Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to make something sweet from scratch. I’ve got lots of ideas here, but if you’re planning on making a layer cake for your loved ones, this heart-shaped cake tutorial will easily take it to the next level. The best part is, you don’t even need a heart-shaped pan! This can be done with two round cake layers of any size. And since most of my cake recipes are written to yield two 8-inch layers, you can use any of them with this tutorial!
I was so happy to find this heart-shaped cake hack because I loathe having to store novelty cake pans and decorating tools that I only use (maybe) once a year. The vast majority of cake layers I bake are round, so I got so giddy when I realized how easy it was to turn a round cake layer into a heart shape. Simply use a serrated knife to make two clean cuts that form the bottom of the heart, then use the rounded cake trimmings for the top of the heart. They’ll glue on so easily with a little buttercream and once the cake is frosted, nobody will know you didn’t use a heart-shaped pan.
I chose to frost the cake with a light pink frosting (AmeriColor Soft Pink) and some pretty piped floral accents using Wilton Tips 1M for the rosettes, 4B for the stars, and 32 for some swirls and smaller stars. The color palette was a happy accident but I love how it turned out! I used AmeriColor Chili Pepper + Super Red in varying intensities for all three colors. This heart-shaped cake would also look amazing with lambeth style piping, and I really hope to try that soon!
You Will Need:
- Two 8-inch cake layers, cooled and leveled
- Serrated knife
- 8-inch cardboard circle
- Cutting board
- 2 batches of vanilla buttercream (or any flavor)
- Piping Bags
- Icing smoother
- Small angled spatula
- AmeriColor Soft Pink, Chili Pepper, and Super Red (optional)
- Wilton Tips 1M, 4B, and 32 (optional)
- Sprinkle Pop Vintage Rose Gold sprinkles (optional)
Step 1: Trim the Cake Layers
Place the first cake layer onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to make the two cuts that will end up being the pointed part of the heart. I usually just eyeball this.
Repeat this step with any additional cake layers. You can use the first cake layer you trimmed as a template to make things super easy.
Unless you’re planning on serving the cake on the turntable after you decorate it, trim the 8-inch cardboard cake round in the same way you trimmed the cake layers. This will end up being the foundation of the heart-shaped cake and will make it much easier to transfer the cake off the turntable after you’re done decorating.
Step 2: Make the Heart Shape
Place the cardboard base you created in Step 1 onto the turntable. Spread a little buttercream onto it before adding the first cake layer on top. Position the two curved pieces that you cut off in Step 1 to be the top of the heart, then use some buttercream to adhere them.
Step 3: Fill and Crumb Coat
Add a layer of filling and then position the next layer of cake on top, adhering the curved pieces of the heart with buttercream like you did in the previous step.
Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream to really emphasize the shape of the heart and lock in all the crumbs. Place the crumb coated cake into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the frosting firm up.
Step 3: Decorate
There are so many ways to decorate this heart-shaped cake, so feel free to get creative! If you want to create the look pictured, start by frosting the cake with light pink buttercream (made with AmeriColor Soft Pink). Frosting a heart shape is similar to frosting a round cake (but maybe even easier!). Simply use an icing smoother to make the sides smooth and level
Then use a small angled spatula to swipe frosting that accumulates around the top of the sides inward to create sharp edges. Refrigerate the frosted cake for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the buttercream.
Divide the rest of the buttercream evenly between 3 bowls. Add a few drops of AmeriColor Chili Pepper and a few drops of Super Red to the first bowl and mix it until you get a nice deep shade of red. Mix in more coloring as needed. Scoop a few Tablespoons of the dark red buttercream into the second bowl and mix it in to create a mid-toned pink. Scoop about a teaspoon of the mid-toned buttercream into the last bowl and mix it in to create a pinkish cream.
Use Wilton Tip 1M to pipe swirls onto the cake wherever you’d like.
Fill in some of the spaces in between by piping swirls with Wilton Tip 32 and stars with Tip 4B and 32.
Finish the look with some pretty sprinkles. I used Sprinkle Pop Vintage Rose Gold sprinkles for this cake, which matched the buttercream color scheme perfectly.
Isn’t this heart-shaped cake so perfect for Valentine’s Day? I am absolutely smitten with it!
I hope this tutorial saves you from buying a heart-shaped cake pan! Let me know in the comments and feel free to tag @sugarandsparrowco on Instagram to show me how you decorated it. I’d love to see what you create!
Jenny Fitzsimons says
Wow, didn’t realise it was so easy to make a heart shaped cake. Thank you for the tutorial. I have been following your website here in New Zealand since you were having your first baby and love how easy you make it look with great pictures and videos and recipes. I have been trying to get a copy of your latest book but very difficult to get it posted to NZ. Lots of shipping company’s just cancel at checkout saying (shipping unavailable) But Will keep trying.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Jenny! I’m so happy you’ve found my tutorials and recipes helpful 🙂 I’m so sorry that it’s been difficult to pre-order my book in NZ! Have you tried Book Depository yet? They have free shipping to most countries, and I did see New Zealand on the list: https://www.bookdepository.com/Anyone-Can-Cake-Whitney-Depaoli/9781645676829?ref=grid-view&qid=1661195535143&sr=1-3
Karen White says
This is such a clever hack and of course it’s a beautiful cake.
Thanks so much, Karen!