Can you believe that January is almost over already? Poof! And there goes the first month of the year! Amazing! The holidays are gone in the blink of an eye, but the same can be said once we get back into our daily routines. Time is something we can never get back, so I don’t like to wish it away, but every week that passes is one week closer to graduation for me! It will be here before I know it!
Speaking of, Valentine’s Day is only a little more than two weeks away! You may have missed it because I think the stores already have Easter candy and decorations on display, but it’s most certainly right around the corner! Although I haven’t always been one to get all nutso about V-day, I definitely can appreciate any holiday that involves a lot of candy! On clearance, of course. I’m not crazy enough to pay full price!
Chocolate covered cherries are a classic Valentine’s Day candy, and I used them as inspiration for this Chocolate Covered Cherry Heart Cake. This cake is as delicious as it is elegant, and it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day dessert. The cake is moist, slightly dense, and bursting with cherry and chocolate flavors! The best part is that it’s actually pretty easy to make! I heart impressive-looking but straightforward recipes! (Pun intended.)
So, how in the world do we make this heart cake? It can’t possibly be that easy, can it? Au contraire! If you have an 8” round cake pan and an 8” square cake pan, that’s all you need to make this beautiful heart cake! Cut the round cake in half and abut the semi-rounds to the square cake, and, voila! Instant heart! So super simple!
Creating level cake layers is totally key to this cake’s beauty. You may recall my mini pity party when I made the Christmas JELL-O Cake. Without a cake leveler and left to level the cake layers by hand, the results were less than ideal. While I don’t take back my words about being okay with imperfection, I do think it’s really important with this Chocolate Covered Cherry Heart Cake to level the layers as much as possible for a nice even and smooth finish. And guess what! My in-laws got me a cake leveler for Christmas! Boo-yah!
The cake itself is moist and delicious! A cake mix is used as the base, but it’s taken up a notch with just a few additions like vanilla coffee creamer and sour cream. It’s one of the best cake mix adaptation recipes I’ve used for a crazy moist and somewhat dense cake. To get the full-on cherry taste this cake begs for, we’re using cherry flavoring. Much like using an extract. When you read through the list of ingredients, you may be wondering what in the world a dram is! To put it simply, it’s a volume unit of measure. It’s almost equivalent to a teaspoon. I used LorAnn cherry flavoring for this cake, and it comes in drams. They’re cute little buggers!
Because we want the luscious dark chocolate fudge icing layer to be as smooth as possible, we’re doing a crumb coat with the frosting. If you’re not familiar with the term, a crumb coat is just a really thin layer of frosting that keeps the cake crumbs in place so they don’t mix in with the final coat of frosting. For this cake, we’re using the crumb coat more to create a smooth surface for the poured icing, but it’s the same idea.
To get the gorgeous smooth icing layer, you don’t need any fancy ingredients or lots of equipment. Look no further than a can of store-bought frosting and your microwave. It’s that simple! I love this technique, and you definitely will be seeing it again. My only disclaimer is to make sure the icing is not too thin. You want it to have a consistency that’s somewhere between maple syrup and honey. It will spread nicely but not run off the sides of the cake in a river. If it seems too thin, let the frosting sit for a minute or so before pouring it over the cake.
This cake is kind of big, so it needs a decent-sized platter for serving. I happened to have one on which it would fit, but if you don’t, you could use a cake board or sturdy piece of cardboard wrapped in foil. Large plastic deli trays also would be great for this cake. I wanted to give you some warning since I’d hate for you to make the cake and then have nothing to put it on!
I hope you have as much fun enjoying this cake as I had creating it! Classic Valentine’s Day candy flavors in a beautiful and elegant, yet simple, cake. This Chocolate Covered Cherry Heart Cake is a fantastic addition to your Valentine’s Day celebrations!
- 1 box vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup vanilla coffee creamer
- 3 large eggs
- 1 dram cherry flavoring teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- Red food coloring optional
- 1 can dark chocolate fudge frosting not whipped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8” square baking pan and an 8” round baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, flour, and sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sour cream, coffee creamer, eggs, and flavorings on medium-low speed until combined.
Add half the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. If preferred, add red food coloring until well-blended and desired color is achieved.
Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour 3 1/3 cups batter into the square pan and 2 2/3 cups batter into the round pan.
Bake the square pan for 35-40 minutes and the round pan for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes before turning layers out on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Level the cake layers with a cake leveler or large serrated knife. Cut the round cake layer in half to form two semi-rounds.
Spread a small amount of frosting on the straight edges of each semi-round. Attach each semi-round to adjacent sides of the square cake layer to form a heart.
Spread a thin “crumb-coat” layer of frosting (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the can) over the top of the cake and to the edges. Do not frost the sides.
Spoon the remaining 2/3 to 3/4 can of frosting in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until completely smooth. If necessary, microwave an additional 5 seconds until frosting is thoroughly melted.
Let frosting stand for 1-2 minutes, until frosting consistency is somewhere between that of maple syrup and honey.
Pour frosting over the cake and spread with an offset spatula to the edges of the cake so that some of the frosting cascades over the sides.
Allow cake to sit for one hour prior to serving.