posted in Cake and Cupcakes

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!

Yield: 1 loaf cake (about 8 servings)

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 45min

Chocolate- Valentine's Surprise- Loaf Cake


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.

71 Responses to “Chocolate- Valentine Surprise- Loaf Cake”

  1. postedFeb 3, 2014 3:03 AM

    I feel like you just gave away this HUGE secret!! I saw the first pic and I was like HOW DID she do that?!! Frozen pound cake. GENIUS! Those mini chips on top, too. Omg! pinned

  2. postedFeb 3, 2014 4:08 AM

    This is adorable! Perfect for Valentine’s Day! And I agree — the one that popped out is a perfect “sneak peek.” 🙂

  3. postedFeb 3, 2014 4:21 AM

    This is SO CUTE! love that you used frozen pound cake to make it easy! That last close up is making me drool….this cake looks so moist and chocolate and….yum.

  4. postedFeb 3, 2014 5:36 AM

    I LOVE this!! So easy and adorable 🙂

  5. postedFeb 3, 2014 5:48 AM

    I may have missed it, but when do you add the additional 1/4c. chocolate chips on top? I assume before you bake it? Love this recipe. I am so going to make this for Valentine’s day!

  6. postedFeb 3, 2014 5:51 AM

    I’ll tell you my initial reaction (too much work!) Then, I read through the entire post and thought, THIS IS THE CUTEST THING EVER! Haha. This is great. I may not be able to make it for Valentine’s Day but I may just make it another time just for fun. 🙂

  7. postedFeb 3, 2014 6:31 AM

    Super cute Lori!

  8. postedFeb 3, 2014 6:44 AM

    Thank you for de-mystifying the surprise cake for me! ha This looks absolutely delicious and perfect for Valentine’s Day. That cookbook sounds like one that I need to pick up, too. 🙂

  9. postedFeb 3, 2014 7:09 AM

    My kids would adore this cake! P.S. Love Amanda, too!

  10. postedFeb 3, 2014 7:12 AM

    I heart this chocolate I think even I could do this! Your sweets recipes are the best. Happy Valentine’s day. 🙂

  11. postedFeb 3, 2014 9:21 AM

    Love this cake! So cute and it looks delicious 🙂

  12. postedFeb 3, 2014 9:22 AM

    Very cool indeed! I just saw this on another website with a red velevet cake – which is very festive for valentine’s day. Thanks for sharing a chocolate version!

  13. postedFeb 3, 2014 9:39 AM

    How fun is this!! I’ve seen Amanda’s surprise cakes and always wanted to make one. This loaf is not only delicious looking but sounds so easy! Pinned!

  14. postedFeb 3, 2014 9:39 AM

    I’m in love with this cake!! What an incredible idea!

  15. postedFeb 3, 2014 10:53 AM

    How completely adorable is this?! Too fun Lori!!

  16. postedFeb 3, 2014 11:39 AM

    Oh, this chocolate bread is the cutest! I love the surprise!

  17. postedFeb 3, 2014 1:08 PM

    We finally got some rain last night in SD.

  18. postedFeb 3, 2014 2:49 PM

    That is too cute! I was wondering how those perfectly formed hearts were there…pound cake idea is great. This could have so many uses!

  19. postedFeb 3, 2014 3:14 PM

    So pretty and festive, Lori! Surprise inside baked goods are so much fun and I can’t wait for Amanda’s cookbook. Thanks for sharing!

  20. postedFeb 3, 2014 3:26 PM

    Could you do this in mini loaf pans? By how much would you decrease the baking time?

  21. postedFeb 3, 2014 3:56 PM

    Very cute idea. Since the pound cake is already baked does the taste/texture of it change being baked again?

  22. postedFeb 3, 2014 4:47 PM

    Love how adorable this cake is… I can’t wait to try this as a surprise for my boys!

  23. postedFeb 3, 2014 4:54 PM

    I love this and your step by step photos are fantastic!

  24. postedFeb 3, 2014 5:42 PM
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    I live this adorable cake. How fun to find the little heart inside.

  25. postedFeb 3, 2014 6:23 PM

    This cake looks like it would taste SOOOOO good!!! Thank you so much for the kind words. I love your cake and design and recipe and I really need to make this! 🙂

    • postedFeb 4, 2014 5:42 AM

      Thank you for your “surprise inside” ideas!!!

  26. postedFeb 3, 2014 6:33 PM

    How do you know where to slice so you don’t chop up the hearts? This recipe sounds so good. I can’t wait to make it. Thank you.

    • postedFeb 4, 2014 5:43 AM

      It doesn’t seem to really matter. They just kind of stick together. I didn’t have any problem with the hearts breaking apart at all.

  27. postedFeb 3, 2014 7:00 PM

    Lori, did you try carving half of the pound cake into a one piece heart shaped loaf?
    Just wondered if it would stay-put better inside the chocolate cake. I’m so excited to try this. Thanks.

    • postedFeb 4, 2014 5:44 AM

      I thought about that, but then I thought that might be kind of a carving nightmare! They stay put fine… if you just put less batter on the bottom of the pan, they won’t rise up like that 🙂

  28. postedFeb 3, 2014 8:42 PM

    How clever and completely adorable! Looks like a very yummy Valentine’s treat. 🙂

  29. postedFeb 3, 2014 9:14 PM

    Oh my gosh! I have always wondered how people did this! So excited to give it try. The cake looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  30. postedFeb 4, 2014 6:01 AM

    so incredibly adorable. i love those surprise cakes… like a little bit of magic!

  31. postedFeb 4, 2014 6:18 AM

    So fun! I cannot wait for Amanda’ s book! I love your loaf cake- perfect and NO FUSS!!

  32. postedFeb 4, 2014 7:05 AM

    Lori, this loaf cake is so stinkin’ adorable. You gotta love the talented Amanda. Seriously, so cute.

  33. postedFeb 4, 2014 8:07 AM

    How cute! What a perfect Valentine’s Day treat!

  34. postedFeb 4, 2014 11:23 AM

    I maybe being thick here but whats a pound cake? is it just like a cake that looks like a loaf or something? would it matter what you put inside? I’m thinking Battenburg cake would be nice?

    I just volunteered to make cakes for the works bake sale and i think this is a winner! it will look awesome!

    • postedFeb 6, 2014 9:56 AM

      in the US, a pound cake is a dense loaf cake. You can make it homemade or buy it frozen. A dense sponge cake would also work.

  35. postedFeb 4, 2014 12:46 PM
    Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction

    I’ve always wanted to make a cake like this but just haven’t had the chance. Pinned.

  36. postedFeb 4, 2014 3:48 PM

    Adorable! I can’t wait for Amanda’s book…

  37. postedFeb 4, 2014 6:31 PM

    Mmmmmmm! How clever, too! :o)

  38. postedFeb 4, 2014 6:54 PM

    super cute, Lori! I almost did something really similar, and I’m glad I changed m mind at the last minute because I’m pretty sure your’s would have blown mine out of the water. LOVE that heart peeking out the the top!

  39. postedFeb 5, 2014 8:30 AM

    this is so freaking cute!

  40. postedFeb 5, 2014 8:58 AM

    I used to see these type of cakes and wonder how they did this Now we all know Awesome ..You honestly use any kind of shape not just a heart ..

  41. postedFeb 5, 2014 1:23 PM

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

    • postedFeb 5, 2014 1:50 PM

      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!

  42. postedFeb 6, 2014 4:56 PM

    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.

  43. postedFeb 7, 2014 9:49 AM
    Vicki Bender

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

    • postedFeb 7, 2014 9:53 AM

      You can certainly try!

  44. postedFeb 8, 2014 9:17 AM


  45. postedFeb 9, 2014 2:17 PM

    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?

  46. postedFeb 9, 2014 11:38 PM

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

    • postedFeb 11, 2014 7:02 AM

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

  47. postedFeb 9, 2014 11:39 PM

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

    • postedFeb 11, 2014 7:02 AM

      I’m sure it does!

  48. postedFeb 10, 2014 11:12 PM

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

    • postedFeb 11, 2014 7:01 AM

      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.

  49. postedFeb 12, 2014 11:09 AM

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

    • postedFeb 16, 2014 6:06 PM

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

  50. postedFeb 13, 2014 9:10 AM

    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.

  51. postedFeb 14, 2014 2:49 AM

    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,

    • postedFeb 14, 2014 7:54 AM

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

  52. postedFeb 14, 2014 4:35 PM

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

  53. postedFeb 17, 2014 11:02 AM

    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.

  54. postedJun 30, 2014 3:30 AM

    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 🙂

  55. postedJan 23, 2015 9:49 AM

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

  56. postedFeb 3, 2015 9:01 PM
    Lisa Felter

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

  57. postedJan 13, 2016 9:57 PM

    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!!

    • postedJan 14, 2016 9:25 AM

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

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