Mini Heart Ombre Valentine Cakes

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Ingredients

For the three pink layers:

1 box white cake mix3 egg whites1/3 cup vegetable oil1 cup of water (box calls for 1 1/4 but I only added one and added sour cream)1/2 cup sour creamRed food coloring

For the red layer:

One box red velvet cake mix3 eggs1/2 cup vegetable oil1 cup water (again, I used less water since adding sour cream1/2 cup sour cream

For the strawberry cream cheese filling:

1 cup of strawberries8 oz. cream cheese3/4 stick of butter1 cup confectioners sugar1/2 cup heavy whipping cream1/2 tsp vanillaCool Whip or icing of your choice

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350*.

For the Pink Layers:

In a mixing bowl, add the white cake mix, 3 egg whites, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup sour cream.Mix well, scraping down sides as needed, until thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly between three bowls.Use red food coloring to tint the three batters to the desired shades.I used 2 drops in bowl #1, 15 drops in bowl #2 and 24 drops in bowl #3 {I suggest adding a few drops at a time and blending because you can always add more, but you can’t take it out}.Line a 7 x 7 square baking pan with parchment paper and add the first batter.Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven.Allow to cool for a few minutes and then gently lift the cake out and set on a cooling rack to cool completely.Repeat this process with the other two batters and set all three square cakes aside.

For The Red Layer:

In a mixing bowl, add the red velvet cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sour cream.Mix well, scraping down sides as needed, until thoroughly combined.Once again, line a 7 x 7 square baking pan with parchment paper and add only 1/3 of the batter.Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven. I used the extra red velvet batter to make cupcakes for another recipe.

For The Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling (adapted from Martha Stewart):

Put cream cheese, butter, and sugar into mixing bowl and mix until creamy. Add in vanilla.Puree strawberries in a food processor and strain.Mix the puree into the cream cheese mixture.Add heavy cream and mix for 2-3 minutes.Place the bowl in the fridge to chill.Filling may be refrigerated airtight up to 3 days.

Assembling The Cakes:

Use a heart shaped cutter to cut 5-6 heart shapes (depending on the size of your cutter) from each of the four cakes.Starting with the red velvet hearts on the bottom, use Cool Whip to add a thin layer of “icing” to the top of each red heart.Place the the next darkest shade of pink hearts on top of the red heart and repeat the Cool Whip / Icing layer.Continue with the next two layers until all four colors are stacked but do not ice the top layer yet.Take a large freezer bag and fold down the top; use a spatula to place the strawberry filling in the bag, down into one of the corners, twist the bag around and seal.Snip off the corner to make a handy piping bag.Fill each heart “tower” with the strawberry filling until flush with the top. Using the leftover small heart (or round) center cut outs, slice off a thin layer to make a little “lid” to cover the filling.Ice the top with a thin layer of Cool Whip or frosting.If desired, gently place a small heart cutter on the top of the iced cakes and, by hand, fill in with a thin layer of red sprinkles.Alternately, you could use chocolate shavings or a sprinkling of edible pearls, etc.