This Heart Cake is a moist, soft chocolate cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. It’s super easy and is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day or any special occasion!
This heart shaped cake is a moist chocolate heart cake with luscious strawberry cream cheese frosting. It’s made from scratch, but so easy to make. You don’t even need a heart shaped pan!
Everyone loves strawberries and chocolate on Valentine’s Day. This cake combines both flavors.
Why This Recipe Works
- No fancy tools or equipment needed in this recipe. You don’t even need a special cake pan. You just need a square and round cake pan to create the heart-shaped cake.
- Fresh strawberries make the the frosting a naturally pink!
- Cocoa crumbles add extra chocolate flavor.
- This love shape cake heart is perfect for Valentine’s Day! For another Valentine’s Day treat, try my red velvet cupcakes or red velvet brownies recipe.
Here are some useful notes on some of the ingredients for this heart shape cake.
- Flour– Use all-purpose flour.
- Granulated sugar and powdered sugar- We are using granulated sugar for the cake and powdered sugar for the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar to remove any lumps.
- Eggs- Use 2 large, room temperature eggs and 1 egg yolk. Eggs add structure, flavor, and moisture to the cake.
- Oil-Use vegetable, canola or olive oil. Oil makes this chocolate cake super moist.
- Cocoa powder- I recommend using Dutch process cocoa powder. For more delicious chocolate recipes, try my raspberry chocolate cake and heart-shaped brownies!
- Sour cream- Use full fat, room temperature sour cream.
- Hot water– Make sure water is steaming hot.
- Strawberries – I prefer fresh strawberries for the frosting. I recommend fresh berries for decoration. If you love strawberries, try my strawberry mousse recipe and strawberry chocolate chip cookies.
- Butter-Use unsalted room temperature butter for the frosting.
- Cream cheese– Use full fat, room temperature brick style cream cheese. It’s important the cream cheese is at room temperature.
See recipe card below for quantities and instructions.
- In place of sour cream, use buttermilk, full fat plain milk yogurt, or Greek yogurt.
- Use hot coffee instead of hot water. It won’t make the cake taste like coffee. It will intensify the chocolate flavor!
- Decorate the cake with crushed freeze dried strawberries. If you have extra freeze dried strawberries, try my neapolitan marble cake.
- Use sprinkles in place of the cocoa crumbles!
Step 1: (Photo 1 above)Combine the all-purpose, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Step 2: (Photo 2 above)Whisk together the eggs, yolk, oil, sour cream, milk and vanilla. Add the hot water. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Step 3: (Photo 3 above)Divide batter between 1 round 8-inch cake pan and 1 square 8-inch cake pan. Step Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 18-25 minutes. Slice the round cake in half.
Step 4: (Photo 4 above)Place the two round halves alongside two adjacent sides of the square cake.
Step 5: (Photo 5 above)Make the optional cocoa crumbles. Mix to combine the butter, cocoa powder, flour, brown sugar and salt until small clusters form. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 9-11 minutes.
Step 6: (Photo 6 above)Add the strawberries, sugar and water to a saucepan over low heat. Stir often for about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and reduces to about 3 tablespoons.
Step 7: (Photo 7 above) Beat the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, strawberry mixture and salt. Beat until completely combined.
Step 8: (Photo 8 above) Place cake on a large tray or baking sheet. Frost a thin layer of frosting. Place cake in the fridge for 15 minutes. Next, frost with remainder of frosting. Decorate with strawberries and cocoa crumble.
Expert Baking Tips
- Use cake strips to keep cakes from forming a dome when they bake. If you don’t have cake strips, and your cakes have domed, use a serrated knife to slice the tops til they are the same height.
- Place the cakes bottom side up. The bottoms of the cakes are smoother. They are easier to frost.
- Slice the two cakes in half to make a double layer cake. Double the frosting recipe. You won’t need to double the amount of cocoa crumbles. One batch is enough.
Use 1 square shaped pan and 1 round pan. They should be the same size. This recipe uses two 8 inch pans. Once baked, slice the round cake in half and place the two halves next to the square cake to form a heart shape.
If the strawberries aren’t cooked long enough, they’ll be watery. Cook them long enough that the fruit reduces, thickens and develops a jam-like texture.
Store this chocolate heart cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving.
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- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream full fat, room temperature
- ½ cup hot water
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Cocoa Crumble (Optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup fresh strawberries finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons water or lemon juice
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese full fat, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of one round 8″ cake pan and one square 8" cake pan with parchment paper. Spray the sides with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, oil, sour cream, milk and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly pour in the hot water into the wet ingredients while whisking until combined.
- Use a rubber spatula to gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake 19-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cakes. Place pans on a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before cutting or frosting.
Cocoa Crumbles (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the cocoa clusters. Stir them together with a spoon or mix them with a hand held mixer until combined and mixture forms small clusters. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Break up larger clumps with your hands or a fork if too large. (I prefer to have a mix of some small and some just slightly larger chunks).
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add the chopped strawberries, sugar and water or lemon juice to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir often for about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and reduces to about 3 tablespoons. Remove from heat and pour strawberries in a small bowl to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the room temperature butter and room temperature cream cheese on medium high til combined.
- Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on medium high for 1-2 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the vanilla extract, cooled strawberry mixture and a pinch of salt. Beat 1-2 minutes until completely combined. Place the strawberry cream cheese frosting in the fridge to chill until you're ready to frost the cake.
- Use a serrated knife to level off the tops, if needed. Cut the round cake in half. This will give you two half moon shapes. Place the square cake bottom side up on a large tray or a sheet pan (or back of a sheet pan if it doesn't fit on the sheet pan itself). Place each of the circle halves cut side down beside two adjacent sides of the square to form a heart shape.
- Spread a thin of frosting over the top of the cake. This will be the crumb coat. Place cake in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.
- Frost cake with the remainder of the frosting. Top with cocoa crumbles and strawberries, if desired.
Please note that nutritional values are created by an online calculator and should only be used as an estimate.