Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY Homemade Little Debbie Be My Valentine's Cakes

Yay, it's February, bring on the heart related stuff!

I may have a slight obsession with hearts- my birthday is on Valentine's Day, do you blame me?

The downfall of the heart obsession is my weakness for Little Debbie Be My Valentine cakes.  When I lived in Japan, I would get so excited to receive a box of them as a birthday gift from home.

I have been thinking about attempting to make a homemade version for quite some time now.  Yesterday, I had three sick kids, so there wasn't a whole lot going on around here, so I finally made them!

The Little Debbie cakes have become quite a favorite of my oldest son.  When I was done, I called him over to show him them. His response : "Wow Mom, they look really good, but um don't you think it kind of makes you look like a copy cat?"  Ha ha.  After eating them, he decided mine were really delicious and he likes them better.

The pink chocolate doesn't taste quite the same as Little Debbie's, but homemade is always better- you know what ingredients you put in.  I searched for a recipe to follow, and I found one of a homemade zebra cake, so I used the filling recipe only from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Be My Valentine Cakes:

Cake- use your favorite vanilla cake recipe (box or from scratch)- I used this one, but I only used half batch

Filling:
1/4 cup shortening (crisco)
1/8 cup marshmallow fluff
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1-2 TBSP half and half

Shell:
1 14 oz bag pink melting chocolates
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
canola oil

1) Preheat oven to 350' for cake.  Make cake according to recipe you are using.  Grease and flour a rimmed cookie sheet (2 if using a full cake batch).  ( I made half batch of the cake recipe, so the filling amounts and shell amounts shown are for a half batch of cake.  If using a boxed cake, you need to double the filling and shell amounts).


2) Spread cake batter into cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

3) Let cake cool completely.  While it is cooling, prepare the filling.

4) For the filling, mix together the shortening, fluff, and vanilla.  Add confectioner's sugar and beat until combined.  Add in half and half, beat until light and fluffy.  If necessary, add in a tiny bit more half and half.

5) Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut heart shaped pieces of cake and set them on a platter.  Try to cut an even number of shapes.

6) Once cooled, spread filling on tops of half of the hearts.  Place remaining hearts on top to create a "sandwich".  Set the filled hearts on a platter and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

7) Place the pink chocolates in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, repeat, until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Add a few teaspoons of oil - I used canola- to thin it out and make it appear smoother when dipping the hearts.

8) Remove heart cakes from the refrigerator.  Place a heart in the bowl of melted chocolate, using a spoon, pour the chocolate over the top of the heart and let it run down the sides.  Smooth it with the back of the spoon.  Using a fork, lift the heart from the bottom, and take it out of the bowl, hold it in the air for a moment to let chocolate drip off.  Place the cake on waxed or parchment paper to let the chocolate harden.  (If during the process, the chocolate begins to harden in the bowl, remicrowave for 20 seconds, then mix.)

9) When all cakes are coated with pink chocolate, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds, then mix, continue until melted and smooth.  Place in a ziploc bag with the corner slightly cut off.  Squeeze white lines back and forth across the tops of the cakes.  Let it harden and enjoy!

Here's a little side by side comparison, which would you choose?





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