Monday, October 19, 2015

Mini Monster Cakes

Mini monster cakes are on the menu today. That’s right, these are little bitty cupcake layer cakes all dressed up and ready for Halloween.

Making them is pretty easy. I used this chocolate cupcake recipe. It yields 18 cupcakes or 9 mini monster cakes.

On half of the baked cupcakes, remove the mounded tops using a knife.

To assemble: Unwrap the cupcakes and place a cut cupcake, top side down on a 4X4 inch piece of wax paper. Then spread some frosting on its bottom and place another whole cupcake on top, right side up like shown in the pics above. Frost the sides and top with buttercream by holding the cupcakes together in between your fingers and the wax paper. Apply frosting up the side and rotate until covered … then frost the top. This will be your crumb coat, so don’t worry about specks of the cupcake getting mixed in your frosting because you’ll be covering it all up later.

Place in the freezer to firm up for much easier handling. You can also add a second layer of frosting to create more cylinder-like shapes like I’ve done in the fourth photo. Just make sure the cupcakes are chilled and firm to the touch before decorating or else you will have a mess on your hands.

To decorate, whip up some tinted frosting in fun colors and use different tips for varying effects.

You can use this buttercream recipe. You’ll need three batches… maybe four if you make all 9 mini cakes.

This guy is a little spiky. I used a round #12 tip to pipe rows around the cake starting from the bottom and working my way up.

The eye is made of regular and mini-size Oreo cookie halves attached with frosting.

Oh yeah … before frosting, place the mini cake on a 4-inch doily and then on a piece of cardboard so you can rotate for decorating and then for transporting.

I used a grass tip (#233) for this one. You can work with two different frosting colors for a fun furry effect. Just pipe in random shapes making sure to get the colors close to each other so the white crumb coat doesn’t show from underneath.

For the mouth, cut an Oreo cookie half … in half … and press on top of the frosting. Then pipe more frosting so it overlaps the top of the mouth. Make sure he has several candy eyes so he can see how cute he is.

And throw on some cute bone candies to top him off. But really… you can use any candies you have on hand and just get creative with different designs. That’s the fun part. The possibilities are endless.

This one is covered in tons of candy eyes. I used a #21 tip and piped around the base. In the places I wanted eyes, I piped in a circular shape leaving room for the eye to sit in. This is mainly so I didn’t have a bunch of orange frosting squishing out around the eye when I pressed it in place. But… maybe that would look all monstery-cute, too.

I like how this one turned out… kind of hairy and tattered looking. This is made with a basket weave tip (#48).

When you place eyes in position, then just overlap the frosting on top so it all looks integrated.

Oh yeah – this one is easy. I didn’t use a decorating tip. Instead I applied a thin layer of green frosting and then covered the cake with my green candy shred. So spooky cute!

You can give them little signs to hold, too.

Just wrap washi tape around a toothpick and cut into a triangle shape for pennants.
Super easy.

Hope these minis make you smile.
Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chocolate Chunk Banana Snack Cake

It’s snack time! With the start of October, the internet makes me feel like I should be sharing pumpkin recipes. I mean pumpkin this and that is everywhere. But I don’t really feel like pumpkin right now. Actually, I’m not so ready for fall at all. I wish I could get two more months of summer in. Like every year. So that’s where this quick little banana snack cake comes in.

Simple ingredients.

And simply yum.

You can use mini chips in your batter, but I like them chunky with chocolate.

Enjoy the baked banana cake by itself or top it with frosting.

That’s right. Let’s slap on a layer of creamy chocolate frosting.

One of the reasons I love snack cakes so much is baking everything in one big, no-fuss, easy layer. Plus, that means lots of little squares to snack on for the next few days.

Chocolate Chunk Banana Snack Cake

Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks

Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add milk, continuing to mix until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour and mix until just combined. Mix in mashed bananas. (Note: I used a food processor to mash bananas right before adding to the batter.) Stir in chocolate chunks.
  • Pour batter into prepared dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until done.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely.

For frosting: Using a mixer, beat butter and vanilla until smooth. Sift powdered sugar and cocoa together and slowly add to mixer while on low. Increase to medium and beat until completely incorporated. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until desired creaminess.

Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

These major chocolatey chocolate chip cookies actually came from a mix. But not just any mix.

Master Pastry Chef and Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres now has a convenient way to make his famous chocolate chip cookies.

I was excited to give them a go because I use his scratch recipe all the time and it is one of my absolute favorites. Check out this older post I did on making them and trust me when I say that they are ridiculously good. The original recipe just takes some time (overnight chilling), more than one kind of flour, giant chocolate wafers to bake inside. So, I don’t always have the time to plan to make them or the right ingredients on hand.

That’s why this little mix came in handy to curb my cookie cravings. You just add butter and eggs. I was a little skeptical about the kind of chocolate that would be included in the bag because when I pressed around, it didn’t feel like it would have the big wafers I am used to with his recipe.

But oh boy … was I wrong. They are ginormous and bigger than the big ones I usually use. Here they are next to regular size chips on the right.

And here they are in my hand. Yes and yum. These are the kind of chocolate chips …I mean chocolate wafers that I can get behind. Or maybe even chocolate saucers, they’re so big.

Spoon, please!

Okay… this is what I’m talking about. Look at all that warm chocolate spilling out when you take a bite. So good.

A couple of things to note about these cookies… The mix is a little pricey. Like $18 for the bag. So I will probably stick to making them from scratch, unless I want to give the mix as a gift. That being said, the chocolate and ingredients I buy to make his original version ends up being around the same price when everything is said and done.

Also… if you do buy the mix and make them, let your dough chill for a while so they don’t spread as much. My cookies went a little flat.

And not quite like his scratch recipe cookies. Photos below are for reference from an older post. Check it out here.

Chocolatey

See what I mean. These are insane.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

And pretty!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You really have to make them one day! Here’s the recipe for his famous cookies:

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies

Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Very Sweet Vegas

A few weeks ago I went on a super fun girls trip to Las Vegas planned by my sweet blogging friend Jenny of Picky Palate.  I loved hanging out with these girls … especially since they love sweets as much as I do. And, we had a blast trying as many treats in three days as we could.

L to R: Shelly of Cookies and Cups, Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, me, Shawn of I Wash You Dry, Stephanie of Plain Chicken, Lauren of Lauren’s Latest, Jenny, and Amanda of Kevin and Amanda.

 

After landing in Vegas, we met up at Yardbird for lunch. We started the weekend strong with Chicken and Waffles followed by a few desserts to share. This s’mores brownie was served up in a cute little skillet.

We had fried Oreos, too… but the chocolate chip cookie sandwich with peanut butter ice cream and bananas was by far my favorite. Definitely off to a good start.

We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel and enjoyed dinner at their restaurant Verandah. So amazing.

By the way… LOVE the Four Seasons Hotel. I’ll definitely want to go back. It sits on the top floors of the Mandalay Bay, but has its own private entrance free of all the noise and smoke and slot machines. Not that I don’t love slot machines. It was just nice to go back to the hotel and have a break from all the craziness. But then the elevator too conveniently stops on the casino floor to give you access to the Mandalay Bay Casino which I may have taken advantage of more than I should.

The next morning we headed over to Hash House a Go-Go and you guessed it. Kept eating. this Brown Sugar Banana Pancake was as big as a pizza. But all their dishes are ginormous. You’ll feel guilty when you leave. But your tummy will feel happy.

Okay, in full disclosure. I did not eat all of this.

That’s because … I had to try this tower of chocolate waffles, ice cream and chocolate syrup … and it stole my heart.

We all totally shared, though. I don’t think I could finish even one of their dishes.

Also devoured by the group were Banana French Toast, Chicken and Waffles … (again), and Kristan ordered the Man vs. Food dish that helped make Hash House so popular.

We don’t hold back.

Here we all are at the Wynn Hotel entrance. Such a pretty hotel.

For lunch we slowed down a little bit and just ordered a few French Fry Sampler platters and washed them down with custom milkshakes at Burger Bar. I had the middle one… and it was amazing!

I love this Kate Spade window display. I mean, even our shopping adventures were sweet.

But not as sweet as Jenny was for surprising us with a bunch of amazing goodies to go home with. A big thanks to the brands who helped her make our trip so special: 
Four Seasons Las VegasSabra HummusPetunia Pickle BottomMZ WallaceTieksLulu FrostLoren HopeMiranda Frye JewelryMinted.comTokyo MilkHello ApparelBella Cotton Candy MakerP.J. SalvageKitchenAidRetro BakeryTillamookNestlePlantersBon Apetit Pizza and Martha White.

That night we met up with Miss Brit. She totally wanted to hang out with us.

But she was busy dancing her butt off. Such a fun show.

The next morning we had brunch buffet back at Veranda in the Four Seasons Hotel. It’s most definitely worth going to. There is soooooooo much yumminess to choose from. I mean they have everything!

And how can you not love a place with their own adorable doughnut bar.

After brunch we hung out at the pool and enjoyed doughnuts in our cabana.

Okay… we also had nachos. But, let’s talk about these nachos. They are one of the best things I had all weekend. And maybe some of the best nachos I’ve had ever. I did not want to stop eating them, but my bathing suit said otherwise.

Later that afternoon we stopped by Hershey’s Chocolate World. Such a happy place.

Look at this giant chocolate chunk sandwich cookie. It makes you smile doesn’t it.

Saturday night we had cupcakes from Retro Bakery. My favorites in Vegas.

Get the Hopscotch in the above photo  and you won’t regret it.

 

Sunday morning called for Banana Waffles from Bouchon Bistro …delicious. I was sad to leave and drowned my sorrows in a river of maple syrup.

But these warm spiced beignets with Nutella cheered me right up. They were to die for delicious!!!

And now for a delicious end to a very sweet trip with a couple more over the top desserts from Serendipity 3. I didn’t make it here before I left, but Amanda and Shawn did and sent these photos and I cried.

This Party Like it’s Your Birthday Cake!!!

And this Deep Fried Oreos and Ice Cream Sundae!!!!! And now I know my first stop the next time I’m back in Vegas.

Do you have any favorite sweet stops we should try next time?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cake Popalooza!

Today is the 5-year anniversary of my first book. I can’t believe it!

How could five years have gone by so fast?!? It’s just crazy and to celebrate, I’m giving away a bunch of Cake Pops goodies below. YAY! I created cake pops and first shared them on the blog back in 2008 and by September 8, 2010, Cake Pops by Bakerella was released in stores and online. So much has happened since this book made it in to peoples’ homes and hearts all over the world.

Businesses have been launched and products have been created to help make them, shape them, display them, and decorate them. Cake Pops have become regulars at coffees shops, bakeries, birthdays, weddings and more. They’ve helped raise money for charities, inspired creativity, spread joy and probably some frustration, too. Dipping can be tricky to get on the first go. But through the last several years, I know one thing. They have brought endless smiles to so many.

The photo above is from the Walnut Creek Williams Sonoma in San Francisco. P.S. If you attended one of the signings back then you might find your photo here.

When the book debuted, I had the incredible opportunity to travel around the country to meet you guys. It was and still is one of the best experiences of my life. We laughed and cried and hugged and talked dipping and candy and you guys showed me your designs and it was unbelievably exciting to meet everyone who shared the same passion for cute and cake. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for you guys. I can’t tell you how much your support and encouragement means to me.

I have to give a little shoutout to these cupcake pops, too. It was these cuties that I first posted on the site in February of 2008 that unknowingly started a cake pop phenomenon. These were my first shaped pops and I could have never guessed how much people would love them and want to learn how to make them back then. It was your enthusiasm for these tiny treats that sent me on a mission to see what else I could to with a little ball of cake on a stick and some candy. I had to know how many ways I could make them and make you smile. And now I know the answer is endless.

These are some of my favorite pops from the first book and today I want to say YAY and celebrate the anniversary of it’s publication with a knock down all out Cake Popalooza Giveaway of the products that I’ve worked on over the last several years.

Some you may know about … and some maybe not.

 

This is my second book… Cake Pops Holidays… and it may just be my favorite.

When I was working on it, I started getting a little nervous that it might not be as cute as the first book because there weren’t as many animal designs, but in the end I think it turned out even cuter than the first book. And I fell in love with the smaller size, too.

With a Holidays book, how could I not do a Cake Pops Halloween themed book, too… especially with so many frightfully fun character possibilities.

I mean how can you not smile at those spooky sweet faces.

Besides the books, I created a few gift items with my publisher Chronicle Books. They’re the best at making super cute stuff.


Here’s the Cake Pops Kit. It comes with a small book, treat bags, treat tags, ribbon, cake pop sticks and a cute paper cake pop stand.

And these are four different mini kits, each with treat bags, ribbon, tags, and cake pop sticks for specific projects.

These are notecards printed with cake pop photos from my first book. A cute little way to send someone sweet nothings.

Oh…… and the toy! It was available at Toys R Us for a couple of years and I only have a handful of them left. Sad face. It has a cake crumbler, mixing bowl, dipping bowl, cake pops tray, cake pops stand, cake pop sticks and four fun molds to help you shape cake pops.

I also partnered with Make’n Mold for this Bakerella line of products to help you make cake pops and sweet treats. Candy wafers, candy molds, decorettes, pastry bags and more. You can see all of it online here.

Okay… let’s wrap up and celebrate with this Cake Popalooza Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win the following:

  • Cake Pops
  • Cake Pops Holidays
  • Cake Pops Halloween
  • Cake Pops Kit
  • Cake Pops Mini Kits
  • Cake Pops Notecards
  • Cake Pops Toy
  • PLUS a Bakerella for Make’n Mold $100 Gift Card

To enter:

  • Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite cake pop design or book.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, September 10 at 8:00 pm ET. Sorry! Time’sUp. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced on this post sometime Friday.

Good luck and yay for cake pops!!!

 

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It’s time to announce the winner!! I’m so excited. But first, can I say how much you guys made my day with all your favorite pops comments. You guys are awesome and it was so much fun reading all of them. Okay, help me congratulate Commenter #444. YAY Mary!!! I hope you enjoy all the cake pops goodies.

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