Mini cakes are definitely having a moment. It takes basically the same amount of time as baking one big cake, but setting up a DIY station with all the ingredients means everyone can create and customize their own tiny treats. This makes the perfect Valentine’s Day activity for you and your kids, your sweetheart or your roomies! We’ve broken it down into five simple steps so you can spend less time planning and more time playing with cake. Who said playing with your food was a bad thing?
Pretty obvious, but the first and most vital component to a DIY cake station is, well, cake. Our favorite method for lots of mini cake layers with minimal effort is to bake a couple large cake layers and then cut out small stackable shapes with cookie cutters- you could go classic round or heart shaped with a Valentine’s Day cookie cutter. Bake a couple different flavors or dye vanilla cakes with pink and red food coloring so you’ll have dynamic layers to mix and match.
To be honest, this is probably the easiest step. Pick three or four complimentary flavors- think peanut butter frosting, strawberry buttercream and nutella or cream cheese frosting with fruity jams and jellies. Make sure they work with the flavors of your cake, and be sure to give each its own spreading devices and label everything. You can whip everything up from scratch, go completely store bought or do something in between. If you need a little inspiration for creative flavor options, you can check out five of our favorite buttercream recipes here.
The key to a great cake station is variety and toppings galore. For Valentine’s Day you definitely want to offer a bunch of candy options- cinnamon hearts, conversation hearts, any of your fave candies. Chocolate shavings and chopped roasted nuts are great, and pretty cut up fruit can add a ton of color. The options are quite literally endless, but to elevate your cakes we definitely recommend including some sparkle and shimmer- edible gold leaf, glitter spray and luster dust are all super fancy and fun.
Set out your fixings and supplies on a table or counter, and have fun with it. You can create an aesthetic layout using trays, platters, or a large roll of butcher paper. Curate cute bowls and dishes for your toppings and frostings, and pull in any fun Valentine’s Day themed decor. Think about making every element accessible (small turntables are awesome for this), and make sure to have plenty of spoons and tools so there’s enough for everyone.
Once you’re all set up and ready to go, the last step is setting the mood. Put on a playlist to enhance the ambiance- romantic, nostalgic, the soundtrack to Encanto, whatever feels right. Let everyone know what the options are and then get to decorating. You can each make your own, or you can make them for each other with the flavors and toppings you think your sweetie will love most. You can all vote on your favorites, but no matter what make sure you take some pictures!