Sunday, July 12

How to Make Surprise Cakes


I’ve always found novelty cakes a bit hard to stomach (no pun intended). Reason being, there’s just so much sugar happening on the outside that detracts the “good stuff” i.e. the cake.

Here are a few tricks of the baking trade that has a “real beauty is on the inside” stamp approval and a lot less sugar:

Heart’s Desires chocolate cake (courtesy of




For the Heart:

  • 125 g margarine, softened
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 2 x medium eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 10 ml cake colouring gel

For the chocolate cake:

  • 115 g margarine
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 2 x medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the decoration:

  • 75 g dark chocolate
  • 40 g Unsalted Butter


Step 1: How to make the heart centre

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Lightly spray a 7cm (2 ¾ inch) deep, 450g (1lb) loaf tin with cake release spray.
  • Put the margarine in a bowl with the caster sugar and eggs, and sieve the flour and baking powder on top.
  • Blend well
  • Add red gel food colour to make a vibrant shade of red, blend again.
  • Spoon mixture into the loaf tin, smooth the top, and bake for about 1 hour until risen and firm
  • Post bake: Cool for 5 minutes, before turning on to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Put the cold loaf cake on a board and slice off both crusty ends.
  • Cut the loaf into 7 slices, and then, using a 7.5cm (3inch) wide heart shaped cutter, cut out 1 heart from each slice.
  • Place on a tray lined with baking parchment and freeze the hearts for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Chocolate cake

  • Clean the loaf tin and re-apply cake release spray.
  • Put the margarine in a bowl with the caster sugar, eggs and vanilla essence. Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder on top.
  • Blend well
  • Thickly spread some of the cake mixture over the bottom and sides of the tin, making sure it is completely covered.
  • Arrange the sponge hearts, upright, down the length of the tin, closely together so that they support each other.

  • Carefully spoon the remaining cake mixture on top of the hearts, gently tapping the tin on the work surface to help the mixture settle round the hearts. Make sure the hearts are completely covered in cake mixture.
  • Put the tin on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin, and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 3: Decorate:

  • Break the dark chocolate into a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the butter and 15ml (1 tbsp) water.
  • Heat very gently, stirring occasionally, until melted together and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside for about 20 minutes to cool to a thick, coating consistency.
  • When the chocolate mixture starts to thicken, spoon over the top of the loaf.
  • Gently tap the wire rack on the tray to spread and smooth the icing on top, letting it drip down the sides of the cake.
  • Leave to stand in a cool place for several minutes to allow the icing to set before transferring to a serving plate. Your cake is ready to slice…and surprise!

The Heart Surprise recipe is simple enough for the beginner baker, but don’t be too scared to experiment with more designs and styles. In essence, the fundamentals remain the same and only the ingredients and design may change.

Other designs to consider

Name Cake


You can use plastic or butter icing to decorate the cake.

Polka Dot Cake


Bake multi-coloured pop cakes and layer them to achieve the polka dot effect.

Leopard Cake


This system is somewhat different. Instead of baking the “surprise” bits, layer them using piping. 


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