Chocolate- Valentine Surprise- Loaf Cake

I’m pretty smitten about my latest recipe created especially for Valentine’s Day:  Chocolate Loaf Cake (with a Valentine’s surprise inside!)

Chocolate - Valentine Surprise- Loaf Cake

My friend Amanda Rettke is just about to release a brand new cookbook:  Surprise-Inside Cakes.  She’s kinda the queen of cute shapes “hidden” inside of cakes!  I can’t wait to get this book in my hands (March 11th).  In the meantime, I’m sharing a little cake I made that was inspired by Amanda’s cakes.  It’s much like a chocolate pound cake- dense and chocolatey and slightly fudgy in the middle.  I’ve hidden a heart in the middle of the cake- so when you cut into it, you get the surprise of the heart in every slice.  Here’s how you make it:

Chocolate Loaf Cake 1

The wet mixture is combined with the dry ingredients to create your chocolatey batter.  As always, I use Gold Medal Flour for my baking recipes- this time just the classic all-purpose flour.

Chocolate Loaf Cake 2

You also need a frozen pound cake for this recipe (any brand).  You certainly could make your own homemade pound cake, but it’s totally not necessary.  Plus, the sturdiness of a frozen pound cake is the kind of consistency you need.  You’ll cut a bunch of heart shapes from slices of the pound cake.  Those will end up being the “surprise” inside your cake!

Chocolate Loaf Cake 3

About half of the batter is spread into the bottom of your loaf pan.

Chocolate Loaf Cake 5

A snuggly row of evenly stacked hearts is placed on top of the batter.

Chocolate Loaf Cake 6

Then the rest of the batter is spooned on top.

Chocolate Loaf Cake 7

I sprinkled on chocolate chips to make sure everything was going to be extra-chocolatey!

Chocolate Loaf Cake 8

Here is the loaf all baked- you’ll see that the hearts in the center of my cake popped out the top when the cake rose and cracked.  At first, I was like… OH NO!  But then I decided that I liked that the hearts peeked out the middle to tell everyone, “Hey, this is a Valentine’s Day cake!)

Chocolate Loaf Cake with a Valentine's Surprise Inside -

Go ahead and surprise your Valentine’s this year with this delicious (heart surprise) chocolate cake.  They’ll love ya for it!

Chocolate- Valentine's Surprise- Loaf Cake

Yield: 1 loaf cake (about 8 servings)

Prep Time:25 min

Cook Time:45min


10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 Tbsp) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup plain 2% or whole Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or Dutch process cocoa powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1 frozen pound cake, cut into even 3/4-inch slices


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, use and electric mixer to combine the butter and the sugar. Then mix in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

4. Using a small heart cookie cutter (1 to 2 inches), cut heart shapes from each slice of frozen pound cake. Cut enough of them so (when stacked) they'll fit across almost the entire length of the loaf pan.

5. Spread about half of the batter onto the bottom of the loaf pan. Lay a row of the evenly stacked hearts on their side on top of the batter- spanning the length of the pan and leaving about an inch of space on each end (see photo in recipe post). Scoop remaining batter over the top to cover the pound cake hearts and create a smooth surface. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.

6. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until almost completely set (it will look a tiny bit like lava cake in the very center, and that's okay!) The hearts you put in the center of the cake may or may not pop up out of the cake as pictured- it depends on how deep the top layer of batter is. Let cool for 20 minutes or so in the pan, then loosen the edges of the pan with a knife and pop out onto a rack to cool completely. Keep well wrapped- this cake is best eaten within a day or two.

Source: (with the "surprise inside" idea coming from IAmBaker)

Disclosure:  This post was created in partnership with Gold Medal Flour, a product I’ve used and trusted in my kitchen for many years.  All opinions shared are my own. There are Amazon affiliate links within this post.

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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Shiri wrote:

    Hi Lori,
    This cake looks great! Thank you for posting!
    Unfortunately, there is no frozen pound cake where i live… what can i substitute it with?
    Thank you!!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You can make your own pound cake and cut from there!

  • Lisa Felter wrote:

    Look good. I loves to baking deresrt or cakes yummy!

  • Dori wrote:

    This would be perfect for St Pattys day with a 4 leaf clover cookie cutter.

  • Lisha wrote:

    hii!! i tried this wonderful looking surprise chocolate cake..
    was veryyy excited since this is something i have never tried before.

    once my cake was out of the oven, i waited for it to cool down, after which i cut slices and saw the heart beautifully sitting in the center of the slice 🙂

    on tasting the cake, it was delicious however tooo chocolatey ..the taste of the cocoa powder was wayyy too over powering..
    i would request you to give another recipe with some sort of icing .. which could help us balance this taste, or some recipe with a lesser amount of cocoa powder used

    thanks for sharing this surprise chocolate cake recipe 🙂

  • Renee @ Awesome on $20 wrote:

    That’s so clever. I’ve been wondering how you did that all this time. I’m so glad I finally found the time to sit down and read this post. This technique is totally doable.

  • briar wrote:

    I made this today and it was amazing. Thanks! I wish I could show my picture .. I’m so proud!

  • Caroline wrote:

    Hi Lori,
    found this fabulous recipe and now want to do it for my boyfriend, but I´m not sure, how much a stick of butter is – in Germany you find most often 250g (half a pund) – is it the same as your normal stick of butter? And second question: I can get three types of butter here: slightly salted, not salted and Irish Salted Butter (its really salty) – I think you mean medium salted butter without too much of the taste of salt, is that right? Thanks in advance and many greetings from Berlin,

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You can always google to find out… my google search says 113.4grams = 1 stick of butter. yes, slightly salted is fine. Good luck!

  • Debbie wrote:

    I have this cake baking as I type-I used Madeira cake (a 450g loaf from Marks and Spencer)-I popped that in the freezer the other day and pulled it out to make this today for my kid’s school bake sale tomorrow.

  • Sheryl wrote:

    Could I use white chococate chips -what would happen to the 1/4 cup mixed in with hte batter?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Might be too chunky with larger chips? I don’t know…

  • Dina wrote:

    LOVE, love, love this idea! Just worried about baking time if I used mini-loaf pans. Ideas on how long it should bake?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      For mini loaf pans (I haven’t tried it), I would go with about the same you would do with muffins… maybe 20 to 25 minutes? You’d have to just keep an eye on them.

  • Amy wrote:

    Too cute, Lori! Does this work with mini-loaf pans?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m sure it does!

  • Ocina wrote:

    What will you need to change the baking time to if you are using mini-loaf pans?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’d assume same as muffins… 20 to 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them!

  • Eislin wrote:

    This is such a wonderful idea! I made it for the family and did not let on that there was a surprise in the middle. When they cut into it there were squeals and giggles and smiles! Delicious and fun – how can you top that?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      How fun!

  • Brenda wrote:


  • Vicki Bender wrote:

    Can you use a box cake mix? And also can you do with mini loaf pans?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You can certainly try!

  • Carla wrote:

    I actually saw the recipe when you first posted it but didnt get a chance to stop by. I love the little surprise! It looks so complicated but really it’s not. I can imagine all the possibilities with different cookie cutters.

  • diana wrote:

    Hi Lori!
    What if instead of the frozen pound cake we substitute for cheese cake? Will that work as well as the pound cake?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      That’s an interesting idea! I have no idea if it would work… or if the cheesecake would melt inside or what. Let me know if you try it!