Contributed by Stephie Predmore, blogger and recipe developer
These creme-filled, heart-shaped cakes are a homemade version of the beloved seasonal Little Debbie “Be My Valentine” Cakes.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves! Are you doing anything to celebrate today? New husband and I stayed in last year and made a nice dinner. Nothing too crazy – mostly because neither of us was willing to brave the Valentine’s Day dinner crowds, particularly on a weekend night. Yikes. We may do the same this year!
I’m having a hard time knowing what to tell you about these little cakes, mostly because I think you are probably familiar with them already. Certainly you have encountered the Little Debbie “Be My Valentine” Cakes – or the non-seasonal version, Zebra Cakes – at some point in your life. Even if you make it a point not to eat overly-processed foods (and I think we can all agree that Little Debbie snack cakes do fall into that category), you have likely seen them around. Heck, your kids may have brought them home after a school holiday party. When I was growing up, these snack cakes were always the primary snack contribution of at least one room mom for class parties.
You probably know about creme filling, sandwiched between two layers of yellow cake. I’m sure you know about the pink icing coating and the white icing swirls. It would be hard to not know that just one of these little things will give you a sugar high for days. Proceed with caution. But what you might not know is that this homemade version is about 90 times better than the original. The cake is moist, not dry. The creme filling uses ingredients that you probably have on hand, nothing mysterious (bet you can’t guess the secret ingredient!). Don’t get me wrong – these homemade cakes are still not a health food, but you can at least feel better knowing exactly what ingredients are going into them. And besides, anything that you make with love is infinitely better tasting than a shelf-stable cake sold in a plastic wrapper.
Your valentine will love them (and you). If you want to see my recipe and the full article posted on Foodfanatic.com please do! http://www.foodfanatic.com/recipes/little-debbie-valentine-cakes-recipe/
• 1/2 homemade yellow cake mix, about 3 1/2 cups
• 1/2 cup water, plus 2 tablespoons
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
• 2 1/3 cups white chocolate chips, divided
• 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, plus 1/2 teaspoon
• red food coloring
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13×9-inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, water, and egg with an electric beater until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading out until smooth. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
3. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before gently removing from the pan. Finish cooling on a rack.
4. Once cake is cool, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out an even number of hearts.
5. In a small bowl, beat together the softened butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla for the filling with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the ricotta cheese and beat until smooth and fluffy.
6. Spread half of the heart shapes with the filling, topping with the other half of the hearts. Putting the top sides of the hearts together (so the bottom of each cake is on the outside) will give the finished cakes a more polished look.
7. Place cakes in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, melt 2 cups of the white chocolate with ¼ cup of the shortening in a medium bowl on high for 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each interval, just until melted. Stir in food coloring, one drop at a time, until you reach the desired color.
9. Remove the chilled cakes from the refrigerator. To coat, place a cake in the bowl with the white chocolate. Use a spoon to pour the coating over the cakes. Use two forks to lift the cakes out of the bowl, letting the excess drip off before setting on a piece of parchment paper until set.
10. For the white swirls, melt the remaining white chocolate with the remaining ½ teaspoon of shortening. Pour into a zip-top bag, then cut a small corner off the bag. Drizzle the white chocolate onto the top of the cakes in a swirl pattern.
11. Store cakes in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to serving.
This recipe is posted on Stephie Cooks http://stephiecooks.com/2014/02/14/homemade-be-my-valentine-cakes/
Visit Stephie’s blog at http://stephiecooks.com/about/ for more great recipes!