Thursday, 14 July 2011

Emmalily’s Inner Heart C’Ache

This cake was for a special friend’s birthday.  I wanted to find something unique… and being a bit corny, my friend has such an inner heart and that’s how this idea was sparked.  So I google imaged ‘heart cakes’ – and found ‘Iambaker'. I’ve done a few things differently, but the basic concepts are from there!  An amazing site too – one of my favourites!  So here goes:


300g self raising flour
360g all purpose flour
885g unsalted butter, softened, room temperature
·         375g MUST to be unsalted butter – this is for the buttercream icing. It does not work with margarine.
·         The rest can be margarine – what I used for the cakes (so it’d be lighter) and it worked. 
980g sugar
650g icing sugar (you may need more)
9 large eggs, room temperature
850ml milk
1 tsp cream of tartar
6 tsp vanilla essence
(Optional 4-7 tsp almond extract)
2 tbs red food colouring + 1-2 drops
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cider vinegar
0.5 tsp baking soda

Decorations (optional): fruit, hazelnut brittle or almond flakes or other nuts, chocolate.
This cake takes a while to make, it took me 2 nights.


To make efficient use of your time, I would recommend you to make the sponge cakes a day before you want them because you have to freeze the sponge cakes – making it a lot easier to carve, assemble, and decorate the cake.  So basically you are making things in the order of “White cake – Buttercream – Red velvet cake”.

White cake

You need 4 layers for this cake. 
I did this in a 9 inch round cake tin.  I only have one shallow tin, so I had to bake these in 4 separate batches.  If you have a deeper pan, then you could afford to do it in 2 batches and just horizontally slice the cakes into 4 layers.

To make 2 layers:

150g self raising flour
120g all purpose flour
225g unsalted butter/margarine, softened, room temperature
450g sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
240ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
(Optional 1-2 tsp almond extract)

To make 4 layers:

300g self raising flour
240g all purpose flour
450g unsalted butter/margarine, softened, room temperature
900g sugar
8 large eggs, room temperature
480ml milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
(Optional 2-4 tsp almond extract)

1.       350F/180C. 9 inch round cake tin.  Line in foil/baking paper.
2.       Using an electric whisk cream the butter, adding the sugar gradually.  Beat for about 3 minutes until it is fluffy.
3.       Add eggs 1 at a time.
4.       Sift the self raising and all purpose flour together.  Add to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.  Beat until incorporated (rubber spatula). Do not overbeat.
5.       Bake 20-25 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).
6.       Let cool at room temperature. 
7.       When completely cool, it is important to shave/cut off the tops and sides of the cake where it is brown/hardened. Make sure the cakes are level.


The buttercream can be stored in an AIR-TIGHT, dry place at room temperature for 3 days.  Do not put it in the fridge before you begin to ice the cake as it will harden.  I tried to use margarine to make it more healthier, but it does not work.  You have to use butter.

375g unsalted butter (1.5 blocks of 250g) room temperature, softened
650g icing sugar (Don’t worry it’s not too sweet.  Most recipes recommend the butter:icing sugar ratio to be 1:3 or 1:4.  Do it according to your tastebuds. The more icing sugar, the more firmer the icing is.)
150ml milk
3 tsp vanilla essence
2-3 tsp almond extract


1.       Cream the butter with 2/3 of the sugar. 
2.       Then add milk and vanilla.
3.       Beat until creamy (3-5 minutes).
4.       Add the rest of the sugar, 100g at a time. Beating for 1 minute after each addition.
5.       Store at room temperature.

Sandwiching Time- Part 1

1.       Having shaved/’cleaned’ the white sponges, sandwich 2 layers together with buttercream, so you have 2 lots of 2 layers sandwiched.  A buttercream layer of about 3mm is sufficient. No more than 5mm.
2.       Loosely cling-film the TWO cakes-of-2-layers separately. 
3.       Freeze for a minimum of about 3 hours.  Or leave overnight!

Red velvet cake

I wanted my inner heart to be small and cute (so the cake still looks edibly enticing), but big enough to notice it is a heart, so this is the amount of ingredients I used.  If you want a bigger heart, by all means, adjust the amount of ingredients as appropriate.


120g all purpose flour
60g unsalted butter/margarine, softened, room temperature
80g sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 tbs red food colouring
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
120 ml butter milk  (This is basically acidic milk: 120ml milk + 1 tsp cream of tartar) 
1 tsp cider vinegar
0.5 tsp baking soda

1.       Preheat oven 350F/180C.  Line whatever baking tin with foil or baking paper, e.g. a loaf tin would do. You’re going to fork up the cake anyway.
2.       Use electric whisk: cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time.
3.       In a separate container: mix red food colouring, cocoa powder and vanilla essence together.  Add to the batter (of butter, sugar and eggs).
4.       Add buttermilk to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with flour.  For each addition, beat until just incorporated, do not overbeat (so use like a rubber spatula at this point).
5.       In a separate container: stir cider vinegar and baking soda together.  Add to batter. Mix well.
6.       Bake for about 20-30 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).
7.       Ideally leave to cool in the pans for a few hours.  I did it overnight in room temperature.

Sleep Time!


1.       Take the white cakes out of the freezer.
2.       Using a toothpick, pin the centre of each cake. 
3.       Use a knife to outline a circle on each surface.  This will be the fattest part of the heart.
4.       You will be putting the 2 cakes together, so make sure your circle outlines are aligned!
5.       Now carve with a knife and metal spoon!  Carve so that you cut into the butter cream and go slightly (about 1cm) into the next layer of the cake.  Be careful not to cut all the way through the 2 layers!
6.       One cake (bottom) will have an upside-down-cone: this it he bottom of the heart.  To define the heart, use the sharp-pointed knife to make a sharp pointed heart tip.
7.       One cake (top) will have a blackhole-shape.  Again be careful with the centre of the shape.  You want a shape (defined) heart dent.
8.       Once you’ve finished carving, thinly layer the voids with buttercream.  This will smoother out any crumbs and make the shape neater.
9.       Make sure you know which carved shape is the bottom and top.
10.   Freeze for about 15 minutes.  In the meanwhile, move onto the next step - forking.

Forking of Red Velvet Cake

1.       It is important to shave/cut off the tops and sides of the cake where it is brown/hardened. You just want the soft red sponge bit.
2.       Judge the amount of red velvet cake you’ll need to fill the voids you just carved. 
3.       Fork the amount of cake you’ll need using 2 forks
4.       Take about 1.5 tablespoons of buttercream and add 1-2 drops of red colouring. 
5.       Mix the pink/red buttercream with the forked red velvet.

Sandwiching Time- Part 2

1.       Take the white cakes out.
2.       Fill the voids with red velvet.  Make sure you don’t over fill the voids.
3.       Apply a thin (No more than 3mm) layer of butter cream between the two cakes.
4.       On a strong plate, put the cakes on top of each other – COMBINE (hopefully aligned!)
5.       Tidy the sides a bit – get rid of any crumbs.  Apply a thin(!) layer of buttercream icing all over the cake – sides, tops.  Freeze for 1 hour.
6.       If you want the sides of your cake to be ‘clean’ ie. just plain buttercream icing, or use flaked almonds, then just refrigerate your cake for an hour.  Because it will be easier to apply your final layer of buttercream icing in a smooth fashion or make the flaked almonds stick to the icing at room temperature.


1.       Fruit: think of using different colours.  MUST HAVES are strawberries (when you cut them in half, you get a heart shape).  I used passion fruit, raspberries, blueberries, red and green grapes, cherries and kiwis.  Blackberries and mangoes can be used too.  Wash, drain, then soak in a bowl of about 1:1 ratio of vanilla essence and icing sugar (probably about 3 tsps needed) for about 10 minutes.  This gives the fruits a shiny-ness to it.
2.       Take the heavy 4 layer cake out of the freezer.
3.       Use the rest of your buttercream icing: applying a smooth flat layer all over your cake – saving a reserve of about 50-100g for fancy icing decorations.  The icing will harden very quickly due to the cake being frozen.
4.       Slap and slightly press the side decorations on – I used Hazelnut Brittle (from Lidl).  Because they’re small bits of hazelnut, it was easy (no mess!) to apply because the buttercream was quite hard (from being frozen). 
5.       Arrange the fruit.  Think of hearts and symmetry.  You can use wafers, chocolate shapes, swirls…etc.
6.       The fancy icing decoration comes last.  The ones I did are just simple and straight forward. You just need a piping mouth and bag/tube.  It’s just basically placing the mouth piece about 5mm away from the surface, apply pressure, squeeze out some icing, withdraw your mouth so that the icing tapers.  Simple.
7.       Then refrigerate!!  Especially having frozen it – ideally keep it in the fridge for about 6 hours.  Just to make sure it’s completely defrosted!  I personally left it overnight.

So that’s it folks!  Ask the cake-receiver to cut the cake clean with a sharp knife at an 90’ angle!!


The cake richness/sweetness was just right.  I’m not an avid fan of lots of buttercream – but you may or may not decide to slather the cake with buttercream. 
The fruit really complements the cake (butter/egg) and makes it more refreshing and ‘healthier’…and prettier – so there’s no such thing as too much fruit!! Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are a MUST for me.

I actually wanted to attempt ROSES buttercream icing (“roses and hearts” theme).  It looked so simple to do, but I didn’t have the right piping mouth – I just have really cheap plastic ones.  And I think you need like a particular size and shape metal  mouth.
I love almond extract.  And would recommend to add it into the recipe!

Inspired by 'Iambaker' heart cake recipe.

A post from Emmalily

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