I have one child who is so absolutely obsessed with pizza that he could eat it every single day for every single meal (Max). I have another child who flat out refuses to try pizza, along with all other forms of bread (Violet). I know. It blows my mind, too. The carb-loving genes didn’t skip this one, she just hasn’t discovered the crusty goodness that is all things bread.
What she does love is sweets of any kind. (See, those genes are in there somewhere!) Cue the perfect Valentine’s Day treat for both of them – Pizza Mini Cakes! Max will be over-the-moon about his dessert mimicking his favorite meal and Vi will hopefully take the hint and start chowing down on the real thing. Either way, these little guys are cute and a ton of fun to make. They’re also the ideal excuse for buying the most precious tiny pizza boxes in the world. I can’t even!
Serve them up sauced and let the kids add their own toppings or complete them ahead of time if cleaning smashed sprinkles and melted white chocolate shreds off the floor isn’t your idea of a rockin’ Valentine’s night. (Pssst, these don’t just have to be for Valentine’s Day! Use round sprinkles instead of hearts for the perfect pizza party dessert.)
How to Make a Pizza Mini Cake
- 1 thin vanilla sheet cake (recipe below)
- 4-inch circle cutter
- Parchment paper
- 1 cup red coating chocolate
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 cups of buttercream tinted light brown (recipe below)
- Piping bag
- Icing spatula
- Small bowl or heatproof container
- 1 cup white chocolate or coating chocolate
- box grater
- Green airhead
- Small knife
- Heart sprinkles
- Mini pizza boxes
Make the “Crust”
Use the large circle cutter to rounds from the thin sheet cake. Place each round on a small square of parchment paper. Save and freeze the cake scraps for another project. (Or snack as you like.) One sheet makes about 8 mini pizzas.
Fill a piping bag with the light brown buttercream and snip off the tip of the bag, leaving a nickel-sized opening. Set the crusts and piping bag aside while you work on the toppings.
Make the “Sauce”
Place the heavy cream in a small heatproof container and warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the red coating chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temp. while you finish the toppings.
Make the “Cheese”
Place the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl or container. Melt it in the microwave 3o seconds at a time, stirring after each interval. Should take a minute or so. Pop the bowl of melted chocolate into the fridge or freezer until solid, about 10 minutes. Slide the block of chocolate out of the bowl and shred it using a box grater. You’ll need about 2 Tbsp of “shredded cheese” per mini cake. Extra chocolate can be saved and reused.
Make the “Peppers”
Slice a green AirHead into strips, then finely dice the strips. Grease the blade of your knife with pan spray or shortening to prevent the candy from sticking.
All Together Now
Set a mini cake “crust” on your turntable. Pipe a ring of buttercream all around the edge of the crust. Use an icing spatula to spread the buttercream down over the sides of the cake, leaving the domed buttercream on top. Clean up the edges or shape the crust as you like. Pour a tablespoon of the red ganache “sauce” inside the buttercream “crust”. Top the sauce with shredded white chocolate, diced AirHeads, and red heart sprinkles. (Use circle sprinkles if this isn’t a Valentine treat!)
Serve up your pizza mini cakes in the most precious tiny pizza boxes in the world.
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided)
- 5 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 large egg whites
- Position a rack in center of oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 18 x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet (1/2 sheet pan) with pan spray. Line the greased pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Smooth the paper out to ensure there are no air bubbles.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 3/4 cups of the sugar, the melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk in the buttermilk once the other ingredients have been combined so that it doesn’t cause the melted butter to clump.
- In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl — not plastic — using an electric hand mixer or an old-fashioned hand whisk), beat egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly add remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Return mixer to high speed and whip egg white mixture until stiff peaks form, another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold egg whites into cake batter in three batches. Stir the first batch into the batter to loosen it up, but fold more delicately with the second and third batches. Take care not to deflate the egg whites or overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake, rotating the pan's position halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted into center of a cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it — 10-12 minutes.
- Transfer the cake to a rack to cool in the pan about 30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely before starting the Pizza Mini Cake project.
- 8 oz of fat* (butter, shortening, or 50/50 butter and shortening), softened
- 1 pound of confectioners sugar (half a bag)
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 Tbsp. whole milk
- Light brown gel food coloring
- *Unicorn Thought*
- Supermarket shortening does the job just fine, but for superior flavor and texture give Hi-Ratio shortening a try. It can be purchased online or in specialty cake decorating storesIn the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer), beat your chosen combination of softened fats on medium speed until light and fluffy. If you’re using a combination of butter and shortening, beat the butter first until it’s smooth, 5 minutes. Add the shortening and beat until combined, about 5 minutes more.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, until just combined, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, 5-7 minutes.
- Turn off the mixer and add the vanilla extract and salt. Mix on low speed just until combined.
- Keep the mixer on low speed and slowly add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Add a few drops of the light brown food coloring if you're making the Pizza Mini Cake project.
- Use the buttercream immediately or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the buttercream before putting the lid on the container to prevent it from forming a crust and absorbing fridge odors.
- To bring cold buttercream back to a usable consistency, transfer it to a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the buttercream is fluffy and spreadable again, about 5-10 minutes.