Happy Valentine’s Day! So it looks like that fat, little, baby-faced Cupid and his arrows missed me again. I am Valentine-less. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get to indulge in a little festive, heart shaped confectionery all to myself! For those who are enjoying the company of their special someone today, I would recommend this cake. It isn’t super fancy, it’s actually rather simple; it makes a great base for a fancier cake but on it’s own it may need a little oomph (hence the pretty, multicoloured, heart shaped layers!). My version is pretty and delicious without being overly rich and decadent (and after that fancy dinner your man/woman is going to whip up for you lucky thing, this is all that’s needed to finish off the meal). Whether you love the pink and red, heart filled holiday or not (make the cake black if you want!), this is a perfect little cake for two! (Actually it makes a few cakes, I just froze the rest of them for later! So clever, aren’t I!). And the best part is, since I don’t have a Valentine, I can have my cake and eat it (all) too!
Basic Vanilla Cake
Makes 2 9-inch cakes
- 2 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
- 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat 2 sticks butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium; beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. (The mixture may look separated at this point.) Beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with flour, until just smooth.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Remove the parchment. Trim the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife to make them level, if desired.
I used a heart brownie mold (Thanks Mom!) and baked the mini cakes for about 25 minutes. I divided out a third of the batter to colour pink (the rest was baked white). I filled the first heart mold with plain white cake batter, then I added a tiny drop (from a toothpick) of Wilton Gel Food Colouring in Pink to the bowl of batter and then filled another heart mold. I added another drop or two of colour to get a slightly darker shade, and filled another heart mold and continued until they were all filled with different shades of pink. Even if you don’t have a heart shaped brownie mold (honestly, I am the only person I know with one), you can still make a layered heart cake. Bake the cake in a 9×13 pan, let cake cool completely, pop in freezer for 30 minutes or so and cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter (freezing the cake for a little bit helps get a cleaner edge and less crumbs), then frost your cake to your hearts content! (Haha! See what I did there?). My frosting was simply confectioners sugar and whipping cream, whisked together until smooth and my desired thickness.
Maybe I should have put some toothpicks into the middle of my cake to keep the layers from sliding around and resulting in a lopsided cake. Oh well, it’s still cute.