This Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake is super moist and chocolatey. And you don’t need any special pans or cake decorating expertise!
Sweethearts? I have a whole herd of them – one wonderful husband, 4 funny, fun, loveable children (including in-laws) and 6 super precious grandchildren. That makes 11 immediate-family sweethearts for me, not to mention extended family and dear friends. I’d love to share this Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake with all of them, since this cake never fails to bring smiles, with lots of rave reviews.
Our son Nick and his family joined us for lunch this past Sunday. I made them an easy and delicious lunch in my new Instant Pot (Yes, I’ve joined the Instant Pot enthusiasts, and can’t wait to share some wonderful recipes coming up!).
For dessert, I served this Easy, One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake with lots of pink and white sprinkles. Everyone LOVED it! When Nick and Lindsay left, I sent the remainder of the cake with them to take to a Super Bowl party they were attending that evening.
The next morning I got a text from Lindsay: They loved the cake! Ate every crumb!
Of course, what’s not to love about a super moist, super chocolatey cake with a fudgy, silky smooth buttercream frosting?
No one would ever guess this is a one-bowl, no-mixer, no-special-pan cake!
Actually, you’re probably already familiar with this wonderful cake. It’s the old-timey, beloved Texas sheet cake recipe that’s been around for a zillion years. I just gave it some new clothes for Valentine’s Day. It’s easy and adaptable and can take on lots of variations.
I blogged about it one other time and called it “Chocolate Obsession Cake“. But again, underneath the fancy name, it’s just a super easy, Texas sheet cake.
No specialized equipment needed!
One thing I personally love about this Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake is that you don’t need any special equipment or specially shaped pans. The cake is baked in two pans; an 8-inch round pan and an 8-inch square pan. The round cake is halved and put together with the square cake to form a perfect heart! (Note the pic collage below to see how super simple it is!)
No fancy decorating skills needed!
You also don’t need any fancy decorating skills. Just plop the fudgy frosting onto the heart-shaped cake and start spreading. Cover the edges with icing and make a few swirls with your knife and you’re done! Well, almost done. To make the cake really festive, sprinkle it with pink and white jimmies or nonpareils right after icing.
Serve this Easy, One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake to all your favorite sweethearts with tall glasses of cold milk, freshly made coffee, hot brewed tea or hot chocolate. And when requests for the recipe start coming just send them over to us at The Café!
Tips on making this Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake
- You’ll need one round and one square baking pan, approximately the same size to make the heart. I used 8-inch round and square cake pans.
- You will divide the cake batter between the two pans. A square pan will hold a bit more batter than a round one will. Don’t stress over this, just eyeball it. The depth of batter in each pan should be about the same. But if one cake gets a little higher it’s not a big deal. If you look closely at the picture above you’ll see that my round cake was definitely higher than the square one. I’d say that I did that on purpose, but then I’d be a liar. But the icing will cover any little variances, so no worries!
- Be sure to grease your pans well for easy removal. I use baking spray, which is different than cooking spray. Baking spray is a combination of shortening and flour, which is necessary for easy release of baked goods. You could also butter the pans and then dust them with flour for the same effect.
- I also line my pans with parchment paper. Just set the pans on top of a sheet of parchment paper and trace around the bottom of the pan. Cut just inside the lines and the parchment paper cutout will fit your pans perfectly. I use Kirkland parchment paper. It’s not expensive, comes in a big roll and I like the sturdy box with a handy cutting edge.
- I like to cut small strips of parchment paper and tuck them under the edges of my cake when icing it. When I’m finished icing the cake, I gently pull out the strips and my platter or cake stand is clean and tidy.
- This entire cake is put together in one microwave-safe bowl (I like this one with a handle) and a whisk. If you don’t have a good whisk, you need one! It’s really an essential kitchen tool and doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for one with a sturdy, comfortable handle and not too large. I’ve used this whisk for years and love it.
- No microwave? No worries! You can make this cake on the stovetop. Follow the directions below and use a 2-quart pot. You’ll have to change the name though; to Easy One-Pot Chocolate Heart Cake!
- This cake is perfect for a crowd. It will easily feed 16-20 chocolate lovers.
- Want to make the cake ahead? Just make the cake itself as directed and pop it in the freezer when cool. You can actually freeze the cakes right in the pans. When ready to serve, thaw and add the frosting. No one will ever know you didn’t bake the cake that day!
- You can use a regular table knife, but icing a cake is much easier with an angled icing spatula. They’re not expensive and, once you start using one, you’ll wonder how you lived without it!
- When you finish icing the cake, make sure to quickly sprinkle the jimmies before the icing sets up. Otherwise, you’ll be chasing jimmies around your kitchen for a week! Trust me, I’m the “voice of experience” on this one.
- This Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Heart Cake recipe calls for 1/2 cup buttermilk. If you don’t normally stock buttermilk and don’t want to buy a whole carton just for a 1/2 cup, make your own! Just add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup, then add milk to make a 1/2 cup. Give it a stir and wait 5 minutes before using. It will give the same effect to your baked goods as the real deal. You can also substitute yogurt or sour cream for the buttermilk.
This easy, one-bowl chocolate heart cake is moist, delicious and all dressed up in Valentine 's Day clothes!
- 8 ounces butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 4 ounces butter 1 stick
- 5 tablespoons half and half or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ounces very soft butter
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Spray an 8-inch round pan and an 8-inch square pan with baking spray. Wipe with a paper towel, to ensure the entire pan is coated with spray. Spray pans again lightly and line the bottom of each with parchment paper.
Combine butter, water and cocoa in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl. Cook on high power for 3 minutes, or until butter is mostly melted. Whisk well until smooth and lump-free.
Whisk in vanilla and sugar, then flour and salt, stirring until nice and smooth after each addition.
- Add eggs and whisk until completely incorporated.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the top of the batter, then add buttermilk. Stir well.
- Tap the bowl several times to bring air bubbles to the surface then divide batter between prepared pans, trying to make the depth of the batter the same in each pan. The square pan will hold a little more batter (see note above in the post).
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Don’t over bake (my cakes usually take about 38 minutes, but every oven is different.) Allow cakes to cool in the pan, then turn out onto a work surface. Invert cakes so top surface faces up.
To make the heart shape, place the square cake on the diagonal on a large serving platter. Cut circle cake in half and place each half touching an upper edge of the square cake. (See pictures above in the post.)
Combine 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter and the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and whisk for 1 minute or until smooth and all chocolate chips have melted. (Return to microwave for 15-second intervals if chips have not melted after stirring.)
Add half and half (or milk) and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
Add powdered sugar and salt. Whisk in the center of the bowl, bringing in more and more of the powdered sugar until mixture is smooth and all sugar is incorporated. If icing is super thick and hard to whisk, add a little more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until smooth.
Finally, whisk in the very soft butter for about 30 seconds until icing is nice and fluffy.
Frost heart-shaped cake with prepared icing, starting at the top, working icing over the edges to cover. Sprinkle immediately with nonpareils, if using. Allow cake to sit for 30 minutes before serving to allow icing to set. See tips above in the post.
See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and lots of tips.
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