Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cake

We love Valentine’s Day because it’s an opportunity to celebrate during what can be one of Maine’s coldest, most wintery months. And there’s no denying the allure of a moist, rich chocolate cake. This classic recipe is our favorite for its dependability and ease. If you choose to make the frosting yourself, you won’t be disappointed. It’s rich and creamy without being cloyingly sweet. Together, the cake and the frosting do a little song and dance in your mouth — it is that good.


To make the cake in the shape of a heart, you’ll need a square cake pan (9 x 9) and a 9-inch round cake pan. Line them both with parchment paper (this makes removing the cakes easier later), spray with cooking spray, dust with flour and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350º.

Cake recipe: 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

To make: 
Stir together dry ingredients—flour through salt—in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for two minutes. Next, stir in the boiling water. The batter will be thin. Pour batter into the two prepared pans.

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 15-20 minutes. Then carefully remove the cakes from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frosting recipe (there’s enough here for a crumb coat and final coat):

  • 1 cup (2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1-1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter in a large bowl and stir in cocoa powder. Next add powdered sugar and milk. Beat until smooth. Then stir in vanilla. Makes about 4 cups frosting.

Assembling the cake:

If your cakes didn’t come out of the pans perfectly, don’t worry. That’s what the first coat of frosting is for! Place your cooled cakes on a large plate lined with parchment (this will make removing them easier later). Frost each cake, cover and set aside in the refrigerator for an hour or more.


Yup, this is what the pre-assembled cake with the crumb coat looks like. You can be as messy as you want to be! The second coat of frosting covers the toothpick holes and any other flaws. 

You’ll need a large square platter, cutting board or cake board (which we used here) to set the cakes in place. First place the square cake on the lower portion of the board, turning it so it looks like a diamond.

Next, cut the round cake in half. Carefully place each half at the top edges of the diamond. Now you have your heart!

Frost the heart with the remaining frosting, and decorate the edges with sprinkles, coconut, berries … anything you like!

We hope you and your family enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

Leave a Reply