Like many people, I dislike the day of obligatory love (aka Valentine’s Day). In my brain, it falls into the same category of stress/unnecessary pressure that New Year’s Eve, or even a birthday places on someone. If you’re not with someone during those holidays, it just underscores your loneliness. Or maybe your awesomeness, I don’t know your life haha. For me, it is just an additional source of anxiety, for a person who can be prone to anxiousness.
That said, I pretty much will embrace any occasion that calls for cake and prettiness, at least at the superficial level of what’s on my menu. So while I and the boy did a low-key dinner and movie at home, I definitely took the excuse to make something sugary, twee, and valentine-centric to enjoy.
The week leading up to Valentine’s Day meant that social media was chockfull with ideas for such creations, and a particular one on posted by Ashley Brooke Designs caught my eye – a heart-shaped iced cake with Drake lyrics. Best idea ever right? Called my mom, asked to borrow her tins to make . . . and then cue to my despair that most grocery stores/ michaels/ targets appear to no longer stock those delicious sugar letters. Despair because of course, I have waited until the evening before February 14th to collect all materials. Which meant even Amazon prime couldn’t save me haha.
However, when I picked the full-size tins up from my mother, she passed along some mini heart tins that she had from long ago (read: a 40-year-old wedding gift). Solution!
A stacked mini-heart cake wrapped in a sprinkle layer. Because I’m terrible (and new at blogging) I failed to take more than one picture of the process:
But, here’s the proud finished product:
I need to be less lazy on the piping, but overall, pretty easy (despite looking complex).
Sprinkle Heart Cakelet
Ingredients & Materials:
- Box Cake Mix (and ingredients it requires – i.e. the eggs, water, and oil, etc.)
- Frosting (I used vanilla as the crumb coat, and chocolate for outer coat/layers, but you can just use whatever your preference is)
- Rainbow Sprinkles
- Food Dye (optional – if you want other colors besides white or brown)
- Mini Heart Cake Molds (I couldn’t find tins like the ones I had, but here are comparable silicon ones)
Here’s the thing. Cakes made from scratch are wonderful. And I tip my hat to those who can produce an amazing tasting cake, that is spongey and moist, from scratch. But sometimes, the box cake mix is just the easiest, most fail-safe option. Especially when you’re pressed for time. Which I feel like, most of us are, amiright?
For my particular cake and preferences, I went with yellow cake and chocolate icing. Follow directions (or make your cake base form your chosen recipe), pop in oven, make sure they don’t burn/overcook. You will have a decent amount of batter left over – the childlike part of me that is full of terrible ideas fleetingly contemplated just eating the remaining cake batter for dinner. The more responsible inside voice (i.e. the part of me that pays my taxes, contributes to my 401k and just generally looks out for future BG versus right now BG) prevailed and I used mine to make cupcakes for the office, but it can be used to make a second 3-layer cake or the like.
How do you tell if cake is done? You can eyeball it pretty well (look for the batter to look like cake, i.e. not batter, rounded dome, etc), but also the toothpick test is pretty tried and true (stick toothpick in the middle, if it pulls out clean, you’re good to go).
Once the cakes are fully cooked, let them cool a little and then carefully pop them out of the pan/mold to let them finish cooling. To remove, just run a knife around the edges of the mold, place the cooling rack or plate on top, and then flip the mold upside down. If you’re using a plate, make sure you flip it back to right side up using another plate, otherwise you run the risk of the less-dense top sticking to the plate, and ending up with a crater from an irregular air-bubble.
Once cakes are cooled, time for a crumb coat! This is the step that makes the icing that everyone sees infinitely easier/prettier. To prep your cakes for this step, use a bread knife to remove the tops of the cake (i.e. make a level surface for each layer to stack upon). Next, use whatever icing you are going to put between the layers (chocolate for me). Once the cakes are stacked, do a quick crumb coat (Wilton does a great tutorial), and then put your cake in fridge for about a half hour so everything firms up.
After the crumb coat step is completed, put the final frosting layer on, and then pop back into your fridge to set that layer. (I know, so many tiresome fridge-pop ins. But it makes the steps much quicker/less messy).
Finally – the part that makes the cake look so damn impressive – the sprinkle layer. I googled around, watched a couple of youtube videos that show various techniques (here and here). I found that for my skill level (middling beginner with a few tricks up her sleeve), and the size of my cake, the easiest method was to do it by hand. Afterward, I decided I wanted the top to be a solid light pink, so I mixed some vanilla frosting with the smallest amount of red dye, and used an icing gun to fill the top/do an edging.
Once done, I used a spatula to put the cakelet on a glass cake stand, and chilled until dinner that evening =)
All images © 2016 Bagels & Oysters.