Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cake Pops and Truffles: yummy and pretty

Hello Dear Readers of mine :) Are you guys still out there? **is this thing on?** As I have mentioned in previous posts, I will have a few guest bloggers since my schedule (aka life) is a bit ridiculous and I figured that I can call onto my fellow bloggers/fabulous girl friends to help me. I'd say boy friends but guy has really volunteered, if you're out there dude, just shoot me an email and you can guest doesn't even have to be food related it can be anything "pretty" and that I believe is a broad enough topic...amirite?

You might ask who my guest blogger is today, well, her name is Sarah :) She's fabulous and I love her. I first met her thru twitter via her announcing that she has books to give away, for FREE! She even paid for the postage! So after a few days I received my awesome books (yes i said books, there were 4 or 5 I believe) and from there on out our virtual friendship began. Honestly, if she didn't live on the opposite side of the country I would love to be hanging out with her, but alas CA is kinda far from FL :( Let me just say that I have tasted her cake balls (hehehehe i said balls :P) She sent me some samples and it was DEE-LISH! No, really it was pretty freaking awesome. You can follow her tweets @sarahntastic and check out her blog She's quite sassy and I'm sure you will enjoy tweeting with her and reading her rants and raves just as much as I do. Okay, I'm going to shut-up now and let you read on and enjoy! (Thanks again, Sarah!)


Just like @colorMEcupck, I am a cupcake lover. I make them, I eat them, I review them, and sometimes I sell them. In looking for more fun things to create, I came across this Bakerella post, and clicked through to these step-by-step instructions for cake balls.

Overall the process is mostly easy, but extremely time consuming, especially if you're me and accept a first order of 100 pops! Instead of reviewing the process I've already linked to, I will list tips that make your cake pops easier to complete.

1. The texture and moisture should be more dry than you might think initially. Remember you will be expecting the cake to hold a stick as well as hold up to chocolate and candy coating dipping. I found that too much frosting means the cake is too wet and will not allow the stick to stay stuck! **always refrigerate pops after you make the balls, and again after you insert the sticks. They must be chilled in order to hold up to dipping!

2. The size of the ball should be fairly small, like a jacks bouncy ball, NOT a golf ball. Remember, again, you will be dipping these, so the size will increase, but you also need to keep the stick in place while you are dipping in hot candy.

3. I found it easiest to refrigerate for 5 minutes then put the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes, then back to refrigerator for final chilling before wrapping or serving.

4. Don't worry about tiny candy swirls, holes, or messiness. You can easily add drizzles and sprinkles to cover this, plus this makes them all the more pretty.

5. You will need sheet pans, waxed paper, sticks, and although some may say this is a waste, I absolutely need my Wilton chocolate/candy melts warmer. I purchased mine at Michael's using the weekly 40% off coupon, so it was fairly inexpensive. Microwaving burns real chocolate, which is expensive and not worth the waste.

6. Candy melts are much easier to use when melted than chocolate, but some recipes just taste better with real chocolate, like my chocolate raspberry cake pop!

7. Use box cakes and add-in flavor. Don't waste your flour, sugar, butter on these. The flavor of the cake isn't the primary thing here, it's the entire package, so a cake mix with tasty flavored frosting and add-ins like nuts, extracts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, mint chips (my grasshopper was a huge hit), dried fruit is a better way to spend your money.

8. While these are time consuming, they are a huge hit. Remember one batch of cake makes dozens. Divide the batter and make several flavors. People love them.

Here are pics of my process & my favorite final cake pops!

Balls are formed, sticks inserted, dipping has begun!

This is a must have tool for me! Wilton melting pot.

Dipped, ready to refrigerate before drizzling!

Chilled after dipping, ready for decorating!

Drizzling is super easy! use a spoon or spatula & flick it over the dipped pops!

Contrasting drizzles!

Purple candy melts for easter, almonds for fun (marzipan cake)

Grasshoppers! Chocolate cake with mint chips, mint extract, chocolate dipped

Inexpensive cello bags from the Target $1 bins!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monkey taste, monkey eat!

Before I say (type) anything else, let me apologize for not having a picture of the recipe I am about to post. It was eaten too quickly and I just got side-tracked that I forgot to take a picture. It will be remade again soon as I have some over-riped bananas again so don't fret :)

I know I haven't posted cupcake stuff but hang with me ok? This delicious "bread" can be paired with coffee or as dessert or your entire meal. I promise I won't judge. We all have had over-ripened bananas and it's so wasteful to just throw em out. This is a good alternative to that...or you can just buy bananas and purposely forget to eat it till it gets all black, that's fine too!

I'm a bit short on time so I won't say too much of an intro. The original recipe I adapted can be found here.

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used a cup of dark chocolate chips instead)
* 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped (I used 1 cup of chopped walnuts; spread it out in a pan. toast in a pre-heated oven 350 degrees for about 7 mins)
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 2 teaspoons)


Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl until blended. Combine chocolate chips and toasted walnuts in a small bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon flour.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture on low speed until blended. Spoon about one-third of the batter into buttered and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of chocolate chip-walnut mixture. Spoon another one-third of batter over the chocolate chip mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chip-walnut mixture. Cover with remaining banana bread batter. Run knife through batter in zig-zag pattern.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan; turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf of banana bread with chocolate chips and walnuts.

***Note before you start baking***

When you mix the chocolate chips and walnuts with the flour, I also tossed in about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. You don't have to do it if you don't like cinnamon but I love cinnamon and I think it gives the bread just a little bit of extra yum factor :) Happy Baking!