Here are three ways to make a heart cake without a heart pan! This tutorial will show how to bake, assemble, frost and decorate a heart cake.
How to make a heart cake
#1 Cut a round cake
The first way to make a heart cake is to cut a round cake into a heart. Trace around your cake layers onto a piece of paper before drawing a heart template. You can trace around the cake pan you used to bake the layers instead.
Fold the paper in half and draw half of a heart. This way when you cut the heart out it will be perfectly symmetrical. You’ll this heart as a guide to cut your cake into a heart.
For the neatest results, chill your cake in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes. Cold cake is less crumbly and will be easier to cut. Trim around the heart with a serrated knife like a bread knife using little sawing motions.
When you pull the cutoffs away you’ll leave a heart shaped cake behind!
If you're making a layer cake, cut each layer separately. If you stack them and then cut, the layers can stick together and you're more likely to cut at an angle, causing different size hearts in the top and bottom layers.
I’ll show you how to frost a heart cake later in this tutorial.
#2 Attach square and round cakes
The next method to make a heart cake is to use a square or rectangular pan and two round pans. Fill them with cake batter so that the round pans are twice as full as the square or rectangular pan because you need the round cakes to be twice as tall. This is my Perfect Chocolate Cake batter and I used the 6 inch cake recipe.
My rectangular pan is 9 x 13 inches and was 1 inch high and took 25 minutes to bake at 350F. The round pans are 4 inches wide and 2 inches high and took 30 minutes to bake. Ideally, use a square pan twice as big as the round pans, which would be 8 x 8 inches for me. With a rectangular pan you'll have some extra cake but if that's the pan you have, use it!
After the cakes have cooled it's time to cut them. You'll need four square cake layers, each one about the width of your round cakes. If you have a square pan, cut it in half both ways. For a rectangular pan, measure halfway along the short side and cut across the cake there.
Then measure that same amount along the long side, twice, and cut at those points.
This makes 4 cake layers, plus some leftovers if you used a rectangular pan instead of a square pan.
Next, level the round cakes so that they’re flat and then divide them in half horizontally to make two layers out of each. Now the round and square cake layers should be about the same height. Cut each of the round cakes in half to make 8 semi-circles.
To make a heart cake, spread some frosting onto a cake board to attach the first square layer. Instead of placing it in the center of the board, push it towwards one side to leave space at the top of the heart.
Then pipe or spread frosting along the top two sides. Add a dot on the board on each side too and attach two semi-circles of cake. The frosting will act as glue to make the cakes stick together and to the cake board below.
Don’t worry about imperfections because the filling and frosting will even everything out to make a neat shape by the end. Add your filling and repeat with the next square and two more semi-circles. Continue with the rest of your cake layers to make a four-layer cake in the shape of the heart!
#3 Cut and stick a round cake
The simplest way to make a heart cake with no waste is to bake just a round cake. First, cut two sides off to make the bottom edges of the heart:
Then use frosting to attach those to the top of the cake to make the bulges of the heart. You’ll have to push to curve and wrap them around because they won’t slot together perfectly like puzzle pieces, like the semi-circle cakes did with the previous method.
The benefit of thismethod is that you only have to bake a round cake, or a few round cakes if you want to make a layer cake.
First, make sure your buttercream is a nice loose consistency so it’s easy to spread and smooth it. I like the microwave hack, where you put a third of the buttercream in the microwave for 10 seconds. Then stir it into the rest of the batch to make it silky smooth.
As you stir, you'll get rid of air bubbles, too. Look at the difference in this batch of frosting before and after the microwave method:
The second trick is to chill the cake before you frost it so that the layers are firm and less crumbly. The cake on the left has been chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes so the frosting glides smoothly and easily over it. The cake on the right hasn’t been in the fridge yet so the cakes are very crumbly.
After chilling cakes they'll be cold and hard. Take them out 2-4 hours before serving so they warm back up to room temperature to become just as soft as before!
The third trick for frosting a heart shaped cake is to apply a crumb coat. This is a this thin layer of frosting that traps crumbs so they don’t get into the final layer of frosting. It doesn’t have to be neat but it does have to cover the whole cake. If there are any naked areas of cake, crumbs can escape later.
For the final layer of frosting, spread the frosting beyond the pointed tip of the heart, so that it sticks out. Then scrape away from the tip of the heart and away from the dip of the heart at the top. This will create a sharp point to make these parts of the heart really angular. That's what makes the shape of the heart easily recognizable.
Tidy up the top edge by swiping sideways with your offset spatula and you have a frosted heart cake!
You can leave this plain or decorate it endless ways. The trendiest way at the moment is to add vintage style, over-the-top piping in different colours. Use piping tips like a petal tip for the ruffly ribbons at the bottom and the swags at the top. A leaf tip will work for these instead and add even more ruffles to the piping.
An open star tip is great for textured beaded borders, which you can layer on top of the piping you already have on the cake. Open star tips are also great for writing messages.
The almost excessive piping really make these vintage designs pop!
I hope this tutorial has been useful! Visit my cake school to learn hundreds of cake decorating techniques and designs with online cake decorating courses and memberships!