This Valentine’s Day, ditch the conversation hearts.
Make this delicious Strawberry Almond Heart Cake instead!
BE MINE. KISS ME. SOUL MATE. Ah, conversation hearts. Those strange little pieces of hard sugar candy that show up around Valentine’s Day every year. I’m not a huge fan of them, but then again it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a bag of conversation hearts sitting on the coffee table. As a kid, I would collect the candy hearts and sort them by color. Then I would turn around and re-sort them by phrase. (What can I say? My Dad and uncle are both accountants. I was trained to enjoy counting things.)
Have you guys noticed that the sayings on conversations hearts have changed over the years? Several years back, there was FAX ME and EMAIL ME. Now there’s TWEET ME. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the classic sayings here. What’s wrong with BE MINE? (Although BE MIN might be more accurate since the writing on conversation hearts isn’t the easiest to read.) This year, there are 20 new sayings on conversation hearts. Some of my favorites include “PUGS & KITTENS” (huh?) and just a mustache logo (now there’s a way to win somone’s heart!).
A couple of days ago, I did my due diligence and bought a bag of conversation hearts. I resisted the overpowering urge to sort them by color, but I did nibble on one or two. They weren’t very tasty. But that’s when it hit me…I should make a cake in the shape of a conversation heart! No more bland sugar candy…I’m all about this almond-flavored cake filled with a layer of decadent strawberry buttercream icing instead. If you want to win someone’s heart, I’ve decided that a heart-shaped cake is the way to do it. My wife, the alchemist/metallurgist, knew this trick well as she baked me an Oreo cheesecake when we were dating. That’s all it took. (Although in hindsight, I think she should have made that cheesecake in the shape of a heart. Just sayin’.)
When making this heart-shaped cake, I didn’t have to do any funky carving of cakes. Nope, none of that ‘cut a round cake to make it look like a heart’ stuff here. (Do you really think I could have carved an evenly shaped heart out of a circle?? Hah!) Instead, I used an 8” heart-shaped pan from Fat Daddio’s. Fat Daddio’s bakeware is made out of annodized aluminum, so it’s not only durable but it heats and cools quickly and evenly. That’s what you need when baking a cake. I don’t need a pan with random hotspots, or (even worse) a pan that has become warped over time. If I wanted to use a warped pan, I might as well have baked a round cake and carved out a lopsided heart. Instead, I used this heart-shaped pan, and my cake come out perfectly! (Now the writing on top is another story…but I can’t fault the pan for my lack of spatial alignment.)
This cake is hands down one of my favorites! I used my go-to white cake recipe (with a little addition of almond extract) and layered a strawberry buttercream in the center. In fact, the only challenge with this cake (aside from trying to write BE MINE in a straight line) was figuring out how to cut it. We took this cake with us to curling one night and shared it with our teammates and opponents after the game. My wife ended up slicing the cake into thin rectangles…much like a wedding cake. (I smartly avoided the temptation to comment on how she was slicing my heart into pieces.)
So this year, leave those conversation hearts in the bowl on the counter. We both know you don’t really want to eat a whole bag of them. Instead, bake up this heart-shaped Strawberry Almond Heart Cake. Garnish it with fresh strawberries on the side, and serve it with a glass of champagne. And unlike conversation hearts, I bet you end up going back for more cake!
I chose to go with the classic BE MINE on this cake. What saying would you put on top of your conversation heart cake??
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fat Daddio’s.
The opinions and recipe are all my own.