Strawberry Vanilla Heart Cake (video)

a pink, heart shaped cake with sprinkles on a table with strawberries

Looking to impress someone special? This beautifully decorated heart cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day and birthday celebrations! My Strawberry Vanilla Heart Cake is made with moist and delicate vanilla cake layers, a fruity strawberry buttercream frosting, and filled with strawberry preserves. This cake is so simple and elegant on the inside and fancy and decadent on the outside!

My Heart Cake Video Tutorial

Watch my heart cake video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and watch me put it together! Plus, lots of extra tips and suggestions. Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

Ingredients for Heart Cake Recipe

Making this impressive heart shaped cake is easier than you think! Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for making it. You can find the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below. (Amazon Affiliate Links)

  • Buttermilk: my favorite dairy for cake recipes. This soured milk reacts with the baking soda to make the cake extra fluffy.
  • Unsalted Butter: for the cake layers and for the buttercream. Use only unsalted butter for baking! You can replace the butter with canola oil for the cake layers.
  • Eggs: I recommend having the eggs at room temperature for best results.
  • All-Purpose Flour: while you can use cake flour, I find that all-purpose works just fine, too!
  • Strawberry Preserves: this fruity jam makes for a great cake filling.
  • Freeze-Dried Strawberries: for making the strawberry buttercream. I get mine at Trader Joe’s.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: for making the frosting. Use a fresh bag of sugar for best results and for a smooth buttercream.
various baking supplies and strawberries on a table

Supplies & Tools

Need some tools and supplies to make this cake at home? Here are some of the tools I used for this recipe (Amazon Affiliate Links):

a large, heart cake on a table, with strawberries

Making the Vanilla Cake Layers

This impressive and delicious strawberry vanilla heart cake starts with my simple vanilla cake recipe! It’s a basic cake recipe that’s great for any occasional cake! You’ll need two different pans for this recipe – a square pan and a round pan – which will shape the heart cake.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Line an 8×8-inch square pan and an 8-inch round pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with a non-stick baking spray. Set the pans aside.
  2. Place the unsalted butter into a large mixing bowl and melt the butter in the microwave. To the melted butter, add the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Beat the ingredient together for a few minutes until a smooth mixture forms.
  3. Next, combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter, then beat for about a minute, just until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Using a ladle, split the cake batter between the two pans, ensuring that the batter is at the same level in both pans.
  5. Bake the cake layers in the preheated oven at 350F for 28 to 32 minutes (for round pan) and about 34 minutes (for the square pan), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack.  
a slice of strawberry vanilla cake on a plate, with more cake in the background

Making the Strawberry Buttercream

If you love strawberries, you’re going to want to eat this frosting by the spoonful! It’s made with freeze-dried strawberries, which add tons of flavor and color to the recipe. I didn’t use any food coloring for my frosting.

If you don’t have freeze-dried strawberries, you can replace them with about 1/3 cup strawberry preserves. Add the preserves at the very end and mix very briefly, just until incorporated into the frosting.

  1. Place the softened butter into a mixer bowl with the flat beater attached. The butter should be just barely soft, not melted! If the butter is too soft, place it back into the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Beat the butter on high speed for 7 to 9 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often, until the butter is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla, heavy cream, and powdered sugar next. Start on a slow speed, then mix on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until a very fluffy frosting forms. Save about ½ cup of the plain white frosting for later.
  4. Pulse the freeze dried strawberries through a food processor, then add the powder into the buttercream. Start on a slow speed, then mix on high speed for about a minute, until the frosting is uniform.

How to Make a Heart Shaped Cake

Once your cake layers have cooled completely and you have the frosting ready, it’s time to assemble the cake! I like to place my cake layers into the refrigerator, so they cool faster. Plus, they’ll be easier to work with. Here’s how to put together the cake:

  1. Using a serrated knife, clean up the edges of the cooled cake layers, cutting away the caramelized ends. Next, level the top of each layer, then split the layers in half. Also, split the round layer down the middle, creating two halves.
  2. Place your cake board onto a turn table, if you’re using one. Place one layer of the square cake onto a corner of the board, then place two halves of the round layer on either side, creating a heart shape. Watch my video tutorial to see how it’s done!
  3. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream onto the cake, gluing the pieces together. Transfer about 1 cup of the buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco #847. Pipe a barrier around the edge of the cake; this will keep the jam from coming out the sides.
  4. Fill the inside of the cake with a generous amount of strawberry preserves, spreading it to the edges.
  5. Add the second layers of the cake, pressing them gently into place.  
a close up of a pink cake topped with strawberry buttercream and decorative sprinkles

Frosting & Garnishing the Heart Cake

Our strawberry vanilla heart shaped cake is now ready for frosting!

  1. Apply a thin crumb coat layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it with an off-set spatula. Place the cake into the refrigerator to cool for about 20 minutes.
  2. Next, apply a final coat of buttercream around the edges only, so that the cake isn’t visible through the frosting.
  3. Transfer the remaining strawberry frosting into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco #823 and #847. Transfer the reserved white buttercream into another bag; I used a French star tip #4.
  4. Watch my video tutorial to see how I applied all the dollops of frosting on the top! Be creative and a variety of dollops, stars and swirls to the top. Garnish the cake at the end with fun and decorative sprinkles.
  5. Set the cake into the refrigerator to chill if you’re not serving right away.
a close up of a strawberry vanilla cake on a plate

Make Ahead Instructions

Want to make this cake ahead of time or in steps? Here’s how to do it:

  • The cake layers can be made ahead of time. Simply allow the cake to cool first, then wrap well with plastic wrap. Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.
  • The buttercream can also be made ahead of time. Place the finished frosting into a well-sealed container and into the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or into the freezer for 1 month. To use the frosting, remove it out of the refrigerator and allow it to soften at room temperature for about 1 hour. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.

Perfect for Special Occasions!

This impressive heart cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day for that someone special! It’s also a great choice for birthday parties, or even baby announcements and celebrations. You’ll love putting it together, too!

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this special and impressive cake? Find all my Valentine’s Day recipes HERE and check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

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a pink, heart shaped cake with sprinkles on a table with strawberries
5 from 2 votes

Strawberry Vanilla Heart Cake Video Tutorial

1 hr 45 mins prep + 35 mins cook
20 servings
Learn how to make an impressive heart shaped cake for special occasions! With vanilla cake layers, strawberry buttercream, strawberry preserves filling, and fancy sprinkles!

Ingredients 

For Vanilla Cake Layers:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted (or canola oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For Strawberry Buttercream:

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1.2 oz package of freeze-dried strawberries, or 1/3 cup strawberry jam
  • red food color, optional

Other:

  • 1 cup strawberry preserves, for filling
  • decorative sprinkles, for garnishing

Instructions

Making the Vanilla Cake Layers:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Line an 8×8-inch square pan and an 8-inch round pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with a non-stick baking spray. Set the pans aside.
  • Place the unsalted butter into a large mixing bowl and melt the butter in the microwave. To the melted butter, add the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Beat the ingredient together for a few minutes until a smooth mixture forms.
  • Next, combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter, then beat for about a minute, just until a smooth batter forms.
  • Using a ladle, split the cake batter between the two pans, ensuring that the batter is at the same level in both pans.
  • Bake the cake layers in the preheated oven at 350F for 28 to 32 minutes (for round pan) and about 34 minutes (for the square pan), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack.  

Making the Strawberry Buttercream:

  • Place the softened butter into a mixer bowl with the flat beater attached. The butter should be just barely soft, not melted! If the butter is too soft, place it back into the refrigerator for 20 to 30minutes.
  • Beat the butter on high speed for 7 to 9 minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often, until the butter is light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla, heavy cream, and powdered sugar next. Start on a slow speed, then mix on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until a very fluffy frosting forms. Save about ½ cup of the plain white frosting for later.
  • Pulse the freeze dried strawberries through a food processor, then add the powder into the buttercream. Start on a slow speed, then mix on high speed for about a minute, until the frosting is uniform.

Assembling the Cake:

  • Using a serrated knife, clean up the edges of the cooled cake layers, cutting away the caramelized ends. Next, level the top of each layer, then split the layers in half. Also, split the round layer down the middle, creating two halves.
  • Place your cake board onto a turn table, if you’re using one. You can also wrap a large cutting board with foil instead. Place one layer of the square cake onto a corner of the board, then place two halves of the round layer on either side, creating a heart shape. Watch my video tutorial to see how it’s done!
  • Spread a thin layer of the buttercream onto the cake, gluing the pieces together. Transfer about 1 cup of the buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco #847. Pipe a barrier around the edge of the cake; this will keep the jam from coming out the sides.
  • Fill the inside of the cake with a generous amount of strawberry preserves, spreading it to the edges.
  • Add the second layers of the cake, pressing them gently into place.  

Frosting & Garnishing the Cake:

  • Apply a thin crumb coat layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it with an off-set spatula. Place the cake into the refrigerator to cool for about 20 minutes.
  • Next, apply a final coat of buttercream around the edges only, so that the cake isn’t visible through the frosting.
  • Transfer the remaining strawberry frosting into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco #823 and #847. Transfer the reserved white buttercream into another bag; I used a French star tip #4.
  • Watch my video tutorial to see how I applied all the dollops of frosting on the top! Be creative and a variety of dollops, stars and swirls to the top. Garnish the cake at the end with fun and decorative sprinkles.
  • Set the cake into the refrigerator to chill if you’re not serving right away.

Nutrition

Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 1409IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 2mg