Valentine Cake

A moist and zingy raspberry valentine cake filled with white chocolate buttercream and covered in a soft pink ombré of Italian meringue buttercream dotted with delicate hearts.

A raspberry vanilla cake filled with white chocolate buttercream and then covered in a creamy Italian buttercream. Did I mention the pink ombré and all of the delicate candy melt hearts??

So this cake was inspired by my Winter Wonderland Cake. I’ve changed the flavors around a bit, altered the color scheme and of course made a cascade of hearts!

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HOW DO YOU MAKE THOSE HEARTS?
  • If you’re a master chocolatier you can try making them with white chocolate but candy melts are SO much easier to work with, trust me.
  • You can draw some hearts freehand or print out the template below. Then place a sheet of parchment paper on top and get to piping.
  • The key to piping all these hearts is to keep a VERY hot water close by. When your piping bag starts hardening up just dip it in the hot water for a bit, then pat dry and get back to piping!
A close up photo of a pink ombré cake covered in white hearts made out of candy melts.

If you find cake decorating to be a bit intimidating then check out my How to Decorate a Cake post, it has lots of helpful tips and a full how to video.

HOW TO MAKE A VALENTINE’S DAY CAKE
Dry and wet ingredients for valentine heart cake getting mixed in bowls.

1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Butter and flour three 6-inch pans. I use cake strips on my pans for more even baking as well. Sift the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl then whisk together and set aside.

2. Beat the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add lemon zest. Don’t worry if your still have small chunks of butter, it will all work out! 

valentine heart cake batter getting mixed with raspberries.

3. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined.

4. Fold in dried raspberries at the very end and mix until just combined. Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the centers are springy to the touch. You can use fresh raspberries for this recipe but you wull need to tear them apart and toss them in a tablespoon of the dry mixture.

Raspberry buttercream getting mixed.

5. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add confectioners sugar and salt. Beat until creamy.

6. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate. Mix until incorporated and smooth. 

Eggs being separated for valentine heart cake.

7. Divide batter in half. Add vanilla to one batch. Add about a tablespoon of fresh raspberry juice to the other to the other batch of buttercream. I find it’s easiest to press raspberries through a strainer to obtain the juice. You can use frozen raspberries or even strained raspberry jam. If the consistency becomes runny, mix in confectioners sugar 2 tbsp at a time until thickened. Just before you’re ready to decorate the cake transfer both batches to separate piping bags with the tips snipped off. Add the 2 piping bags to another piping bag fitted with a large round tip or with the tip snipped off.

8. For the Italian meringue buttercream: Separate room temperature egg whites into a bowl one at a time, transferring each to the bowl of a stand mixer as you go. This will contain the disaster if an egg yolk breaks. You can use the yolks to make a custard or French buttercream!  Add a pinch or cream of tartar and salt to your egg whites and mix on low. then bring to medium speed. Once the whites have frothed up start slowly drizzling in the 1/3 cup of sugar.

At the SAME TIME: In a medium saucepan add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water, mix to dissolve the sugar then place on medium-low heat. You can start heating your sugar at the same time as you begin mixing the egg whites. This way the sugar will be the appropriate temperature when the eggs are ready.

Italian buttercream getting mixed.

9. Once the sugar reaches 235F-240F it’s ready to drizzle into the eggs. Don’t let your sugar get too hot or it will reach the hardball stage and things will get grainy. The egg whites are ready for the sugar syrup when they’ve reached the soft peak stage. They’re somewhat firm and can hold their ridges bur the peak will still flop over when inverted. Slowly pour the sugar into the meringue while the mixer runs on low.

10. Run the mixer until meringue is cool/tepid. I often pack the bowl with frozen peas to help cool it down more quickly. Switch to a paddle attachment. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time. Add vanilla or any other flavors. Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.

A valentine heart cake getting assembled.

11. Pipe the pink/white chocolate buttercream combo between each cake layer.

12. Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat, smooth and chill for about 10-15 minutes.

A valentine heart cake getting decorated with a pink ombre and candy melt hearts.

13. While the cake chills, Separate the Italian buttercream into five batches and create a gradient of pink with one batch remaining white and the others getting dyed pink with increasing saturation. Transfer buttercream to piping bags, snip the tips off then pipe from lightest on bottom to most saturated on top. Smooth the buttercream with an offset spatula and or bench scraper.

14. Line up 3 printable heart sheets to use as a guideline or stencil. Add a layer of parchment paper over the sheets. Microwave candy melts. Transfer to a piping bag and snip off the tip. Pipe hearts according to the stencil. Let the hearts cool and harden. You can do this step ahead of time and have the hearts ready if desired. 

Carefully place the hearts onto your cake and enjoy!

You can print this template out to use as a guide for your candy melt hearts.

A piece of Valentines raspberry heart cake on a white plate.
PRO TIPS FOR THE BEST VALENTINE CAKE
  • You can TOTALLY use fresh raspberries in this recipe, just cut them into quarters and toss with two tablespoons of flour so you don’t end up with liquid raspberry puddles in the your cake.
  • If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
  • If you see little clumps of butter after you mix the wet ingredients don’t panic, it all works out by the time you mix in the dry ingredients. You can even use melted butter and warm the milk and sour cream up a bit if you like.
  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set on the shop page or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!
  • If you don’t want to make Italian buttercream you can use the American variety. I just prefer the smoothness and taste of the Italian variety. I know it’s a pain to make two different types of frosting though!
  • To pipe the two-tone frosting you fill one bag (1/2 way full) with white frosting, one bag with blue frosting and then put both bags in a third piping bag. No need for a tip, just snip about an inch off each bag.
  • If you wanted to simplify things you could totally make just one type of buttercream for the decoration scheme, you might just have to make a batch and a half. I added orange zest to the batter and loved the aroma and subtle taste it added.

If you’ve tried this Valentine’s Day Cake Recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

Valentine’s Raspberry Cake

White Chocolate raspberry cake covered in an ombré pink Italian buttercream and delicate hearts.

Course Dessert 

Cuisine American

 Prep Time 1 hour

 Cook Time 30 minutes

 Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes 

Servings 10

Calories 380kcal 

Author John Kanell

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 230g
  • 1 cup granulate sugar 136g
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda heaping
  • 1 tsp baking powder heaping
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature, 170g
  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 120ml
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 105ml
  • 6 oz raspberries fresh or freeze dried
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the White Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter room temp, 315g
  • 4 ½ cups confectioners sugar 648g
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips melted and cooled, 168g
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup raspberries fresh
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the Hearts:

  • 3 sheets printable hearts Or pipe them free-hand
  • 1 1/2 feet parchment paper
  • ½ cup candy melts 84g

For the Italian Buttercream:

  • 4 egg whites large
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar divided
  • 1 Pinch kosher salt
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter 454g, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup water 70g

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Butter and flour three 6-inch pans. I use cake strips on my pans for more even baking as well.
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl then whisk together and set aside.
  • Beat the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add lemon zest.Don’t worry if your still have small chunks of butter, it will all work out!
  • Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in dried raspberries at the very end and mix until just combined.
  • Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until the centers are springy to the touch.

For the White Chocolate Buttercream:

  • In a small saucepan over medium low heat combine raspberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Mash and heat for a minute. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half, or about three minutes. Strain and transfer to a small bowl and chill. 
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter.
  • Add confectioners sugar and salt. Beat until creamy.
  • Add in melted and cooled white chocolate. Mix until incorporated and smooth.
  • Divide batter in half. 
  • Add vanilla to one batch. 
  • Add 2 1/2 tbsp of the reduction to the other batch of buttercream. If the consistency become runny, mix in confectioners sugar 2 tbsp at a time until thickened. 
  • Transfer both batches to separate piping bags with the tips snipped off. Add the 2 piping bags to another piping bag fitted with a large round tip or with the tip snipped off.

For the Italian Buttercream:

  • Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
  • As the eggs are beating add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water to a medium saucepan then place on medium-high heat.
  • Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.
  • Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
  • Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately.
  • Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.
  • Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
  • Add the salt and vanilla if using
  • Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
  • Divide into 5 bowls. Keep one bowl white. Add food coloring to each batch to achieve a gradient look.
  • Whip the frosting and transfer to separate piping bags JUST before using.

For the Hearts:

  • Line up 3 printable heart sheets to use as a guideline or stencil. Add a layer of parchment paper over the sheets.
  • Microwave candy melts. Transfer to a piping bag and snip off the tip.
  • Pipe hearts according to the stencil.
  • Let the hearts cool and harden.

For the Assembly:

  • Pipe the pink/white chocolate buttercream combo between each cake layer.
  • Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat and chill for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the cake has chilled, start the Italian buttercream gradient with the white, then work your way up from bottom to top.
  • Carefully smooth with an offset spatula.
  • Add hearts to the cake.

Video

Notes

  • You can TOTALLY use fresh raspberries in this recipe, just cut them into quarters and toss with two tablespoons of flour so you don’t end up with liquid raspberry puddles in the your cake.
  • If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
  • If you see little clumps of butter after you mix the wet ingredients don’t panic, it all works out by the time you mix in the dry ingredients. You can even use melted butter and warm the milk and sour cream up a bit if you like.
  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set online or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!
  • If you don’t want to make Italian buttercream you can use the American variety. I just prefer the smoothness and taste of the Italian variety. I know it’s a pain to make two different types of frosting though!

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 0.4mg