With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to put your heart into planning for those parties. Some of my favorite sweet treats, which can also serve as table decorations, are made by baking small cakes in the shape of hearts and decorating them in various ways.
I have a cake pan that contains six heart-shaped indentations for baking little cakes, and have also used heart-shaped Jello molds. Another option is to bake a fairly thin sheet cake and cut the hearts out with heart-shaped cookie cutters.
Since these little cakes, and especially if they are cut-outs, are rather difficult to ice, I would suggest freezing them before trying to ice them. They can be frozen on a cookie sheet, then removed from the freezer one at a time for icing. Since they will sweat as they warm up, it would be best to ice them several hours before decorating them in order to allow time for them to dry.
If you choose to use regular decorator’s icing such as buttercream, be sure it isn’t thick enough to tear the cake as you smooth it on.
Another way to ice the cakes that wouldn’t require freezing would be to cover the entire top of the cakes with icing stars or shells, and cover the sides with up-and-down zig-zags made with a star tip. Then the tops could be decorated with drop flowers or sprinkles.
Another option is to use fondant icing, which makes a wonderfully smooth, shiny surface on which to put your decorative touches. One word of caution: working with fondant icing takes a bit of practice, so you might want to try it ahead of time. Also, small batches of the fondant icing are more difficult to work with than a full recipe.
I am attaching a picture of a small heart cake on which I used fondant icing and decorated with buttercream. The entire top and sides of the cake were covered with fondant, but I wanted to use a ruffle which, unfortunately, covered up the sides. While most cooks won’t care to use as much frosting to decorate as I did, I like the looks of the ruffle around the sides of the heart. This is accomplished by using a rose tip, such as #104, with the wide end at the top, just touching the sides of the heart. The ruffle is made by moving the tip up and down as you move around the heart. It just takes a little practice.
If you don’t have a buttercream icing recipe that you like, and you would like to try mine, please see my article “Unique Cupcakes for Halloween or Thanksgiving.” My recipe for Burroughs Buttercream is included in that article. If you choose to try the fondant icing, you should go ahead and thinly ice your cakes with buttercream and allow it to dry before pouring on the fondant.
Below is a recipe for fondant icing:
Combine in a saucepan the following ingredients:
6 cups powdered sugar
One-half (1/2) cup water
2 tablespoons light Karo or other corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 drop of liquid or paste color, if desired. If a deeper shade is desired, add 1 drop at a time and mix well.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till the mixture reaches 92 degrees F. Do not overheat as this will make the fondant too hard. This mixture should be thin enough to pour but thick enough to cover the top of the cake. After removing from heat source, stir it a little to check for consistency, then pour onto cakes which have been set on a wire rack over a pan to catch the fondant that runs over. By pouring in a generous stream, first spiraling around the cake top from the middle and then around the top edge of the sides, the cakes can be completely covered. Any icing dripping into the pan below the wire rack can be reheated and used on other cakes. Touch up sides with a spatula or thin knife if necessary. Allow to cool completely before decorating.