Hidden Heart Loaf Cake/ A Surprise Inside Cake
I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t love a good surprise. Wouldn’t you like it even better if it came inside your cake? That’s what you get with a Hidden Heart Cake – a surprise inside it! Imagine a nice creamy coloured vanilla cake topped with chocolate ganache which is really perfect as it is. Then you slice it and are surprised by a hidden pink/ red heart in every slice.
Of course, with Valentine’s Day almost here it’s the perfect cake to make though you could make it for anyone at any time of the year really. T’s a great cake to bake for a birthday, an anniversary, a special occasion or just because you feel like making it. If you would rather do away with the heart, you could still put some other shaped “surprise” inside the cake and still have everyone ooooh-ing over your cake.
It’s an easy enough cake to make, just that you need to bake two separate cakes and put them together in a slightly different manner. Valentine’s Day, or any celebration cake is never quite complete without chocolate in my opinion, and so this cake is topped with a chocolate ganache as well. You can use a plain chocolate ganache, but I decided to add a hint of fire to mine so I made chilli chocolate ganache. When the cake is done, it will look like just any other cake, until you slice it to surprise everyone!
I haven’t baked a cake in a while now but yesterday this sudden urge to bake one came over me. I had come across this Hidden Heart Cake some time last year on the net and the idea of a heart hiding inside a cake appealed to me. We don’t do Valentine’s Day and my decision to bake this cake at this point in time was just nothing but sheer coincidence. Since we’re only two of us at home now, the rest of this cake shall most definitely be shared with the neighbours.
While on the subject of Valentine’s Day, we all know that St. Valentine is supposed to be the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages. Did you know that he apparently also has responsibilities for interventions connected to beekeeping, epilepsy, the plague, fainting and traveling? And that you could also celebrate St. Valentine’s Day on other days of the year because there are more than one St. Valentine? You could celebrate St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3, or St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7, or on July 25th in honour of the only female St. Valentine (Valentina), who was martyred in Palestine.
So there you are, more Valentine’s Days to celebrate throughout the year and more opportunities to bake this cake beyond the 14th of February!
I used a little cocoa powder with the red food colour for my Red Heart Cake because I wanted a reddish brown colour. You can use plain red or pink food colouring depending on what colour you want your heart cake to be. How much food colour you need to use would depend on whether you’re using liquid or gel, and what shade of red or pink you desire.
For the Red Heart Cake :
For the Vanilla Cake :
For the Chilli Chocolate Ganache :
- First make the Red Heart Cake. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl till fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift together the flour, baking powder and the cocoa powder, if using, fold it in the mixture in the bowl along with the powdered almonds (powdered whole almonds are fine). Fold these in. Mix together the milk, the vanilla extract and the red food colouring in a small bowl. Mix this into the batter till even and no streaks of red are seen.
- Pour the batter into a well-greased loaf tin (I used a 3 1/2"” x 8 1/2” loaf tin) and bake at 180C (350F) for about an hour or till the cake is cooked and a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Cool the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes and gently unmould it. Cool completely on a rack.
- Place the cake in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes. This makes it easier to slice the cake neatly. Slice the cake evenly into slices which are about an inch thick each. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter (or any shape of your choice) and cut out a heart out of each slice. You can refrigerate the cake hearts till you’re ready to make your Vanilla Cake.
- Make sure that the heart shaped cutter fits into your loaf tin. You want to use a cutter that will give you heart shaped slices that are about 2/3rd the height of the loaf pan. Save the cake scraps to use for something else, maybe a trifle, truffles or cake pops.
- Now make the Vanilla Cake in the same way as the first cake. The only difference is that you don’t need to add the red food colour and the cocoa powder. Once the batter is mixed, put about 2/3rd the batter into a well-greased loaf tin (same size as earlier). Then place the red coloured heart cake slices packed together in the batter in the middle, along the length of the loaf tin. Push them lightly from the top so the bottoms almost touch the bottom of the tin. Spoon the remaining batter on the top, covering the hearts and smoothen.
- Bake as for the first cake. This cake might need a little less time to bake than the first one. Check if it is done by inserting the skewer along the side of the cake. Again, cool the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes and then un mould gently. Let it cool completely on a rack.
- Make the Chilli Chocolate Ganache by heating the cream in a pan. Don’t bring it to a boil. Add the chopped chocolate and the chilli powder and stir. Take the pan off the heat and continue to stir till the chocolate has dissolved completely and the Ganache is mooth. Let it cool. Then cover the cake with the Gananche. Decorate with chocolate curls and silver dragees. Refrigerate so the Gananche sets. Slice and serve. This cake should keep refrigerated for about 3 days.