Valentine’s Hearts Cake with Rose Buttercream

This Valentine’s Day hearts cake with rose buttercream really needs little explanation. It’s a single layer, classic butter cake frosted with an easy, rose-flavored American buttercream.

Love is complicated enough. Cake doesn’t have to be.

Several of the cake recipes on my blog follow classic ratios, like the chocolate chip pound cake, which calls for a pound each of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs. Or my blackberry lemon loaf cake, which follows a classic ratio for quick breads that is, by weight, two parts flour: two parts liquid: one part eggs: one part butter.

a hearts cake with rose buttercream surrounded by candy hearts.

In this recipe, the butter cake base is a version of the classic 1-2-3-4 cake formula. That formula calls for 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 4 eggs. I’ve halved the formula here to make a single layer cake.

Any sort of buttercream works well with this Valentine’s Day hearts cake. But I’ve been dreaming about this light pink, rose buttercream since I made that rose syrup French 75.

Tips and tricks for this recipe

There is nothing unusual about this recipe, which starts off with buttering and flouring a heart-shaped cake pan. If you don’t have a heart-shaped pan, a 9 inch round cake pan has the same volume. You can also double the recipe if you want to make a two-layer cake.

a heart shaped cake pan that has been buttered and floured.

The classic cake uses the creaming method, where you beat the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy (Panels #1 and #2, below).

steps in making the hearts cake batter.

You then beat in room-temperature eggs, one at a time (Panel #3 above). Then mix in the dry ingredients and the milk and vanilla until the dry ingredients are just combined (Panel #4).

The recipe calls for mixing in half of the dry, then the wet, then the remaining dry ingredients. If you have doubled the recipe for a two-layer cake, you’ll want alternate three additions of dry with two additions of milk and vanilla.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake. When it’s fully baked, a toothpick inserted into the cake will come out nearly clean, the cake will take on a very light brown color, and it will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Because ovens are so different, I always start checking on my baked goods about 5 minutes before the recipe says it should be perfectly baked!

Unbaked and baked hearts cakes.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove it from the pan to cool completely. Do let it cool completely before frosting!

a heart-shaped cake on a cooling rack.

While the cake is cooling, make the rose buttercream. American buttercream frosting is so easy to make because it’s just butter and sugar that you flavor and add liquid to get it to your desired consistency.

You can always add less sugar than I’ve recommended here or less rose syrup. You’ll just need to tinker with the amount of milk you add. More liquid will make a thinner frosting. More sugar will make it thicken up.

Taste as you go. And feel free to add in a drop or two of food coloring, if you like.

To make the rose buttercream, beat room temperature butter for about a minute until it’s soft. Then add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and beat them together for a few minutes until they are mixed well. Then add the cream and rose syrup. Beat for a minute and check the taste and consistency. When you’re satisfied, beat it for a little longer until it’s light and fluffy.

two panels showing the creamed butter and the final rose buttercream.

Spread the frosting over the completely cooled cake. I’m just saying it again here in case you’re like me and you’re eager to frost your cakes before they’re really at room temperature!

If you’ve leveled off the top of cake, you’ll want to do a crumb coat where you spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake and then let it set in the fridge for a little bit.

the hearts cake frosted with a thin layer of rose buttercream.

Decorate with candy hearts for Valentine’s Day!

a wedge of cake decorated with pink candy hearts on a plate.

FAQs about this valentine’s hearts cake with rose buttercream

Where did you find rose syrup?

Rose syrup is a simple syrup made with sugar and water steeped with rose petals. If you don’t have a way or don’t want to make your own, you can buy rose syrup on Amazon.

Should I be weighing my ingredients?

Especially in baking, you will always get more consistent results if you weigh things rather than scoop them. In this recipe, this will be more important for the cake layer than the frosting.

How do you slice a heart-shaped cake?

I would recommend slicing the cake in half from top to point and then cutting wedges of cake. They’ll all be slightly irregular and individual, but that’s love!

Can I freeze this cake?

Absolutely. Most cakes freeze really well. Just chill the cake until the frosting is slightly firm, then double wrap the cake or individual slices in plastic wrap and put them into a freezer bag. To serve, unwrap the cake and let it come to room temperature over a few hours.

Hearts Cake with Rose Buttercream

A classic butter cake with easy-to-make rose-flavored buttercream.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 408kcal
Author uglyducklingbakery

Equipment

  • Stand or hand mixer
  • 1 Heart-shaped or 9 inch round cake pan

Ingredients

1-2-3-4 Cake

  • 1 ½ cups (180 grams or 6.7 ounces) cake flour plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 cup (200 grams or 7.1 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rose Buttercream

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups (360 grams or 12.7 ounces) confectioners sugar plus more, as desired
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons rose syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk plus more as desired

Assembly

  • candy hearts for decorating

Instructions

1-2-3-4 cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and ready a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Lightly butter your pan, line it with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Then lightly flour the pan.
  • Sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a small bowl.
    1 1/2 cups (180 grams or 6.7 ounces) cake flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a medium bowl if using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
    1 stick (8 tablespoons or 113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, 1 cup (200 grams or 7.1 ounces) granulated sugar
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium for one minute after each addition, scraping down the bowl as needed.
    2 large eggs, room temperature
  • Measure out the milk, add the vanilla to the measuring cup, and stir to combine.
    1/2 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Add one half of the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the milk and vanilla and mix on low. Then add the remaining dry ingedients and beat on low until just combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Rose buttercream

  • Cream the butter until soft, about one minute.
    1 stick (8 tablespoons or 113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Add the confectioners sugar and salt and beat on low speed until well-mixed.
    3 cups (360 grams or 12.7 ounces) confectioners sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Add the cream and rose syrup and beat one minute. Taste and adjust, as desired. For a thinner frosting, add more cream. For a thicker frosting, add more sugar.
    2 tablespoons rose syrup, 2 tablespoons cream or milk
  • Beat for 3 to 5 minutes until light.

Assembly

  • Level the cake, if desired, and frost the cooled cake.
  • Decorate with candy hearts.
    candy hearts
  • Refrigerate if not serving right away, but bring it to room temperature for at least one hour prior to serving.

Notes

Variations and adjustments
If you don’t have a heart-shaped cake pan, this cake can be made in a 9 inch round cake pan. Feel free to double the recipe for a two-layer cake.
With two tablespoons of rose syrup, the rose buttercream has a subtle rose flavor. If you are concerned about the floral flavor, consider starting out with just one tablespoon and taste before adding more. Or substitute one teaspoon of vanilla extract instead.
Feel free to add food coloring to the buttercream if you want to up the pink!

Nutrition

Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 564IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg

What’s next?

If you make this Valentine’s Day hearts cake with rose buttercream, please leave a rating or comment here. Or share a pic with me on Instagram!

Check out some other uglyducklingbakery cakes like this Earl Grey and lavender cake, my favorite chocolate peanut butter cake, or my purple velvet cake – the most popular recipe on the blog in 2021.

If you like floral flavors, you might like things I’ve made with lavender.

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