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?!
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.)
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!
- 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
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove baked and cooled pound cake from pan and top with icing. Let set; cut into slices and enjoy! Adorable, right!?
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!