Thursday, April 28, 2011

Candy Writer Fail?

I bought these "Candy Writers" to decorate my Easter Egg Cake Pops, and for about 30 minutes, they worked, but overall, I am really not happy with them, so I thought I'd warn you.  I followed instructions on the tubes, and they seemed warmed up well enough, but I just could not get the yellow one to come out more than one time. How strange is that?! The other two colors worked for my eggs, but after that, they were useless. I'm sure I can get my money back if I take them back to the store I got them from, but I'm not happy about the hassle. I'm new at the sweet-decorating thing, so if you have a product you love that does the same thing (adds fine detail in bright colors that aren't gels), let me know, please :)

Update: I left the tubes sitting next to my computer for about an hour before I picked one up and noticed that it had warmed up again, due to the "exhaust" from my computer on that side. Out of curiosity, I picked it up, took the cover off, and tried it out (on my finger). It worked.  How funny.  Also, I finally figured out that it's cheaper and easier to simply buy a little, plastic, cake decorating bottle and fill it with melted candy coating to decorate with. Works like a charm :)

Cake Pop Fragments

So much to say about cake pops that I decided to put them here, rather than at Half-Past Kissin' Time.

Difference Makers and I made a bunch of cake pops tonight.

I made some Easter Egg Cake Pops/Bites over the weekend. Visit this post for pics.

My sister Judy made the cutest cake pops for Easter. Aren't they adorable?!

She also made some amazing graduation cake pops, just for fun...

Incredible, no?

For my next trick, I will make baby boy cake pops for a baby shower. 
You will love them.

I've gotten such a kick out of turning so many people on to Bakerella's book. 
It's a joy to have inspired people to have so much fun. 
  I look forward to seeing more of your creations in the coming months. 
 Thanks, Bakerella!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bakerella's Cake Pops

These cake pops are so popular, I so far keep forgetting to get photos of them before they are all gone! I'll keep working on that. For now, please accept this shot, taken by Angie Dudley, a.k.a. Bakerella.

I learned about Cake Pops/Cake Bites/Cake Balls a couple of weeks ago and have made three batches already. I'm serious about how good they are---EVERYone absolutely loves them. I bought Bakerella's book, Cake Pops for Kendall's birthday party, and I had to try them out. Although I am putting the recipe basics here, I highly recommend the book; it is very detailed (yet user-friendly) and filled with inspiration. You can find it everywhere, but I bought mine at Target for about $15.

Basic Recipe:
A boxed cake (and accompanying ingredients--usually 3 eggs, oil, and water) I prefer Dark Chocolate flavored)
1 container of ready-made frosting (I prefer milk chocolate flavored)
almond bark or candy coating (I strongly prefer melts from Creative Cake Supply in Green Bay)

sucker sticks (paper is best), for if you want to make cake pops
tiny cupcake paper thingies

Basically, all you have to do....

[Hmm. Should I really make this sound easy? Maybe I should keep that to myself, so I can be admired like I was today at work when I shared these. I kind of like the illusion that I am a fancy, talented chef. Nah--I'm too nice to keep it to myself--You win.]

All you do is bake a cake, cool it, crumble it up (directions for novices, like me, are in the book). Add 2/3 can of frosting, and mix it together using the back of a spoon or spatula. Chill. (The dough, silly.)

After several hours in the fridge (or 15 minutes in the freezer, apparently), take some of the dough out (keep the rest cold) and roll it into little balls with your hands, washing (and drying) your hands every so often (when they get too sticky). Treat it like Play-doh, and make sure there are no cracks.  Place the balls on wax or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Put the balls in the fridge while you roll the rest of the dough.

Put the candy coating disks in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them. Bakerella recommends 30 seconds at 50% power, stirring and repeating until melted. Drop the balls, one at a time, into the candy coating (or put them on sticks and dip them). Use a teaspoon to lift the ball out, tap the excess coating off and carefully place on a cookie sheet.  This is the part that takes a little finesse; be prepared to eat a few mistakes!

THIS IS IMPORTANT: The coating dries quickly--If you're going to sprinkle stuff on it, now's the time to do it! If you're going to get all fancy like the book and make adorable faces, etc. on the cake balls, you'll have to follow the directions in the book.

After the cake pops are dry (5-10 minutes), you can put them in decorative little cupcake papers or stand the pops up on a styrofoam block. They also make cute display boxes for them. I keep my cake pops cold, but that's just my preference.  The cake pops last a long time in the fridge. For example, tonight (Thursday), I ate some from Kendall's party last Saturday, and they were still excellent! (cover with plastic wrap or keep in an air-tight container.

Oh, and if you don't have decorative sprinkles, you can just drizzle melted candy coating across the cooled pops--It looks very pretty.

For the record, Walmart has a wonderful selection of cake baking paraphernalia, but I just do not get the same results from their melts; I would rather go without than use theirs.

I have so far made these with:
*dark chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting, coated with dark chocolate melts (my favorite)
*yellow cake with vanilla frosting, dipped in chocolate (wonderful)
*strawberry cake with vanilla frosting, dipped in white chocolate (not candy coating). These were sickeningly sweet. Next time, I'll avoid white chocolate and stick to white candy coating, maybe.

I've also made these labors of love for a baby shower.  It's one of my most popular blog posts to date.

So now, I'm thinking of finding a way to sneak some crunchy peanut butter inside the dark chocolate cake pops.

Be still, my heart!