The pop of colour from the red heart in the centre of this loaf is a lovely surprise when sharing with family or friends.
1 loaf Preparation time: 40 minutes Freezing time: 40 minutes Baking time: 45-50 minutes
(Make 2 batches* – see below) 120 g butter
250 ml (1 c) sugar
5 ml (1 t) vanilla essence 2 extra-large eggs
500 ml (2 c) cake flour
10 ml (2 t) baking powder
1 ml (¼ t) salt
125 ml (½ c) milk* about 25 drops red food
375 ml (1½ c) icing sugar about 40 ml milk
5 ml (1 t) melted butter 2 ml (½ t) vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 190 °C. Grease a baking sheet and medium loaf tin with margarine or butter and dust with flour.
1 Butter cake (first batch* of batter for the red hearts in centre of loaf) Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the vanilla essence and add the eggs, one at a time.
2 Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and fold into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Add the food colouring and mix well. Turn the batter onto the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and freeze for 40 minutes until firm. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter.
3 Prepare a second batch* of batter to make the rest of the loaf, adding an extra 125 ml (½ c) milk, but omitting the food colouring.
4 Pour enough batter into the loaf tin to cover the bottom. Pack the red hearts tightly together in a single row down the middle of the loaf tin, points facing up. Carefully pour the remaining batter over and around the hearts.
5 Bake for 25 minutes or until done. Cover the cake with a wooden board if the tips of the hearts protrude through. Cool then turn out on a cake stand.
6 Icing Mix the ingredients until smooth. Pour over the cake and leave to set.