Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Betty Crocker Fall Baking: The backstory


Many of you may have seen the cover of the Betty Crocker magazine I posted several days ago. You know… the one with these Pumpkin Cake Pops on the front cover. Yeah, pretty crazy stuff. I was so overwhelmed when I first saw it. Completely overwhelmed. I knew they were going to feature some of my recipes, but I never expected they would really pick one to be on the cover. It was all very exciting and it still is. Anyway, I thought I would share with you how it came about.

Several months ago, I was asked by the nice folks at General Mills if I would be interested in submitting some recipes for one of their baking magazines. My first response was internal laughter. Are you sure? Me? I’m not anybody.

But it turns out they didn’t think so.

So I submitted several fall baking recipes for consideration and they liked them. Liked em enough to print them. Months later I found myself on a flight to Minnesota to visit the Betty Crocker Taste Kitchens. It was a short but, jam-packed trip.


I arrived in Minnesota and headed straight for the test kitchens where I was greeted with goodies and smiles. I arrived just in time to take part in their daily taste panel. Every day, several people get together and taste recipes and give their feedback.


Kristen takes notes on everything. Every comment anyone says, good or bad, and then they go back and re-evaluate if necessary.

And they do this every day. Every. Day.


Luckily the day I was there was filled with sweets. Cupcakes and cookies and cakes. I know. It was tough. Really tough.


Look familiar?


I can’t tell you enough how nice everyone was. I didn’t want to leave.

After we finished the tasting panel, Diane (above me) took me down to the photography studio to check in on things because the next day I was going to hang out there and decorate cake pops.


When I walked in, everyone was working hard making my recipes look pretty for the photos. Food stylists rock.


It was so amazing to see this all come together. From the kitchen to the camera. Amazing.


Look. Cake balls ready and waiting for me.


Their computer setup is incredible. The recipe cards for the magazine are already laid out and when they take a photo, it is immediately displayed with the recipe. The photographer can position the photo right on the spot… or take another one and know instantly if it will work with the layout or if they want to change something.


Then, they have a huge monitor on the wall that allows them to view the entire book at one time.

This makes it very easy to see the flow of the book while it is still in progress.


Here’s a page with photo placeholders from my website. Part of the reason I came to the headquarters was to have pictures taken for the featurette. They are replaced in the actual magazine with images shot from the trip.

All super efficient.

So, after saying hi to everyone, several of us went out to dinner.


Grace, Michelle, Andi, Diane, Naomi, Chris, Me, Cherryl and Sue. I had a great time.

And after dinner, I went to my hotel room and crashed. Hard.


The next morning I was greeted by these two.

Tara and Joe. I loved them both immediately. So much fun. Tara did my hair and makeup for the photos and Joe photographed me making cake pops for the day. It was a real treat.


Hey Joe – I really like this one.


This is what I saw all day. I would rather be where he’s standing.


And these are some of the pics he took. I asked him to take most of the pics as action shots … close up… so I wouldn’t be in the photo :)




And more tapping…

Picture-20 copy

and styrofoaming. That’s a new word. You can have it.


Here you can see how they can test photos for the cover right on the fly.

Cute … But these pumpkins definitely need faces.


Luckily I brought my handy dandy edible ink pen.


Yes, faces for sure.


Faces = fun!


After adding the appropriate amount of spooky sweet expression, I played food stylist for a few minutes and arranged the pops for the photo.


Then I chomped on one and Carol came in with the big guns and performed minor surgery to make it perfect.


Here’s Chuck. He was the photographer for the all the magazine food photos that day.


Chuck is great. Super cool.


He took the photo and then I practically ran out the door to make my flight home. It was a whirlwind.

When I went out the front of the building, I actually had to stop the tears. I’m kind of a sap and cry easily.

Everyone was so nice. Like nicer than nice. I really hated leaving. The trip was way too short, but full of fun, excitement, emotions and memories I will cherish. Thank you everyone at General Mills that made is so special. Oh… and thanks for putting my pops on the cover. Way cool.

P.S. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Here’s the final cover if you want to look for it through September.

And… for those of you who have emailed wanting to find it, you can also buy one online.

beth aka confusedhomemaker said...

Oh wow! It looks like a great time & such a well run machine there :) I wish my kitchen were like that, LOL!

My kids also saw the Betty Crocker edition & they want to make the pumpkin cake pops “Like, SOOOOO Badly!!” (exact quote). Now to see see if I can organize an under 7 crowd :)

And congrats on all your success with the book, I saw the other post! How wonderful :)

September 22, 2010 10:53 AM
Jessica @ How Sweet said...

This is so cool! I bought the book in the checkout line and so did my mom – she has always loved them and passed that long to me!

September 22, 2010 10:54 AM
Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) said...

What an awesome experience – Congrats on the cover!

How do I become one of the tasters? Haha

September 22, 2010 10:57 AM
Lacey Igo said...

Thanks for the story! Love the photos!! You are beautiful – don’t worry about the camera! Embrace it! Congrats on all your success it’s amazing. I’m actually purchasing cake pops for my sister in law for Christmas (I will probably throw a copy of it in for myself as well)

September 22, 2010 10:57 AM
Wei-Wei said...

What a great experience! I think it’s so cool that you got on the cover – congrats :D

September 22, 2010 10:59 AM
Heather (Heather's Dish) said...

i am in love with your recipes on the betty crocker mag i just got! it’s great to see your pretty, smiling face on the cover too :)

September 22, 2010 11:02 AM
Pink MagaLine said...

Those halloween-inspired cake pops worth the attention. And you.. looking really nice in purple. Love your smile too! <3

September 22, 2010 11:02 AM
Emma said...

Awesome!! I’ve got your book, both of them actually! My boys love the pops and want to make all of the ones in the Cake Pops book!! :) I just ordered the edible marker pens, so I can’t wait to make the jack-o-lanters for Halloween!! You are amazing! Congrats on all the success!! :) You rock!!

September 22, 2010 11:04 AM
Dee said...

Wow, what an awesome experience! Congrats–<3 your cake pops!

September 22, 2010 11:04 AM
steen said...

I just have to say CONGRATULATIONS. I love seeing the attention that you and is getting… you definitely deserve it and you inspire us all! You are adorable!!

September 22, 2010 11:05 AM
Sharon said...

Congratulations Bakerella. This is my first post here & 4 days ago I didn’t even know what a cake pop was. Since finding your site, I’m so obsessed & can’t wait to try & make some on the weekend. I even got my penpal from the States to post me a copy of your Halloween magazine (I’m in Australia).
I love your work & your site is mind blowing!
You rock!!!

September 22, 2010 11:08 AM
Marsha said...

Great story – thanks for sharing.


September 22, 2010 11:09 AM
Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

Awesome write up! Love it :-)
Congratulations again. I’m sure you are on cloud 9 these days!

September 22, 2010 11:19 AM
The Teacher Cooks said...

What a nice whirlwind! I love the cover. Congratulations, you deserve all this credit for your creativity.

September 22, 2010 11:21 AM
Tonya Peterson said...

This is so awesome. When I saw this book at Sam’s Club I almost felt as if one of my good friends was famous! LOL! Crazy how the internet can bring people together. I had a question for you too. What is the best tasting candy melts you have come across. I tried to make cake pops a few months ago and they were SO sweet. I was wondering if some candy melts taste better than others. The ones I got from Hobby Lobby tasted like crap!


September 22, 2010 11:25 AM
Cat @ Oh My Sugar High said...

Wow, how exciting! Congratulations! I remember when my toddler picked up the Betty Crocker book at the grocery store and I was like “hey, those are Bakerella’s cake pops!” … probably a little too loud.

September 22, 2010 11:26 AM
Sandy said...

How wonderful that you took us with you on this ride, because I really feel like I was with you everystep of the was . Congrats on being on the cover. Quite an honor in my book since I love BC! lol! I’m off to look for my copy!

September 22, 2010 11:29 AM
4alifetimeoflovingyou said...

Lucky You!! You’ve been an inspiration for me in many ways!! Keep up the awesome work!! I always eagerly look forward to your posts!!

September 22, 2010 11:30 AM
Debbie H said...

Bought your book and the magazine…happy day :) Congratulations on your much earned success!! My granddaughters can’t wait for our date to make “punkin’ pops” .

September 22, 2010 11:30 AM
Jamie said...

I’m just so happy for you and all your success!

September 22, 2010 11:35 AM
Tabitha (From Single to Married) said...

That is awesome! Good things are definitely happening for you and you deserve it!

September 22, 2010 11:40 AM
Pam Griner said...

You are my baking idol!

September 22, 2010 11:41 AM
Alicia said...

That is SO fun! I love seeing the behind the scense, you are such an inspiration!!!

September 22, 2010 11:43 AM
Brittney said...

How fun! Thanks for the behind scenes look at the shoot. I can’t wait to pick up my copy of your book!

September 22, 2010 11:44 AM
Diane {} said...

So excited for you! What a fun experience. You look lovely as do your cake pops! Taste testing at the Betty Crocker test kitchen sounds like a great sugar rush.

September 22, 2010 11:45 AM
kathleen said...

such a cool post! I love to see how things things go behind the scenes. congratulations! I admit i am a little intimidated by the amount of work that goes into cake pops but you are wearing me down… i’m gonna have to try making them soon!

September 22, 2010 11:46 AM
Bonnie said...

Awesome !!
I plan on making these, but here in Canada, those little green tic tac’s are NOWHERE. I am sure I have seen them before, I must have..

September 22, 2010 11:48 AM
StrawberryCAKE said...

I saw it in the line at the grocery store yesterday. So exciting!

September 22, 2010 11:51 AM
Rachael said...

I saw the booklet in the grocery store and was like, ” No way! That’s Bakerella!!!” Boyfriend was confused for a minute, but when I mentioned you were the cakepop lady, he got equally as excited. So glad this happened for you!

September 22, 2010 11:53 AM
Sara said...

I can’t remember how I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago. But I’m glad I did. You are by far the most humble blogger I have ever read!!! Such an inspiration and such awesome recipes! I bought the Betty Crocker Fall cookbook at Target and have read it several times over! What a fun experience you had, thank you for sharing it with us! :) With me. :)

September 22, 2010 11:55 AM
notyet100 said...

truly enjoyed reading this,..;-)

September 22, 2010 12:03 PM
Desiree said...

This is such an awesome post! How exciting and you definitely deserved to be featured!

September 22, 2010 12:13 PM
Cbear6889 said...

That’s so exciting

September 22, 2010 12:25 PM
Kelsey said...

Way to go Bakerella!! Hope you can make it back to the great state of Minnesota again soon!! Love the Pumpkin Pops!! :)

September 22, 2010 12:26 PM
Angela said...

That is so cool. Great job!

September 22, 2010 12:33 PM
Rachel said...

I just bought it last night! I am super excited to introduce my friends and family to your cake pops!! It looks like you had a wonderful time!!

September 22, 2010 12:36 PM
Lauren at KeepItSweet said...

thanks for sharing! i’ll have to get a copy of that magazine!

September 22, 2010 12:47 PM
jen said...

so awesome! i love the behind the scene look. thanks for sharing!

September 22, 2010 12:52 PM
Dotty said...

Thank you for posting all of that. It was so interesting to see the whole process. Congrats again!

September 22, 2010 12:55 PM
Jacklyne Boggs said...

When I seen the magazine I screamed for my mom (we was in krogers) to look. We LOVE your ideas & cake pops. We have made a few for the holidays and the hello kitty for my friends little girls 1st birthday (which everyone LOVED!!)
Congrats :)

September 22, 2010 12:58 PM
Maria said...

I am fully aware of the fact that I am definitely not the only one saying this but after having followed your site for almost 4months now I just had to thank you for all the inspiring and fantastic work youre doing. I am sure its not a surprise for you that your recipes have made it all the way to Germany….thanks to the creators of internet… ;) everything I have tried from your site has been a rocking success, so thanks again :)

September 22, 2010 01:06 PM
tj said...

…You are so modest and I love that about you… :o) You’re a “supah – star”! And rightfully so my dear. :o)

…I’m so happy to see you hitting the big time! Go with it, enjoy and have fun – you deserve it!

…Many blessings… :o)

September 22, 2010 01:09 PM
IRIS said...

I love reading your stories. You really are the Cinderella of the blogging/baking world! Congrats for your success …looking forward to reading more as the chapters of your story unfold!

September 22, 2010 01:10 PM
Lisa said...

I pick up the magazine and spent most of last weekend baking. Great article and I loved all of yoru submissions. I was really happy to see teh cowgirl cookies there! (now I don’t need to haul my laptop into the kitchen everytime I want to make them!)

September 22, 2010 01:14 PM
Ann said...


September 22, 2010 01:23 PM
pollydove said...

Oh I think that you definitely are “somebody” …. after that amazing trip surely you must feel like “I’ve arrived!”

HOW EXCITING for you!!!! Congratulations! And you are absolutely the master of your craft! You are fabulous!

September 22, 2010 01:27 PM
sue mannel said...

i cannot tell you how happy it makes me when ppl’s dreams come true. you took somrthing that you love and made it your own. everything looks heavenly. even tho i don’t know you, i am so proud of your accomplishments and you inspire us (me) to keep dreaming.

btw…i’m so making those and eating every last one cuz that’s how i roll.

sue :)

September 22, 2010 01:37 PM
Felicity Lingle said...

That is so awesome and it’s so fun to see behind the scenes and learn their “secrets.” Thanks for sharing!!

September 22, 2010 01:38 PM
Ashlie B said...

You go girl! I’m incredibly happy for you!! :]

September 22, 2010 01:39 PM
Joy said...

Wow, that’s awesome! I’m new to your site and I’m so glad that I have found it especially now that I’m looking for baking inspirations. I plan on baking cupcakes and a small cake for my son’s first birthday party next month!

September 22, 2010 01:55 PM
Teresa Lynn Cotterman said...

I have my copy and am so excited to try a few recipes for the tailgating this weekend ;-)

September 22, 2010 02:06 PM
Seanna Lea said...

That trip is very cool. I love seeing the sneak peeks into the industry that you’ve been sharing!

September 22, 2010 02:12 PM
Alicia VanderMartin said...

What an awesome little adventure! I love how you kept saying Nice throughout. I am from MN and we tend to say we are Minnesota Nice! :)

September 22, 2010 02:13 PM
Sandi said...

I saw you in my grocery store the other day! So cool! I loved seeing the behind the scenes…thanks for sharing!

September 22, 2010 02:19 PM
Lilika said...

Baking exciting new recipes and then tasting them daily? I’m am currently looking at my new dream job.

That’s really incredible that you got to experience all that, what a wonderful time! :)

September 22, 2010 02:20 PM
Indy Grrrl said...

I want to make these cuties. I love them!

September 22, 2010 02:21 PM
Pam said...

Wow! Such fun!!! I used to work for Kraft Foods… the test kitchens were always the best place to be invited to. <]:-)

September 22, 2010 02:29 PM
HappyWhenNotHungry said...

Congratulations! That looks like such a wonderful opportunity and exciting experience!!!

September 22, 2010 02:34 PM
Kate said...

Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine being in your shoes. This trip would have been the trip of a lifetime. The pictures were awesome and so exciting! I saw the book with your pops on the cover and I was so excited for you! I can’t imagine what you’re feeling now and you deserve every bit of fame :)

September 22, 2010 02:37 PM
Anu said...

Congratulations! You rock by the way.. Loved the book… My 3yr old wants everything…He religiously reads it before bedtime,not sure if he expects the pops to pop out of the book.. Good luck in all your endeavours.

September 22, 2010 02:38 PM
Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. said...

What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes of how the magazine became to be, it looks wonderful!

September 22, 2010 02:49 PM
Amanda said...

That whirlwind trip looks like it was so exciting!! I saw the little cook book in the grocery store a few days ago and picked it up. I can’t wait to make some of the cake pops!

September 22, 2010 03:00 PM
Lynn M said...

I’ve got my copy. Thanks for the behind the scenes tour. Loved it.

September 22, 2010 03:21 PM
Sue said...

Angie, You must feel like you’re living a dream:) It couldn’t happen to a nicer person!

September 22, 2010 03:27 PM
TheModelWhoEats said...

That looks like an amazing trip! Congrats on the cover!
It seems like it would be an awesome vacation to go and work as a taster in the panel. Is it people that come in from outside, or people specifically hired to taste daily? Yum!

September 22, 2010 03:28 PM
jeannette said...

wow – so proud for you!

September 22, 2010 03:52 PM
Diana B said...

I actually bought this about a week ago at Albertson’s….I remembered you mentioning you would be in it, and then while in line I saw Pumpkin Cake Pops staring back at me!! I had to buy it!! It looked great and I can’t wait to try some recipes from it!!

September 22, 2010 04:04 PM
Kristin Morris said...

Thank you so much Angie for letting us go “behind the scenes” with you!!!! I loved reading it and seeing all of the pictures! And you and your pumpkin faces looked great!

September 22, 2010 04:25 PM
Miss Rachel P. said...

Thanks for the behind the scenes look! Wow, what a great place and what fun! :D I’m so happy for you and your little cake pops! :)

I think it’s great that you are so humble about your experiences and your talents. :) I definitely think you are MORE than just somebody! ;) LOVE those sweet little cake pops and your dear “sweet” blog! :D Love every one of your posts! :D

~Miss Rachel~

September 22, 2010 04:29 PM
Julie said...

You and your cake pops are adorable! Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve avoided making cake pops until now (they’ve always looked way too intimidating for me to try). My goal is to try these for Halloween. So fun and super cute!

September 22, 2010 04:32 PM
Lauri said...

What a great story! You must be having the time of your life!
I can hardly wait to pick up your book in Canada!

September 22, 2010 04:33 PM
72 said...

That looks so fun! Looks like you had a great time. Too bad we can’t buy that in the UK

September 22, 2010 04:39 PM
CincyJen said...

I think it’s so awesome that you share your ideas and recipes so freely!! In your book you even tell people how to ship them. It’s like we’re all your little Bakerella franchisee’s LOL! My friend and I are hooked here in Cincinnati and are making them for our children’s bake sales and birthdays…thanks so much for sharing so “sweetly!” xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

September 22, 2010 04:54 PM
Adele said...

I saw that cover in the grocery store and LOVED it! That is so awesome they featured you on the cover! I smiled big when I saw you there! It didn’t surprise me at all though because we all know you’re someone!! Loved all that behind the scenes stuff! Thanks for sharing!

September 22, 2010 04:55 PM
Pallavi Kale said...

You deserve it Bakerella….absolutely amazing…and you seem too sweet of a person too….giving credit to everyone who deserves it.Thank you so much for sharing these pics.Its really nice to see what actually goes behind the scenes to put that one cover together.
thank you and all the best on your new book.


September 22, 2010 05:13 PM
Bubble and Sweet said...

So much behind the scene work for those perfect photos. They all look really nice too, it must be all that sugar making them so sweet.

September 22, 2010 05:14 PM
Leanne said...

I, too, loved the combination of purple and orange!! Wicked, wicked, Wicked. Livin’ the dream, girl! Awesome!

September 22, 2010 05:15 PM
Brenda said...


September 22, 2010 05:22 PM
Annie said...

Congratulations! You look so pretty in the photos :)

September 22, 2010 05:43 PM
Mamom said...

You are so blessed and the best part is you truely seem to realize and appreciate it. Congradulations on your success. May it continue to come to you through your hard work and gratitude.
P.S. love the pen idea. I would have been cutting black licorice ribbons for hours (only to watch everyone pick it off!)

September 22, 2010 05:46 PM
Michelle said...

Wow, what a wonderful experience! Thank you very much for sharing!

September 22, 2010 06:14 PM
Jamie D said...

Way to go!!!!

September 22, 2010 06:17 PM
Julia said...

How much fun! Makes me want to start a food blog but that might scare people. :) I saw the magazine at Publix the other day and HAD to buy it. I love it.

September 22, 2010 06:18 PM
katie o. said...

I think I saw it in the store before I even knew about you being featured. Bought it of course. Lady, you’re mad talented. And you’re getting everything you deserve.


September 22, 2010 06:29 PM
Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef said...

how exciting!

September 22, 2010 06:41 PM
Anonymous said...

Wow! Im jealous! not only did you have such an exciting experience, but your hair looks great through it all!!

September 22, 2010 07:45 PM
Lori said...

I honed in on my copy at the check out of our local Independent Grocer. I was so excited. I think the cashier thought I was nuts as I explained why the little magazine was sooooo exciting. I convinced her that she had to get a copy…and she did :-)

Your Canadian Fan, Lori
Hurray again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 22, 2010 08:08 PM
Pattycake said...

Oh my god! That is too cool! Ok, I think I know what my dream job is now. I’ll start at Betty Crocker next week, as a new tasting panel member.

Congrats on being part of something so fantastic and just plain exciting!

September 22, 2010 08:18 PM
Sue said...

Congratulations on the cover, Bakerella! The honor was ours to be able to finally meet you and see firsthand how to make the adorable cake pops. I can’t wait to see what’s up your sleeve next!

September 22, 2010 08:23 PM
delicieux said...

I’ve only just stumbled across your site (God knows why I hadn’t found it sooner) but it’s fantastic!!!! I love the Halloween cake pops. Such a great idea!! Also, congratulations on making the cover!

September 22, 2010 08:44 PM
ErinsFoodFiles said...

What an amazing experience! Great post!

September 22, 2010 09:41 PM
Cheryl W. said...

Sounds like it was an amazing experience. I bought the magazine a few days ago. It’s one of the few that I actually want to bake pretty much everything in it. I keep looking through trying to decide what to make first. Maybe it should be the cake pops!!!!!

Congratulations. Oh, I told my hubby I want your cookbook for my b-day….

September 22, 2010 09:45 PM
Jennifer said...

Good things come to good people. Love your blog. Love your cakepops. Love your energy. Congratulations!!

September 22, 2010 09:55 PM
Katrina said...

Lucky girl! It looks like you had a blast. I’m so happy for you.

September 22, 2010 10:06 PM
Knitty said...

I loved reading this! I agree with Jennifer in comment #93. May you experience much continued success!

September 22, 2010 10:07 PM
Olive said...

Wow! Congratulations on the cover’re a star! ! :)

September 22, 2010 10:18 PM
Kasey said...

My mom just had the book in the car today and I told her I have been looking at your blog for awhile. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes. I even bough buttermilk today. You are great. Thanks for sharing the photos.

September 22, 2010 10:23 PM
Elizabeth D said...

I saw this in the store a couple of weeks ago and was jumping up and down! I am so excited for you!

September 22, 2010 10:23 PM
Melissa H from So. Fla said...

Congrats…I saw the book tonight at the store and I faintly said “I know her”. No I don’t, I had to remind myself; I just think I do. :)

September 22, 2010 10:45 PM
Pink Martini said...

Thanks for sharing. This was really fun to see. Congratulations! You are a super star!! :) xoxo

September 22, 2010 10:58 PM
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