Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches, do you feel guilty that you haven’t planned something ahead to give to your significant other or to make with your kids? I know I’ve felt like that so this year, I planned ahead. I used the heart-shaped baking pan that I bought last year and never used. I thought about which cake recipe I’d use and how I’d decorate the cake. Pink icing was a must! Heart-shaped strawberries seemed perfect.
I made this buttery, Almond Sour Cream pound cake with pink Almond butter cream frosting and fresh heart-shaped strawberries for my husband and two little boys for an early Valentine’s Day celebration. Today, would have been my mother’s birthday so it seems fitting to dedicate this heart-shaped cake to her and what she still means to me.
This cake called a “naked cake” because the cake sides are not fully frosted and you can see the “skin” of the cake. They’ve become quite popular and are even used for wedding cakes.
The cake recipe itself is Paula Deen Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake and is absolutely delicious! The only change I made to Paula’s recipe is replacing the orange extract with almond extract and adding a bit more of it. I’ve made it many times and it freezes well too! This cake is great for any time of year!
We couldn’t wait until the photo taking of this cake was done so we could have the first piece! My husband has gotten a sweet tooth over the years!
My three-year old could not keep his hands out of the mixing bowl of icing. He is a sweet eater too! I caught him red-handed!
The cake is really flavorful, a little moist, and dense. I love that the edges are a little crusty. The almond butter cream frosting is a perfect accompaniment to this flavorful pound cake but tastes great even without the icing.
If you aren’t an almond fan, you can substitute lemon, orange, or coconut extract or omit the extract altogether in both the pound cake and the icing.
Making the Cake Batter
Making this naked cake is not complicated. You just cream the butter with the sugar and then add the sour cream and almond extract. Combine the flour and baking soda and sift it into the butter mixture alternatively with the eggs.
Then, I put the batter in a sprayed heart-shaped * Wilton 10″ heart-shaped baking pan and baked it for one hour and ten minutes on 325F (bake 1 hr and 20 min in a tube pan.) My cake pan was not big enough to hold all of the batter so, I put the excess into a * Nordic Ware Pine Forrest Metallic Bunt Pan.
I used * Pam with Flour Baking Spray in the baking pans. You can easily remove the cakes from the pans if you use this spray with flour in it. For example, the second pan I used for the excess batter was a tree baking pan (with a nonstick interior) where the pan formation includes pointy forest of trees. I’ve used it before with just the Pam cooking spray and the tops of the trees (the bottom of the pan) were stuck in the pan. Using the Pam with flour, the cake popped right out after I ran a knife around the rim of the cake.
Almond Butter Cream Icing
While the cake was cooling, I made the Almond Butter Cream Icing. That is simple too. You just mix softened butter with powdered sugar with the almond extract and add tablespoon of milk, if needed. The milk helps to thin out the icing a little so it is spreadable if your butter isn’t soft enough. I added a couple drops of red food coloring to make the icing pink.
Cake Assembly and Decorating
I cut the cake in half with a long bread knife, frosted the bottom layer and then topped it with the other cake layer. I frosted the top and just a little on the sides. I removed excess icing from the sides of the cake with the cake spreader I used to apply the icing in order to get the “naked cake” effect. I think it looks pretty cool! I also like it because the butter cream icing is rich and sweet so just a little icing on top is enough for me.
I then cut the strawberries in half and cut a “V” at the top to make it into a heart shape. I arranged them on the pink icing around the perimeter of the cake as shown in the pictures and sprinkled some red, sparkled sugar sprinkles on top. Then, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter as my guide and put the imprint of it on the icing and traced the heart shape with the red sparkled get icing.
Looks pretty doesn’t it? So, don’t feel guilty for not planning Valentine’s Day and make this beautiful heart-shaped cake for your family. Your kids will enjoy helping and licking the bowl. This cake would make anyone feel special and loved.
This was a fun cake to make! You may also like Cranberry Lemon Cheesecake
This Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake and Almond Butter Cream frosting recipes are adapted from Paul Deen's recipes. I only omitted the orange extract and added more almond extract in the cake recipe and added some milk in the frosting.
Prep time for the cake as shown in photos includes decorating.
- Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen
- Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks of butter softened
- 1 1/2 tsps of almond extract
- Pam with Flour cooking spray or butter and flour for baking pan
- Almond Buttercream Frosting
- 4 cups confectioner's or powdered 10x sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp of almond extract (optional)
- 8 or more fresh strawberries with cut "v" at the top
- 2 whole strawberries for garnish
- red decorating gel
- red sugar sprinkles
- 2 drops of red food coloring
- Recipes courtesy of Paula Deen (except I omitted orange extract and added more almond)
- Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake
- In the bowl of a mixer, cream 2 sticks butter and sugar together and then add sour cream. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract and stir to combine.
- Sift flour and baking soda together. Add flour mixture to creamed butter mixture alternately with eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Spray baking pan with Pam with Flour baking spray or butter and flour baking pan.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 or 1 hr 20 min if using a tube pan.
- Cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Almond Butter Cream Frosting
- With an electric mixer, cream 1 1/2 sticks butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Slowly beat in the confectioner's sugar until smooth and creamy and sweetened to your liking (about 2 minutes).
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and stir to blend.
- Add a tablespoon of milk if icing is too thick to spread on cake.
- Frost cake when fully cooled. If you are not using the frosting immediately, store it, covered, in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature just prior to using.
- Using a long bread knife, cut the cake half.
- If you want the white layer of frosting in the middle, add the red food coloring after you frost the middle or before if you want pink icing in the middle. Add frosting to the bottom cake layer. Put top cake layer on.
- Spread frosting evenly on top of the cake. Put some frosting on the sides and then remove it with a spreader or knife.
- Add strawberries as shown in picture.
- Add sprinkles in the middle of the cake up to the strawberries.
- Draw a heart with the red decorating gel in the middle. Tip: Leave an imprint on the cake with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and then trace it with gel. Or, fold a piece of paper and draw a half heart, open cut it and use that to trace.
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