How to Make a Heart-Shaped Cake

4.6 / 5 (5 reviews)

Make a Heart-Shaped Cake for Valentine’s Day!
No heart pan needed!

This is a simple and fun way to make a large heart-shaped cake. Easy dessert for Valentine’s Day! Finish off the day with this fun treat. Also check out the DIY Valentine’s Day ideas we have been working on! Not wanting to do sugar this year, we’ve got you covered with fun candy alternatives too!

Use your favorite cake mix flavor or your favorite cake recipe. You can try this cake mix trick to make the cake mix even better! Or a recipe that yields a 9×13 cake or two 8-inch cakes, will work well for this heart cake. This Red Velvet Cake Recipe is a great option!

heart shaped cake with a square pan and round pan

Use an 8-inch square pan and an 8-inch round cake pan. A square metal cake pan is ideal, but I used what I have and it got the job done! To get more of a flat and even cake, you can use these awesome cake strips around each pan.

When I know I will be removing cake from pans, I want to make sure the cake doesn’t stick. So I lined the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and I used Baker’s Joy Cooking Spray to spray the pans and paper. Or you can butter and flour the pans.

To get the parchment paper to the right size, I place the pan on the paper and trace around the bottom of the pan. Then I cut along the inside of my traced line.

how to make a heart-shaped cake without a heart pan

Once the cakes are baked and cooled, you cut the round cake in half to make two half-circles. Leave the square cake whole, but orient it as a diamond. Then place the flat side of each half-round against the top sides of the diamond to make a heart shape.

heart shaped cake

I’m not going to lie, my round cake didn’t fit perfectly with my square cake, so I trimmed it up a bit. My kids sure enjoyed eating the trimmings! Fortunately, the frosting conceals the cake seams and more.

yummy cream cheese frosting

Speaking of frosting, this is one delicious cream cheese frosting! You can use clear vanilla extract to keep your frosting more of a white color, if desired.

heart cake with skim coat frosting

I am not a professional cake decorator, but I do know that it is a good idea to do a crumb coat of frosting on a cake like this one. Then follow it with a nice, clean final layer of frosting. This method should keep the cake crumbs confined to the first layer of frosting. By the way, an offset or angled spatula is a must-have for even spreading!

heart cake with sprinkles

Decorate with sprinkles, candies, or whatever your heart desires!

Heart-shaped cake inspired from BetterRecipes. Cream cheese frosting recipe from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.

red vanilla fare cake plate with server

Red Vanilla Vanilla Fare 13 1/2-Inch Cake Plate with Server

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DIY Heart Cake no heart-shaped pan needed Valentine's Day Recipe

How to Make a Heart-Shaped Cake

4.6 / 5 (5 reviews)
Prep Time: 35 minutes | Cook Time: 35-65 minutes
Yield: 1 cake | Serves: 12-16 servings

Ingredients

  • Cake

  • 1 package Red Velvet cake mix, or any cake mix (except angel food), or your favorite 9x13 cake recipe
  • 1 8-inch round cake pan
  • 1 8-inch square cake pan
  • Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want to keep your frosting more white)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven according to the cake mix package instructions. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside-bottom of a square 8-inch pan and also for a round 8-inch cake pan. Spray the center of each pan with cooking spray and place the parchment inside the pans. The spray helps keep the parchment in place. Then spray each pan with a nonstick cooking spray with flour, like Baker's Joy. Alternately, you can butter and flour each pan.
  2. Prepare cake mix as directed on package instructions. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared 8-inch pans. Bake as directed on package. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then carefully remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Prepare the frosting with a food processor or mixer. Beat the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla, and salt together until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar and mix until very fluffy.
  4. Leave the square cake whole, but cut the round cake in half. With the square cake oriented as a diamond, place the flat side of each half-round against each of the top sides of the square cake to make a heart shape. Trim slightly, if needed. The frosting will conceal the seams and more.
  5. Spread a thin skim coat layer of frosting over the entire cake (to keep cake crumbs from appearing in the final layer of frosting). Then spread a second and final layer of frosting. Decorate as desired.

Notes

See blog post for helpful photos.

Comments & Reviews

  • Tina B

    How clever of you! I wouldn’t have imagined using this combo to make a heart shaped cake at all.

    You had the frosting term almost correct. I think the Cake Boss guys and their ilk call it a “crumb coat” and it does exactly what you described; it keeps the crumbs from messing up the outer layer of frosting!

    Thanks for sharing a simple, but spectacular-looking idea for the upcoming holiday!

  • N Call

    Do you have to refrigerate the cake since the icing is butter and cream cheese?

    • Melanie

      Hi! Yes, I would refrigerate it if you are making it a while in advance, or for the leftovers. However, you can take it out of the fridge 1-2 hours or so before serving to let the frosting soften a bit. 🙂

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