Homemade Little Debbie Heart Cakes

I can’t be the only one who gets hit by a wave of nostalgia whenever I see Little Debbie heart snack cakes get put on the shelves.

Back in elementary school, Valentine’s Day class parties were simply not complete without a box of these!

plate of Valentine's Day heart cakes

Taste Test

My sister, Mollie, is planning to throw a Valentine’s “class” party for our homeschooled nephews (read about it here!) So naturally I ran to the grocery store to pick up a box of Little Debbies!

I hadn’t tried these in years so I broke open a package to taste test….ya’ll. I would be lying if I said they didn’t taste like straight wax and chemicals mixed with sugar.

They’re from a box so I know I shouldn’t really expect more. But I REALLY wanted these to taste the way I remembered them in childhood.


pouring batter into sheet pan for little Debbie heart cakes
cutting little Debbie heart cakes with a heart shaped cookie cutter


1 batch of white wedding cake batter

1 batch marshmallow fluff buttercream

Ghirardelli white chocolate melting wafers (can use almond bark or chocolate chips but you will need to thin those much more with crisco or heavy cream)

Red dye

Crisco or heavy cream to thin chocolate

hand holding little Debbie heart cake unfrosted
cutting little Debbie heart cakes in half
little Debbie heart cakes unfrosted on counter

Cutting Little Debbie Heart Cakes

I baked the cake batter in a regular metal half sheet pan. I then cut them out using a small 1.5inch heart shaped cookie cutter. I then cut each of those cakes in half and filled with frosting. They turned out to be the exact height and size as the original Little Debbie heart cakes!

This honestly made A LOT of little cakes (like….3-4 dozen). This recipe can be easily halved by following a few tips below:

Half the batter and bake in a 1/4 metal sheet pan instead of the 1/2 sheet pan. If you only have a 1/2 metal sheet pan -no worries! You can just lessen the baking time. Your cake will be thinner so you can just skip the step above where we cut the hearts horizontally to fill with buttercream. They’ll be all ready to sandwich with buttercream once you cookie cut them!

Half the buttercream and chocolate coating recipe.

marshmallow fluff being added to a bowl of frosting
frosting little Debbie heart cake

Frosting the Heart Cakes

I used a marshmallow fluff buttercream! It was perfectly creamy and sweet!

Using a heavy duty ziplock with the tip cut off, I began piping a thin layer of frosting onto the bottom half of a heart cake. I then sandwiched the two halves together and put them on a lined baking sheet.

VERY IMPORTANT: Once you’re done sandwiching all your heart cakes together you need to freeze them before coating them in chocolate! This is vital to help the cakes not fall apart.

pouring chocolate over little Debbie heart cakes on a wire rack
picking up chocolate coated homemade little Debbie heart cake

Coating our Homemade Heart Cakes with Chocolate

I personally loved using the Wilton white candy melts while adding my own red dye so that I could fully control the color.

I thinned the candy melts with a little heavy cream, but you could also use crisco. Just be aware that by thinning the candy melts you heart cakes will be a little softer and not as “shell like”. I personally liked the softer coating. It makes it easier to bite and cut into!

I placed my chilled heart cakes on a wire rack and poured the melted chocolate on top. I picked them up with 2 forks and tried to tap off any excess chocolate. I placed them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Once I had several done, I placed the baking sheet into the fridge so they could harden. Next it was time to drizzle!

hand drizzling white chocolate on a homemade little Debbie heart cake
hand drizzling chocolate on a homemade little Debbie heart cake

Drizzling Homemade Little Debbie Heart Cakes

I used the same Wilton white chocolate wafters to drizzle the design on top. I thinned them with a little heavy cream, but I would probably thin them a bit more next time!

These don’t look perfect, but honestly, neither do the boxed Little Debbies! So I think we did pretty good!

hand holding homemade little Debbie heart cake
They turned out so cute!
Homemade is on top and original Little Debbie is below!

Final Thoughts

These Little Debbie copycat heart cakes were a HIT with the family. My nephews loved them at their little homeschooled “class” valentines day party!

I will be honest in saying these were VERY time consuming. Not something I’d make every all the time, but a very fun treat for this holiday!

plate of little Debbie heart cakes
homemade little Debbie heart cakes on plate

Homemade Little Debbie Heart Cakes

Print Recipe


  • 1/2 sheet pan
  • 1.5 in heart shaped cookie cutter
  • bowls
  • mixer
  • spatulas
  • 2 piping bags or heavy duty zip locks
  • parchment paper
  • wire rack


White Wedding Cake Batter

  • 1 box white Pillsbury cake mix can also use Kroger or HyVee Brand
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 C egg whites
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1/4 C Oil
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Marshmallow Buttercream

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 10 oz marshmallow fluff

Chocolate Coating

  • 48 oz Ghirardelli white melting wafers Divided
  • 4-6 Tbs heavy cream or crisco do not use butter
  • red food dye


White Wedding Cake Batter

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on low for 30 seconds to combine*
  • Scrape down sides of bowl. Then mix on medium high for 2-3 minutes.
  • Oil a 1/2 metal sheet pan and line the bottom with parchment paper
  • Pour batter into pan and tap out air bubbles
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • Let cool completely before attempting to cut out hearts

Marshmallow Buttercream

  • Beat butter and powdered sugar together for 1-2 minutes
  • Add in remaining ingredients and beat on medium for 3 more minutes
  • Place in piping back or heavy duty ziplock with tip cut off

Assembling Heart Cakes

  • Once cake is cooled, use heart cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  • Cut those hearts in half
  • Fill with marshmallow buttercream and sandwich halves back together.
  • Place filled hearts on a lined baking sheet and place in freezer for AT LEAST 30 minutes.

Chocolate Coating

  • Place about 2/3 of the candy melts into a heat proof bowl (the remainder will be used for the white drizzle!)**
  • Add crisco or heavy cream into bowl if a thinner consistency is desired*** start with a small amount
  • Heat according to instructions on the bag. Be careful not to overheat.
  • One drop at a time – add red food dye. Stirring well after each drop until desired color is achieved.
  • Place heart cakes on a wire rack with a large sheet or plate underneath (to catch excess chocolate)
  • Working one at a time, pour chocolate onto cake, making sure to coat all sides
  • Using 2 forks, life cakes one by one off of wire rack. Tap off any excess chocolate, and place onto a lined baking sheet. Place cakes in fridge to set chocolate.
  • Excess chocolate underneath will need to be slightly reheated before pouring again.
  • Once all cakes are coated. Heat remaining white chocolate melts and place in piping bag
  • Pipe swirls on top of chilled cakes
  • Store, covered, in refrigerator.


I found this recipe makes around 32 – 48 heart cakes depending on the size of your cookie cutter and how close you cut the shapes.
THAT’S A LOT OF LITTLE DEBBIES. Follow tips below if you want to make a smaller batch.
This recipe could be easily halved. Half the batter and bake in a 1/4 metal sheet pan.
Now if you only have a 1/2 metal sheet pan -no worries! You can just lessen the baking time. Your cake will be thinner so you can skip the step where we cut the hearts horizontally to fill with buttercream. They’ll be ready to stack once you cookie cut them!
Half the buttercream and chocolate coating recipe.
*use room temp ingredients for cake batter.
**yes 48oz of chocolate is A LOT. But I found that you must account for at least 1oz of chocolate per heart cake. If you end up with less heart cakes then you won’t need this much! But coming from someone who had to keep running back to the grocery store…it’s better to be prepared.
***I used heavy cream. You won’t have that same “shell like” hard candy coating (think cake pops). These will be softer when handling, but I personally prefer that. I find they’re easier to eat.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 36 mini cakes

Find more inspiration from our Valentine’s party on our blog post here.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating