Monday, August 22, 2011

Cake Pops

     I've got to say, cake pops could very well be the best thing I've ever had, on a stick. Since their creation by the creative food blogger, Bakerella, they have taken our world by storm. Starbucks has even begun selling these little bites of heaven. Some will argue they do not taste quite like an authentic cake pop, but I think they come pretty darn close.
   Who doesn't love cake? I mean our first birthdays are always made monumental, by the iconic handprint in the cake. One of our very first important experiences involves cake. Every year after, we are reminded of our birth with a special--cake. Since cake is not always convinent, it is nice to have other forms such as cupcakes, and cake pops. They are bite-sized and sooo good! They can also be good for those watching their figure, and are just in need of a tiny splurge.
    So what exactly is a cake pop? To those who are new to the term, it is a combination of cake and frosting, which is then dipped in melted candy melts. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it? Well actually, it really is.The only thing that is required is, practice. They can be a little tricky on first attempt, but you will be able to master them in no time!
       Basically, the texture of a cake pop is somewhat like cookie dough(that tastes like cake batter). If you like either of those two things, then you will LOVE cake pops! I've been wanting to make a batch for a while, and figure it would be a great opportunity to show how it's done. Have fun, don't worry if they don't look perfect. They will still taste great!

I decided to make Tiffany Blue cake pops for a classy and sophisticated twist...

You Will Need:
Cake mix(and ingredients for prep.) frosting, candy melts, lollipop sticks, cello bags, and a stand for the sticks. 

step 1:
Prepare cake according to box directions.

Step 2:
Crumble cake in a bowl

step 3:
add 1/2 to 3/4 can of frosting 

Step 4:
mix together with your hands. (You will get VERY messy!)

Step 5:
Place candy melts in a bowl and microwave according to the directions on the bag. 

step 6:
Roll into indivual balls (around 36-48 depending on size)

Step 7:
Dip the top of the lollipop stick in the melted candy melts.

Step 8:
Stick the lollipop stick into one of the cake balls. (The candy melt will act as an adhesive)

Step 9:
Repeat with remaining cake balls.

Step 10:
Spoon the melted candy melts onto each cake pop to coat it. Make sure cake pop is sideways, allowing any excess coating to drip off. Do not dip the cake pops, because it will pull the cake ball right off the stick! Top the pops with sprinkles (or edible pearls and diamonds, like i've done). 

Pretty edible diamonds!

Step 11:

Once the pops have cooled, take each pop and place them in a cello bag, Then tie each bag with a cute bow for an added touch.

Step 12: Bon Appetit!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Puppy Pupcakes

      The first time I ever came across a dog bakery, I was stunned! The amazing smell was the initial thing to hit me, when I walked inside. It smelled like someone had just baked a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. I was only able to confirm that it was actually a dog bakery by the racks of dog clothes along the wall. I made my way up to the glass display case, which held several birthday cakes, s'mores, truffles, and even pizza! I was informed that all of the ingredients were human grade. The only difference was that they did not use butter, oil, and chocolate which can be very harmful to dogs. They use carob (can be found at Whole Foods) instead of chocalate (can be lethal to dogs!). The "dog" birthday cakes were decorated with colorful yogurt frosting.  

  I only had one dog at the time, and he was more than excited to be there. I could not believe how real these little treats looked. My little black toy poodle Dallas, loved every bite. After seeing his enjoyment in these little gourmet delights, I began a tradition of buying a treat for his birthday, and Christmas. Since he is only 6lbs. it takes him a while to finish his treats.

   Last year, I got a tiny female Maltese. Versailles (her name) only weighs 3.2lbs at her full grown size. Needless to say, she is very spoiled. That is probably an understatement. She has a wardrobe that would rival any teenage girl, and the attitude to match. She has so much energy, which I love since she is so little. She is on a wheat and corn free diet, which makes it difficult to find treats that she can actually eat. I was surprised to find that many dog bakeries carry wheat free items! 

  This year has absolutely flown by! When I knew Versailles' birthday was approaching, I knew i needed something special. I have grown accustomed to shopping online, for her. They seem to have much more selection and clothing sizes available. I was looking for treats online (since most of the bakeries have switched), and I came across a puppy cupcake mix (which was wheat and corn free!). I knew I just had to get it. I could make freshly baked cupcakes that would be safe for both of my dogs. I also loved being able to bake, without having to worry about the calories. 

box: Mix came in
All I had to do was add: water and a couple of eggs!!

Yummy cupcakes!!!

And Again...

Versailles' presents

Versailles on her first birthday!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Island Bliss

       Why do vacations have to end? That is what I've been wondering for the past few days, since returning from tropical Hawaii. Having to leave the tranquil surroundings, of a tropical paradise proved to be more difficult than I could even imagine. I've been dreaming of the white sandy beaches that I left behind. I've even had to remind myself it is traffic I've been hearing outside my window, not crystal waves crashing against volcanic rocks.
       The only thing I miss more than the aqua blue water and blazing sun is, the food. I stayed at the Four Seasons Wailea Resort, on the island of Maui. Let me tell you, they know how to cook! The breakfast buffet was phenomenal! I'm not taking about your average pre-cooked mediocre food that is set under a heat lamp. All of the omlettes, waffles, pancakes, and sweet bread French toast were made to order. Not only was it fresh, but it was carefully hancrafted by specially trained chefs. A large array of sliced tropical fruits was arranged next to flaky French pastries. It was pure culinary heaven. I was also lucky enough to dine at Wolfgang Puck's world famous restaurant, Spago. The cucumber martinis were out of this world.
        Also while I was in Hawaii, I came across an unexpected food masterpiece. I was shopping at the Shops of Wailea, when I spotted a Tommy Bahamas' Restaurant. I know what you're thinking. Isn't that the clothing brand that designs those cliche Hawaiian shirts? Yes, they do have a clothing brand, but they also have some of the best desserts you will ever taste. I knew I had to try out this restaurant, because of its casual island vibe. I scanned the menu, and automatically stopped at the Pina Colada Cake. Boy, was it a knockout! I loved the creative complexity of this cake. Luscious layers of golden cocunut cake were delicately laced with white chocolate mousse, and toasted coconut. The cake was topped with a large swirl of whipped cream, which added a level of creaminess. It tasted like clouds of coconut were dancing around in my mouth. I was informed that this was their signature dessert. I can definitely see why!

Pina Colada Cake-Tommy Bahamas' 

  Since returning from Hawaii, I've been dreaming of that cake. Since I do not have a Tommy Bahamas location anywhere near me, I knew I had to improvise. I finally broke down, and decided to make some scones, which would satisfy this craving. I decided to make Toasted Coconut Scones. I topped them with a glaze, for touch of sweetness. 

Coconut scones -
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick), cold unsalted butter*
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut or sweetened shredded coconut,
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t coconut extract or an additional little splash of coconut milk