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Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Cake Pops

I said I'd never make these again after the last time (see this Chocolate Cake Pops post for the recipe), but they are so appropriate for kids! I knew I'd be seeing my niece and nephew this past weekend and attending a friend's birthday party where there would be kids, so I made them again and were once again a hit! They are pretty time consuming, but it's worth the look on the kids' faces. Really!

How-To:

1. Make cake according to cake mix directions, bake, and wait until cooled.
















2. Place baked cake in a large mixing bowl and crumble.
















3. Spoon approximately 2/3 of the canned frosting into the cake and mix altogether until moist enough to hand roll into balls.


















4. One by one, hand roll a cake ball approximately the size of a golf ball and place on waxed paper lined baking sheets.  When one baking sheet is filled up, place it in the refrigerator while you continue to make more cake balls onto the 2nd baking sheet.  I made about 44 cake balls.
















5. When you're finished making the 2nd tray, swap places with the 1st tray in the refrigerator and melt the candy melts. I find that microwaving them in a deep, tall mug works better than a shallow bowl.

6. Get your lollipop sticks ready, and dip one about 1/2" deep into the candy melt and plunge it directly into the top of the cake pop. Continue doing this until each cake ball has a stick in it.


7. Then hold a cake pop by the stick and plunge the cake balls into the candy melts. Tap off excess drippings and store upright in a styrofoam block. If you choose to put a decoration on top (like sprinkles), do so immediately because candy melts harden and dry quickly. Continue dipping each cake pop until you can't take it anymore!  (I say this because at least 25% of mine break apart during the dipping process, and thus resulting in a cake pop that can't be saved.  I ended up with 30 good cake pops.)
















Ok... I couldn't resist and ate 3.  They tasted better than the chocolate ones!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring is approaching! Fruit desserts pair perfectly with the airy weather, and the combination of blueberries and lemon is never a poor choice. If you decide not to make a frosting to go with it, you can just sprinkles large sugar granules on top (as recipe states) right before baking so that when it comes out of the oven, it has sparkly sugar crystals baked right in. This cake is a little denser and will go over well as a coffee cake.








BLUEBERRY CAKE
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/melt-in-your-mouth-blueberry-cake/

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/3 cup milk
2 egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 T. all-purpose flour
1 T.n white sugar (optional)

Yields:
One 8x8" cake

Equipment: 8x8" baking pan, electric mixer, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 medium mixing bowl, 2 small mixing bowls, spatula

LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/banana-raspberry-cake-with-lemon-frosting-10000000408015/


Cake How-To:
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add salt and vanilla. Separate eggs and reserve the whites in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the yolks to the sugar mixture and beat until creamy.


2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder. Add alternately with milk to the batter and beat until just combined. Batter will be thick (no photo of this). Coat berries with 1 tablespoon flour in another small bowl and add to batter.



3. Beat the egg whites with a wire whisk until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.

GLOSSY!

4. Carefully and thoroughly fold egg whites into batter with a spatula until no trace of whites remain.


5. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. (Optional: Sprinkle top with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. This would be a good idea if you decide not to frost the cake with anything.) Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting once cooled.

(I doubled the recipe for 2 cakes.)


Baked Veggie Southwest Eggrolls

I love southwest eggrolls. This is Tex-Mex at its finest. I first had one at Perkins in college, then at Chili's, then at Ruby Tuesday. I think my favorite was Perkin's because they weren't skimpy on the filling. Really aything that's fried and has a savory filling, then dipped in a cool sauce, is a winner in my book! This version, however, is baked (healthier) and has no meat (just spinach, beans, cheese, chilies, and spices). You can really customize this however you'd like, though. Don't forget the ranch! I will say that the type of wrapper you use will greatly affect the outcome. The only brand at the grocery store I went to was a little too thick for my preference (which caused the tucked in parts of the wrapper to be chewy after being baked). Also, it wasn't perfectly square, so it made wrapping the eggrolls a little more difficult. I should have just squared them off with a knife before wrapping. Next time, I will go to an Asian market and use real Asian eggroll wrappers that are thinner, which will produce a crispier crunch.


BAKED SOUTHWEST EGGROLLS
http://annies-eats.com/2010/03/05/baked-southwestern-egg-rolls/
(Filling yields 20-24 eggrolls.)

How-To:
1. Combine all the ingredients (except for the eggroll wrappers) in a large bowl and mix with a spoon until all combined.


2. Wrap the eggrolls as shown below.

Dip your finger in water and swipe along the two sides of the unfolded corner. The water will act like "glue" once you complete the final step in wrapping.


3. Place them on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of greased aluminum foil. Lightly brush the tops of the eggrolls with vegetable oil (or butter), but be sure to evenly coat the entire surface. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chocolate Cake Pops

The latest craze... the "cupcake" of 2009...

I had to make them at least once. There are eons of YouTube videos of tutorials on how to make them. They make them look so easy, but let me warn you that decorating is really the hardest part. The easy part is that you are allowed to use a cake mix and canned frosting, and fewer bakers will look down their noses at you. Because quite frankly, you will thank yourself for cutting corners there because the decorating will take a while.

What are cake pops? Crumbled baked cake mixed with frosting until the crumbs stick together, then hand rolled into balls, propped on top a lollipop stick, dipped into candy melts, and decorated how ever your heart desires. I saw these Muppets pops the other day, and I thought, bless Bakerella's dear heart for having much more patience than I!


CAKE POPS

Ingredients:
1 box of cake mix (+ 3 eggs, 1 1/3 cups water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
1 can of premade frosting
3 bags of Wilton candy melts
sprinkles (optional)

Yields:
40-50 cake pops

Equipment: 9x13" baking pan (or two 8x8" or 9x9"), electric mixer, large mixing bowl, fork, microwaveable bowl, 50 lollipop sticks, styrofoam block

How-To:
1. Make cake according to directions on the box and set aside until completely cooled.



2. Once cooled, dump cake into a large mixing bowl. With a fork, break apart cake until crumbs result.


3. Add frosting to the crumbled cake - start with just 1/2 a can. Mix thoroughly. Add more frosting (if necessary) until the mixture is just sticky enough to come together on its own, and you can roll a ball together without it falling apart. (I needed only 1/2 - 2/3 of the can.)


For some of these, I tucked a maraschino cherry inside.


4. Roll out several balls. (I was able to make 47 cake balls from one 15 oz cake mix and 1/2 a can of premade frosting, which took up 2 baking sheets.) After the first baking sheet is filled up with rolled cake balls, stick them in the freezer while you work on the 2nd batch.

5. Microwave a bag of Wilton candy melts according to bag's directions. Candy melts taste like chocolate but harden fast. (I've seen these at Wal-Mart sometimes, but you can definitely grab these at Michael's. To dip 40-50 balls, you will most likely need 3 bags. I successfully made 30 cake pops with 2 bags of candy melts.)

Dip about 1/2" of the lollipop stick into melted candy melts and plunge it about 75% of the way through a cake ball. This is done so the cake balls will stick to the lollipop stick. Finish placing the lollipop sticks through all the cake balls and stick them in the freezer in batches once again so that they become firmer.


6. Now it's time for decorating! Carefully dip the cake pops into melted candy melts and gently tap off excess chocolate before storing them upright on a styrofoam block. If you don't tap off the excess chocolate, it will drip down the stick (unprofessional). If you plan on using sprinkles, apply them immediately because the shell will harden within minutes.



And there you have it - CAKE POPS!


Happy Valentine's Day, kids!


Thanks to my love Rob for not being mad when I woke him up from his nap to help me decorate these! XOXO <3

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Youngeun had a get-together two weekends ago at her house. She made a lot of good Korean food for dinner and had a neverending supply of yogurt flavored soju. I supplied the dessert. She had requested something red velvetty with cream cheese, so I thought long and hard about what I could bake that wasn't: 1) cupcakes (overdone) or 2) whoopie pies (because mine were a failure the last time). Then I came across this recipe by Sunny Anderson on the Food Network that uses cocoa powder and thought my search was over until I read the reviews that said this came out dry. I kept searching and finally found this recipe from Baking Bites that uses actual baking chocolate (melted) and decided to use it to compensate for dryness. Usually, baking chocolate produces a fudgier texture than cocoa powder. If anybody is ambitious enough to try both recipes for comparison purposes, please let me know the results!

RED VELVET CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
http://bakingbites.com/2010/12/red-velvet-cheesecake-brownies/

Equipment: saucepan, medium mixing bowl, electric mixer, large mixing bowl, whisk, spatula, aluminum foil, 9x13" baking pan

How-To:
1. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan on low-medium heat. Set aside to cool.


2. In a small bowl, make the cream cheese mixture by beating together the cream cheese, sugar, 2 eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.


3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, 4 eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.


4. Add the chocolate mixture to it and stir to combine. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined.



5. Line 9x13" baking pan with aluminum foil. This will make clean-up and cutting the brownies easier. Pour the red velvet batter into it, reserving just a 1/2 cup of batter, and level off.



6. Gently spoon dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the red velvet batter, and drizzle the remaining red velvet batter on top. With a knife, swirl the red velvet drizzle onto the cheesecake mixture to create a pretty pattern.


7. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Set aside to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. When ready to cut into, lift the whole aluminum foil sheet out of the pan and flatted the edges.


This makes cutting into squares extremely easy!