Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cake flops to pops

So here is my first attempt at cake pops AKA my cake flops

Sad isn't it?  I thought I'd read and re-read all the directions needed but still came up short.  They melted, fell through their sticks, and overall just looked terrible.  In between baking, decorating, and then delivering 5 dozen cupcakes for an engagement party I made an emergency trip to our local cake shop, had to bake another cake and was then up till 12:30 in the morning working on round two.

Here are the steps I took, along with tips that I learned from my caketastrophy.  (Yes it's a word in the caking world, LOL)

1. My friend Dawn found (from her google searches) to put your cake into your mixer and use the paddle attachment to crumble it.

2. Add SMALL amounts, I do mean SMALL amounts of frosting to your crumbles until you get a thicker, NOT sticky mixture that holds together when you try to roll into a ball.

3. Let dough mixture sit out for about 30 minutes before working with it.

4. Now get a cookie scoop to make your balls.  Roll into ball shape and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. Freeze for ONLY 15 minutes.  Do not freeze for hours on end as they will look like the picture at the top of this post.


6. Slowly melt your candy melts in the microwave in very short intervals after the initial 30 seconds.  Your chocolate will seize if you heat too quickly and you'll be near tears when this happens.  Then you'll need to make another trip to your cake supply store to buy more candy melts.  My first attempt was with my double boiler, I think the steam came up from the sides and seized my chocolate.  ANY water, even small, will seize your chocolate.

Or better yet buy yourself a fancy chocolate melting pot when you get your next 40% off coupon, it's on my wish list after this fiasco.

If you are coloring your candy melts you MUST add something called Flo Coat from Americolor if you want to use your regular gel pastes.  You use 5 parts of it to 1 part of your coloring.  Again tears will be had if you do not use this correctly as this will also cause your chocolate to seize.  I've learned these candy melts are a finicky thing to work with.

*another great tip
The cake shop recommended something called Paramount Crystals.  I added it to my candy melts and it helped to thin out the mixture to get that nice viscosity I was looking for when dipping.  She said the colored and even white candy melts tend to have a thicker consistency.

7. Take your cake balls out to rest a few minutes before working with them.

8. Dip your popsicle stick into the candy melt mixture and then stick in about half way into the cake ball.  Then place stick into a styrofoam block that you pre-poked holes in.  I found it easier to let them dry a minute or two before dipping again.

First using double boiler, not good to use!

9. Then, making sure your melted mix is deep enough, dip your cake ball into the mixture all the way and lightly tap to remove excess.  Watch Bakerella's video on amazon to see her in action.

10. Place in styrofoam to dry.  I chose to decorate with swirls and wiggles so I placed some melted chocolate in a piping bag and used a #3 tip to do the swirls after the orange color had dried.  I used a coupler so that I could remove the tip and re-heat as needed.  I found it easier to let the mixture firm a bit to have better control of my swirls.

Well, there you have it.  I'm by no means an expert but practice sure does help.

I made these for my daughter's dance recital this past weekend, their colors are orange and blue.  They needed two dozen of something and I thought it'd be a great way to use up my cake crumbs I save from leveling my cakes.  My husband made a stand for me and I spruced them up with some blue and orange ribbon.  I was so excited that they were a huge hit!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Teacher tote bag

Here is a quick and easy end of year teacher gift.

You will need

tote bag
fabric transfer paper
Scanned picture

My daughter graduated from pre-school a couple years ago and this is what I made and her two teachers LOVED them.  I scanned her class pictures and printed on fabric transfer paper.  She attended a Christian school so I used a scripture on the bottom of one side of the bag and another saying I came up with on the other.

Some tips for fabric transfer paper.
Do not use steam
Iron on a hard surface
Most importantly, print your image MIRRORED!

*I could not get this to work in word because I didn't like any of the wordart options.  After much research I found you can use microsoft paint.  Create your wording and then under rotate choose "flip vertical". You will want to do this with your scanned image as well.  Some printers have a mirror print option however I couldn't find it with my canon printer.

Everyone loves to be green so a tote bag is a great and easy gift.