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Piglet Cake Pops – “Oh Dear!”

When a customer contacted me about a month ago and inquired about Piglet cake pops for her son’s birthday, I said “sure, that sounds fun!”   Little did I know those little “suckers” were going to be so difficult!

Knowing I was up for a challenge, I started early – precisely one week.  I know a lot of traditional cake-poppers bake their cake, crumble it up in the food processor, mix it with frosting, and shape it into balls.  I’ve tried this method in the past, but honestly I prefer to just use round cake balls.  I have mastered baking them, and for me they are just easier to work with.  Enter Piglets head, which is not perfectly round.  Hence… the “other cake pop method” was necessary. {{gulp}}

I baked and crumbled the cake, mixed the frosting, and shaped what I thought were perfect Piglet heads. Into the freezer they went. In the meantime, I began researching and sampling different ideas for ears.  I quickly settled on hot pink fondant, and began rolling and cutting pairs of ears so I could lay them out to firm up.  Next up was a nose.  I had been shopping for candy days earlier, and purchased a few small pink candies I thought would work.  After a few trial and error pops, I quickly decided it would look much better to match the ears with the nose… so fondant it was!  The next step lasted days… and I’m not even kidding. It was becoming very clear why I couldn’t find good pictures of Piglet cake pops online… I don’t think they existed!

testing piglet ideas

 

It was now late Wednesday and the joke was on me.  Those “perfectly shaped piglet heads?”  Yeah, epic fail.  The last one in that cake pop lineup… well, I lovingly began to refer to it as “Shrekenstein”. If that had been dipped in green chocolate it would have been the perfect Shrek! And the cracks?  OMG! This is one of the reasons I prefer using standard cake balls.  After much research online, I discovered if your chocolate is too warm, and the cake ball too cold… CRACK!  {{ugh}}  I think it was about this time I decided to pack it in and head back to the store, hoping to find some type of cake topper, cupcake pick, or really anything to avoid having to make two dozen of these little devils on a stick.  Yup, I was giving up.

piglet cake pops

The Piglet graveyard

The trip was not successful. I returned late Wednesday night realizing there was no turning back. I had to push through and figure this out.  So up early Thursday morning I was back at it.  With the help of Pinterest (god send!) I located a tutorial for building Piglet out of fondant.  It HAD to work for cake pops too right?  I was finally making some progress :)

Making Progress

Making Progress with Piglet Cake Pops

By late Thursday, I was feeling pretty confident that what I was creating looked pretty decent.  And, in my shopping travels I had stumbled upon a pretty cool container that looked just like stacked honey pots.  While Pooh was not in my plan, I thought some honey bees in each pot surrounded by Piglets would be cute, and a good contrast in color!

In the end, I was really happy with the outcome.  It certainly didn’t come easy… right down to the point of wrapping it and getting it into the car for delivery.  And didn’t I bump the top when loading it into the car and knock two ears off?  Of course I did!  Piglet… it’s a pretty good thing your cute!@#@$#%

The Final Piglet Cake Pop Bouquet!

The Final Piglet Cake Pop Bouquet!

Gluten Free Cake Pops

I had a customer call me last week to ask if I offered gluten free cake pops. I had never actually tried them before, but was certainly willing to give it a go.  She mentioned that one of the large grocery store brands had a gluten free cupcake mix, and suggested I try it.  I was actually surprised by how many gluten free products you can buy off the shelf, compared to just a year ago!  I went for the standard yellow cupcake mix by Betty Crocker for my initial testing.

gluten free bluebird cake pops

gluten free bluebird cake pops

At first, I was slightly nervous about the consistency of the batter, because mastering the perfectly round cake ball can be challenging when the batter is either too runny, or too lumpy.  You know, it needs to be… “just right”!  The next variable was cooking time, because I wasn’t quite sure if a gluten free batter would take more, or less time.  With my stopwatch in hand, I started plucking balls out of the pan in 30-second intervals, trying to make sure the cake was cooked perfectly.  I am happy to report I only wasted 3 in my experiment, and was immediately pleased with the shape and consistency of the outer-shell of the cake ball. It’s slightly more crisp than regular cake, which means a perfectly round ball, and easier dipping and decorating.  I might also add that I REALLY liked the taste of it.  Dare I admit I like it better than regular cake?  :)

The next hurdle was making sure the cake was dense enough to stay put on a lollipop stick – so into the freezer they went.  And again the gluten-free balls were flawless. I think I was anticipating it to be so much harder than it actually was!

In the end, probably the most difficult piece will be finding appropriate adornments to use in my standard designs; and being diligent about checking each ingredient and knowing the severity of the gluten allergy the customer has.  For instance, can I use products that are made in a facility that processes wheat?  From what I understand what works for some people, might not work for others.

That said, I am super-excited that @Zephyr took the time to call and educate me, and that I can now say…“Yes, I offer gluten-free cake pops!”

 

Halloween Treats from Delish Deliveries

Fall is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year.  Throw in that we live in Vermont and it becomes amazing… especially with the fantastic stretch stretch of weather we’ve enjoyed and the amazing color on the trees. Fall also means it’s time to head back to the kitchen!  Gone are the days of hazy, hot and humid temperatures that made working with fresh fruit and chocolate a little challenging!

One of the first things I crave are fresh Vermont apples, covered in homemade caramel and drizzled with chocolate.  Add to that chocolate cookie pieces, walnuts, and mini-chocolate chips and you’ve got a gourmet caramel apple that is to die for!  It took me a while to perfect my recipe, and more importantly the temperature of perfectly-gooey caramel, but “by gosh I think I’ve got it!”. Regular size apples are just $6 a piece.

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homemade gourmet caramel apples

I also love making fall-themed cake pops and acorns. The acorns are not an idea I can claim to be my own (thank you Pinterest), but wow!  These little treats are amazing (and addictive)! A small bucket is just $15 – which contains about 40-50 acorns. The cake pops pictured below are a small order (about a dozen), and with the special candy corn and peep presentation, was just $25, including delivery.

halloween cake pops and acorns

halloween cake pop bouquet and a bucket of acorns

 

And, of course, it’s fun to start making fresh fruit bouquets to fit the season!  I love using black beauty grapes this time of year, and stick to yellow and orange fruit to keep it in theme. The bouquet pictured below is a large, which means it is appropriate for 4-6 people. With chocolate ghosts and delivery within 30 miles, it is just $55. If you are in charge of sending something to school or work, this makes a unique (and healthy!) addition to any table.

 

trick or treat fruit bouquet

spooky fruit bouquet with black beauty grapes and chocolate dipped “ghosts”

So… I’m actually headed back to my kitchen now to “test out” some new ideas that friends have sent.  Ghoulish chocolate-dipped strawberries, teacher appreciation apple cake pops, and more.  Stay tuned to see how it goes and enjoy another beautiful day in Vermont!

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