Not to sound corny, but I really do love Valentine’s Day. A day I can celebrate the ones I care about with simple gestures. What is there not to love? It is a day when we believe in chubby little cupids and hope to get hit with an arrow smack dab in the heart. Card manufacturers rejoice and candy sales go up as parents cringe when big bags of candy come home with their kids from school. It is the only day that pink and red match and you can guiltlessly indulge in candy and champagne without a care, all in the name of love!

This year for Valentine’s Day I decided to do something a bit different. I wanted to create a moist and buttery dessert for everyone in the family to enjoy instead of the same ol’ boxes of candy. I have seen other people creating cakes with special designs in them for holidays, so I thought I would put my own twist on that idea with my recipe for Valentine’s Day.

One of my favorite traditional Valentine’s Day treats is chocolate covered strawberries, so that was my inspiration for this sweet treat. I got busy and started baking. Eight boxes of cake mix, 2 quarts of strawberries and 2 pounds of chocolate later, I finally perfected the recipe! This labor of love is for your benefit—and of course to all of my neighbors and family who enjoyed my cake experiment. I worked out all of the kinks so you don’t have to. All you have to do is grab your stick of Challenge Butter, a cake mix, and a few other ingredients, and you will be on your way to the perfect Valentine’s Day treat to dazzle your loved ones. This year for Valentine’s Day, put your “heart” into it. Create this sweetheart of a dessert since there is nothing better than “Love in the Cake!”


16 slices

Heart Center Pound Cake

  • 1 (16 oz) box pound cake mix
  • ¼ cup Challenge Unsalted Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • drop(s) Red food coloring
  • Required Tool: 1 heart-shaped cookie cutter

Butter Pound Cake

  • 1 (16 oz) box pound cake mix
  • ⅓ cup Challenge Unsalted Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup milk

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or your favorite chocolate bar, diced
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • (as needed) Strawberry slices for garnish if desired


  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • 2

    Spray two loaf pans with a baking spray or coat with flour and shortening.

  • 3

    To create the heart shape cake center, place cake mix, butter, eggs, milk and strawberries in a mixing bowl. On low speed, mix together ingredients for 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and mix for 2 additional minutes. Add enough red food coloring to batter until you achieve the desired color of your heart. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 10 minutes LESS than the package suggests. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, place into refrigerator for 4 hours to chill cake. Slightly under baking and chilling is essential to achieve desired results!

  • 4

    To create the Butter Pound Cake, add cake mix, butter eggs and milk to bowl. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then two minutes on high.

  • 5

    When cake heart center is chilled, using a serrated knife, slice cake the same width of the heart shaped cookie cutter. Next, using the cookie cutter cut a heart out of each slice.
    TIP: You can save the extra cake pieces, toast them and layer with yogurt or pudding and fruit slices for a delicious parfait the next day!

  • 6

    Pour ½ of the Butter Pound Cake batter into the second loaf pan. Place the cut out hearts back to back to create a stack or “log of hearts.” Place heart stack into pan, upside down. (The bottom of cake will ultimately be the top of the finished cake.) Pour the remaining batter over hearts. Batter will look uneven, but the sides will rise during baking to flatten out cake when finished—don’t worry! Bake for 50 minutes, remove and cool completely.

  • 7

    To create your ganache, place chocolate chips or pieces in a medium size mixing bowl. In a small saucepan heat cream until it comes to a low boil. Immediately pour over chocolate and cover bowl with a lid or plate. Wait for 5 minutes, remove lid and stir until a velvety chocolate ganache is formed. Place into refrigerator to thicken for 15 minutes. When thickened, but still thin enough to pour, your ganache is ready.

  • 8

    Place cake on a wire rack, bottom side up for a flat surface on top. Put rack on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Pour ganache over cake, letting frosting drip over sides. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator and recoat with the extra ganache. You can reuse any ganache that falls into the pan.

  • 9

    Refrigerate cake until you are ready to serve. Cut into slices with a serrated knife and serve with extra strawberries if desired.