Sunday, 25 March 2012

Cake Pops

Since buying the Molly Bakes Cake Pops with my xmas money I have been desperate to try and make cake pops. The idea just sounded amazing - cute little mouthfuls of decorated cake on sticks. I spent quite alot of time flicking through the book, looking at all the different designs and memorising the different steps involved. I couldn't wait to make them!

However, my enthusiam slightly decreased after a having a read on other peoples blogs about their difficulties making Cake Pops...I must admit the first thing that popped into my head was cake on sticks - hard can it be??? I was soon to find out....

I decided to just stick with a simple pop design - no fancy moulding the dough into shapes for me. I bought a huuuge amount of candy melts but for my first attempt thought I would go with the cheaper alternative of using white chocolate - the book said this was perfectly acceptable! I decided that I would make the pops in stages over the week I was off work. So on the Monday I set to and baked the vanilla cake - nothing eventful here - it all went to plan. Tuesday I made a lovely cream cheese frosting, crumbled my cake up and made a dough - still all going to plan. Wednesday I rolled the dough into lots of little balls and put them in the fridge to chill - again all going to plan.

By the time I got to Thursday I was seriously thinking that cake pops were super easy to make - perhaps I was even feeling slightly cocky that I'd managed to get so far with no mishaps. Well Thursday was the day for dipping - I melted my white chocolate, found my lolly sticks in the cupboard and started turning my balls of cakes into actual cake pops!! I was still super excited at this point. However, it all went down hill from here. I kinda allowed myself an hour to get the pops coated in chocolate - totally underestimated on the time front there. It took me about 15 minutes to do 2. My face fell as I noticed the other 23 pops that needed dipping in the next 45 minutes!

The problem was that the book just said to dip the pop into the chocolate or candy melts - shake slightly and then stand the pop up in a polystyrene block. I had a series of problems with this method - some of the pops would just fall straight off their sticks as soon as I so much waved them near the bowl of chocolate, others would survive the dip but as soon as I shook them would launch themselves back into the chocolate minus the stick! When I finally thought I'd done a successful one, I'd shake it slightly and then go to stand it up and all of the chocolate would just pour down the stick. I ended up having to wait for aaaages just holding the pop over the bowl waiting for the chocolate to set a bit but even then I still got serious dripping down the stick that I had to wipe up! I re read the instructions over and over again and could seriously not figure out what I was doing wrong.

Anyway after about 8 attempts I got so frustrated and gave up..I just didn't have the time to dip all 25 of the cake pops! AND to top it off when me and Karl sat down to eat a few of the cake pops he didn't even like them and I was a bit of the opinion that if I'm going to put that much time and effort into something it needs to taste AMAZING! I said that evening that I am never ever going to make them again - however I may have to retract that statement since there are 2 bags of lolly sticks and 4 bags of candy melts in my cupboard and I hate wasting things!

Maybe it will be easier the 2nd time round...fingers crossed!!!

PS On a more positive note this was the first time I got to use my rose mould that I bought from Neit Moulds and I absolutely loved it. This company sell moulds of pretty much anything! It was so easy to use and my sugar paste didn't stick in it once..fab!

Friday, 16 March 2012

My Granny's Banana Cake Recipe

I've spent this week off work - I ended up with a weeks leave left over (do not know how I managed that!) so I thought I would have a lazy week off work. I have filled my time with plenty of baking, a teensy tiny bit of shopping (I've tried to avoid this expensive habit since we are saving for a house!) and a bit of Gossip Girl (love this show!).

The first thing I decided to bake this week was Banana Cake using my Granny's recipe. Perhaps this isnt one of the prettiest cakes you've ever seen but it definitely is rather scrummy - it's also super quick to make and an ideal way to use up bananas. I dont know about anyone else but I always seem to have at least one sad looking banana in my fruit bowl. This week I ended up with three so you guessed it - I made 3 banana cakes!

Banana Cake

5oz self raising flour
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1 ripe banana
2 oz soft butter
1 egg
5oz sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Place the egg, banana, sugar, butter and vanilla in a liquidiser and blend till smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, if like me, you don't have a liquidiser, just use an electric mixer!)
Sieve flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and pour into the liquidised mix. Combine thoroughly.
Bake in a greased 7 inch square tin for 30-35 mins at 160C (fan oven).

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Very Early Mother's Day Cupcakes

Don't panic everyone...its a few more weeks till Mother's Day! I just have to be super prepared as my Mum lives a few hours from me so I won't get to see her on Mother's Day. I always make my Mum something for her birthday and for Mother's Day - she adores lemon cupcakes so I made a batch of these using the fab Love Bakery book and prettied them up with lots of sugar flowers.

I honestly didn't think this batch of cupcakes wanted to be made this time. I normally don't have any trouble making cupcakes but I guess I haven't made them in awhile so am a bit out of practice.

I was nervous all the way through mixing as the mixture didn't look like it normally did. Then I popped all the mixture into the cases only to realise I'd picked the wrong cases from my cupboard..these cases never seemed to have enough strength to them and always seemed to flop in the over...goodness knows why I hadn't thrown these cases away! So I ended up having to spoon all the mixture into new, better cases! Once in the oven they worked their magic and rose nicely and I happily got on with making my lemon butter cream. As I went to fetch my piping bag from its usual place I realised the crucial part of the coupler was missing which sent me into panic mode for the second time. Luckily after turning my kitchen cupboards upside down I found it and got on with decorating!

Here are the finished Mum loved them and apparently after her journey back home last night sat down with a glass of wine and a cupcake..perfect!