Whether you are making it for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary dinner or some other occasion, learn how to make a heart shaped cake that will be the center of your dessert table. No heart shaped pan required!
First let me say that I am not a talented baker by any stretch of the imagination.
So when I say that making a heart shaped cake (without a heart-shaped pan) is really easy…it really is!
And there’s no need to spend money on (or find storage space for) a special cake pan.
Instead, we’ll make one layer in an 8″ square pan and one in an 8″ round pan. And then make the heart ourselves.
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I like to use this red velvet cake recipe since it has a red color that goes well with the heart theme.
But feel free to use chocolate or any other cake recipe you want as long as it makes enough for two layers.
And if you don’t want to make the cake from scratch, boxed cake mix works just as well!
You’ll also need some icing. This easy cream cheese frosting recipe is my favorite, but again whatever type of icing you want to use will work.
How to make a heart shaped cake
Bake the cake
Mix the cake batter following the recipe (or box) directions.
Pour half the batter into an 8″ square cake pin and the other half into an 8″ round cake pan.
Bake as directed in your recipe.
Remove from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the heart
When the cake layers have finished cooling, cut the round cake in half.
Turn the square so that one of the corners is pointing towards you.
Then match the cut sides of the round cake halves to the flat ends of the square cake that are facing away from you.
And there you go…you have a heart shape.
Don’t worry if the edges don’t match exactly, you can smooth them out when you put the icing on.
If you want to make sure the pieces stick together, you can put a bit of frosting on the edges where the cakes meet. (I didn’t bother with that step and you couldn’t tell after the cake was frosted).
Frost the cake
Add some icing and you can’t tell at all where the joins are!
To prevent getting cake crumbs in your frosting, put a thin layer on first. (This is what the professionals call a crumb coat).
Then cover it with a thicker layer and there won’t be any unwanted cake bits in it.
How to make a 2-tier heart shaped cake
If you want to make a double-layer heart cake, you’ll need to make the recipe twice.
So you’ll end up with 2 square cake layers and 2 round cake layers.
Cut both of the round layers in half.
Put the first heart layer together following the same instructions from above. Spread frosting across the top of the cake, but don’t do the sides yet.
Then you’ll make the second heart on top of the first one making sure to line up the square and half round layers directly above the first ones.
Fill the edge where the half round cakes meet the square cake with frosting to keep them stuck together.
Cover the entire cake with icing.
Heart cake decorating ideas
1 | White with red outline
As I mentioned above, I’m not a great baker. So I like to do very simple cake decorations.
For this one, I bought a tube of red decorating icing and just made an outline around the cake to make the heart stand out. Even then I didn’t do a great job of getting a smooth outline 🙂
2 | Pink heart cake
To make a pink heart-shaped cake, just mix a few drops of red food coloring in some white icing before spreading it on the cake.
3 | Strawberry-covered heart cake
Another easy way to decorate a heart cake is to cover the top of it with strawberries cut in half.
4 | Other fruit decorations
You could also cover the top with pie filling.
This one divided the cake into quarters and used peach, cherry, kiwi and strawberry in each of the sections.
Then cover the sides with chopped nuts and add some whipped cream around the edges of the cake to outline the heart.
5 | Heart cake with love
To dress up a plain cake, try writing on it.
I kept it simple by just using the word “LOVE”.
For this, I used a tube of black decorator’s icing. It’s much easier than trying to turn your icing black and then piping it onto the cake!
6 | Pink frosted roses
Or if you’re better at piping than I am, you could cover the cake with piped roses in pink (or red) frosting.
7 | White cake with red roses
You could also pipe some red icing roses with green leaves onto the top of the cake.
They will really pop if the cake is iced with white frosting. But it will also look good on chocolate or pink icing.
8 | Chocolate heart cake
To decorate a chocolate cake, press chocolate shavings onto the side of it.
Then pipe swirls onto the top of the cake.
And stick a few white and dark chocolate candy hearts into the top.
Other Valentine recipes you might like
- Valentine’s Day dessert ideas
- The best Valentine cookies
- Mini cherry cheesecakes
- Frozen lemon mousse cake with raspberry sauce
- White chocolate covered Oreo cookies
How To Make a Heart Shaped Cake Without A Heart Shaped Pan
- 1 box red velvet or chocolate cake mix or your favorite layer cake recipe
- 1 package frosting or your favorite cake icing recipe
- 8" square cake pan
- 8" round cake pan
- Sharp knife
- Mix the cake following the instructions on the package (or recipe).
- Pour half of the cake batter into an 8" square cake pan and the other half into an 8" round cake pan.
- Bake as directed on the package (or in the recipe).
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Cut the round the cake in half.
- On a large plate, turn the square cake so that it looks like a diamond.
- Place the two halves of the round cake so that the cut edges are next to the flat edges at the top of the square cake, making a heart shape.
- Spread icing over the entire cake so that the join lines are covered.
- Decorate as desired.
- To make sure the cake stays together at the joins, spread a little frosting on the cut edges and stick the cakes together.
- When spreading icing on the cake, do a thin layer first that will catch any loose cake crumbs. Then spread on a thicker layer that won’t have any cake bits caught in it.
Have comments or questions on how to make a heart shaped cake? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on January 13, 2016 but was updated with new content on July 13, 2022.