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Hidden Heart Chocolate Cake

Surprise your loved ones this Valentine’s day with this divine chocolate cake with a hidden heart!

The ‘wow factor’ of this cake is there’s a hidden heart found in every slice! It’s a cake that keeps on giving!

A moist and rich chocolate loaf/pound banana cake with a hidden heart, topped with a layer of luxurious and silky smooth chocolate ganache.

You should have seen my face when I cut my first slice out of the cake. I was like WOAH, ‘this looks awesome’!

I love how the dark chocolate really sets off the pink inside. I could totally see myself making a ‘Grinch’ inspired loaf like this in green for Christmas time- haha!

I used one of my classic vanilla cake recipes for the sponge hearts along with some pink food gel and decided on rich banana bread for the chocolaty part. Banana bread loaves are much sturdier, so when you cut into the loaf, it’s not going to crumble and ruin the design you took time to make. It’s the perfect option. Speaking of the sponge hearts…

How to create the hidden heart design/effect?

There is one little secret, drum roll….. separate cake!

In order to have beautiful hearts in each slice, you’ll want to bake a separate pink cake (recipe and method below) and cut out heart shapes using a heart cookie cutter. It is honestly so easy and simple yet effective!
Once you have the hearts cut out, add some of the chocolate loaf batter (recipe and method below) to the base of the loaf pan, place a row of the sponge hearts on top in the middle like this:

After this, simply pour over with the rest of the chocolate batter, making sure the hearts are covered, and bake! It’s that easy.

This is definitely the bake that will have everyone astounded by your baking skills, yet it’s simple to make, effective and absolutely scrumptious!

Looking for more Valentine’s recipes? Look no further:

Valentines Heart Hot Chocolate Bomb

Easy Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

Vegan Strawberry Ombré Cake

Vegan Strawberries and Cream Macarons 

No-Bake White Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake


What food gel should I use? 

When it comes to cakes, I only like to use a gel. I have tried liquid food colouring and for me, it never works. Liquid food gels don’t give you the pigment so you end up adding more which changes the texture of the batter.

Food gels on the other hand are highly pigmented and you only need a little bit, so it won’t change the texture of the bake. Pro Gel from Rainbow Dust Colours are my go-to’s. Check out all of their colours here

Baking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 10

Level: Medium


Ingredients for the pink heart

  • 240ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 210g of self-raising flour
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 60ml of sunflower oil
  • Pink food gel (see notes*)

Ingredients for the chocolate loaf

  • 300g of bananas (Approximately 3 large-sized bananas)
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 150ml of dairy-free milk
  • 320g of self-raising flour
  • 20g of cocoa powder

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache

  • 100g of dairy-free chocolate
  • 80ml of dairy-free cream ( Coconut cream or any vegan single cream)


Method (pink heart sponge)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees c fan, and line an 11×7 inch baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. This creates a vegan buttermilk.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda. Mix well to combine. 

4. Add the oil and drop of pink food gel to the ‘buttermilk mixture’ and whisk to combine. See notes* for details on adding food gel/colouring to cakes.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.

6. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and tap on your work surface to remove any air bubbles.

7. Pop the cake into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
You will know its done when you put a knife or skewer down the center and it comes out clean and the sponge springy to the touch.

8. Remove the sponge from the tin and place it onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

Once cooled, using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts from the sponge and place onto some greaseproof paper. Set aside.

TIP: With any leftover cake, store them in a sealed container in the fridge for snacking or make them into cake pops.

Method (chocolate loaf)

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c fan and 8×5 loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Leave some paper overhanging the edges of the tin, this makes it easier for removing the loaf when baked.

2. Peel, chop and place the bananas into a mixing bowl and mash until a paste. I use a potato masher.

3. Add in the sugar, milk, flour and cocoa powder and fold to combine.

4. Spread a layer of the mixture to the bottom of the tin (approximately 3cm deep), one by one, place the heart-shaped cut-outs together tightly in a row in the center of the loaf tin (as seen in the photos below), leaving a gap of approximately 2cm at each end. Spoon over the remaining mixture, making sure the top of the hearts are covered.

5. Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check to see if the loaf is ready by putting a knife or skewer down the center. If it comes out clean it’s ready, if there is some mixture stuck to the knife or skewer, pop it back into the oven until fully baked. 

Set aside to cool. If you cut the loaf when its warm, you risk damaging the hidden heart. 

Method (Chocolate ganache)

1. Place the dairy-free cream into a medium-sized saucepan, and heat on medium until it comes to a boil.

2. Place the dairy-free dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot cream.

Allow to sit for a few minutes then stir together.

The hot cream will melt the chocolate.

3. Spoon the ganache over the top of the loaf and spread out with a spoon or spatula. 

Pop into the fridge for 5 minutes to set then tuck in!

Store in a sealed container in or out of the fridge. If stored in the fridge, allow to come to room temperature before enjoying.

Best eaten within 3 days of making.

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  1. box of cake
    August 5, 2021 / 5:18 pm

    really i appreciate, you made and guide properly regarding cake recipe now i want to try this recipe pictures also looking very awesome

  2. sauceboxhero
    April 23, 2023 / 6:06 am

    I’m a bit confused by the note about being able to swap the coconut cream with another kind of single cream, coconut cream is a double cream? the fat content is higher than single cream and is closer to the equivalent of heavy whipping cream, I’m wondering was it supposed to be coconut milk instead?

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