I know you are all probably tired of seeing cake pops by now, but I am still stuck on these delicious little delights.
After finding out a friend I was hoping to get feedback from on my Lemon Dream Cake Pops disliked citrus flavored desserts, I got to thinking about what flavor I could do for my next batch of pops. Valentine’s day was on the way and The Man is a big fan of red velvet desserts, so its was a no brainier what to try next. My other challenge with these was that, unlike previous pops, I wanted The Man to be able to enjoy all the decorative iterations, which meant they could not be coated in white chocolate, as that is a migraine trigger and something he tries to avoid.
Thus I present to you Valentine’s Day Chocolate Red Velvet Cake Pops. What you can’t smell or taste through the computer is the cream cheese flavoring oil I used in the milk chocolate coating. Red velvet cake just isn’t right to me without the cream cheese frosting. What you get from this little additive is just the hint of a cream cheese aftertaste once the sweetness and creamy flavor of the chocolate subsides.
There was also a fortuitous accident when baking these pops. I was using my awesome Cake Pop Maker by Babycakes for these, along with their recipe for Red Velvet pops from the instruction manual, however this batter was much thicker and stickier then the lemon batter I used previously. This cause me to overfill or underfill a number of the wells in the cooker, resulting in odd shaped balls that would not have been optimal for putting on sticks. They were not overcooked and their only issues were ascetic, so I went back to my cake pop roots and shredded these ill-looking balls in my food processor, added some whipped cream cheese frosting I just so happened to have on hand and using Bakerella’s patented method and a heart-shaped cookie cutter, made perfect heart pops that were ideal for the Valentine’s Day theme.
I can only hope the family and friends I present these cake pops to will agree to be my Valentines this year.
My wonderful husband (AKA ‘The Man’) got me a shiny new appliance for the kitchen this Christmas. Behold, the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker!!
Now, don’t let the name fool you, it only does part of the work for making cake pops. Having made cake pops the original Bakerlla way, this does cut down considerably on the time to make the balls of cake. The time spent sticking, dipping and decorating is still the same however. One concern I had with this new contraption was that the cake balls would not be as dense as those mixed with frosting and rolled by hand and thus not hold as well to the sticks, but I was presently surprised on how well these stayed on the sticks. I had far fewer of these try to fall off during the dipping process then for the previous pops. I’m sure some of that was due to lessons learned, but I think these balls from the Cake Pop Maker were of a good density to hold themselves to the sticks.
In a reverse of tradition, I decided the inaugural use of my new best kitchen friend (who am I kidding, my BKFF is my KitchenAid Stand Mixer) would be to make a batch of Cake Pops for my birthday that I could give out to my friends and family. Since lemon is my all-time favorite flavor and the book that came with the maker had a lemon cake pop recipe, it seemed like fate was telling me to make these.
Thus I give you….
Lemon Dream Cake Pops
While I am not technically Irish, I have always had a great fondness for the fair people of the Emerald Isle, and even more so, their holiday. Maybe I enjoy St. Patrick’s Day so much because of it’s heralding of spring, or it’s wonderful gastronomical traditions (mmmmm, corned beef and cabbage!!), but most likely it is the requisite booze consumption that most likely fuels my love for this great day. I was inspired this year by a beautiful construction of TheNaptimeChef, Chocolate Mint Fudge Cake Pops. I have been thinking about making cake pops for ages now, ever since I first saw Bakerella‘s amazing creations, but have never really had the motivation. I decided Tuesday this was my moment! So off to the cake supply store I went. Thankfully I did a little research, of which I will share some important tips I found out below.
I did make one significant change from TheNaptimeChef’s recipe. Instead of using cream cheese, I went the Bakerella route and used cream cheese icing as my binder. Three quarters of a standard icing container was just the right amount to give my cake the right dough-like consistency. I think it really added to the taste as well.
Now for a few tips I learned that helped make my first ever cake pops a success:
- Chill: After forming the cake into 1″ size balls, chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes (can be done in the fridge, but it takes much longer and I was short on time).
- Sticks: Warm your coating chocolate and dip the ends of your pop sticks in it (shake off excess) before inserting into the cake balls. Once you have the sticks in, put back in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Cool: Don’t leave the cake pops in the freezer too long. If they are super cold, when you try to dip them in the chocolate, the cake will expand and crack the coating. If they do spend an extending time in the freezer, just take them out and let the sit at room temp for a bit. You want them cool, but not cold.
- Chocolate: From all the negative things I read, Wilton’s melting chocolate is NOT good for coating. I went to a specialty party supply store to track down Merckens coating chocolates, as recommended by Bakerella and several others. They can also be obtained online. Made for a nice, shiny coating.
- Paramount Crystals: These saved my bacon, big time! Even with using the Merckens coating chocolates, the green chocolate in particular was very thick and not very smooth. Thanks to some recommendations from a cake pop discussion group, I picked up a bag of Paramount Crystals, and they worked great. I just added a few pinches at a time and stirred them into the warm green chocolate until it reached the right consistency. Supposedly you can also use vegetable shorting or vegetable oil, but I have heard if your not careful, it can make your chocolate too runny, make it look dull, and/or keep it from hardening to a good shell.
- Emergency: If one of the cake balls does fall off the stick (happened to several of mine), use a spoon in the chocolate to finish coating it. Then put it, with it’s stick re-inserted, on some wax paper and let it harden. Hopefully the stick will re-attach (mine all did), then you can just dip the top of the pop into your warm chocolate and add your sprinkles or whatnot.
Overall, I am very pleased with how my first cake pops turned out. Also, I have been told by many taste testers that they were quite yummy. The hint of mint was really a key touch. I do caution, these were very labor-intensive. One box of cake mix made approximately 50 cake pops. I didn’t quite get them all dipped (I threw in the towel at midnight), but I got about 40 or so done in a little less then 4 hours. They are a great creative canvas though, and fun to give out to friends as a treat. I am already thinking about a new cake pop idea for Easter!
I was discussing this recipe that was sent to me in a weekly recipe collection email for Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse with a friend of mine that is also a cooking enthusiast. I thought it sounded pretty yummy. I like a good mousse and the fresh strawberries sounded cool and refreshing. He didn’t really agree, however. So I issued an off-the-cuff challenge asking him to write up how he would do this recipe. Well not 5 minutes later did I get a link to this!
Berries and Cream Dish
So I was asked to write up how I would do a berry desert dish. As a reminder this is completely untested or anything, it’s just how I would do one. So some of the proportions might be off and need to be adjusted
- 1 package blueberries
- 1 package raspberries
- 1 package blackberries
- 1 package strawberries
- 2 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker’s), chopped
- 1 cup chilled whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar-in-the-raw
- 1 cup water
Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan.
Remove from heat.
Add white chocolate and stir until smooth.
Pour into bowl.
Cool completely, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate until well chlled.
Using electric mixer, beat white chocolate cream until stiff.
Take all the berries and combine them. Berry Salad!
Take 3-4 strawberries off to the side for garnish.
Disolve sugar into water.
Dump in berries for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Let cool about 20 minutes till still luke warm.
Put berries and sauce into custard dishes.
Top with whipped cream.
Slice strawberries for garnish.
Place 2 slices in whipped cream for garnish.
Add a mint leaf for garnish.
Link via Land of the Nerd
I think I am going to have to take up his challenge and make his version to see if it passes muster. Keep an eye out for an update where I will review the results! I would also encourage any one else looking for a yummy dessert to try it and let us know what you think!