A Valentine Cake out of a sheet cake

imageI dipped my toes into the cake decorating world back in 1972.  I had a six month old and a hubby who was teaching and coaching…which meant we didn’t see him much.

Once baby and I got Pops off to school…(actually, he drove the morning bus route, if I remember right, which meant he left the house early.  Real early.  He had a 60 mile route to make and that required early hours.  You read that right…60 miles, including numerous pasture  gates, most of which were locked.) we had a morning in which to change diapers, eat Apple Jacks, wash diapers (yes, you read that right…wash diapers, as in the washing machine and then dried in the dryer.  Unless it was a nice day and then they were hung outside on the clothesline. This was the pre-disposable diaper era people. Ancient history.)

Usually, the Today show was on…we got one channel and NBC was it. Sad, but true. It was followed by the Dinah Shore show.

This particular day, a lady was Dinah’s guest who said you could make a heart shaped cake out of a sheet cake.  That got my attention. And she gave her recipe for buttercream icing.  Baby was happy in his highchair eating cereal so I grabbed a pencil and paper and took notes. From that point, I was hooked.  Wilton owned me, body and soul.

By suppertime, I had a heart-shaped cake decorated and ready to serve to Big Boss. No, it didn’t take me all day to make the cake! Well, maybe it did. I had a baby to tend to so it very well could have taken an full day. Scary thought!

So here’s the cake. It’s simple.  It’s quick.  It’s cute. It’s versatile.

Get out your favorite cake recipe, whether it’s from scratch or a box cake. Mix according to directions.

Pour batter into a 9×12 cake pan that has been sprayed with baking spray (or apply shortening with a paper towel to the sides and bottom.  Sprinkle flour over the shortening and shake the flour around to distribute evenly.  Tap out the extra flour.) Cut out waxed paper or parchement paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Place over the shortening/flour. This will help the cake release in ONE PIECE!!

Bake according to directions.

Let it cool for about 15 mins. after removing from the oven.

Slide a paring knife around the edges to make sure it has released from the cake pan. (Don’t worry about the round things in the cake! Not necessary.)image

Place a rack over the top of the cake pan.

Flip the cake pan and rack over, holding onto the cake pan.

Let cool. Peel off the wax or parchment paper slowly.


With a cake board or cookie sheet on top to the cooled cake, flip the cake again.

Trim the poofed up section of the cake with a bread knife to level it.

Set the cake in the freezer for  one hour or so. Do NOT skip this part!!! Freezing the cake makes it much easier to handle and to frost.

Remove the cake from the freezer and cut it in half.  Trim one of the halves to a 6″ square. Cut the other half into a 6″ circle…I used a cereal bowl.  Cut the circle in half.

You now have a 6″ square and 2-6″ half-circles.
Place the square on a cake plate or board diagonally. Place the straight edge of one half circle on one side of the square and the other half on the other side. And there you have it!! A heart!

To hold the half circles to the square, take some frosting and apply to the 2 straight edges. Push together and you’re ready to frost the cake with your favorite icing.
Don’t worry about getting the frosting smooth. You can take a piece of cardstock and cut one side with some pinking shears. Rack it around the edges of the cake to give it a “ribbed” effect, thus hiding imperfections.

Fill a plastic, sealable bag with frosting. Cut a very small snip at one corner. You now have a decorating bag with a built-in tip! Now you can do a edge on the bottom and/or top edge of your cake.image

Gumballs can make a edging also. Or chocolate covered gogi berries. Or cherries. Or Sixlets. Or strawberries.

I promise this is EASY. You can use your favorite frosting or use canned. Don’t overthink it. Don’t panic. YOU CAN DO THIS!! There’s no right or wrong way to decorate it. Use your imagination. Check out Pinterest for ideas. Go to Cake Central for inspiration.

Cake! We want CAKE!!

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