Years ago a friend baked a checkerboard birthday cake for someone in her family. I was so impressed, and so intrigued. I just knew there had to be a way to put special designs inside a cake. Not squares or stripes, but little shapes specific to the occasion. Hearts came to mind because it would be the perfect cake for February 14th, but would be perfect for an anniversary, a birthday, or any special day. I guess I tucked the idea away somewhere in my brain because it just popped out and came to mind again the other day! The first one I tried was a huge dud. Not only did I mistakenly use a very green olive oil in the batter (one word: inedible!) but left such big spaces between my inner cake hearts that the chance of cutting a slice with a heart was about one in a zillion. So after feeding the olive oil cake to my hens I spent a bit of time rethinking my cake idea. Once again a valuable lesson hit home to me: think and plan before I jump in. I must do better at remembering that! So today I baked the Heart-Filled Cake for a grandchild’s birthday and it worked. There is no magic, no luck, just a bit of planning and thinking. You can bake your hearts any color you like, and bake the remainder of the cake any color you like too. White hearts with red velvet cake would be perfect, except I don’t like all the red dye so I stick to white hearts and chocolate cake. You can make your cakes from scratch, or use a boxed mix. I must admit this time I used a mix to save time as this whole cake project takes a bit of time anyway. Heart-Filled Cake is easy once you get the hang of it. You can put hearts in your cake center or any other simple shape. Every slice will show you put thought into your special cake, and you so did!
1 white cake mix and ingredients listed on back of the box
1 chocolate cake mix and ingredients listed on back of the box
oil spray and flour to coat two pans, one 11 x 17 edged jelly roll pan, and one angel food cake pan. Do not use a bundt pan.
frosting of your choice (Check out Old-Fashioned Peanut Squares for an easy, home-made frosting.)
Spray and flour an 11 x 17 inch jelly roll pan.
Spray and flour an angel food cake pan. Use the type that the bottom and center tube removes from the pan
Mix the white cake according to directions and spread evenly in the prepared 11 x 17 inch pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes or until cake pick poked in center of the pan removes cleanly.
Cool the cake until completely, absolutely cool. Using a 2 1/2 inch or smaller heart cookie cutter cut 24 – 26 hearts from your cake. Set aside.
Mix the chocolate cake according to package directions. Spread about 1 cup of batter over bottom of prepared angel food cake pan.
Stand hearts side by side in the chocolate cake batter. Make sure the pointed end of the heart, the bottom is pointing up. Snug the hearts close to each other with no spaces between. Your hearts should not touch any edge of the cake pan.
Pour the remaining chocolate cake batter carefully around and over the hearts, but not between. Your hearts should be so close together cake batter will not fit between them. Be sure and spread batter inside each edge of pan. Smooth batter evenly and bake according to directions for a bundt pan. Place baked cake in pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes and carefully remove to plate.
At this point I like to wrap my cake in plastic wrap and chill a few hours before frosting.
Frost however you like and be ready to have your guests be surprised by the hearts in every slice!