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Learn how to make Mini Ombre Cakes, a petite treat that's fun, easy, and affordable to create! Then, customize your Mini Cakes with chocolate word cake toppers!
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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 mini cakes might just be my all-time favorite Valentine's Day project.
They're not just cute though, they're also so easy to make and super affordable, too. Win-win-win!
Mini Ombre Cakes
Today, I'm going to show you how to make Mini Ombre Cakes that you can customize with chocolate word cake toppers.
They're much easier to make than you'd think, and they're perfect for surprising someone special, whether that's a significant other, a best friend, or your kids!
I created this mini cake recipe for Valentine's Day, but you can easily change up the colors for other holidays and occasions. Check out these St. Patrick's Day Mini Ombre Cakes and Red, White, and Blue Mini Cakes for more inspo!
If you are looking for fun cakes to make, it doesn't get much better than these sweet small cakes! So are you ready to get baking?
How to Make Mini Cakes
It all starts with the cake. To keep things as simple as possible, I used a cake mix for this mini cake recipe.
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 ⅓ 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.
I love this Wilton Gel Food Coloring. The colors are very concentrated which makes getting vibrant colors easy. I like to add it to the batter with a toothpick for lots of control.
After you've perfected the colors, bake the batter in three nine-inch cake pans. No need to purchase special mini 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 my easy cake pops.)
To assemble the cakes, you'll start with the darkest layer on the bottom and the lightest layers on the top.
Spread a generous amount of frosting between each cake round. This will create contrast between the layers.
When you're done, run the flat edge of a knife around the outside of the cake. The knife will remove the excess frosting, making your mini cakes look nice and neat.
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, 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.
The finishing touch for these mini cakes 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!
Mini Ombre Cakes
- nonstick spray
- 1 box vanilla cake mix (plus ingredients to prepare mix: eggs, oil, etc.)
- 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!
Love these Mini Cakes?
If you liked this pink ombre cakes, I think you'll love these other mini dessert ideas, too:
- Easy Cake Pop Tutorial (perfect for using up your cake scraps)
- Mini Fruit Pizza Cookies
- St. Patrick's Day Mini Ombre Cakes
- Heart Sandwich Cookies
- Mini Strawberry Shortcakes
- Red, White, and Blue Mini Cakes
What is your favorite Valentine's Day treat?
P.S. You can check out all of my Valentine's Day ideas here!