Ah, mending a broken heart… There are so many reasons someone may want a mended heart cake. Maybe they just got back together with a long lost love, or they have found some deep emotional healing, or perhaps they are celebrating because they beat heart disease or survived a heart event. Whatever the case may be, I want to share with you this very unique mended heart cake tutorial as well as my reason for making it. In this post, I will share:
- Why I designed this mended heart cake
- How I mixed my red buttercream and iced my cake for a flawless cake canvas
- Creating buttercream the right consistency for sculpting
- Creating a sculpted buttercream broken heart
- Mending the heart
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.
Why a Mended Heart Cake?
I wanted to make a cake to help raise awareness for a little known heart disease that hits very close to home for me. One that needs more awareness surrounding it because too many mothers to be or new mothers are not being taken seriously by their doctors and it’s costing some of these women their lives.
Something Wasn’t Right
Just three days after giving birth to my son and after an entire pregnancy trying to convince my doctors that something wasn’t right, I found myself gasping for air, barely able to get out a sentence, with a sense of doom hanging over me.
After a trip to the emergency room, I was diagnosed with the disease I had questioned my doctors about 3 times during my pregnancy and 1 time after I had my baby. I had Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. I was in heart failure.
My doctors had missed it. Not only had they missed the signs, they didn’t listen to me when I continuously tried to tell them that something was wrong. I have met many other women who have been diagnosed with PPCM through the internet, and the majority of them have very similar stories of doctors not listening to them.
I urge you to trust yourself, know your body, and demand prompt attention when you feel like it is needed. An OB told me that I was a squeaky wheel and that very well may have saved me. Don’t be afraid to speak up!
The broken heart on my cake represents this part of my PPCM story. I did not share my story in detail, but you can read my experience in detail here. And take the time to learn more about PPCM and share it with the women and doctors in your lives. Especially if you or someone you know is an expecting mother.
The more people that know the symptoms and are aware, the less damage that this disease can cause and the less lives it can take.
I am so grateful to share that God gave me the gift of my heart healing completely with only heart meds. If caught early enough, this can be the outcome for many PPCM patients, rather than continued heart failure, disability, or death.
My heart was completely healed and whole 6 months after diagnosis. I am thankful to God everyday for his mercy and for Him giving me the nerve to stand up for myself and not give up when doctors kept telling me that I was fine.
The gold rods stitching the heart together is a representation of God healing and mending my heart. This representation is similar to Kintsugi, the Japenese art of repairing pottery with metallic making the repaired piece more beautiful than it was before it was broken.
I believe that as we walk through traumatic experiences clinging to God, he transforms our hearts and minds. When we come out on the other side, we turn out more beautiful, wise, and mature than we were before walking through that fire.
Unique Mended Heart Cake Tutorial
Now that we know why I chose to make a mended heart cake, it’s time to get down to how to make it!
Creating the Cake Canvas
The first thing you need for this unique mended heart cake tutorial is a nice, deep red buttercream. One of my biggest money saving tips is to mix your own buttercream colors. I’ll start by telling you that I didn’t use any red food coloring. I used Americolor Electric Pink, along with a touch of Americolor Lemon Yellow, and some cocoa powder.
I will be sharing my red color recipe on the blog very soon! If you want it before it is available on the blog, be sure to follow me on Instagram. I release my color recipes there first!
The key to getting deep red buttercream is leaving it overnight to develop. If you don’t have the time to do that, I suggest microwaving your buttercream for just a few second (about 10), mixing it thouroughly, and then sitting it on the counter to cool back to room temperature. Once it cools, it will likely have some seperation. No worries, just stir it up again and it’s ready to go!
Now it’s time to ice the cake! For this, you will need some basics for cake decorating. Check out my Beginner’s Guide for Inexpensive Cake Decorating Supplies under $25! I start by using those supplies to cover my cake with red buttercream and get nice, sharp edges.
How to Prepare Your Buttercream for Sculpting
There are 2 elements of this cake that make it so unique. The first is the sculpted buttercream. I first saw this technique on instagram and was able to put it into practice during a collaboration hosted by @funkybatter and @wildchildcakes where we all created sculpted buttercream cakes. Many of us, including me, were trying it for the first time. Since then, it has become on of my favorite cake decorating techniques!
Some decorators choose to sculpt with their regular buttercream, I find it hard to sculpt with my buttercream as is. It tends to be too thin to hold its shape. For me, it is easier to work with when it has been thickened up a bit. To thicken up my buttercream for sculpting, I simply stir in some powdered sugar until I like the consistency.
How to Create a Sculpted Buttercream Broken Heart
After you have your sclupting consistency buttercream, you are ready to sculpt! First, you will start by tracing an outline of your broken heart. You can freehand this, but I did not! I cut out a broken heart on wax paper, applied it to the front of my cake, and traced it with a toothpick.
Next, you will begin to apply the thickened buttercream inside of the shape that you traced. I like to use a small palette knife to do this, but you can even use a butter knife. I like to place my cake in the freezer periodically for just 2-5 minutes to harden up the buttercream that I have applies to the cake. In my opinion, it is easier to build up the sculpture if what I have already applied has hardened a bit.
Finally, once you have the basic structure built up, you can use your finger (with clean hands, of course!) to smooth the buttercream. The warmth of your hands help to melt the buttercream just enough to smooth out any bumps and imperfections. During this step, I also like to take a toothpick and add any small details and clean up the edges.
Mending the Broken Heart Cake
After you have sculpted the broken heart, it is time to mend it! First, break off small sections of spaghetti noodles and carefully insert them between the two heart pieces. You can use tweezers for this, but I prefer to use clean scissors. That may seem strange, but I feel like I can get in smaller spaces with them.
You can arrange your noodles any way that you like. I like the look of the golden bars angles in all different directions, but if you like a cleaner look, you can have them all even spaced and perfectly horizontal.
When your noodles are in place, get your gold dust mixture ready. I like to use Pharoah’s Gold Dust and I mix it with just a few drops of vodka. You can also mix it with a clear vanilla extract if you would prefer not to use alcohol. Now that your gold mixture is ready, you can paint the noodles gold. I like to use the smallest paint brush from these food safe paintbrushes by Wilton.
If you would like to see how I photographed the cake as well, you can check out my Cheap Cake Photography Hacks.
Unique Mended Heart Cake
- red buttercream
- extra powdered sugar
- spaghetti noodles
- edible gold dust
- Frost your cake with your deep red buttercream
- Create your sculpting buttercream by mixing a few tablespoons of buttercream with extra powdered sugar until you get the consistency that you prefer. (This is an optional step.)
- Trace an outline of the broken heart onto the front of the cake.
- Begin adding the sculpting buttercream inside of the broken heart shape that you traced. You will build this up by periodically chilling the cake in the freezer for 2-5 minutes, then adding more buttercream until you get the desired shape.
- Once you have the desired shape, use your clean fingers to smooth out the buttercream and use a toothpick to add details or sharpen edges to acheive the broken heart look that you want.
- Break off small pieces of spaghetti noodles and insert them between the two broken heart pieces.
- Paint the spaghetti noodle pieces with edible gold dust.
I hope you enjoyed this cake design tutorial. If you make this cake design or one inspired by it, please be sure to tag me on social media. I would love to see what you create!