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Learn how to make Mini Ombre Cakes, a petite treat that’s fun, easy, and affordable to create! Then, customize them with chocolate word cake toppers!
I’m officially in Valentine’s Day mode over here, and I think my love for all things pink and red has reached a pinnacle with these pretty Mini Ombre Cakes. Seriously, how cute are they?
My favorite way to treat family and friends for the sweetest of holidays is with a yummy treat, and these adorable little cakes might just be my all-time favorite Valentine’s Day project. They’re not just cute, they’re also so easy to make and super affordable, too. Win-win-win!
Today, I’m going to show you how to make Mini Ombre Cakes that you can customize with chocolate word cake toppers. They’re perfect for surprising someone special, whether that’s a significant other, a best friend, or your kids!
Before we even talk about the recipe for these Mini Ombre Cakes though, I’ll let you in on my secret for making these petite cakes so affordable: I found everything I needed for the recipe at 99 Cents Only!
From the cake mix to the frosting to the dark chocolate, I found it all at the 99. They even had cake pans for baking and pink napkins and heart shaped doilies for serving. And I got it all for under $10 dollars!
I love stopping by the 99, because there is always something new and exciting to discover, and I know that I’ll find all of my favorite name brands at a price that truly can’t be beat. I’m a total bargain hunter, so wandering the aisles makes me feel like a kid on a treasure hunt in a candy store. They even have fresh, affordable produce. You truly never know what you’ll find when you do the 99!
Th Valentine’s Day selection particularly caught my eye, and I found everything I needed to celebrate the day! I spied tons of budget-friendly goodies, from gift bags and candy to cute baskets and other fun supplies, like stickers and ribbon, that were just begging to star in a fun DIY project. Everything I bought was just 99 cents, except for my favorite deal, pink napkins I found in the clearance section for just 25 cents. Score!
Once I stocked up on budget friendly Valentine’s Day goodies and baking supplies at the 99, I headed home to bake these cute cakes. So let’s talk about how to make Mini Ombre Cakes the easy and affordable way.
It all starts with the cake. Make sure to use a vanilla (white) cake mix, otherwise the color of the cake mix will affect the colors of your layers. Simply follow the package directions to prepare the batter, then measure the batter and divide it evenly between three bowls. I had four cups of batter, so I added 1 1/3 cups to each bowl. That way, each of the cake layers will be the same height.
Next, you’ll add red food coloring to color the batter light, medium, and dark pink. I recommend starting with the darkest batter first, since you need to most food coloring to achieve a deep color. Add a little bit of food coloring at a time, and stir really well before adding more. You’ll probably only need a drop or two for the lightest batter.
After you’ve perfected the colors, bake the batter in three nine-inch cake pans. Then, once the cake has cooled, use a 2.5-inch circle cutter to cut out the mini cake layers. You should be able to get seven circles from each nine-inch cake layer. (Tip: save the leftover cake scraps to make cake pops; check my desserts archives for a recipe.)
The trickiest part of this recipe is definitely the chocolate word cake toppers, but even they’re not that bad … promise! I melted a dark chocolate candy bar I found at the 99, then transferred the chocolate to a pastry bag with a small round tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a zip top bag with a little bit of the corner snipped off instead.
A template makes things easier, so write out the words you want to use for the chocolate word cake toppers on a piece of paper. Simpler words and shapes (XOXO, KISS, BFF, LOVE, initials, hearts, etc.) are easier to work with. Then, slip the paper into a clear zip top bag and trace over the words with the melted chocolate. After you’ve covered the outside of the bag, carefully remove the paper and insert it into a new zip top bag to create more toppers.
It takes a little practice, but one bar of chocolate is enough to create lots of chocolate word cake toppers. So even if you mess up (I sure did a few times!), you’ll have plenty of chocolate left to try, try again! When you’re done, pop the chocolate into your freezer to firm it up.
Once your toppers and cake layers are ready, it’s time to assemble the Mini Ombre Cakes! Make sure to use a generous amount of frosting to create contrast between the layers, and work your way up from darkest to lightest.
The finishing touch is adding those fun chocolate word cake toppers! Press them into the frosting just enough so they’ll stand up straight. Keep in mind that chocolate is fragile and melts easily, so work quickly and carefully.
Now that you know how to make Mini Ombre Cakes, it’s time to treat someone special for Valentine’s Day!
- 1 box vanilla cake mix (plus ingredients to prepare mix)
- red food coloring
- 1 (3.25-oz.) bar dark chocolate
- 3 (10-oz.) containers cream cheese frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray three 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray or butter, then lightly coat with flour. Set aside.
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions.
- Measure batter, then divide it into 3 equal portions in 3 separate bowls.
- Add varying amounts of food coloring to each bowl to create light, medium, and dark pink batter.
- Transfer batter to cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove cake pans from oven. Let cool stightly, then remove cake layers from pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While cake is cooling, chop chocolate into pieces and place in a small bowl. Microwave 20 seconds at a time, stirring well in between, until chocolate is melted.
- Transfer chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip or a zip top bag with the corner snipped off.
- Using a 2.5-inch circle cutter as a width guide, write the words you'd like to use on a piece of paper, then slide the paper into a zip top bag. Place the bag on a baking sheet (or another flat surface).
- Trace over the words with the melted chocolate.
- Transfer the baking sheet to your freezer to harden the chocolate.
- Once the cake layers have cooled completely, use the 2.5-inch cutter to cut each cake layer into 7 circles.
- Cover a dark colored circle generously with frosting, then add a medium colored circle, and add more frosting. Finish with a light colored layer, topping with more frosting.
- Use the flat side of a knife to remove excess frosting from the sides of the cake.
- Carefully push the chocolate words into the frosting on the cake tops.
- Serve cakes immediately or store in a cool place. Enjoy!
Make sure to visit the 99 Cents Only website for ideas and inspiration and to find your local store! Before you head to the 99 for everything you need to make these adorable Mini Ombre Cakes, check out this Facebook video to see how they can help you get ready for your next party, then follow the 99 on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter for even more inspo!