My 4 and 6 year olds love watching cake, cookie and cupcake videos on YouTube. At this point they each have about 75 different ideas for their birthdays this year. I think it’s cute how excited they get and how they try to get me to watch them with them so that I can learn how to bake. They are probably the only 4 and 6 year olds who regularly debate the use of fondant versus buttercream and whether to use a knife or cake leveler to make the cake flat. Their favorite series to watch is Nerdy Nummies and I will admit that it is cute and geared towards kid ideas.
Now we spent the whole Christmas break here sick and in fact just today finally got my husband back to work and the three youngest returned to school just yesterday. We had colds, flu, an upper respiratory infection, and the toppers were a sinus infection so bad that the left eye and cheek were swelling, an ear infection and ruptured ear drum combo that lasted four weeks through 3 bouts of antibiotics and my husband refusing to go to the doctor while having a 102 degree fever for days that caused him to be delirious and ramble nonsense. Yeah it was all kinds of fun here… not! Anyway, to entertain the kids we baked. We would make something kid friendly and I would let them act out what they were doing as if they were doing their own cooking show. They loved it! It is now something they are asking to do and sometimes my 9-year-old even joins in.
Yesterday, I surprised them after school with a new project for them to bake. They excitedly asked what we were going to make and I told them we were going to make Conversation Heart Whoopie Pies. They looked at me blankly. I explained to them what conversation hearts were and then they got it. I should have known to say, “you know, the little candy hearts with the different sayings on them” right from the get go. Both of the kids were miffed though that I had not had the forethought to stop and pick up fondant for the letters and that they had to pipe chocolate instead.
So how do you make Conversation Heart Whoopie Pies? First off you will need a heart whoopie pie pan. I know Wilton makes one and I am pretty sure other companies do as well. That is really the only special thing needed to make these with your kids.
- 1 box of white or yellow cake mix & ingredients listed in the instructions
- gel food coloring
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
- 1-3 tbsp. whole milk
- candy melts in your choice of colors
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray the whoopie pie cavities with baking spray.
- Mix the cake mix and ingredients required as directed on the package. Separate the cake batter into several bowls and use a few drops of food coloring to color each one. Use a cookie scoop to evenly measure out the batter for each cavity on the whoopie pie pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool in the pan for another 8 minutes and then remove from pan to finish cooling on a wire wrack.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium-high speed. Scrape down the the sides and add in about 1/3 of the powdered sugar and mix on low. Scrape down the sides and add half of the remaining powdered sugar, mixing on low to combine. Repeat for the last batch of the powdered sugar. Add in the vanilla and 1 tbsp. of the milk. Mix on low until combined and then beat on medium for a minute. Test it and make sure it is a nice fluffy frosting. If it is still stiff add another tbsp. of milk until you get the desired consistency.
- Melt the candy melts in a pastry bag or microwave safe squeeze bottle following the instructions on the package for melting. Snip the tip on the pastry bag so that you have a very small opening. You want the writing to be fine. Pipe Valentine's Day sayings onto half of the cooled heart cakes and let the chocolate setup. While the chocolate is hardening pipe the other half of the hearts with the filling. Once the chocolate has hardened you can place the tops on the filling and lightly press down.