I’m pretty smitten about this Chocolate Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake, which is a super cute recipe created especially for Valentine’s Day.
My friend Amanda Rettke wrote a cookbook a few years back: Surprise-Inside Cakes (Amazon affilitate link). She’s kinda the queen of cute shapes “hidden” inside of cakes, and her book is all about that. This Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake recipe 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.
How to make a Chocolate Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake:
The wet ingredients are combined with the dry ingredients to create your chocolatey batter.
You also need a frozen pound cake for this recipe (any brand, but I usually pick up the basic Sara Lee). 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!
About half of the batter is spread into the bottom of your loaf pan.
A snuggly row of evenly stacked hearts is placed on top of the batter.
Then the rest of the batter is spooned on top.
I sprinkle on chocolate chips to make sure everything was going to be extra-chocolatey!
Here is the loaf all baked- you’ll see that the hearts in the center of my cake pop 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!)
Go ahead and surprise your Valentine’s this year with this delicious Chocolate Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake. They’ll love ya for it!
Here are a few more Valentine’s Day recipes you might like to try:
- Red Velvet Cheesecake
- Pink Champagne Cupcakes
- Nutella Heart Ravioli
- Valentine S’Mores Trail Mix
- Red Velvet Pancakes
- Fantasy Fudge
- How to Make a Heart Shaped Cake
- Vanilla Apples with Sweetheart Croutes
Chocolate Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup 2% or whole plain Greek yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, divided
- 1 loaf frozen pound cake, (like Sara Lee), cut into ¾-inch slices
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, use and electric mixer to combine the butter and the sugar. Then mix in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips.
- 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.
- 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 or video 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.
- 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.
Recipe Girl, this looks fantastic, and so cute, thoughtful. Took me four stores to find the Sarah Lee frozen pound cake, but that is ok. Can this be prepared, baked and frozen ahead of time?
Probably, but I haven’t tried it!
This cake looks great! Thank you for posting!
Unfortunately, there is no frozen pound cake where i live… what can i substitute it with?
You can make your own pound cake and cut from there!
Look good. I loves to baking deresrt or cakes yummy!
This would be perfect for St Pattys day with a 4 leaf clover cookie cutter.
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.
I made this today and it was amazing. Thanks! I wish I could show my picture .. I’m so proud!
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,
You can always google to find out… my google search says 113.4grams = 1 stick of butter. yes, slightly salted is fine. Good luck!
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.
Could I use white chococate chips -what would happen to the 1/4 cup mixed in with hte batter?
Might be too chunky with larger chips? I don’t know…
LOVE, love, love this idea! Just worried about baking time if I used mini-loaf pans. Ideas on how long it should bake?
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.
Too cute, Lori! Does this work with mini-loaf pans?
I’m sure it does!
What will you need to change the baking time to if you are using mini-loaf pans?
I’d assume same as muffins… 20 to 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them!
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?
Can you use a box cake mix? And also can you do with mini loaf pans?
You can certainly try!
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.
What if instead of the frozen pound cake we substitute for cheese cake? Will that work as well as the pound cake?
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!
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 ..
this is so freaking cute!
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!
Mmmmmmm! How clever, too! :o)
I’ve always wanted to make a cake like this but just haven’t had the chance. Pinned.
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!
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.
How cute! What a perfect Valentine’s Day treat!
Lori, this loaf cake is so stinkin’ adorable. You gotta love the talented Amanda. Seriously, so cute.
so incredibly adorable. i love those surprise cakes… like a little bit of magic!
Oh my gosh! I have always wondered how people did this! So excited to give it try. The cake looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
How clever and completely adorable! Looks like a very yummy Valentine’s treat. 🙂
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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! 🙂
Thank you for your “surprise inside” ideas!!!
I live this adorable cake. How fun to find the little heart inside.
I love this and your step by step photos are fantastic!
Love how adorable this cake is… I can’t wait to try this as a surprise for my boys!
Very cute idea. Since the pound cake is already baked does the taste/texture of it change being baked again?
Could you do this in mini loaf pans? By how much would you decrease the baking time?
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!
We finally got some rain last night in SD.
Oh, this chocolate bread is the cutest! I love the surprise!
How completely adorable is this?! Too fun Lori!!
I’m in love with this cake!! What an incredible idea!
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!
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!
Love this cake! So cute and it looks delicious 🙂
I heart this chocolate cake..plus I think even I could do this! Your sweets recipes are the best. Happy Valentine’s day. 🙂
My kids would adore this cake! P.S. Love Amanda, too!
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. 🙂
Super cute Lori!
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. 🙂
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!
I LOVE this!! So easy and adorable 🙂
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.
This is adorable! Perfect for Valentine’s Day! And I agree — the one that popped out is a perfect “sneak peek.” 🙂
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