Nothing says 'I love you' on Valentine's Day like baking something special for someone you love - and my gluten free hidden heart cake is just the thing! This rich and chocolatey cake has a hidden surprise. Cut off a slice and you'll reveal a beautiful, bright heart in the centre!
The best thing about this cake? It looks super complicated, but it's not! The idea is simple, but with a stunning effect. You basically bake a pink sponge, cut out a load of hearts, line them up and then bake them into a second, chocolate sponge. Easy peasy!
I do like to surprise people with my bakes - but normally I do this by trying to create a cake people would never know was gluten free. So I'm hoping for a double surprise with this one because not only is it gluten free and delicious, it also has the lovely heart-shaped centre hidden away!
And to make life easier, I've got a whole step-by-step guide to creating this gluten free hidden heart cake below. That way you can see exactly what you're doing and how to make it!
How to make a hidden heart cake
Ok, you're probably looking at this cake wondering how the hell you manage to get the heart shape inside! When I first saw someone post a hidden shape cake on Pinterest I was baffled. But once I figured out how to do it, I realised it's not that difficult at all!
To help with the construction of the gluten free hidden heart cake, here's a little step-by-step guide as to how to assemble the cake. Don't forget the full recipe card is down below, but this should help with a visual of how it all works!
Step one: Cut the heart shapes from your pink sponge
Once you have cooked and cooled your pink sponge, you can use your heart-shaped cutter to cut out as many heart shapes as possible. I used about 8-9 in my finished cake. Disclaimer: I shut my heart-shaped cutter in a draw and bent it so I had to cut mine out by hand using a paper template. Doh!
Step two: Line up the hearts in your loaf tin
Firstly, spread a little of the chocolate cake batter on the bottom of the tin to give the hearts something to stand up in. Then you want to carefully line the hearts in an upright position, one-against-the-other, for the length of the tray. Leave a tiny space at each end so that you can fill this with more chocolate cake batter and hide them completely!
Step three: Cover them up!
Once you've lined up your hearts, you want to carefully fill in the rest of the cake tin with the chocolate cake batter. Be sure to go slow so that you don't knock the hearts out of the way or deform them too much! I tend to use a teaspoon to make sure I get in around all the gaps as well. Make sure you don't press down or spread the batter on top too much as again, you don't want to deform your heart shapes.
A hidden heart in every slice
See, my gluten free hidden heart cake really is super easy to make. Not complicated at all! I absolutely love a gluten free loaf cake so this absolutely takes it to the next level. I decided to make this with chocolate and vanilla flavours, but you could mix this up depending on your tastes.
If you'd rather, you could always use something like my gluten free lemon drizzle cake recipe instead of the chocolate batter. As long as you have different, contrasting colours for the two mixes, it'll work perfectly.
If you're dairy free, you can easily make some swaps in this recipe so you can eat it too. I always use Stork Baking Block instead of butter, and then just use something like almond milk and dairy free chocolate for the topping. Simple!
What equipment will you need to make my gluten free hidden heart cake?
Don’t worry – you only require the very basics! To make this gluten free hidden heart cake recipe you’ll need:
- A 2lb loaf tin just like this one
- If you don't want to make-shift your own hearts, you'll also need a heart-shaped cutter like this one.
- I also use loaf tin liners like these because I find it WAY easier than trying to line a tin with baking paper!
- A large mixing bowl – I have the pink version of this Mason Cash bowl and I’m in love with it!
- An electric mixer. You could use a wooden spoon but this makes life a lot easier! This is the one I use! It’s basic, affordable and does the trick!
The ingredients are all store-cupboard essentials, do you don’t have to worry about buying anything fancy. It might be handy to get a decent food colouring. I use this Wilton Foods pink food colouring and it's lasted me for ages. It always gives such a lovely vibrant colour from just a tiny bit!
My gluten free hidden heart cake recipe
Okay, now you've seen the step-by-step, it's time to get baking! This gluten free hidden heart cake is the perfect edible Valentine's Day gift, or make it any time of year for someone special! You could also try using different shapes, go crazy!
If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. I love seeing your bakes! And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
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For the pink sponge:
- 115g unsalted butter
- 115g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 85g self-raising gluten free flour
- 35g ground almonds
- 1 tsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Gel pink food colouring
For the chocolate sponge:
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 100g gluten free self-raising flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 tbsp milk
For the frosting:
- 175g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 90g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 50g white chocolate
- First make the pink sponge as this is what you will cut the hearts from for the centre of the finished cake. Pre-heat the oven to 180'C / 160' Fan / Gas 4 and grease and line a 20cm square baking tin.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again until combined. Sift in the flour, add the ground almonds and beat again until it forms a thick cake batter.
- Add the milk and a couple of drops of food colouring and mix until fully combined. Add as much or as little food colouring to achieved the desired colour - I wanted my pink vibrant, but a little goes a long way!
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and smooth the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the sponge to cool completely before the next step.
- Once the cake has cooled, take a small (approx 5cm) heart-shaped cutter and cut as many hearts as possible from the pink sponge. You will need to be able to line these up next to each other to fill the length of a 2lb loaf tin (approx 8-9 hearts).
- Next make the chocolate sponge. If you have turned the oven off, preheat it once more to 180'C / 160' Fan / Gas 4. Grease and line a 2lb baking tin and set aside.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again until combined. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and add the ground almonds and milk, and beat again until it forms a thick cake batter.
- Spread a little of the cake mixture into the lined loaf tin, until the bottom is covered. Next, line the hearts up, one against the other, stood upright in the batter (see photo in blog post above). Carefully spoon the rest of the cake mix around the hearts until they are completely covered.
- Gently bang the cake tin against the worktop to get rid of any bubbles, before placing in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove and cool on a baking rack.
- Once cooled, make the frosting by beating together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter until smooth. Use a small palate knife to smooth the frosting over the cake. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave (in 10-second bursts) or in a bowl over hot water. Stir in a drop of pink food colouring and then drizzle over the finished cake.
Cut the cake to reveal the hidden heart inside! This cake can be frozen (before frosting) and will keep in an airtight container for around 3-5 days.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 406Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 5g
Need some more gluten free baking inspiration?
If you want to have a go at some of the other gluten free cake recipes on the blog, why not give some of these a try? They’re perfect to satisfy any cake cravings!
- Gluten free chocolate cake recipe
- The best gluten free coffee and walnut cake
- My gluten free chocolate orange marble cake
- Gluten free lemon drizzle cake recipe
If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram. And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next! Oh – and don’t forget to sign up for my e-newsletter where you’ll know about all my latest posts and competitions first!