Hidden heart cupcakes recipe

(1029 ratings)

Hidden heart cupcakes
Preparation Time1 hours 20 mins
Cooking Time1 hours
Total Time2 hours 20 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories699 Kcal35%
Sugar64.6 g72%
Fat41.3 g59%
Saturated Fat24.8 g124%
Protein5.5 g11%
Carbohydrates76.8 g30%

Impress your friends and family with these hidden heart cupcakes. Each cupcake is hiding a vibrant red heart made from more cake.

Create these hidden heart cupcakes with our simple step-by-step guide and video. This cupcake recipe is much easier than it looks. The red hearts are made from a red food coloured sponge cut into heart shapes and then baked in a chocolate cake mixture. Top with luxurious dark chocolate buttercream and serve for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions.


For the red sponge:

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter softened
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp milk
  • Red food colour paste

For the chocolate cake:

  • 100g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1tsp coffee granules
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • a good pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2½tsp vegetable oil
  • 2tbsp sour cream

For the buttercream:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 250g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 3tsp vanilla extract
  • heart sprinkles (optional)

You will also need:

  • Deep 12-hole muffin pan with 12 muffin cases
  • Piping bag with Wilton 1M nozzle (optional)
  • Heart-shaped cutter (small enough to fit your cases)
  • 22cm x 22cm square tin (for the red sponge)




  1. For the red sponge: Preheat your oven to 160C, gas 3 and grease your brownie tin. Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix on a medium speed until smooth. Add in ½ tsp of food colouring at a time to get your desired red colour. If you want a darker red add a little more. Place all the mixture into the square pan and level out with a spatula.
  2. Bake in the oven for 25 mins remove and cool in the tray for 10 mins before cooling on a wire rack. Once cool, pop in the fridge to harden it slightly, this makes it easier to cut the shapes out. Remove the square sponge from the fridge and cut out 12 hearts with your heart cookie cutter.
  3. Line your muffin tray with your cupcake cases. You’ll need to mark the cases so as you know where to cut when the cakes are baked and iced. Cut a tiny triangle out of the edge of each case then line the hearts next to the triangle so you know where to slice.
  4. For the chocolate cake: Preheat the oven to 160C, gas 3 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases. Place butter, chopped chocolate, coffee granules, sugar and 120ml water in a large bowl over a pan of boiling water, stir gently until melted then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
  5. Beat the eggs, oil and sour cream and add it to the flour mix, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate mix, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined. Pop a dessert spoonful of the batter in each case and then pop the heart shape in the centre. Divide the rest of the mixture over the hearts, being careful as you don’t want them to topple to one side. Place in the oven and bake for 30 mins then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. For the buttercream: Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave on 30 second bursts until smooth. Beat the icing sugar, butter, vanilla extract and cooled chocolate together with an electric mixer until the buttercream is smooth and shiny. When the cakes are cool, attach the nozzle to a large piping bag if using.
  7. Pipe a swirl by applying pressure to the top of the bag and starting in the middle of each cake, pipe a star by squeezing a star shape then releasing the pressure and pulling up quickly. Piping a star first makes sure the swirl doesn’t fall flat in the middle. Then starting at the outside edge of the paper case, pipe in a steady movement around the edge of the cake using the cake case as a guide. Pipe around the star and build up into a swirl. When you reach the end of the swirl press down slightly, release the pressure and pull up quickly. Decorate with tiny heart sprinkles and slice where you have marked the case.

Top tips for making hidden heart cupcakes

Once you've tried this recipe you could experiment with different shapes like stars or flowers, just like our hidden shape cupcakes - all you need is the right shape cookie cutter. You could also change the colour of the sponge too.

You might also like…

Chocolate cupcake recipe

Vanilla cupcakes recipe

Valentine's Day cakes

Victoria Threader
Recipes Writer

Victoria Threader is 'the queen of cupcakes' and a contributing Recipe Writer at GoodTo. Not only can she bake delicious cupcakes, she can decorate them too - with each of Victoria’s cupcakes topped with handmade edible toppers. Some of her most popular cupcakes include: rainbow cupcakes, hidden shape cupcakes and even giant cupcakes.