My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Cupcake Pops!

Oh Bakerella, how I love your blog. I've known about it for a while and have always adored your cake pops, but I've been too scared to try them. Well, I decided that would end here and now. I attempted a challenge for my first cake pops, making cupcake pops, and using Funfetti instead of red velvet cake. I am NOT a fan of red velvet cake, ok? I just don't like it and would rather have vanilla/white/yellow cake any day. Funfetti especially makes me smile because of the sprinkles inside the cake. So I decided to use that instead of red velvet. Other than that, I used a combination of Bakerella and Cook Teen's instructions (and of course, have some tweaking for next time).

I made the cakes ahead of time, and since I lack the traditional rectangular pan, I used two 8 inch round pans instead. I crumbled the cake into a large mixing bowl, covered with aluminum foil and promptly became so busy running errands for the next few days that I barely got around to making dinner for myself before 10 pm, let alone thinking of my cupcake pops. Finally, the day James flew home from Florida, I carved out some quality time to spend with my craftstore finds--lollipop sticks in two sizes, candy melts in light cocoa and white and miniature treat bags.

 I mixed in almost the entire can of cream cheese frosting, which makes a lovely ooey, gooey mess. I recommend using a normal (read: metal) spoon and your hands (there's no real way around this...take off your rings if you don't want them covered in cakey-frosting-y mess). After this, roll the cake into little 1 inch diameter balls. I thought I did this pretty well, but mine were too small (more on that later) and pop them into the freezer for 15 minutes. My freezer isn't set up for cakepops, so I had to slide the trays in one at a time, letting one freeze while the other thaws, then switching them out.
Artsy shot!
Tray two of cake balls.

When they're nice and cold, roll them out into logs and freeze them again. Then you'll squish them into a little flower-shaped cookie cutter (Target, for this one) leaving a little muffin-top. They will look like mushrooms, not cupcakes, but don't worry, the candy coating helps a LOT. This is where I found out I'd made my cake balls too small. Combining two of them was too much, so I broke some of the logs in half, and added a half to each whole one. This seemed to make the perfect size. If you want pictures of the muffin top shape, look at Cook Teen's hands were too messy to take pictures at this point.

Next came the decorating. DO NOT use a microwave. 1. It heats the chocolate too well. 2. It WILL ruin the chocolate. 3. It solidifies too fast. DO use a double boiler. We received one as a wedding gift, but if you don't have one, do not despair, they are easy to make. Use a pot of water and a heat-safe (read: pyrex or metal) bowl. Or, set a pyrex casserole dish full of water on a burner and use another, smaller pyrex glass dish to melt the chocolate. That's James' choice. Anyways, we used out double boiler to melt the chocolate, and instead of taking it off the heat left it on the heat, since it cooled super fast. I did what Cook Teen recommended, and only took out about 5 at a time. I failed at decorating the bottoms, but James was pretty good. He hated using his hands, so he speared each cupcake through the top with a lollipop stick. It liked to slip off, so he just used it for extra support. I did dip *most* of the sticks into chocolate before spearing the cakepops and letting them dry. 15-20 minutes later, we came back and warmed up the white chocolate in the double boiler and dipped the tops in. Then, we put an M&M on top and sprinkled sprinkles over the white part. I just kinda threw them on, holding the cake pop over the sprinkles container and making a glorious mess in the process. Now, Cook Teen says you can dry these in a coffee mug. Maybe, if you use the 6 inch or longer lollipop sticks, but I thought those looked weird and used the 4 inch sticks. They do not work in coffee mugs and tea cups (our china ones at least) are too shallow and cause them to fall, so I would go with Bakerella's suggestion for her cakepops of a styrofoam brick. I did not have one, so we just set them down and I have to deal with the imperfection of flat sides. I tried using my shot glass collection, but regular sized shot glasses are too shallow and too short...AND I think the only reason mine stayed upright was because they were quake-hold-ed on. So, go get yourself a styrofoam brick. And if you figure out where they are, let me know.


In my shot glass (3 perfect ones!)

We had a serious problem. Some of the sticks popped out mid-dipping or during packaging! So we had about 9 cupcake bites with holes in the bottom (Sh, don't tell anyone!). I don't know why this happened for most, but I can hypothesize on it: some of the sticks weren't on straight. These things are heavy, so make sure the weight distribution isn't skewed or else you'll end up with cupcake bites instead of pops. Also, I think I stuck the sticks in too far on some; don't stick your stick in past the point you dipped in chocolate. Otherwise, you'll lose it. Anyways, 20 minutes after the white chocolate, we ended up packaging them: treat bags and ribbons for the pops and cupcake liners for the bites. They were a hit with James' coworkers and I was referred to as a "baking goddess" (this is the real quote, and if you want proof, look at my facebook wall!). They're a bit dense for me, and I think I might use vanilla frosting for Funfetti cake in the future, but they are pretty yummy.
The cupcake bites

Ready for distribution

Meatloaf & Mac'n'Cheese Cupcakes!

Last Thursday I attempted to make a "cute" dinner as a surprise for James. This involved some of his favourite comfort foods in cupcake form! Who knew you could make meatloaf and mac'n'cheese in cupcake form? I certainly didn't. And before anyone asks, no, it's not cake flavoured like those foods; that would be disgusting. I found the recipes here and here, respectively. I thought it would be fun since James thinks my family is weird because we like snack-y, appetizer-y foods and can make a meal of those instead of having a quote-unquote "real" meal. Anyways, I set out to find all the ingredients and make these cupcakes. I had some trouble finding chili sauce and ended up using the only one I could find--sriracha chili sauce. Beware--this is HOT. 
Sriracha meatloaf sauce
Just out of the oven


All ready!
Admittedly, mine are not as pretty as the ones that are on Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy's blog. However, I didn't pipe on my potatoes and my oven doesn't have a broiler function, so you can forget that lovely browned look. Plus it was much messier than I had expected. They were pretty good, though James nearly burnt his tongue off. It was spicy for me too, but I enjoyed that bite. They were also enormous, and if I ever make it again, I'll probably halve the recipe. I say if because unfortunately, my stomach didn't quite agree with something in the meatloaf, be it the sauce or something else. The only meatloaf I grew up with was the singer, so I'm not too familiar with the food. The meatloaf was also difficult to eat since it was messy to eat with your fingers, too tall to really bit into (at least for me) and had a round bottom, so when assaulted with a fork, it rolled. Easy solution: cut off the bottoms before serving!

The mac'n'cheese cupcakes were pretty good. I only had one cupcake pan left, so I used one of our mini muffin pans as the second, and they turned out pretty cute. They burned a bit, which made the paper cups stick to the mac'n'cheese, which wasn't so tasty. Next time I'd figure out a way to avoid that. But all in all, they were pretty good. I still prefer my mom's macaroni and cheese, perfected with A1 sauce (my dad and I's secret macn'n'cheese weapon!) though I haven't managed to perfect the perfect cheese to noodle ratio she always manages to get. All in all, these recipes would be perfect for party food, just make them both in mini muffin pans and you've got instant comfort food appetizers that would rock for superbowl food (imo) or a movie slumber party. The novelty outweighs the cons, but I think I'll come up with my own recipes and simply transfer them to the cupcake bans for baking next time (and of course, add A1 to my mac'n'cheese)!
The cheese mixture
Out of the oven and ready to serve!