This Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Valentine Cake is super moist and chocolatey. And you don't need any special pans or cake decorating expertise! It's also ridiculously delicious!
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 Chocolate Valentine Cake with all of them, since this cake never fails to bring smiles, with lots of rave reviews.
Our children and grandchildren will affirm the deliciousness of this Chocolate Obsession Valentine Cake with lots of pink and white sprinkles. Everyone has LOVED it!
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.
No specialized equipment is needed!
One thing I personally love about this Chocolate Valentine 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 are needed!
You also don't need any fancy decorating skills for this Chocolate Valentine Cake. 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.
To see for yourself just how easy this Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Obsession Valentine Cake is to put together, check out this video:
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 Chocolate Valentine Cake
- You'll need one round and one square baking pan, approximately the same size to make the heart. I used an 8-inch round and an 8-inch square cake pan.
- The cake batter is divided 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 is higher than the square one. I'd say that I did that on purpose, but then I'd be a liar. 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 the easy release of baked goods. You could also grease the pans with shortening, then dust them with flour for the same effect.
- I also line my pans with parchment paper. To do this, simply 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.
- This cake is perfect for a crowd. It will easily feed 16-20 chocolate lovers.
- Want to make the cake ahead? Make the cake 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 use one, you'll wonder how you lived without it!
- When you finish icing the cake, make sure to quickly sprinkle the nonpareils (tiny round sprinkles) before the icing sets up. Otherwise, you'll be chasing sprinkles around your kitchen for a week! Trust me, I'm the "voice of experience" on this one.
- This Chocolate Valentine Cake recipe calls for ½ cup of buttermilk. If you don't normally stock buttermilk and don't want to buy a whole carton just for a ½ cup, make your own! Just add 2 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup, then add milk to make a ½ 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.
Thought for the day:
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
This Chocolate Obsession Valentine Cake is super moist and chocolatey. And you don't need any special pans or cake decorating expertise!
- 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
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate cut or broken into smaller pieces
- 4 ounces very soft butter 1 stick
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup half & half
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extra
- 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
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 the 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 the 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 the 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 overbake (my cakes usually take about 38 minutes, but every oven is different.)
Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a work surface. Invert cakes so the top surface faces up.
Cool completely before cutting and icing.
While the cake is cooling, make the icing.
Place the chocolate pieces in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute on power level 5 (50%).
Remove from the microwave and stir. Return the bowl to the microwave and cook for 20-second increments, stirring in-between, until the chocolate is mostly melted.
Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth and completely melted.
Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Add the soft butter and whisk vigorously until well combined. Add the sour cream, half and half and vanilla. Keep whisking until smooth and creamy.
Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth.
You should end up with a smooth, satiny, spreadable icing. If it seems a little thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it’s a bit thick, you can thin it at this point with more half-and-half.
To make the heart shape, place the square cake on the diagonal on a large serving platter. Cut the circle cake in half and place each half touching an upper edge of the square cake. (See pictures above in the post.)
Frost the 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 the tips above in the post.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
Thank you for responding. I have reread recipe and I don’t see where it says to melt butter. It says to stir in softened butter. This is where I feel my issue is. I melted chocolate , stirred in cocoa , then softened butter per instructions.
It became very thick due to the butter just being soft and not melted. I looked at video and knew that mine did not look the same at this stage. I did not see in directions to melt the butter. I do thank you for responding so quickly.
I will make this again because my family always loves your recipes.
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Jen, so sorry, I read my own recipe wrong! You're right about the butter, my error. But the cocoa should dissolve in the warm melted chocolate. I'm not sure why that didn't happen. I would try stirring the cocoa and melted chocolate a little longer if you make this again.
I always have such success with your recipes but this one was a challenge for me. The cake was very good….I did have some breakage as I tried to maneuver it onto a serving board (because it is very fragile.) That was not an issue because I knew the frosting would cover up the breakage. The icing never became smooth. I followed directions but it remained grainy. I made certain that the butter was very soft, Used correct ingredients and amounts.
When I added the cold sour cream and half and half, I mixed it well. I scooped a tablespoon full of frosting out to try to determine what was grainy. It was the cocoa. I then tried the hand mixer but with no success. I could not use the frosting on my cake. I truly don’t know what happened. Yours is such a lovely presentation and I just don’t like to give up after trying only once. Please offer any suggestions .
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Jen, I'm so sorry you had trouble with this recipe. I'm honestly not sure why it got grainy - my daughter-in-law and I both made this with really good results.
Did you melt the butter with the chocolate? You shouldn't even need soft butter for this recipe. The cocoa should dissolve into the melted butter and chocolate.
Again, sorry this was a problem, I hate wasting good ingredients!
Martine Piraino says
Hi there, could we make this cake the Valentine cake, the traditional way, I don't want to use a microwave method, could you include another version if you simply want to make it not in a microwave ?
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Martine, you can definitely make this cake without a microwave, no problem! Just follow the same directions, but use a pot on the stove top. The results will be the same. Enjoy!