Valentine’s Day Peek-A-Boo Pound Cake

Valentine's Day Peek-A-Boo Pound Cake

by Amy on February 4, 2013 · 219 comments

How. Cute. Is. This!? Even I was a little giddy when I sliced a knife through to reveal it turned out perfectly. Cake was solid and moist, hearts plain as day, and the color wasn’t compromised. I originally saw the idea with a pumpkin shape , but didn’t have a chance to make it for Thanksgiving. So why not Valentine’s Day?! 

Valentine's Day Peek-A-Boo Pound Cake slice

There’s a lot of waiting involved with the cooking, cooling, and chilling, making this a day-long project. But it is SO SO easy. And the actual active time you’re on your feet is minimal. (Unless you’re taking step-by-step pictures…and then, well, forget about it.)

Valentine's Day Peek-A-Boo Pound Cake step by step

Give your friends and family a fun and loving surprise. They’ll think you’re a genius and be asking “how’d you do that??”

I can’t wait to put this in Haley’s lunchbox!

Valentine's Day Peek-A-Boo Pound Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Give your friends and family a fun and loving surprise in every slice of this pound cake! Everyone will be asking, "How'd you do that?"
Serves: 10
  • 2 (16 ounce) boxes Betty Crocker Pound Cake mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, softened
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups milk, divided
  • red food coloring
Vanilla Icing
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare your first pound cake: combine 1 box of cake mix, 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter, 2 eggs, and 2/3 cup milk in a large bowl. Whisk together with an electric mixer or by hand. Add in your food coloring until you reach the desired color (I think I used 25 drops.)
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 8-10 minutes less than instructed on box (about 50 minutes.) Let cool, remove from pan and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Cut cold cake into slices the thickness of your cookie cutter. Cut heart shapes from the slices. Set aside.
  4. Prepare your second box of pound cake mix the same as the first, except omit the food coloring. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray and pour just barely enough batter to cover the bottom. Align your heart cut-outs down the center, keeping them tightly together. Poor the remaining batter over the heart cut-outs in the pan, making sure to cover the sides and tops. (Careful the batter doesn’t overflow.) Bake according to the directions on the box, about 1 hour. Let cool when done.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare your icing. In a medium bowl, mix all of your ingredients together until combined and creamy. Add more powdered sugar if it appears too runny or more milk if it seems too stiff, until you reach the consistency you like.
  6. Remove baked and cooled pound cake from pan and top with icing. Let set; cut into slices and enjoy! Adorable, right!?
slightly adapted from She Knows

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Q: Can I use any cake mix?
A: No! It needs to be pound cake

Q: Can I use a homemade pound cake recipe?
A: I personally can’t vouch for this, but a few readers have said they used a homemade pound cake recipe with success.

Q: Where did you get your cookie cutter?
A: I got a huge bucket of cookie cutters from Amazon a long time ago and the double heart was included.

Q: Can I use a different cookie cutter?
A: Sure! Just make sure it's not too big or too small, and that you cut your slices the thickness of whatever cutter you choose. The one I used is about 4 wide x 2 1/2 tall x 1/2 inch deep.

Q: How does the first cake not dry out from baking twice?
A: Because it is slightly UNDERBAKED the first time. Refrigerating firms the batter enough to cut it.

Q: How do you know where to slice it so you don’t mess up the hearts?
A: The hearts fuse together when baked, so they end up being throughout. Each slice will have one.

Q: The first cake was so runny! What went wrong?
A: Did you cook it for 8-10 minutes LESS than what the box instructions were, or 8-10 minutes total? Many readers have made the mistake of only cooking it for 10 minutes. As per my recipe directions, the cake needs to cook for about 50 minutes.

Q: My hearts floated to the top. What happened?
A: there was probably too much batter on the bottom of the pan. When that cooks, it rises, causing the hearts to rise. Make sure there is only a very thin layer of batter.

Q: Can this be frozen for a later day?
A: I have never done this, but I can’t see why you couldn’t freeze it. I wouldn’t, however, apply the icing in advance.

Q: Can I customize this for a different holiday?
A: Absolutely! This could definitely be customized for other holidays using different dyes and cookie cutters. Have fun with it!


Valentine’s Day Peek-A-Boo Pound Cake

Leave a Comment

{ 219 comments… read them below or add one }

Priscilla April 5, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Made this last night for Easter today! Used a bunny head instead of the hearts. It came out great!! Wish I can post a picture on here. A couple if people where shocked that I made the cake.


Amy @Very Culinary April 6, 2015 at 6:32 am

That’s awesome, Priscilla! I love how versatile this cake is – a bunny cut out for Easter is adorable.


Sandy February 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

My hearts floated to the top and stuck out. How do I keep them from raising up during the second baking?


Amy @Very Culinary February 14, 2015 at 11:03 am

Hi Sandy – this is part of the Q&A in the Notes section. Thanks!


crystal February 13, 2015 at 7:37 am

made this for my daughter’s classroom party yesterday. big hit! thank you for this fun recipe! all the kids were blown away. i’m going to make it again for 4th of july with stars.


newbiecook February 13, 2015 at 5:53 am

Any alternatives I can use to pound cake mix? I used the suggestion from smithersonjones to use pudding mix for the heart shapes. Couldn’t find pound cake mix here in Toronto at all. I put it in the oven for 15 minutes and I lwt it cool outside overnight. When I went in the morning to flip it it deflated on the sides :(


RT February 12, 2015 at 1:14 pm

This is an amazing recipe and I cant wait to make it for the Valentine’s day. Can we bake this cake the night before and skip on the frosting?



Amy @Very Culinary February 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Please see my reply comment to Lauren below, who asked the same thing. Thanks and enjoy!


Tracy February 11, 2015 at 9:18 pm

So what do you do with the scaps from the first?


Amy @Very Culinary February 11, 2015 at 9:37 pm

I usually freeze them and use it as a fun treat or dessert with ice cream or in a parfait for a different day.


Ellen February 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

This is very cool.
I’m making 3 of them today!


Karen February 10, 2015 at 8:26 am

I made this with a different cookie cutter (to fit the occasion), but ran into a BIG problem….. My cut-outs floated while baking in cake two!



Amy @Very Culinary February 10, 2015 at 9:21 am

Sorry to hear that Karen. It’s possible you put a little too much batter in the bottom of the pan before laying the hearts down. That will definitely make them rise more. I can’t say, since I wasn’t there to watch you. Make sure to read all of my notes and perhaps scroll through all the comments from people who have made this before.


Lauren February 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Can I refrigerate the first part for over 4 hours? For example, make it one night, refrigerate over night, and then finish in the morning?


Amy @Very Culinary February 4, 2015 at 4:45 pm

You can, but make certain you wrap it very tight, so it doesn’t dry out.


Taty Pauneto February 1, 2015 at 5:43 am

Love it. Thanks.


Shelley January 27, 2015 at 7:58 am

Lov this!


Justine Y January 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm

This is soooo cute! My kids would flip for this! I’ve seen things like this before, but this looks like a much easier (although time consuming) process. I would love to include this in a roundup of Valentine’s Day treats on my blog (with full credit going to you of course!)


Dian Fraser January 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

Love this! Can’t wait to try it!


smithersonjones January 18, 2015 at 10:48 am

You guys can use box cake mix and change the texture to make it looke like a pound cake by adding a box vanilla pudding…and u can get different flavors of pudding a change your cake flavor


smithersonjones January 18, 2015 at 10:44 am

Ive done different versions of this but I’ve been trying to put names in this type of cake any ideas…I also use the scraps in a trifle of something …don’t wanna waste nothing


Cynthia Rose August 12, 2014 at 12:49 am

Recipe for peek a boo cake is so cute!!! Thanks


Jess February 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

Round what size is the cookie cutter


Amy @Very Culinary February 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

The one I used is about 4 wide x 2 1/2 tall x 1/2 inch deep – yes, there are scraps left over, but as you can see from the picture, you don’t want to go too much wider. The depth doesn’t matter as much…you just want to make sure you cut the pink cake into slices the thickness of whatever cutter you choose, as instructed.


Kris February 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I made this last night…too cute! I have a tall, heart-shaped bread tube pan I got from Pampered Chef, so I made the pink heart center in it. Simply removed it from the heart-shaped pan after it baked and add it to the other pan. No need to slice, except I did trim the ends so it would be the right length. Love it!

I don’t think the pans are available anymore from Pampered Chef, but here is what I used:


Alice T. February 14, 2014 at 8:04 am

Every year I make heart pancakes for my kids on Valentine’s Day. But this morning I surprised them with this cake. Best surprise ever!! I just might win “Mom Of The Year Award” LOL. Thank you!


Kim February 14, 2014 at 7:45 am

My pink pan is baking in the oven now.So excited to make this for my daughters today !!!


Cassie February 14, 2014 at 7:41 am

My daughter’s class had their Valentine’s party yesterday because of the long weekend. I made this and it was a HUGE hit. Even the other teachers were coming into the room to see what the fuss was about. So adorable! Thank you for a great cake recipe!!


Janice February 14, 2014 at 7:36 am

This was a disaster for me. I wish I would of known about the sleeve before I made it. Common sense tells you that almost 2 cake mixes won’t fit into one pan. If I made it again I would do things a lot differently.


Ashlea Ray February 14, 2014 at 6:08 am

I can’t wait to try this….wondering if I can use the same idea and try it for easter. Im thinking confetti cake mix to make the easter eggs then a colored batter mix on top, kinda reversing it ,what do ya think?


Amy @Very Culinary February 14, 2014 at 6:25 am

This could definitely be customized for other holidays using different dyes and cookie cutters, but you must use pound cake. Regular cake mix will don’t work, sorry.


hailey February 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Milk or water right? The box says either. But is it better to use milk? (Found the cookie cutter by the way. So happy!)


Amy @Very Culinary February 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Hi Hailey – milk! Definitely milk. And yay on the cutter!


hailey February 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Dang it. I used water. I’m waiting for it to cool now. Hope it still turns out. :/


Amy @Very Culinary February 13, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I don’t *think* water will ruin it, but milk will give it a moisture texture. Hm. Let me know..


hailey February 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

It wasn’t bad. Not too dry. But I didn’t cook it long enough the second time. So this time I flopped. I will attempt this recipe again though. Its too cute not too! Lol

Tiffany February 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Does anyone have a homemade pound cake recipe that have used with this that worked please?! Cannot find boxed pound cake mix anywhere here.


Jessica February 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

Hi, Veryculinary
LOVE THIS! but I don’t have the patience for pound cake so I am using white cake (dyed pink) and chocolate cake. There are no instructions about a loaf pan on the box (Philisbury White Cake Mix). What should I do?


Amy @Very Culinary February 13, 2014 at 9:35 am

Hi Jessica – this recipe only works with pound cake. If you use regular cake mix, it won’t come out properly. Sorry :/


Queenie February 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm

This recipe looks fun to bake. I sure will give it a try. Thanks for sharing.


Roxanne February 10, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I made two of these tonight and they came out so good! I had to cook the first cake a little longer than you had suggested, but didnt fully cook it so it wouldnt be dry later, it came out very nice though everyone wanted seconds!


Carmen B. Sanchez February 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I love this cake. I made it for my brother´s birthday. I just want to pass along a couple of tips I got from a friend who bakes for a living :)
Freeze the cake before cutting the shapes. It is so smooth! Slice, cut and stack. The shapes stick together as they defrost a bit. Easier to place on the pan for the other batter.
Tip 2. Put a sleeve around the pan to keep it even at the top. The sleeve can be bought, but if you sew, you can make it from teflon fabric.


Yvonne Uhl February 11, 2014 at 8:07 am

Great tips, thank you Carmen… will make tonight!


Felicia February 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for the tips. Do you have to let the cake defrost a little first before you can get the knife through it? Does the fact that the middle is frozen affect the cooking time of the final cake?


Jen February 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I want to make thisssssss


Chav February 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Can this concept work with any cake mix?


Amy @Very Culinary February 8, 2014 at 10:18 pm

No, sorry. It only works with Pound Cake. I have only used the Betty Crocker brand, but others have had success using a homemade version.


Chav February 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Oh okay thank you!


Meloney February 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Could you cut the pound cake as one whole heart(like a loaf) omitting the cookie cutter, or does it need to be cut in slices?


Amy @Very Culinary February 8, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Do you have a heart shaped loaf pan? I can’t see why not, but I can’t vouch for the results.


christy February 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I have a similar cookie cutter from Wilton that I am going to try – very excited!


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