This Valentine’s Day, ditch the conversation hearts.
Make this delicious Strawberry Almond Heart Cake instead!
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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’.)
Strawberry Almond Heart Cake
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!
Did you make this Strawberry Almond Heart Cake at home? Leave a comment. Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Strawberry Almond Heart Cake
For the Almond Cake
For the Strawberry Buttercream
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a countertop mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients (cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt). Stir until well combined.
- Add the butter, egg and egg whites; mix until well combined. (Tip: Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula occasionally to ensure batter is well mixed.)
- Add half of the milk to the bowl; mix until well combined. Repeat with the remaining milk and the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Mix for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, or until batter is fluffy and well mixed.
- Divide batter evenly into 2 8” heart pans. (Note: If you don’t have 8” heart pans, you can bake this cake in 8” or 9” round pans instead.)
- Bake at 350° for 35-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in pans and then transfer to a cooling rack until fully cooled.
For the Strawberry Buttercream
- Using a small food processor or blender, puree the strawberries until smooth.
- Transfer mixture into a small saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes (or until about 1/3 cup left), stirring often to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and let mixture cool completely.
- Meanwhile, using a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Once strawberry puree has cooled, add 1/3 cup of puree to the bowl; mix until well combined.
- Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing fully after each addition. (Note: The amount of powdered sugar will depend on personal preference and the sweetness of the berries.)
- Add the vanilla extract and milk (if needed) until frosting reaches desired consistency.
For the Pourable Icing
- Using a countertop mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
- Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture is well combined.
- Add the milk, vanilla extract to the bowl; mix on low speed until well combined. (Note: The icing should be thick but still pourable.)
- Add the food coloring a few drops at a time until desired color is reached.
To Assemble Cake
- If your baked cakes have rounded slightly at the top, simply slice this rounded portion off so that the tops of the cakes are perfectly flat. (Feel free to sample the scraps as you go!)
- Place one layer on a large plate or serving tray. Generously frost the top of the cake with the strawberry buttercream. Place the remaining layer of cake on top.
- Slowly pour the Icing around the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top and sides of the cake.
- Let cake stand for 30 minutes, or until Icing has hardened noticeably.
- Decorate cake as desired. (I used a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip to write “Be Mine” on top, and I served the cake with additional fresh strawberries on the plate.)
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fat Daddio’s.
The opinions and recipe are all my own.
Looking for more tasty recipes that would be great for Valentine’s Day? Check out some of these favorites, too: