Baking with Goodwill: A heart shaped cake for Valentine’s Day

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 9, 2016

Kitchen wares and baking supplies are easy to find at Goodwill

My all-time favorite thrifted item that I own is my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. Second to that, I might list the plethora of drop-bottom baking pans I’ve found. I have a thing for quality kitchen wares, and more often than not—it’s just out of my budget—unless I turn to the shelves of Goodwill (and Goodwill online!) to satisfy my Sur La Table, Le Creuset, Kitchen-Aid, and high-end knives preferences. (Seriously, guys, if you walk through kitchen stores longing for everything you see, but find that it’s always out of your budget, check out and our eBay store.)

To celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little sweetness, I decided to put some of those Goodwill finds to use and bake a simple heart-shaped layer cake.

The recipes:

  • CAKE: Dark Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake from Theo Chocolate’s cookbook—it is AWESOME—and will work just fine split between a 9” round pan, and an 8” round pan. (Here’s a similar cake recipe online.)
  • FROSTING: Basic Cream Cheese Frosting + magenta and purple food dye. The cream cheese frosting recipe was good—but it is little dense. Another option would be to try a whipped cream cheese frosting recipe.
  • FILLING: Chocolate Porter Mousse filling. Instructions below.

Theo Chocolate's Cookbook & Chocolate BarsChocolate Porter Mousse filling:
Ingredients: 2/3 cup of a porter or stout beer, 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, 2 table spoons of cocoa powder (dark chocolate!), 3-4 ounces of finely chopped chocolate.

Instructions: Start by whipping the cream—if you’ve got a stand mixer, just turn it on a medium/slow setting and let it whip while you get the chocolate side of things going. The cream should come to a stiff peak—but be careful not to over whip it—once it starts peaking, stop whipping.

Put the porter in a saucepan over medium heat, and once it’s warm, mix in the cocoa powder. Once that’s well incorporated, start adding in the finely chopped chocolate, whisking it as you go, until it’s a smooth mixture. Turn the heat off and let it cool for a few minutes.

Next, add the chocolate sauce to the whipped cream, and gently fold it together with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before filling your cake.

Instructions for making Chocolate Stout Mousse fillingAssembling the cake:

STEP ONE: Cut the cake to shape.
Starting with fully cooled cakes, cut the cake in half—so you’ve got a top and a bottom. (So you can fill it.) Before you separate the pieces, however, use a very sharp knife to cut the heart shape. You should cut a triangle shape out of the top for the dip in the top of the heart, and then just a bit off of the left and right of the lower sides to bring the bottom to a point. If you’ve got a little extra time, now is a great time to separate your top and bottom, and freeze them for an hour or two. It’s not necessary—but they’ll be easier to frost.

Cut cake horizontally to create layers.STEP TWO: Fill the cake.
Has your mousse chilled? Place the bottom layer on your cake dish. Drop a few scoops of mousse atop the bottom layer, spreading it so it’s about ½” thick—leaving a little room for it to squish around the edges. Make sure the mousse is evenly spread.

STEP THREE: Set the top layer.
Carefully place the top layer of cake atop the mousse, pressing gently to secure it, and get the mousse to settle in a bit better. If you’ve got time here, another bout 1-2 hour bout in the freezer can help in the next step.

Having your frosting at room temperature, and your cake cold will help make this process a little easier. Start on the sides, drawing frosting up/in toward the side/top edge and ultimately toward the center of the cake. Doing it this way will help keep your cake dish cleaner, and will mitigate the mousse’s attempts to squish out the edges. Once the whole cake is covered, smooth out the frosting and finesse the edges.

Ok—so, I normally clean up my cake dish by wiping excess frosting before I serve it, but the next main step is to serve your cake! If you’re not going to eat it right away, refrigerate it. Finished heart-shaped Valentine's Day cake


Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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