Every year when the kids’ birthdays roll around, my wife Carol tries something different to celebrate. As a creative director, she is, well, pretty creative, so I’m always expecting something new & exciting. This year she decided to try her hand at making cake pops.
Cake pops have been “all the rage” ever since Angie Dudley of Bakerella fame published her recent book. Although Angie forms her pops from crumbled cake, Carol decided to try baking them from a set of Bake Pop trays. Carol also wanted her pops to have a soft exterior coating of frosting, rather than the harder candy melt surface that Angie suggests. Either way, cake pops are all about the decorating, and, as you can see from our photo above, anything goes!
You will need…
- cake mix
- bake pop tray or baking pan
- candy melts and your favorite frostings
- lollipop sticks
- piping bag & tips
- sprinkles, nonpareils, etc. (for decorating)
- styrofoam board (for drying)
Bake cake mix in bake pop trays. Allow to cool. Remove pops from tray.
Place candy melts in narrow microwave-safe bowl and melt in microwave, per candy melt package directions.
Dip lollipop stick approximately 1/2″ into melted candy. Next, insert stick halfway into cake pop. Place pop on small baking sheet or plate. Repeat with remaining pops.
Place pops in freezer for 15 minutes to secure lollipop stick.
Place frosting in narrow microwave-safe bowl and microwave one minute. Tint if desired. Stir. Repeat until frosting is thinned enough for dipping. (Do not overheat or frosting may break down.)
Dip cake pops fully into melted frosting and allow excess to drip away.
Insert stick end of cake pops into styrofoam board to dry. Once the pops have dried, decorate as desired.
For more cake pop tips & methods check out Bakerella’s ”how to” video.
Have you noticed? Cupcakes are all the rage. So many flavors, so many frostings, so many toppings, and so many sizes! Cupcakes have become a whimsical replacement for traditional desserts. I remember when they were just a simple treat to send to school for kids’ birthdays—now they pop up all over, even at wedding receptions!
For those in the Connecticut area, I have started a cupcake venture, Cupcakes for a Cause. Part of the proceeds are donated to a local animal shelter. Visit my website and see my limited holiday flavors!! www.cupcakecause.com
Showcased in the above photo is one of my offerings – Cup o’ Joe (developed in honor of my A LA CARTE partner, Joe, who makes the best coffee in town!) It is a rich Espresso Cupcake topped with Mocha Buttercream, then sprinkled with chopped candied coffee beans & ground cinnamon.
One word. Quite delicious. Okay, that’s two words, but this cake is quite delicious. Last night my doorbell rang and I signed for a small package. I opened it up to find a beautiful Key Lime Bundt Cake. It was from my sister who had ordered it
from a company called We Take the Cake. What a fun name! The beautifully packaged cake came with a small container of Key Lime Glaze. I drizzled it over the top and cut a slice. Yum. What a tropical hit! A creamy key lime tang and a moist and tender texture. Sooo good. I could almost hear sound of steel drums—for a few moments I forgot it was still a wintry 40 degrees!
I had to learn more about We Take the Cake. Luckily the stylish brochure accompanying the box was filled with pictures and mouth-watering descriptions of the cakes they sell seven days a week via mail-order. Strawberry Cake, Coconut Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Spice Cake, Rum Cake, well the list goes on and on. Check them out!
I’ve never really been a cheesecake person. But I am now. While in New York City a few weeks ago, I stopped in at Lindy’s, a diner/deli just north of Times Square. Lindy’s gets few points for atmosphere or value (it’s horribly overpriced), but it’s world-famous for its cheesecake. So, I figured, when in Lindy’s, order the cheesecake. Was I glad I did! The cheesecake was quite simply the best I’ve ever tasted. Light, yet dense. Fluffy, yet creamy. Not too sweet, with just a hint of lemon. A tender cookie crust. And a garnish of canned whipped cream which should have been all wrong, but was somehow just right.
Not exactly a healthy snack, but a generous slice and a cup of surprisingly good coffee kept me going for the rest of the day.
I googled “recipe for Lindy’s cheesecake” and 28,600 results came up! I must get started. Now, where did I put that springform pan…
Oh, what a whirl! Or should I say swirl? Swirls do come to mind when I think of “Sweet Indulgences”, a new dessert shoppe in Dumont, New Jersey. The shoppe’s owners, Gwynn Galvin and Bryan Mueller, are a mother/son team
Peanut Butter Perfection
who have combined their talents to create amazing treats with an innovative twist. Cheesecakes and cheesecake cupcakes in a variety of whimsical flavors—Cup o’ Cappuccino, Brownie Delight, & Apple Cinnamon Sensation—are their specialty. To give you an idea of how wonderful they are, the Brownie Delight features a dark chocolate crust with luscious brownie bits baked into the batter with a topping of brownie chunks, fudge and a white chocolate drizzle. Need I say more?!
Other desserts include cupcakes in fun flavors such as Bubble Gum and Cotton Candy, as well traditional favorites such as Red Velvet (pictured below). The shoppe also offers an Indulgence of the Week, and proceeds from its sales are donated to charity. Now that’s a guilt-free dessert!
Gwynn has an extensive culinary background and is currently test kitchen director for Woman’s World Magazine. Bryan has a marketing and PR background specializing in food accounts. As a food stylist, I have worked with Gwynn for many years and I can say first-hand (or should I say first bite) that this team’s “sweet indulgences” are not to be missed!
If you are in the NY/NJ area, you can visit Gwynn and Bryan’s shoppe at 120B West Shore Ave. in Dumont, New Jersey (201) 384-CAKE. You may also visit them on the web at SweetIndulgencesNJ.com or become a fan of Sweet Indulgences on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook/SweetindulgencesNJ.
As a kid growing up, I spent many summers in West Virginia where we picked bucket after bucket of fresh berries. My Grandma Arnold made excellent cobbler, but there were days when it was just too hot to consider working with pastry dough. That’s when Grandma made her quick cobbler, a cake-mix based recipe
that could be assembled in minutes and put in to bake before supper. I enjoyed countless evenings on Grandma’s front porch, eating cobbler for dessert and watching the cars go by. Although we usually had blackberries, raspberries or huckleberries in the Blue Ridge mountains, I now live in New England where we have excellent blueberries. Try this coffee-cake style cobbler for breakfast or brunch with some sweetened whipped cream and a cup of good strong coffee. Thanks for the inspiration, Grandma!
Blueberry-Ginger Cobbler Cake
3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pkg. (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Pick over blueberries, removing any stems. Rinse with cold water and drain in colander.
- In large bowl, stir together sugar, crystallized ginger and cinnamon. Add blueberries and stir gently to coat with sugar mixture.
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding the vanilla and ground ginger.
- Spread blueberries evenly in bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour cake mix over blueberries. Bake 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into cake (not blueberry layer) comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
- When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.