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!
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.
TO THE KITCHEN!
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)
Crisco or heavy cream to thin chocolate
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Homemade Little Debbie Heart CakesPrint Recipe
- 1/2 sheet pan
- 1.5 in heart shaped cookie cutter
- 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
- 1 C butter, softened
- 2 C powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 10 oz marshmallow fluff
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Find more inspiration from our Valentine’s party on our blog post here.