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Cooking Through "The Baker's Man": Hidden Heart Pound Cake

During the month of February, the bakery in Mystic Water becomes a whirlwind of crimson hearts, iridescent sugar pearls, and dark chocolate candies. The wind carries the scent of melting sugar, and the air sparkles like tossed pink confetti.

The townsfolk come into Bea’s Bakery looking for what only Anna can bake, and they leave with boxes and bags full of treats that will lighten their hearts, put a spring in their steps, and renew hope in their dreams.

One of Mystic Water’s February favorites is Anna’s Hidden Heart Pound Cake. People will tell you that love is blind, but Anna’s pound cake will open your eyes to new possibilities. After one bite, you’ll see opportunities where you used to see misfortune, and after one piece, you’ll find love in unlikely places. Go ahead and eat the whole thing and see what happens.

Hidden Heart Pound Cake

Serves: 12

Level of Difficulty: Somewhat challenging


For the cake:

2 (16 oz) boxes Betty Crocker Pound Cake mix

½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, softened

4 eggs, divided

1 ⅓ c milk, divided

red food coloring

For the icing:

1 ½ c powdered sugar

2 ½ tbsp milk

1 tsp unsalted butter, melted

¼ tsp vanilla

⅛ tsp salt

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9×5-inch (or 8x4-inch) loaf pan with cooking spray.

  2. Prepare your first pound cake: combine 1 box of cake mix, ¼ cup (½ stick) softened butter, 2 eggs, and ⅔ cup milk in a large bowl. Mix together with an electric mixer.

  3. Add in your food coloring until you reach the desired redness.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes less than instructed on box (depending on the size pan you use).

  5. Let cool, remove from pan, and refrigerate for 6 hours or freeze for 4 hours.

  6. Cut cold cake into slices the thickness of your cookie cutter. Cut heart shapes from the slices. Set aside.

  7. Prepare your second box of pound cake mix the same as the first, except omit the food coloring.

  8. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour just barely enough batter to cover the bottom

  9. Align your heart cutouts down the center, keeping them tightly together.

  10. Poor the remaining batter over the heart cutouts in the pan, making sure to cover the sides and tops.

  11. Bake according to the directions on the box, approximately 1 hour. Let cool.

  12. In a medium bowl, mix all of your icing ingredients together until combined and creamy.

  13. Add more powdered sugar if it appears too runny or more milk if it seems too stiff, until you reach the consistency you like.

  14. Remove baked and cooled pound cake from pan and top with icing.

  15. Let set for 15 minutes.

  16. Cut into twelve slices and enjoy!

The Baker's Man can be purchased in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. It's also available for purchase through Barnes & Noble, Apple, KOBO, and other major retailers.

Adapted from Very Culinary

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