolate into the buttercream and fold in until smooth
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes before spreading, or icing onto the cooled cake
  • Top with sprinkles or decorations if required


You also need a loaf tin (mine is 9” x 4”) and a deep heart cookie cutter If you want to stab the chocolate batter to check to see if it’s cooked, be sure to only insert the skewer into the chocolate and not the heart, or it might bleed.

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