Cakes for Your Valentine

by Melinda Helton-Cromer

Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" like a homemade goodie that was made with love. Especially a cake that expresses your creativity and loving sentiment.

This Valentine's Day, an individual cake may be the perfect gift that you have been looking for, whether it be for your special someone, an adored child, a treasured friend, or a beloved older adult. Individual cakes are, of course, only big enough for one or two servings.

That is why it is a perfect dessert for an intimate dinner for two, or as a delightfully unique gift. Once you realize how easily and inexpensively these cakes can be made, and how much they are appreciated and enjoyed by the receiver, you may find yourself wanting to make one for everyone that you love this Valentine's Day.

There are so many different types of individual (or "singles") cake pans available that the possibilities are endless. However, if you do not have an individual pan already, and do not wish to purchase one, you can still make an adorable cake. Simply bake a round or square cake and use a larger size cookie cutter to cut out your design. Or you can make your own pattern by having the shapes that you plan to use traced or drawn on paper, then cutting them out to make a stencil. Just place the stencil on the cake to use as a guideline. You may want to use a small dot of icing to help hold the stencil in place. Then, using a toothpick, poke tiny holes to mark the outline of the design. When you remove your stencil, use a serrated edged knife to cut along the dotted outline you just made. Have a 6 or 7 inch round cake board with a grease resistant doily ready to place your cakes on as they are cut.

If you are using an individual pan to bake your cake, you shouldn't need to "crumb coat" your cake. However, when you cut the designs out of a larger cake, it is best to smooth a light coat of thinned icing onto the sides of the cake to prevent the crumbs from flaking off while you are decorating it. Thin your icing with a small amount of water or corn syrup. Once you have "crumb coated", the cake is now ready to decorate.

Let your imagination go wild, express your creativity, and don't be afraid to try something that your mind has dreamed up. No matter what the shape you decide to use, you will need to use a small round decorator tip, to mark the outlines of your cake. Your outlining does NOT need to be perfect. For now you are using this as a guideline only and can straighten up any mistakes later.

If you are using a heart shape, outline the top edge of your cake. If you want to write something on the cake after it is completed; you will need to ice a portion of the middle of the cake smooth. Make a smaller heart, marking off the area to be left iced smooth, being sure to give yourself enough room to write.

For a teddy bear shape, you will need to outline the top edges, arms, legs and entire face. After outlining the cake, use a star shaped tip, to fill in the top and sides of the cake with the colors that you have chosen. A smaller size star tip is best to use on individual cakes. The stars should be placed very closely together so there are no visible gaps between them until the entire cake is covered.

It is time for the finishing touches. With the round tip, go over your outline again to make it have a more defined look. Also, you can now write on a heart shaped cake, if you wish. If you are more experienced or adventurous, you can use a ruffle or rose tip to make a ruffled border. Or use the round tip to make little tiny hearts linked together to form a border. (Heart tube - DT0252) works beautifully.)

Once your border is completed, add any personalized touches that you desire. For example, you can write, "I love you" or a name on the heart. Add a piece of candy to the bear so that is looks like he is holding it. Add some royal icing flowers, either self-made or store bought.

Let your imagination wander and you will come up with something that is truly unique that expresses your love and says "Happy Valentine's Day" in a way that no other gift possibly could.

Materials needed:

  • 7" or 8" round cake board for each cake
  • 7" or 8" cake boxes for each cake (optional)
  • Grease resistant doily for each cake (optional - can just cover board with foil)
  • At least one box of cake mix or recipe
  • White buttercreme icing, white store bought icing or a batch of homemade buttercream icing (can use chocolate icing in place of any brown colored icing you may use
  • Decorator tips
  • Decorator bags or parchment paper
  • Coupler for bags
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