How to Make a Heart-Shaped Cake—No Special Pan Required!

Whether for Valentine's Day or just because, it's possible (and easy!) to make a heart-shaped cake without a dedicated pan. We'll teach you how.

There are a lot of sweet treats you could make for Valentine's Day, but nothing tops a big, beautiful heart-shaped cake. It's a dessert that nobody will be able to resist. You may think the only route to a heart-shaped cake starts with using a special cake pan, but we're here to tell you that this just isn't the case. The technique we're sharing does not require any special equipment beyond a round and a square cake pan, which you likely already own. As for the inside? You can make any cake you love—we chose our favorite chocolate cake, then simply pieced it together to form a heart shape. Pink, of course, is the perfect color frosting for Valentine's Day, but you can feel free to get creative here, too.

So, how do you bake a heart-shaped cake without a heart-shaped pan? It's simple. Make your batter, then pour half into an eight-inch round pan and other half into an eight-inch square pan. Bake the two cakes following your recipe's directions; once they've had a chance to cool, level the tops, and cut the round cake in half, creating two semi circles. Arrange the square cake as with one corner pointing toward you and place one half of the round cake against the top left side of the square cake. Next, place the other half of the round cake against the top right side of the square cake, leveled sides down. Et voilà: You now have a heart-shaped cake!

heart cake pink frosting
Aaron Dyer

Now it's time to drive this dessert home. Frost the cake to finish, which will create the full heart effect and hide the fact that this cake is formed out of three pieces. Once the frosting is on, all you see is a heart—it's really that simple. Feel free to add more embellishments as you like, but we think a thick, swoopy layer of frosting speaks for itself.

While we always go chocolate for Valentine's Day, you can make this easy heart-shaped cake for any occasion using just about any cake recipe; just be sure to use a recipe that yields enough for a two-layer cake. (Remember, the heart-shaped cake is one layer but uses the same amount of cake as an eight-inch layer cake). From Light and Fuffy Yellow Cake to Red Velvet Cake (if you want to be really Valentine's Day about it), we've got a recipe that will up the ante! Feel like being more adventurous with frosting? From cream cheese to Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, the world is your cake topping—just be sure to choose a frosting that compliments your cake flavor. Whatever flavor of cake and type of frosting you use, this technique will work. It's just genius!

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