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February brings St Valentine’s Day and so I have made a heart-shaped cake decorated with marzipan hearts. However, it can be made in a round tin without the hearts for any time of the month or year. It is definitely for chocoholics, the light chocolate sponge has ganache through the centre and is coated with it. You can omit the heart decoration if you wish. It is very easy to make and the ganache is simple too. I have used a deep heart tin measuring 15cm /6in across the base but you could use two 18cm/7in sandwich cake tins instead. The marzipan hearts require a small heart cutter.


  • 175g (6oz) butter or margarine
  • 175g (6oz) golden caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 175 g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ganache (filling and coating)
  • 75g (3oz) plain chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons double cream
  • Marzipan hearts (optional)
  • 50g (2oz) marzipan


Heat the oven to Gas 4 / 180C. Grease the tin(s) and line the base with baking parchment paper. Cream together the fat and sugar until light, beat in the eggs gradually. Sieve together the flour, salt and cocoa and fold them in using a large metal spoon. Add the vanilla.

Put into the tin and make a slight hollow in the centre. (Two tins: divide equally between the two). Bake the large tin for 40 minutes approximately or until it feels firm in the centre. Two tins will take approximately 25 minutes.

Turn out of the tin and leave to cool.

Ganache: melt the chocolate in the water very carefully, it must not get too hot.Beat in the double cream. Leave to cool and thicken.

When the heart tin cake is cold, cut in half across and sandwich together with the thickened ganache Place the cake on a cooling rack over a plate. If the ganache is too thick to pour, warm it very slightly and then pour it over the cake, smoothing the sides and the top. Mark wavy lines in the icing on the top. Any ganache remaining can be left to thicken again and piped around the top edge, if you wish using a large piping bag and star tube.

Marzipan hearts: roll out the marzipan thinly and cut out enough hearts to decorate the top and to stand around the base.

Note: if using two tins sandwich them together and continue in the same way

Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2012