Seriously, I cannot think of a better way to say, " I love you!" I don't know about you, but I believe chocolate and strawberry were made to go together and these little cakes are a perfect example of that!
The cakes start with a boxed cake mix. Why not? The assembly process is a little time consuming with these lovelies, so any way you can make life easier is a go in my book! If you want to step up your game with the cake, you can make a strawberry puree by blending up about a cup of fresh strawberries and replacing some of the water called for in the boxed cake mix with the puree...but that it totally up to you! Once prepared and baked according to the directions on the box, the cake is completely cooled and cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter to create the mini heart cakes.
Assembling the heart cakes:
After the cakes are all cut out and cooled, it's time to make the cream filling. This is a very old recipe that I have been making for years. We call it "cooked frosting" in my family. But, it's a light and fluffy, not too sweet frosting that also makes a great filling. It's made with flour and granulated sugar, as opposed to traditional buttercream frosting that's made with powdered sugar. One word of warning...you MUST use real butter in this filling recipe! It will not be the correct texture if you make it with any kind of butter substitutes.
OK..you've been warned!
While it's not hard to make, this filling recipe does take quite a bit of mixing to come together. I highly suggest using a stand mixer if you have one. If you don't, that's ok too. You can use a hand mixer, but it will be a little more work. You will probably have extra filling left over once your cakes are assembled. You can store this in the fridge and use it up on something else later. It should keep for about a week in an airtight container.
Did I mention it tastes DELICIOUS?
Next step in the assembly process is putting the filling in the cakes. While spreading the filling onto the cakes is an option, putting it into a piping bag or a plastic bag with the bottom tip cut off is creates a better looking cake, in my opinion. Plus, I think it's so much easier than spreading it onto the heart-shaped cake.
The last step is the chocolate topping. Making the chocolate topping is so easy! I used chocolate chips here, but you can chop up your favorite chocolate and use that instead if you want. You can put as much or as little topping as you like on the cakes. I had a little bit of topping left after I covered these cakes. I dipped some strawberries in it to finish it up. It was a yummy snack!
Mini Chocolate Covered Strawberry Heart Cakes
Boxed strawberry cake mix is transformed into cream-filled heart-shaped cakes topped with a rich chocolate ganache
- 5 TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (can be any fat content)
- 1 box of strawberry cake mix (any brand), plus ingredients to make cake
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 - 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Fresh strawberries for garnish, if desired
- Start the cream filling by whisking 5 TBS. all purpose flour into milk in a small sauce pan. Heat over med heat, stirring often, until thick. You want it quite thick. Almost to the point where a spoon is hard to run through it. Take off heat and set aside to cool. (I transferred the mixture into a small bowl and placed in the refrigerator to cool).
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Spray a half-sheet pan (with sides) 18" x 13"with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment. Heat oven to temperature called for on cake mix box.
- Pour prepared cake mix into prepared half sheet pan and bake in oven for 15- 20 minutes or until cake it done. Allow to cool completely in pan.
- Once cake is completely cool, run knife around edges and flip cake onto large board or a large sheet of parchment on the counter. Peel off bottom parchment from the cake. With a 3" (widest part of cutter) heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts and place on wire rack. I was able to get approx. 26 hearts out of the cake. (Save cake scraps to make quick triffles!)
- Finish making the Cream Filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the vanilla, butter, salt, and granulated sugar. Beat well until the sugar is completely incorporated into the butter. This will take about 5 minutes or so. You won't have all the graininess of the sugar out, but most of it. To the butter mixture, beat in the COMPLETELY COOLED flour/milk mixture. Beat well, until the filling comes together and gets fluffy like whipped cream. Place in piping bag or plastic bag with end snipped for easy spreading.
- Assemble the cakes, line a large sheet pan with foil, parchment or waxed paper. Place one COMPLETELY COOLED heart cake onto the pan, leaving space between each one. Pipe a good amount of filling onto each heart. (You will probably be left with extra filling once you get all the hearts topped. You can save it for another cake project or for cupcakes. I didn't use all the filling in these cakes I made) Place another heart cake on top of the filling to make a cake-sandwich. Place in refrigerator while you make the chocolate topping.
- To make the chocolate topping, heat 1 cup heavy cream in microwave until warm. (1 - 1 1/2 min on HIGH did the trick for me). Place chocolate chips in med bowl and pour warm cream on top. Let sit for 1 - 2 minutes to allow chocolate to soften. With a whisk, combine all the chocolate into the cream until you get a thick syrupy sauce. Take the cakes from the fridge and spoon chocolate topping over each cake, allowing it to drip down sides.
- Garnish cakes with sliced strawberries, if desired. Place cakes in back in refrigerator to allow chocolate topping to set. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.
Prep Time: 01 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 20 mins.
Aren't these cakes just adorable? My family gave them rave reviews! Give them a try and present them to someone you love this year!
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