Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mini ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heart Cake Pops

I made mini and many cake pops for you this past weekend. I had this idea I wanted to try just using basic round pops and color to make a sweet little display. So I set out to dip enough cake pops to get the job done. That turned out to be 350 plus. Yikes. Not quite sure what I was thinking … Around number 70, I was really starting to reconsider. I thought … oh my gosh I have to make five times that many. But when I start something I can’t let it go until I get to the end and see how it works out. I know this project doesn’t help you much for this year, but I thought the heart display could totally work for a lot of other things besides Valentine’s Day.

So keep reading below for the how to… or check out my big “mini” giveaway at the end of this post. It’s a mini way for me to say Happy Valentine’s Day!

Okay, here we go.

You can’t tell in the picture, but these cake pops are tiny. Like Cake Dots instead of pops. So tiny that you use a toothpick to dip them with instead of a lollipop stick. Yes a toothpick. The cake balls are actually about the size of a penny. But they are small for a reason.

  1. Regular size cake pops would take up a lot of table real estate.
  2. The lollipop sticks would be much taller and people would have a harder time viewing the design from above.
  3. I figured the proportions out so they would work on a pretty standard size piece of styrofoam to make it easier to recreate and transport.
  4. I only had to make one cake. Score.
  5. Mini is major cute.

steps

I based the display design off of a template (see below) I made so that it works with a 12X18 inch or 12X20 inch sheet of styrofoam you can find in craft stores. Then I worked backwards to figure out how many cake pops you’d need to make the the shape look right. Once I had that, I knew how big to make the cake pops. Or how little.

  • Crumble cake and mix with frosting
  • Roll into tiny cake balls. (basic cake pop instructions here) You can use the circles on the downloadable template as a guide for the right size. They should be slightly smaller than the circle so that when you add the coating they will still fit together nicely.
  • Keep rolling and rolling until you have enough
  • Dip a toothpick into melted coating and then insert into a chilled cake ball.
  • Dip entire cake pop into the coating and then sprinkle with non-pareils. They are tiny and will be the best size for these tiny treats.
  • Place in styrofoam to dry.

A couple of things to note.

  • Use a small plastic bowl to melt the coating. You can work with a smaller amount of coating when dipping. Just melt the coating in batches as you go. Then you can take breaks and watch the Walking Dead marathon on AMC in between.
  • Buy more than one sheet of styrofoam. You’ll need more room than the display size so they aren’t touching each other as they dry.
  • Invite a friend over to help you. It will go faster and maybe your neck won’t hurt like mine does right now from looking down and dipping for so long.
  • I’d try Mercken’s candy coating for this project. It melts nice and fluid – you don’t want thick coating on these. It will add too much volume.
  • I’ve probably discouraged you already. Kind of like I felt as I was starting making these. But I had a feeling they’d be cute when I finished so I went on… like I’m going to do now. And by the way, these completely make me giddy when I see them finished on the table (looking at them now), so I guess it was worth it. And it will definitely be worth it if one of you decides to try it out some day. Hope you do… with a friend.

Sprinkles

Use multi-color non-pareils for the second candy coating color. Minus the static.

Baby Cake Pop

Super cute.

When all the pops are done, prepare your display.

styrofoam

  • Wrap a 12X18 inch or 12X20 inch sheet of styrofoam with paper. I used the 19X25 inch single sheets you purchase at the craft store. You could also use wrapping paper though.
  • Packing tape worked best on the styrofoam to tape the paper down.
  • Print out the template provided centered on an 11X17 sheet of paper at somewhere like Kinko’s. The design is created for a 12X18 surface area but it is set up on 11X17 paper since that is a standard size to print. You’ll notice that some of the circles on the template are getting cropped off when they print, but that’s okay, you’ll have enough information to figure out where the pops on the perimeter should go. I hope that makes sense.
  • Tape the template down temporarily and use a safety pin to poke holes into the paper.
  • Remove the template and start arranging the cake pops using the template as a guide. Start in the middle and work your way out from the center. More than likely some of your pops will be bigger than you think and if you start at one end, left to right, they will start to tilt too much to make room as you place them in position. But if you start in the center, they will angle out equally all the way around. Again I hope that makes sense.

Heart Mini Cake Pops

Full of heart.

Mini Cake Pops on Toothpicks

But you can also rearrange them for a different look …

LOVE Mini Cake Pops

And spread a little love…

XO

… Or some sweet hugs and kisses.

Here are the 11X17 inch templates for each.

LOVE Cake Pops

And because I love you guys and all things mini, here’s a little giveaway for you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me who your Valentine is, what your plans are (or were) for the fourteenth or just say hi.
  • Deadline to enter is Sunday, February 17th at 7:00 p.m. ET. Sorry, Time’s Up. Winner Announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Sunday evening on this post.
  • Winner will receive a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini.

Good Luck.

We have a winner! YAY!

Congratulations to Brenda! Hope you and your Peanut Butter Man enjoy the mini iPad!

Giveaway sponsored by me.
Monday, February 11, 2013

Give Love Cake Pops

Candy Hearts

Candy Hearts. These don’t just make cute little ears for puppy dog cupcakes, they can also be used to make perfect little bows.

Present Cake Pops

Bows on top of pretty present cake pops for instance.

When I posted those candy hearts last week, it made me think of these sweet little presents.

Cake Pops Holidays Book

They are actually a project in my Cake Pops Holidays book. I thought I’d share the how to with you for those that don’t have the book … yet. ; )

The white candy coating and especially the red candy hearts make them totally work for Valentine’s Day. If I had used red and green for the boxes in the book, not so much.

But these can work … especially if you add some cute little tags to the lollipop sticks.

In the book I used tags that look like gift tags for presents. So, I thought I’d give you some tags to coordinate if you wanted to give some sweet love for the fourteenth, too.

Valentine Cake Pop Tags

Download the tags and use them with a 1 7/8 inch paper punch for cake pops or make cupcake toppers with them, too.

Happy Valentine’s Day Tags
Conversation Hearts Tags – red
Conversation Hearts Tags – pastel (not shown)

And below is the in depth how-to for these. Have fun!

Give Love Cake Pops

Servings: 48 Present Cake Pops

Ingredients

  • 9 X 13 cake, cooled (makes 48 cake pops)
  • Frosting
  • Wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Cookie cutter with a straight edge
  • 48 oz (1.4 kg) white candy coating
  • Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
  • 48 lollipop sticks
  • 96 red candy hearts
  • 48 red mini M&M’s
  • Styrofoam block
  • Red colored cocoa butter (you can also pipe on red candy coating)
  • Small dish
  • Small paintbrush

Instructions

  1. Crumble cake and mix with 2/3 - 3/4 container of ready made frosting or about 1 cup equivalent homemade until completely combined. Roll into 48 balls and place on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up and then transfer to the refrigerator to remain chilled (not frozen).
  2. Remove the cake balls from the refrigerator and shape them, one at a time, into small squares to form the shape of a box. You can use wax paper to aid in shaping the sides. Take each side of your cake ball and slide it on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Rotate and repeat for each side to help create a flat surface. In addition, you can use the flat side of a metal cutter to cut off any rounded excess and to help form straight edges.
  3. After shaping, put the shaped cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up again for dipping. Once they are firm, transfer them to the refrigerator. Remove a few at a time for dipping, keeping the rest chilled.
  4. Melt the candy coating in a microwave-safe plastic bowl, following the instructions on the package. The coating should be about 3 in (7.5 cm) deep for easier dipping.
  5. One at a time, dip about 1/2 in (12 mm) of the lollipop stick into the melted candy coating and insert the stick straight into the bottom of the box shape, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating, and tap off any excess: Hold it over the bowl in your left hand, and tap your left wrist gently with your right hand. If you use the hand holding the cake pop to shake off excess coating, the force of the movement will be too strong and could cause the cake ball to loosen or fly off the lollipop stick. Tapping the wrist holding the cake pop absorbs some of the impact. The excess coating will fall off, but you will need to rotate the lollipop stick so the coating doesn’t build up on one side, making it too heavy on that side. If too much coating starts to build up at the base of the stick, simply use your finger to wipe it off, spinning the lollipop stick at the same time. This can happen if the coating is too thin or too hot. It’s not as hard as it sounds; it just takes a little practice.
  6. While the coating is wet, place two candy hearts on their sides, with pointed ends facing each other on top of the pop. Leave room to place a mini M&M’s candy in between. Tilt the hearts up to form the shape of a bow before the coating sets. Let dry completely in a Styrofoam block.
  7. Heat the red cocoa butter in the microwave following the directions on the bottle. Pour a little into a small dish. Paint ribbons on sides and tops of the cake pop with a brush for a flat appearance. Or you can also use red candy coating instead of colored cocoa butter for ribbons. Pipe coating with a squeeze bottle or apply with a toothpick to draw the ribbons on for a more three dimensional effect.
  8. Let the pops dry in the Styrofoam block.
Source: © 2012 Cake Pops Holidays by Bakerella

Give Love Cake Pops

 

Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

More Minis

Puppy Love Mini Cupcakes

Puppy Love … mini cupcakes decorated with pink and red heart sprinkles for little ears and noses. I love using sprinkles and candies to make faces. Remember these pandas I made? I did something similar using chocolate chips for ears and noses. A candy challenge of sorts. It’s just fun for me to make something with what I have on hand. And make them easy at the same time.

And mini, too. More cupcakes. More cuteness.

I have to say, I’m not completely in love with these puppies. They’re cute, but they were cuter in my head. So keep reading and you can see how a quick candy edit can change them all together.

Chocolate Cupcakes

You can use the cupcake recipe from the panda post. It’s quick, easy and bakes yummy cupcakes. And I like that you can measure and mix everything in one bowl. And this basic buttercream recipe works great with it. After you frost the cupcakes, dip the tops in a bowl of sanding sugar to help even out the surface. When you add candies, add a little dab of frosting or even water to the back, so it will attach to the sanding sugar coated cupcake tops.

Mini Cupcake

This little guy. He’s pretty cute with hearts for folded ears.

Ruff.

Jumbo Heart Sprinkles

Red jumbo heart sprinkles.
I always have some of these on hand. They’re handy.

Candy Hearts

Red Candy Shape Hearts. Whenever I see these, (usually at Hobby Lobby or Cake Art) I grab them. Love the shape and thickness.

Puppy Cupcake

This little guy is pretty cute with an upside down pink jumbo heart nose and a little bone bow tie.

Bone Candies

Funny Bone Candy Shapes.

Now I don’t always have these on hand, but I thought it would be fun to finally use them for these Puppy Love Cupcakes.

Puppy Cupcake

And this little guy. He’s my favorite even though he doesn’t even have a heart shape to help make his face. So much for my puppy love idea. If I was just going to make one puppy, I think it would be him. He looks sweet.

Licorice Pastilles

His ears are made of pink licorice pastilles.

I usually pick these up at the Fresh Market from the buckets of candy you can buy by the scoopful. You could also use Good n Plenty candies, but the pastilles are usually a little thinner which I like.

Jimmies

Chocolate jimmies. You can use these for eyebrows and also for mouths.

Black Sugar Pearls

Black sugar pearls for eyes and noses, too.

Confetti Sprinkles

Pastel confetti sprinkles. I’d consider these one of my sprinkle staples. I have them in several sizes and shapes.

I used the pink ones for puppy tongues.

Candy Eyes

And these candy eyes actually make great noses on small sweets. I find this size at Hobby Lobby. They’re in a jar and sold by Festival. You can also find other brands sold by the sheet like candy buttons.

So those are the add ons I used to make puppies.

Now, like I mentioned above, I didn’t completely fall in love with the puppies for some reason, but as I was decorating I noticed if you take away the licorice, the hearts, the jimmies, and the bones and add something new for the ears you will end up with an even more adorable cupcake.

Mini Polar Bear Cupcakes

Polar bears.

A cute cupcake with even less candies. I like it…and love when you can create with minimum decoration and still be effective.

Soft Edible Sugar Pearls

The ears are 8mm edible soft pearls. They look like snowballs to me.

Miniature Polar Bear Cupcakes

There, much better.

Polar Bear Cupcakes

Here they are in comparison to a regular size cupcake. I know it’s hard to tell size sometimes by the photographs but they are itty bitty.

Mini Polar Bear Cupcake

Now, I love these. They’d be super cute served at a winter wonderland party.

Puppies or polar bears. Which do you like prefer?

Either way, it’s fun to get creative with candies. Sprinkles, too.

Friday, February 1, 2013

It’s National Cake Pops Day!

Happy February and Happy National Cake Pops Day, too! Whoohoo!

Or is it Cake Pop Day? It is in the photo above anyway. You know, so I could have POP centered in the card above … The S would have totally thrown off my graphic. : ) And I added International, too. Cake Pops bring smiles everywhere, right.

Can you believe it’s been five years today … five! … since I first posted these cupcake pops. Reading that post now makes me smile. I had no idea then of how incredibly popular they would become or that people all over the world would be making them. And if someone had told me then that I’d have books based on that little cupcake on a stick … or even better … a toy. Ha! I would have told them they were from crazy town. So I’m glad no one told me that because I might of sabotaged myself if I knew what was coming. But just letting things unfold and having fun making cake pops and sharing them with all of you has brought so much joy and amazingness in many more ways than I could have ever imagined. Plus, I love living in crazy town.

Anyway, last year I thought that February 1st as the anniversary, would be a sweet day to celebrate a treat that takes part in the celebrations of so many. So this year, I’m excited it’s also on Foodimentary’s calendar of national food holidays for February 1st. Yay!

Love Cake Pops?

  • Raise your hand if you’ve seen them at a party, or made them, or just eaten them.
  • Give yourself a shout out if you sell them or share them with others.
  • Say hi if you have. I love hearing how they’ve impacted lives in so many unexpected ways.

Below are a few of my pops from the last five years. I was trying to pick a favorite, but I don’t think I can anymore. The cupcake pops will always be nearest and dearest to my heart, but man those Garfield pops are too much. I didn’t even remember making them until I started looking back at some of my photos.

Anyway, I hope these brighten your day … and maybe give you a little smile, too.

  • And please, link up some of your own cake pops below. Who’s making Valentine Pops?
  • I’d love to see what you’ve been dipping and decorating and especially all of the countries you’ve been doing it from.

Hi… Hugs… and Happy Cake Popping!

xo Bakerella

Cake pops

 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Play Food

Play food

I made some tiny sugar cookie sugar cookies for you.

Tee-niny!

Yes, I love little and I kinda like to play with my food… But I’m sure you know that about me by now.

And you probably know that I made more than just baby cookies.

They’re cute on their own, but I really needed them to put on display.

Cookie Stands

On these 3-tier sugar cookie dessert stands I made.

EEek! Cookies on cookies. Key-ute.

Making Sugar Cookies

I love sugar cookies since they require a few basic ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

They can be baked in no time – especially with the recipe I’ve been using from my friend Bridget at Bake at 350. It’s been my go-to recipe lately. I love hers because nothing has to be set out to room temperature. And her dough doesn’t need to be chilled before rolling either. Equals Awesome! I hate waiting. So I love this recipe. When the dough comes together it will be crumbly, but don’t worry. Just grab it and knead it a bit and it’s ready to roll and cut. And it lifts beautifully, too.

Here’s Bridget’s recipe for sugar cookies and royal icing on some peppermint cookies I made a few weeks ago. And here is the recipe on her site.

But even better, Bridget has a Cookie Decorating book out. And I’m giving one away at the end of this post. YAY!

Decorating Cookies

Actually, I’m giving away a signed copy of her book, Decorating Cookies. Easy to understand instructions with tons of adorable cookie decorating ideas. You’ll love it.

Skip on down to the bottom if you want to enter. Wheee!

Or if you want to see how I made my cookies stand, then keep on reading. These aren’t in Bridget’s book… I was just inspired by her cookie creations and love for decorating and wanted to share it with you since I love using her recipe.

Hope you like them Bridget! P.S. I need a piping boot camp. I don’t know how you do it.

Rolling Pin

Roll your cookie dough out nice and flat. I used these rubber dough bands to make sure the thickness was even when I rolled.

Cookie Dough

Then cut out circles in graduating sizes. I used 3 7/8, 3, 2 5/8 and 2 1/4 inch sizes.

Cookie Dough

Before you bake, use a plastic drinking straw to remove the centers of each cookie. The straw collects the dough in the center. Convenient.

Freeze the cut shapes for about 10 minutes to help the dough avoid spreading and then bake.

And when they come out of the oven, use the straw again to make sure the holes stay the same size.

Shapes

Use the dough scraps and tiny cutters to cut out shapes for your desserts to go on display.

A piping tip like the one on the right will make circles with rounded tops since the tip is cone-shaped.

Makes great mini macarons or whoopie pies. Just tap the tip on the counter to release the dough.

Cookie Dough Shapes

Lots of little shapes.

Cookie Cutters

Assorted shapes – around 1 inch wide.

Tiny alphabet cutters. XOXO

Graduated ovals – plain on one side and crinkled on the other.

And my favorite – I can’t live without – graduated circle cutters that I used to make the stands.

Graduated Cookie Shapes

You’ll want to use four different sizes to make the 3-tier stands.

Note: For the chocolate cookies, I swapped out 1/2 flour for 1/2 cup cocoa and used all vanilla extract in Bridget’s recipe.

Piped

After they are baked and cooled, and then comes the piping. This always goes smoother in my head than when I actually start piping.

Pipe first with outline icing and then fill with flood icing.

However for these I ended up using a royal icing consistency somewhere in between and piped and filled with the same consistency.

Piped

Ugh – wonky lines. Not what I’d hoped.

So after I filled and before the icing set completely, I piped dots all the way around. Camouflage it.

Much better.

Let cookies dry overnight. And after all the cookie decorating save leftover royal icing in an airtight container or in the piping bag with the ends tied off and cap closed for finishing up the project the next day.

Now comes the fun part.

Decorating

Ice the cakes and decorate!

Easy details for major impact.

Luster Dust

Oh and those macarons, try painting them with a little luster dust.

Just mix some of the powder with a small amount of clear extract and you can paint right on the cookies.

Pretty.

Play food

Pretty dang cute!

Cookie Dessert Stands

And even cuter on display.

These were surprisingly easy to make stand up.

Cookie Sticks

Start with using cookie sticks for the support. These are bigger than the lollipop sticks I usually use for cake pops (lower right).

The sticks should be about 6 inches tall for the stands. Buy the 6 inch sticks or cut down the 8 inch.

Use a cookie stick to gently twist through each cookie opening to make sure it goes through before building.

And make sure your cookie icing is completely dry and set from the day before.

IMG_1276

Sugar Cookie Stands

  1. Start with the smallest cookie shape. It should not be iced. Place on a flat surface and then insert the cookie stick. Slide the largest iced cookie on top. Having two cookies on the bottom will give you more support and keep the stick straight.
  2. Cut striped straws into 1 1/2 inch sections. Slide one straw piece over the stick and push to the bottom as a spacer/ledge.
  3. Slide second largest iced cookie on stick until it stops at the straw. Then slide another straw piece on top.
  4. Slide last cookie on top until it stops at the straw. Then slide one more straw piece on the very top. Wrap a piece of washi tape around the straw and cut out a triangle for a cute flag topper.
  5. Note: Not shown. Use the leftover royal icing to pipe in between the two bottom cookies and pipe dots around the centers of each tier to help secure the cookies in place as you build. Attach the desserts to the tiers with royal icing too. Then let dry and don’t move for a few hours. I skipped this step because I wanted to get right to taking pictures.

Sugar Cookie Dessert Stands

There you have it four cookies for 3-tier stands. Bridget’s recipe will make four stands with enough cookies to decorate.

And these can be totally scaled back? Two tiers? Just a cookie plate? Just the tiny cookies? Only one cookie shape? Choose how you want to play.

Cookie Stands

They’d be super fun and totally stand out for Valentine’s Day, for a dessert party or even party favors.

Enjoy!

_______________________

Now for the giveaway!

Decorating Cookies

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Bridget’s book, Decorating Cookies.

  • Just answer the following question and leave your response in the comments section on this blog post.
  • What did you do this weekend? Something fun I hope. I made a bunch of cookies : )
  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm. Sorry, Time’s Up. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be picked at random and announced sometime Wednesday evening on this post.

Good Luck!

 

Thank you all so much for the sweet words on the cookie stands. I really appreciate it. And now for the winner of Bridget’s book.

It’s comment #917 – Becky P! Congratulations and have fun decorating cookies. And swimming too.

 

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