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For the Love of Cake

8 lovely layer cakes for Valentine's Day

Julia Murphy

Published on: February 03, 2015

Lovey-dovey layers 

From red velvet to vanilla, with pretty piping designs and clever toppers, these cakes are all dressed up for Valentine's Day! Invite your kiddos into the kitchen to help cut out hearts with cookie cutters or place Fruit Loops all over a white buttercream canvas. We guarantee you'll find a great cake for your sweetheart among the list! 

Red velvet layer cake 

I don’t think it would be Valentine’s Day without a Red velvet layer cake covered with a lovely cream cheese buttercream. This triple-layer cake has a rustic design which pairs quite nicely with the whimsy of the pink Rice Krispie hearts. 

If choosing to serve cupcakes, add a bit more powdered sugar to the icing so it will be stiff enough to hold the swirl and support the cupcake topper.

Top it like it's hot

Encourage your young bakers to help! The cake and cupcake toppers were made from Rice Krispie treats. I used my sturdy heart-shaped cookie cutters for these snacks, but ask the young people in your life what colors and shapes they might like to produce for their next special occasion, party, holiday, etc. As for the coloring, I added tinting gel at the moment the butter and marshmallows were completely melted — remember that a strong color at this stage is acceptable since the color will lighten as the cereal is completely integrated.  

Pucker up! Lemon layer cake

Sometimes, in the dark cold days of the winter, a Lemon Layer Cake is just the ticket. This 8-inch round, triple-layer cake has a wonderful texture and is almost always a crowd-pleaser.

This particular design uses a small open-star tip (whatever you have at home is fine) with three different complimentary colors of lemon buttercream, but don’t be afraid to use four or five colors. Work in small areas then move on to the adjacent section.  It is a very forgiving design and extremely approachable.

Ooh-la-la layers

It’s not necessary to tint the inside layers of filling; it’s your cake — you decide! For even layers of filling, use an ice cream scoop to portion the amount of buttercream onto the cake. It doesn’t matter the size of the scoop, just add the same number of scoops between each layer.

Berry-licious white layer cake

This white layer cake (vanilla and almond flavor combination) is the perfect vehicle for fresh raspberries. This design was inspired by the wedding cake designs that were hot hot hot in the 1970s and early 1980s — which makes it ideal for a lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day cake.

Color and contrast go a long way in making this cake a focal point on the dessert table. The berries are nestled in tiny swirls of vanilla buttercream. If raspberries aren’t available or they aren’t a favorite, consider strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, fresh currants, etc. Placing the berries might be the perfect job for a young baker helping in the kitchen.

Flavorful additions 

Adding a bit of complimentary jam, curd, or jelly between the layers makes each slice not only delicious but beautiful. For even cake layers: weigh each pan then distribute batter between the pans until evenly dispersed taking into account any pan weight variance.

Ombre vanilla layer cake

Tinting a vanilla layer cake in an ombre of hot pink to white is all about celebrating Valentine’s Day.  There is no right or wrong in coloring cake, but below are some general guidelines.

  1. Divide cake batter evenly, if possible, in identical bowls
  2. Tint batter to desired intensity
  3. Bake as directed

Holiday color swap

Use different colors to keep this cake on point all year long. Go green for St. Patrick's Day, pastel colors for Easter, orange for Halloween — you get the idea!

Show-stopping triple layer cake

This 8-inch round, triple-layer cake is a real show-stopper. It can be reproduced with any flavor cake and vanilla buttercream.

Achieving a deep red with buttercream can be tricky. After the frosting is prepared, begin adding a deep red tinting gel. If the color still appears more hot pink, add a teeny tiny drop of a darker blue. This will reduce the pink and enhance the red. Be patient and know that some things might take practice.

Buttercream beauty 

My go-to basic buttercream recipe is below. From this recipe, most other frostings are born.

American Vanilla Buttercream

  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1T clear vanilla
  • 1T whole milk

In a stand mixer or electric mixer: Cream butter, thoroughly integrate half powdered sugar, add vanilla, integrate remaining sugar, add milk (less milk if needing a more stiff buttercream for piping). 

I heart chocolate cake

Is it Valentine’s Day without a chocolate heart cake? This triple-layer beauty of chocolate layer cake and strawberry buttercream is pure deliciousness. The ruffles surely add romance to this already decadent cake.

Topping tip

When designing the top of a cake, focus on one area and build it up with buttercream and complimentary flavors. By concentrating just a few toppers in a small piece of geography, the cake has a polished look.

Loopy vanilla layer cake

Cake decorating and design doesn’t have to be complicated or require a long list of special ingredients.  This vanilla layer cake with vanilla buttercream is delicious on its own. Add Fruit Loops, and now we have a party!

Fun with cereal

While the cereal is out, invite your young bakers to help with snacks-to-go. Begin with a piece of curly ribbon and string the cereal on to it; it really is that simple. These can become bracelets for the younger kids or a necklace for that special someone.

Caution: Always supervise children while they are wearing anything around their neck that could possibly pose a safety hazard.

Strawberry layer cake

Strawberry layer cake with a strawberry buttercream (plus some vanilla buttercream) was made with fresh strawberry puree, strawberry yogurt, and a bit of strawberry extract — this cake has flavor!

I love the look of this beauty. Sometimes simple really is enough.

A match made in heaven: Strawberry and cheesecake

Strawberry and cheesecake layers — one of the most romantic combinations on Valentine’s Day. The strawberry cake has a wonderful texture and blends superbly with this delightful crust-less cream cheese cheesecake. Because the cake and the cheesecake are just right, the layering doesn’t require any buttercream, which is good considering the roses provide a heavy dose of frosting.

If strawberry doesn’t do it for you, consider baking a chocolate cake to pair with the cheesecake to share with your Valentine or keep for yourself!

Bonus: Hearts cupcake toppers 

A quick heart-topper how-to for you and your young helpers: 

  1. Grab two softened vanilla Tootsie Rolls (I only had vanilla and chocolate)
  2. Tint with pink coloring gel
  3. Place between two small sheets of parchment paper; roll flat
  4. Cut out with small cookie cutter

I could have used marzipan, red Starburst candies, pink Laffy Taffy, etc. Use what you have and make the design your own! 

More cake tips and Valentine's Day treats

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