This super cute Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cake is a chocolate loaf cake with a surprise inside - heart shaped strawberry cake. Frosted with a light and fluffy strawberry cream cheese buttercream, then topped with sprinkles for the perfect Valentine's Day dessert! (Also known as a Hidden Heart Valentine Cake or a Chocolate Strawberry Surprise Inside Cake.)
The Perfect Cake for Your Valentine!
It's almost Valentine's Day and not too late to make this adorable surprise inside heart cake. It's a lot easier than you think. I used 2 cake mixes, one chocolate and one strawberry, plus homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting. Isn't it cute! And the perfect treat for chocolate covered strawberry lovers.
How to Make a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cake
Step-by-step instructions on how to make this show stopping Valentine's Cake at home...
The first step is to whip up the batter for the strawberry cake (which will be the surprise part of your cake). I used a mix and prepared it according to the package instructions.
Pour the batter into a large resealable plastic bag. Seal it. Set aside. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. I used a Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet Pan.
Cut a small corner of the plastic bag and pipe the batter in long lines across the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F. for 9-11 minutes. (Note: You might have some extra batter. If that's the case, you could make a few cupcakes.)
UPDATE: I recently made this cake and didn't use a plastic bag for this step. I just poured a thin layer of batter into the greased, parchment paper lined pan. I used the extra batter to make 6 cupcakes. Then baked as directed. It worked fine.
Let it cool about 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for an hour. You could skip this step but the cake is easier to handle when it's chilled.
Now it's time to make the chocolate cake batter...
Meanwhile prepare your chocolate cake mix according to the package instructions. Melt 1 cup of good quality bittersweet chocolate in the microwave for about a minute. Pour into batter and stir to combine.
Note: Melted good quality bittersweet chocolate makes the outer layer of cake extra rich and fudgy.
Line a 10 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour about 1 ½ cups of chocolate cake batter into pan. Spread to cover bottom of pan. Set aside while you prepare your strawberry cake hearts...
Using a 3" heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts from the chilled strawberry sheet cake. (Those sweet hands belong to my son, Luke. What a great little helper he is.) Be careful when lifting the cake hearts from the pan, you will have to peel them off the parchment paper and you don't want them to break. They should be chilled enough to handle, but you will still need to be gentle.
Now it's time for the fun part - creating the surprise inside!
Carefully place the strawberry cake hearts into the chocolate cake batter, pressing them to bottom of the loaf pan. Make sure they are very close together. They should fill up the length of the pan. Pour the remaining batter on top. (Note: I used all of the batter and it overflowed a little, so I would recommend using all of the batter, but reserve about 1 cup or so. You could make a few cupcakes.)
Bake the cake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I put a cookie sheet under the loaf pan, just in case there was some overflow which there was. Let the cake cool completely.
How to Make the Strawberry Cream Cheese Buttercream
This is an easy frosting. Beat a half stick of softened butter with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium high until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons strawberry extract and 1 drop pink food coloring gel. Stir to combine.
Frost the cooled cake on the top and down the sides, then add sprinkles. If your family really loves frosting, you could double the recipe to have extra.
Slice up your Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cake (preferably with an audience) and listen to the oohs and ahhs as the pretty pink heart is revealed.
Now give yourself a big pat on the back for creating this amazing culinary creation - your very own Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cake.
I hope your sweeties enjoy it. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
How to Make a Gluten Free Hidden Heart valentine Cake
Note: I also made a gluten free version of this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cake for my daughter and wanted to share how I did it.
For the Strawberry Cake: I used a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix, prepared according to instructions PLUS ¼ cup freeze dried strawberries (crushed), 1 drop of pink food coloring gel and 1 teaspoon strawberry extract. I baked it in an 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaf pan, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I baked it at 350°F for 45 minutes. Let cool.
For the Chocolate Cake: I used a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix, prepared according to instructions PLUS ¼ cup cocoa powder and ½ cup melted non-dairy chocolate chips. Then I placed about a cup of batter in the bottom of a greased and parchment lined 9" x 5" loaf pan. I sliced the cooled cake into ½" slices and cut a 2-inch heart out of each slice. I placed the hearts upright into the the batter lined pan. Then poured the rest of the batter into the pan and baked for about 55 minutes on 350°F. Let cool.
For the Frosting: I used 1 stick (½ cup) of unsalted butter (softened) and 4 ounces of non-dairy cream cheese, then beat with an electric mixer until cream. I added 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 drop of pink food coloring gel and 1 teaspoon of strawberry extract, then beat until creamy.
Frost the cooled cake and add sprinkles. It's very tasty and wonderful to make for your loved ones that can't have gluten.
p.s. You Could Also Make This Cake for a Baby Shower (Gender Reveal)
Although it is fitting for February 14th, I think you could make this love filled cake anytime. Make it for a birthday party, bridal shower or even a baby gender reveal (baby girl of course). The pink icing might give that one away, so in that case, I would use white icing. Strawberry extract is the flavoring for this frosting, so it will still be berry good even if it's not pink. If it's a boy, make the surprise inside hearts light blue using a white cake mix with blue food coloring.
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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cake
For the cake
- 1 box strawberry cake mix, prepared according to package instructions I used Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Strawberry Supreme, 15.25 oz/432g
- 1 box chocolate cake mix, prepared according to package instructions I used Duncan Hines Devil's Food, 15.25 oz/432g
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao, 150g
For the frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 114g
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 226g
- 2-4 cups powdered sugar, use 2 cups if you like less sweet or 4 cups if you like it more sweet 240-480g
- 2 teaspoons strawberry extract
- 1 drop pink food coloring gel
- 2 tablespoons sprinkles
For the strawberry cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet (with raised edges) with parchment paper. (I used a 13"x18" half sheet pan.) Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Then line a muffin pan with 6 cupake liners. Set aside. Prepare strawberry cake mix according to package instructions. Pour batter into the prepared muffin pan, then pour a thin layer of batter into the prepared sheet pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top and distribute the batter evenly. Bake for 10-12 minutes. (Bake the cupcakes for 23 minutes.) Cool for 10 minutes. Put the sheet cake in the freezer for one hour. (If your pan doesn't fit in the freezer, you can refrigerate for an hour.) Note: You will be cutting hearts from the sheet cake later and putting them into chocolate cake batter to be baked again.
For the chocolate cake
- Line a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Use a big piece of parchment, so that it hangs over the edges. Spray with non-stick cooking spray before and after placing parchment. Set aside. Prepare chocolate cake mix. Add melted bittersweet chocolate. Stir to combine. Pour a little bit of batter in the loaf pan (about 1 ½ cups). Spread to cover bottom of pan. Set aside.
For the strawberry cake hearts
- Remove strawberry cake from the freezer. Using a 3" heart shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts from the cake. Cut them side by side, using as much of the cake as possible. (Save the cake scraps to make an English Trifle or Cake Pops. You can put them in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for future use.) Place the cake hearts upright, point side down, in the cake batter lined loaf pan. Line up the hearts side by side, filling the whole length of the pan.
- Pour remaining chocolate batter on top of hearts. Place a parchment lined cookie sheet under the loaf pan before baking, just in case some batter overflows. Bake the cake at 350°F. for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely. Trim any pieces that might have overflowed.
For the frosting
- Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on medium high until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar. Once combined, turn speed up to medium high and beat for about a minute or two. Turn mixer off to add flavoring and pink food coloring gel. Mix until combined.
- Remove cooled cake to a platter and frost. Add sprinkles. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You might also like this Rainbow Heart Surprise Inside Cake...
Or you might like these Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.