Make a heart shaped cake with or without a heart shaped pan using this technique!
How to prepare cake layers to make a heart shaped cake
You can make a heart cake using a round pan and a square or rectangular pan. Notice that your cake layers don't have to be perfect! You’re going to cover them up with frosting so if your cakes crack or crumble, it’s fine!
This is my 6” perfect chocolate cake batter, which also makes a 9x13” sheet cake. I cut it into 6 squares to make 6 heart cakes of one layer each.
Pro tip: chill your cake layers before assembling and frosting the cake. I put my layers in large ziplock bags in the freezer for 15 -30 minutes. You can do this before or after cutting the cakes. It makes them firmer and less crumbly and easier to handle.
You’ll also need 1 round cake for each heart. It should be the same width and height as the square cake. Cut this in half and these will make the two bulges on the top of the heart.
Pipe three dots of frosting onto a cake board and press the square cake into one dot.
Spread or pipe frosting along the cut side of the two semi-circles. Then press those into the other two dots on the cake board, pushing them against the square cake to attach them. Voila! A heart shaped cake!
Now cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting, which is called a crumb coat. This will trap all of the crumbs that come off the cake. It prevents crumbs getting into your final layer of frosting. Don’t worry about making it super neat because it’s going to be covered up with more frosting soon. Make sure it completely covers the top and sides of the cake, right down to the cake board. If there is any exposed cake there will be exposed crumbs, which would get into the final layer of frosting.
Put the heart shaped cake in the freezer for 15 minutes or the fridge for 30 minutes. This sets the crumb coat. Meanwhile, tint the frosting for your final layer if you haven’t already done that. You can use the same colour of frosting for the crumb coat and final coat. If you’re frosting several cakes at once like I am, it’s quicker to do a plain white crumb coat and then tint the frosting for each cake after that.
How to frost a heart cake
For the final layer I like to start with the top of the cake. Spread the frosting over the top and over the edges of the cake so that it sticks out. This prevents air gaps later. Spinning your cake on the turntable while holding your offset spatula at an angle will smooth the frosting beautifully.
Now spread frosting onto the sides of the cake. Push the frosting up above the top edge of the cake, making and lip around the top edge of the cake. This will prevent air gaps and give you a super sharp angle around that top edge.
Now scrape around the heart cake with a cake comb. Start at either the tip of the heart or the indent between the two bulges and spin the cake to smooth the frosting. Make sure you push the comb into the indent between the bulges to really define that part of the heart. If there are any air pockets or indents in your frosting, spread some more frosting over those areas. Then scrape again with your cake comb until the sides of the cake are nice and smooth.
For the top of the cake, push sideways with a clean offset spatula. This pushes that lip of frosting over the edge and then lift it off on your offset spatula. Scrape it into a bowl and wipe your offset spatula clean on a towel or paper towel. Then repeat all the way around the cake.
By applying a crumb coat of frosting first and letting that set before spreading on this final layer of frosting, you’ll notice that there are no crumbs visible in the frosting.
The technique I’m using in this tutorial is the same technique I would use for any shape of cake. The key points are:
attach each section of the cake to the cake board and to each other using frosting as glue
chill your cake layers before frosting them so that they’re firmer and less wobbly
apply a crumb coat and let it set before applying a final coat
spread the frosting on the top of the cake so that it goes over the edges
spread the frosting on the sides of the cake so that it goes up above the top edge
clean your offset spatula or cake comb after each use
Shaped cakes only take a few minutes longer to assemble and frost than a regular round cake. The result is stunning even before adding any decorations!
I hope this tutorial has been useful! Ask me any questions in the comments and visit my cake school for hundreds of cake designs and techniques!