Sydney, acting out proven coping methods for her gender, requested that we bake a different sweet together just about every day. We baked muffins, and vegan cocoa fudge cookies, and, with pretty much the last dregs of the pantry supplies, a heart-shaped cake.
You can use any standard cake recipe for a heart-shaped cake. I used the 1-2-3-4 cake from The Art of Simple Food, with an absurd number of substitutions due to the oddness of our pantry (I try to shop only every other week now, due to the oddness of our budget, you could say, so it's typical for recipes to turn odd after a week or so). Let's see...I actually used the eggs that the recipe called for, even though I don't normally eat eggs, because Matt eats them and he wasn't home TO eat them. Instead of milk I used the rest of the organic cow's milk yogurt and then the rest of the soy yogurt--together they came to exactly the right amount, yay! Instead of cake flour I used organic, unbleached all-purpose flour. Instead of the butter I used the rest of the homemade Mason jar butter that the girls and I made earlier last week, and Earth Balance.
Despite the way it sounds, the cake came out excellent--perhaps slightly on the dry side, which made it perfect for picking up and eating out of hand, which we all prefer, anyway.
The real trick to baking a heart-shaped cake is to divide the recipe, and bake the cake in both a square pan and a round pan:
The other option is to bake the square part of the cake in a rectangular cake pan and just cut it down, but that method wastes some cake, and this method won't.
Cut the round cake exactly in half:
Turn the square cake so that it's a diamond, with a point down and a point up. Put the flat side of each half-circle against one of the top sides of the diamond:
I made a batch of vegan buttercream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World--don't shame me, but I was almost out of Earth Balance and I didn't have cow's milk butter, so I used Crisco from the can that I'm saving to make soap with! I don't regret it, though--that icing was perfectly white and pure-looking, and took food coloring gorgeously. I divided the frosting and let the girls each choose two colors--Willow chose purple and green, and Sydney chose two colors of pink that were practically identical, and refused to let me darken either one even a little.
Then, basically, I got out of their way:
A perfectly-decorated cake!
And because it's really two cakes, there are plenty of leftovers!