Sweet Molly turns 2!

Well friends, it’s me again. FINALLY! Are you following me on Pinterest? You should…

It’s been quite the busy year! So far this year I got a new job (still at Temple U), traveled to Mexico, New Orleans (leaving for my 2nd trip there in a few days), Arizona, and Utah; spent a hectic summer at too many BBQs and festivals, and well, I’m just forgetful! BUT, I’m back! And hopefully better than ever… although I’m terrible at taking photos in the process of making, baking, crafting, so please be patient with me.

Now, this post is also a lesson in cake popping. I made cake pops for Molly’s first birthday as well, which was my first time, and let me tell you… IT WAS A DISASTER! I read a million blog posts, founds those cool silicone pans, pinned a hundred things, got the best decorations. I LITERALLY spent all Friday night and all Saturday morning baking and decorating, and I STILL had to leave the kitchen a mess because it was time for the party. Not to say the pops didn’t turn out adorable, and weren’t gobbled up by some precious kiddos (and plenty of adults – see below), but it was a rough process that I NEVER want to be a part of again. So, below, please find a few tips I learned during my second attempt at cake pops.

So, this year’s cake popping went a little different. Why? Well, my FIRST TIP is the following… Take those cake pop silicone pans that you bought at Michael’s or Amazon. Do you have them? THROW THEM AWAY. Or sell them on a Facebook yard sale group to some idiot who thinks they’re genius, whatever. But they’re dumb. And only work for about half the balls, so you end up having to break the cake up and mix with icing anyways.

Instead, just make 2 cakes as instructed on the box, mix with icing, roll in balls, add the sticks, and FREEZE. Now, I froze overnight, which just about every blog I read recommended. My recommendation: FREEZE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Some I had frozen for 2 days and they worked the best. Also, make sure the house/room is as cold as possible, i.e. don’t bake and try to make same day.

Now, I used WHITE cake, as it’s the easiest to add food coloring too and get your desired shade. This was learned from previous colored cake experience which I still haven’t even posted about yet, so see that post when/if I ever get around to it.  Also, when baked properly, and I’ve even skimmed off the top of a finished cake to rid the slight brown tint, it gives you a beautiful white center for your cake pops. Be sure to follow the yolk/whites ratio appropriately as the box recommends, I think I even left out the yolks completely to make sure the cake was true white.

Again, the filling of the cake pops was smashed up cake, mixed with icing. I melted the icing (yes, melted) for about 30 seconds in the micro, more if needed, just to make the mixing easier. I’ll have a blog post on the melted icing coming soon, as this is a GREAT tip for nice fondant looking icing.

I read on BabyGizmo.Com about adding shortening to the candy melts to make the chocolate melt a bit smoother, and THIS was a genius tip! SERIOUSLY! I also lived by “10 tips for Cake Pops” from All Things G&D, as I believe any good baker/crafter/etc. learns from experience, and if it’s someone else’s fail and not yours to learn from, well, that helps too!

So, Molly’s 2nd Birthday Party was held at this adorable barn, aka your very own petting zoo, called Sandy Hill Farm, which I’d driven by 100 times and didn’t even realize it was a cute little petting zoo. We arrived early to help set up a bit, and got some alone time with the animals (before I had to share with the actual guests, the kids!). And yes, that’s a baby chick on my head. The plaid-shirted duo are my baby nephews who will be featured models in some of my blog posts, because they’re so stinkin cute!

So this year’s cake pop theme was, you guessed it, FARM ANIMALS. I am not sure, besides both times I was accepted into my preferred college and the day I finally graduated, I’ve ever been so proud of anything in my life. These cake pops turned out incredible. LITERALLY AMAZING. Again, I read a bazillion blogs to get some ideas, spent a morning at Linny’s house (Molly’s mom and my pseudo sister), which may or may not have involved 2/3 of a bottle of Stateside Vodka (shameless plug for my favorite, made in Philly, handcrafted vodka). Anyways, despite being a TAD on the tipsy side, our test run came out great, and I was so excited to start getting supplies to make these things amazing.

So, because I suck at taking pictures during the process, I’ll walk you through the decorations on the 4 kinds of farm cake pops I made – Sheep, Pigs, Chicks, and Cows. Also, big thanks to my baby sister Jill for helping make these. She’s not the best in the kitchen, but provided some strict guidelines for creativity, can be super helpful as she’s very detail-oriented! She’s the best!

12593755_10100132950435191_4244122034757319336_o.jpg

Let’s start with the sheep… they’re my favorite (don’t tell the others)! This was simply dipped in white melts (with the crisco). I used both small and large marshmallows to form the wool and head. I opened the bag a few days prior so they were semi stale and took the shape and cutting a bit easier. I then pre-cut the faces in half first thing the day I was making these to ensure they were a bit hard, and added the eyes to the sticky side, which are just mini candy coated chips, but mini choco chips are just as good! I originally attempted to draw the eyes on with colored edible markers, but that’s more made for fondant and icing, and didn’t work so hot on the marshmallows. The wool of the sheep is the mini marshmallows cut up in 3-4 pieces of the marshmallow and randomly placed on. I pre-cut the marshmallows in the pieces, dipped the pop in the icing, and then put the wool on one piece at a time. If they were sticking to the dip, I simply dipped a piece of the cut marshmallow in the icing and stuck it on there. Now, as you can see in the photo, I added the face towards the very top of the cake pop, so it wouldn’t slide down as easily.and covered about half the pop with the “wool” bits of marshmallows. I used some wooden boxes I already owned and bought that green stuff one uses to make flower arrangements (you know what I mean) to add some fun character to the displays, we were partying in a barn after all!

Next up, the piggies – aka the second favorite. Especially the butt ones. Pigs were relatively easy. First thing, I made the noses from small bits of the smashed cake/icing mixture and added before freezing. This was a big help. Then, when dipped in the pink candy melts, the nose was already a part of the face. Again, I originally tried to use the edible marker to make the nose slits but they look AWFUL. We skipped that part, and I don’t think it was missed. The ears are simply heart shaped sprinkles turned upside and stuck in after dipped. The eyes were again those mini candy coated chips. I tried to get these on as the chocolate “icing” hardened, but sometimes had to add extra icing to act a glue. Simply used a toothpick to sure not too much was added! These little piggies also got a cute tail, courtesy of some pink glitter icing. My favorites were the pops that maybe fell off their stick, or were just extras, that I placed in cupcake liners and just added the tail and the ears!

Chickies – you’re up! Basically, yellow dipped icing. Eyes and nose – you guessed it… candy coated chips. Now, this is the real reason they candy coated chips, and not plain mini chips were used, as I bought a container for the orange noses and would have wasted the chocolate ones otherwise! They ended up, in my opinion, being better than the mini chips as they were much smaller. Just remember to pre-sort out the colors you want so as not to lose your sanity mid way through the cake popping! Fun part of these – flower shaped sprinkles, in orange, again, pre-sorted, for those little baby chick feet! Like seriously though, how cute are these??? And they turned out awesome looking in the wooden boxes!

Now time for those moo cows! These were a bit boring, but actually looked pretty cute. And were obviously the easiest to make. Dip in vanilla icing. I bought a very small paintbrush and just dipped in the melted milk chocolate and splotched on. The hardest part was making sure the spots themselves weren’t too thick or drippy.

20160617_160511

For your patience, for your support, and for your tips, I thank you my friends!

And to my sweet Molly, Aunt Linny loves you and will keep working on my cake pop skills JUST FOR YOU! Other Linny (aka Molly’s Mommy) – let me know when the theme is picked for her THIRSD BIRTHDAY! How is she that old? babies really need to stop growing up, it’s RUDE!

So, happy baking, happy popping, and happy eating y’all!

Love,

Linny

10806_10152791528242000_4392151606719316479_n

Well friends, it’s me again. FINALLY! Are you following me on Pinterest? You should…

It’s been quite the busy year! So far this year I got a new job (still at Temple U), traveled to Mexico, New Orleans (leaving for my 2nd trip there in a few days), Arizona, and Utah; spent a hectic summer at too many BBQs and festivals, and well, I’m just forgetful! BUT, I’m back! And hopefully better than ever… although I’m terrible at taking photos in the process of making, baking, crafting, so please be patient with me.

Now, this post is also a lesson in cake popping. I made cake pops for Molly’s first birthday as well, which was my first time, and let me tell you… IT WAS A DISASTER! I read a million blog posts, founds those cool silicone pans, pinned a hundred things, got the best decorations. I LITERALLY spent all Friday night and all Saturday morning baking and decorating, and I STILL had to leave the kitchen a mess because it was time for the party. Not to say the pops didn’t turn out adorable, and weren’t gobbled up by some precious kiddos (and plenty of adults – see below), but it was a rough process that I NEVER want to be a part of again. So, below, please find a few tips I learned during my second attempt at cake pops.

So, this year’s cake popping went a little different. Why? Well, my FIRST TIP is the following… Take those cake pop silicone pans that you bought at Michael’s or Amazon. Do you have them? THROW THEM AWAY. Or sell them on a Facebook yard sale group to some idiot who thinks they’re genius, whatever. But they’re dumb. And only work for about half the balls, so you end up having to break the cake up and mix with icing anyways.

Instead, just make 2 cakes as instructed on the box, mix with icing, roll in balls, add the sticks, and FREEZE. Now, I froze overnight, which just about every blog I read recommended. My recommendation: FREEZE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Some I had frozen for 2 days and they worked the best. Also, make sure the house/room is as cold as possible, i.e. don’t bake and try to make same day.

Now, I used WHITE cake, as it’s the easiest to add food coloring too and get your desired shade. This was learned from previous colored cake experience which I still haven’t even posted about yet, so see that post when/if I ever get around to it.  Also, when baked properly, and I’ve even skimmed off the top of a finished cake to rid the slight brown tint, it gives you a beautiful white center for your cake pops. Be sure to follow the yolk/whites ratio appropriately as the box recommends, I think I even left out the yolks completely to make sure the cake was true white.

Again, the filling of the cake pops was smashed up cake, mixed with icing. I melted the icing (yes, melted) for about 30 seconds in the micro, more if needed, just to make the mixing easier. I’ll have a blog post on the melted icing coming soon, as this is a GREAT tip for nice fondant looking icing.

I read on BabyGizmo.Com about adding shortening to the candy melts to make the chocolate melt a bit smoother, and THIS was a genius tip! SERIOUSLY! I also lived by “10 tips for Cake Pops” from All Things G&D, as I believe any good baker/crafter/etc. learns from experience, and if it’s someone else’s fail and not yours to learn from, well, that helps too!

So, Molly’s 2nd Birthday Party was held at this adorable barn, aka your very own petting zoo, called Sandy Hill Farm, which I’d driven by 100 times and didn’t even realize it was a cute little petting zoo. We arrived early to help set up a bit, and got some alone time with the animals (before I had to share with the actual guests, the kids!). And yes, that’s a baby chick on my head. The plaid-shirted duo are my baby nephews who will be featured models in some of my blog posts, because they’re so stinkin cute!

So this year’s cake pop theme was, you guessed it, FARM ANIMALS. I am not sure, besides both times I was accepted into my preferred college and the day I finally graduated, I’ve ever been so proud of anything in my life. These cake pops turned out incredible. LITERALLY AMAZING. Again, I read a bazillion blogs to get some ideas, spent a morning at Linny’s house (Molly’s mom and my pseudo sister), which may or may not have involved 2/3 of a bottle of Stateside Vodka (shameless plug for my favorite, made in Philly, handcrafted vodka). Anyways, despite being a TAD on the tipsy side, our test run came out great, and I was so excited to start getting supplies to make these things amazing.

So, because I suck at taking pictures during the process, I’ll walk you through the decorations on the 4 kinds of farm cake pops I made – Sheep, Pigs, Chicks, and Cows. Also, big thanks to my baby sister Jill for helping make these. She’s not the best in the kitchen, but provided some strict guidelines for creativity, can be super helpful as she’s very detail-oriented! She’s the best!

12593755_10100132950435191_4244122034757319336_o.jpg

Let’s start with the sheep… they’re my favorite (don’t tell the others)! This was simply dipped in white melts (with the crisco). I used both small and large marshmallows to form the wool and head. I opened the bag a few days prior so they were semi stale and took the shape and cutting a bit easier. I then pre-cut the faces in half first thing the day I was making these to ensure they were a bit hard, and added the eyes to the sticky side, which are just mini candy coated chips, but mini choco chips are just as good! I originally attempted to draw the eyes on with colored edible markers, but that’s more made for fondant and icing, and didn’t work so hot on the marshmallows. The wool of the sheep is the mini marshmallows cut up in 3-4 pieces of the marshmallow and randomly placed on. I pre-cut the marshmallows in the pieces, dipped the pop in the icing, and then put the wool on one piece at a time. If they were sticking to the dip, I simply dipped a piece of the cut marshmallow in the icing and stuck it on there. Now, as you can see in the photo, I added the face towards the very top of the cake pop, so it wouldn’t slide down as easily.and covered about half the pop with the “wool” bits of marshmallows. I used some wooden boxes I already owned and bought that green stuff one uses to make flower arrangements (you know what I mean) to add some fun character to the displays, we were partying in a barn after all!

Next up, the piggies – aka the second favorite. Especially the butt ones. Pigs were relatively easy. First thing, I made the noses from small bits of the smashed cake/icing mixture and added before freezing. This was a big help. Then, when dipped in the pink candy melts, the nose was already a part of the face. Again, I originally tried to use the edible marker to make the nose slits but they look AWFUL. We skipped that part, and I don’t think it was missed. The ears are simply heart shaped sprinkles turned upside and stuck in after dipped. The eyes were again those mini candy coated chips. I tried to get these on as the chocolate “icing” hardened, but sometimes had to add extra icing to act a glue. Simply used a toothpick to sure not too much was added! These little piggies also got a cute tail, courtesy of some pink glitter icing. My favorites were the pops that maybe fell off their stick, or were just extras, that I placed in cupcake liners and just added the tail and the ears!

Chickies – you’re up! Basically, yellow dipped icing. Eyes and nose – you guessed it… candy coated chips. Now, this is the real reason they candy coated chips, and not plain mini chips were used, as I bought a container for the orange noses and would have wasted the chocolate ones otherwise! They ended up, in my opinion, being better than the mini chips as they were much smaller. Just remember to pre-sort out the colors you want so as not to lose your sanity mid way through the cake popping! Fun part of these – flower shaped sprinkles, in orange, again, pre-sorted, for those little baby chick feet! Like seriously though, how cute are these??? And they turned out awesome looking in the wooden boxes!

Now time for those moo cows! These were a bit boring, but actually looked pretty cute. And were obviously the easiest to make. Dip in vanilla icing. I bought a very small paintbrush and just dipped in the melted milk chocolate and splotched on. The hardest part was making sure the spots themselves weren’t too thick or drippy.

For your patience, for your support, and for your tips, I thank you my friends!

And to my sweet Molly, Aunt Linny loves you and will keep working on my cake pop skills JUST FOR YOU! Other Linny (aka Molly’s Mommy) – let me know when the theme is picked for her THIRSD BIRTHDAY! How is she that old? babies really need to stop growing up, it’s RUDE!

So, happy baking, happy popping, and happy eating y’all!

Love,

Linny

10806_10152791528242000_4392151606719316479_n

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