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Valentine’s Day Mini Chocolate Box Cakes

Happy Valentine’s Day!  It’s time for chocolate, flowers, and lots of heart-shaped goodies for you and your special someone!  A box of chocolates is always a classic gift to give on this holiday, so here’s a recipe for some really cute mini chocolate box cakes.


Even if you don’t have a special someone, these mini chocolate box cakes are a great treat to share with friends or family or serve at a Valentine’s day party.  They’re fun to make, are really delicious, and have a surprise chocolate truffle baked in the center of each.

Here’s how I made these: for the cakes, I adapted a recipe from Food & Wine and baked them in a heart shape silicone cupcake mold, with a chocolate truffle gently pressed down into the middle of each.  I used truffles with assorted fillings, the kinds that come in any regular chocolate box.  You don’t have to get super fancy with the chocolates you use, but I find it more fun if they have special fillings that make them a little more recognizable as Valentine’s day chocolates and not just as a melted blob of chocolate inside of a cake.  From the cakes that I baked, I found that creme or chocolate-based fillings work best, as caramel fillings tend to bubble out or leak through the cake and create a bit of a mess.

Speaking of mess, I have to admit that these Valentine’s Day cakes weren’t all as perfect as I imagined them to turn out.  I thought it would be a brilliant idea for these cakes not just to look like chocolate boxes from the outside, but to contain actual chocolate box chocolates inside.  And for some reason it didn’t occur to me that chocolate melts when placed in an oven, and that even if it’s baked into solid cake, it doesn’t automatically spring back into its original, lovely truffle form once it cools.  So I ended up with several (particularly the ones with caramel-filled chocolates) that had giant, awkward holes in their centers.  But don’t get me wrong, the cakes were still very yummy and you could taste that there was a surprise chocolate candy filling within each one.  To save myself from feeling like an idiot, I’ll consider this an experiment, from which I learned this: if you want the truffles to be recognizable, bake the cakes first, then cut out a truffle-shaped hole deep enough for the chocolate to be concealed and simply slip the truffle inside.

Then it’s time to decorate!  Level off the top of each cake, trim it in a few places if its heart shape isn’t as distinct after baking, and coat it in a light layer of chocolate ganache (the cake pictured here is one of my better-looking ones that didn’t have a gaping hole in the middle).  After that, very thinly (1/8-inch or thinner) roll out some red fondant in a strip to go around the sides as well as a heart shaped piece, slightly bigger than the surface of each cake, to fit on top like a lid.  Once you smooth everything down as best as you can, you’ll have some excess fondant at the “peak” of the heart, which you can pinch together and cut off.

I decorated my chocolate box cakes in three different ways with white fondant: with a bow, with a lace trim, and with a little white rose.

To make a bow, thinly roll out some white fondant and for each individual cake, cut four strips each about 1 cm wide.  One strip should be long enough to fit from the bottom edge of the cake diagonally across to the bottom edge on the other side of the cake – using a little bit of water as glue, attach this one diagonally across the top of the cake.  Another should be about two inches long – loosely fold the ends of it in to meet at the center, to create the two loops of the bow tie.  A third strip should be about 3/4 of an inch long – gently wrap this one around the center of the previous strip that was folded, securing it in place with a little bit of water.  Your last strip should be about 1  1/2 inches long – cut small triangles out of the ends to make them forked, then fold over one end of the ribbon at a right angle or wider.

Dab a little bit of water on the back of the bow tie you just made and attach it onto the center of this piece.  Once the water has dried and your bow is secure, use water again to glue it onto the white strip that is across your cake.
This one is my personal favorite out of the three, because it looks like the first thing I imagine when I think of a box of chocolates.

To make the lace variation, you’ll need something to stamp into your fondant to give it a decorative lace-like texture.  Don’t worry if you don’t have some sort of mold specifically for making fondant lace – anything with a fancy imprinted pattern can be used, like a plastic stencil, cookie mold, or even a clean doily.  I used a plastic mooncake mold for mine and overlapped my imprints to make them appear smaller and more intricate.  Depending on what you use, you may have to work harder to press a clear design into your fondant.

Once you have your fondant imprinted, cut out a heart shape that will fit the top surface of each cake.  Leaving about a 1-cm width, cut out a smaller heart from within the heart.  You should be left with a heart-shaped ring.  Then go around the outside and do your best to cut the edge into small curves, by cutting out tiny triangles and then rounding out what’s left.  I split my heart ring in half to make it a little easier to attach it onto the cake.

This decoration takes a bit more time and effort than the other two.  If you want, you can make a cardboard cut-out to help guide you whenever you need to cut out something to fit on the tops of the cakes.

And finally, to make the rose decoration, roll out some white fondant to 1/8-inch thick or thinner and cut out a strip about 1/2-inch thick and 3 inches long with curves along one edge.  Starting from one end, tightly roll it up to form a rose shape, placing more pressure on the side with the straight edge so that the petals will appear slightly more open.

Cut off the bottom of the rose to give it a flat bottom, then attach it with a little bit of water onto the center of the cake.
To me, this one is cute but looks a bit plain compared to the other two.  If my fondant skills were more up to par, I would’ve liked to pleat the surface of the red fondant into a sort of spiral around the rose.

There are a bunch of other ways you could decorate these, besides with white fondant.  You can marble or overlap different shades of pink or red, write special messages in icing, or attach sugar pearls and other decorations.  These were just the first three ideas to pop into my mind when I thought of heart-shaped chocolate boxes.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!  Whether you’re planning a romantic dinner and movie or just lounging at home on the couch, these mini cakes are moist and decadent and will make for a perfect, indulgent dessert.

Valentine’s Day Mini Chocolate Box Cakes     –     makes 6 cakes

– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. milk
– 2 tbsp. beaten egg
– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 2  1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/8 tsp. salt
– assorted chocolate truffles (with fillings)
– 2 tsp. cream
– 2 oz. dark chocolate, in chips or small chunks
– 6 oz. red fondant (may have some leftover)
– 3 oz. white fondant (may have some leftover)
In a medium bowl, combine the vegetable oil, milk, beaten egg, and vanilla extract.  Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and mix it into the wet mixture a third at a time.  Grease a six-cup (or double the ingredients if using a 12-cup) heart-shaped muffin tin and divide the batter evenly into it.  If you don’t mind your chocolates melting, gently sink a chocolate truffle into the center of each batter-filled cavity, then bake the cakes at 350°F for around 20 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched.  Alternatively, bake the cakes first, and then cut a hole out of the center in which to place the truffle.
Place the cream and dark chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave it in 15- to 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  Set it aside for 15 minutes at room temperature, or until it becomes solid but still soft.  Mix it briefly to loosen it up so that it is more easily spreadable.
Once the cakes have cooled completely, use a knife to level off the top of each and trim to sharpen the heart shape if necessary.  With a spatula, coat the outside of each with a thin layer of the chocolate ganache mixture.  Roll out the red fondant to 1/8-inch-thick or thinner and cut out long strips wide enough and long enough to cover the sides of each cake.  Wrap one around each cake and trim off any excess fondant.  From the remaining red fondant, cut out heart shapes slightly bigger than the tops of the cakes.  Place them onto the tops of the cakes and smooth the fondant down as much as possible, making any necessary cuts or trimming excess to allow any overhanging fondant to appear like the edge of a lid.  Roll out the white fondant to 1/8-inch-thick or thinner and follow the previous instructions and pictures in this post to decorate your Chocolate Box Cakes, or decorate in any other way desired.
Cake recipe adapted from Food & Wine

This post first appeared on Sweet Dreams Recipes, please read the originial post: here

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Valentine’s Day Mini Chocolate Box Cakes


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