Friday, April 30, 2010

A Hamburger Happy Birthday Celebration


Today was my co-worker, Jose, birthday.  I was inspired by his love of food and his so-called "diet," which included burritos, pizza and Carl's Jr.  It also tied in perfectly with the crinkle cut fries that I studied in the book I bought "What's New Cupcake" and thanks to Bakerella, mimicked her hamburger idea! 

Here's what I did:
I used box yellow cake and cut off the tops of each muffin = buns.

I buttered the top and sprinkled sesame seeds for a more realistic look

I used brownies baked in the cupcake pan (without the liners) = hamburger

I used green airheads (8 seconds microwave and flattened with a roller, then made wavy by hand) = lettuce

I used red airheads (round cookie cutter) = tomatoes

I used frozen, store-bought pound cake, cut off the outer, browned edges, cut 1/4 inches and toasted in toaster oven = french fries (What's New Cupcake book recommends using a crinkle cut vegetable cutter for crinkle cut fries!)

(real ketchup)

I wish I had taken more photos at different angles, but I forgot my camera (this is my camera phone) and I was working- so I couldn't have a photo shoot opportunity- boo!

Thank you to all of my lovely co-workers who said wayyyy too many kind...overly kind words and complements!  It was easy to make, despite it looking pretty complicated and I honestly believe anyone could have done it!  It was SUPER fun and it was a GREAT way to express myself, my inspiration, and a fabulous end to the month!  I promise to be better about photo documenting next month!!

Happy Baking & Happy Birthday Jose!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"What's New, Cupcake" Book

My mom emailed me a baking site to check out and they were showcasing a book called "What's New, Cupcake?"  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I immediately left the house to go to the bookstore to find it!

It comes from the same author who wrote the Hello, Cupcake book last year.

If you're looking for inspiration, this is THE book!!  It can get me in the mood to bake in an instant!!  It really opens your eyes to the creative possibilities as well as convince you how EASY and FUN baking can be!!  I highly encourage you to take a peek, I'll promise you'll want to own it!!

Happy Easter!  Happy Baking!

Helpful tips and tricks for Lollicaking

As the lollicaking process is evolving, I'm realizing there are little tips and tricks that can make it a whole lot easier!!  Eager bakers are also beginning to ask common questions, so here's some helpful insight before you embark on your lollicake adventure!!

When I first blogged this step, of combining the cake with the Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I directed to use the entire block of cream cheese.  I have to retract that statement IF you're using BOX CAKE mix, like Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines...If you are, use only about 1/4 of the block or about 1 inch worth and that should be sufficient enough to create a sticky cake ball.  If you make your cake from scratch, it may require more cream cheese- as they tend to be less moist.  

While I cannot pinpoint the exact reason for this, here's my opinion... First I cannot stress how important this step is to the ENTIRE process:  When using a cookie cutter to make your shape, you must pack as much cake into the cookie cutter as possible.  You want it to be dense and full- no visible cracks, creases or lumps, which will show through the candy melt shell.  Inserting the stick at this point, then freezing may also eliminate the cracking (see tip below).  When reusing the excess cake- heat it up in a microwaveable container for 20 seconds- then punch out more shapes.  The warm cake will bind together better eliminating cracks that would otherwise be there.  

If you find your cake sinking in the candy melt and the stick has lost it's partner...  There are several things that might be going on..  Here's some possible suggestions...  I found that if you insert the stick into the cake THEN freeze it, it's much easier to dip into the candy melt with no swimming cake issues!  I've also noticed that the more it defrosted, the looser the stick got - so keep 'um frozen!  I've also had some frequent questions regarding the SIZE of the cake- which should really, be no larger than a Quarter ($0.25)- just remember, gravity will win- it's just a stick- don't be overly ambitious with the cake!!

I don't have a ceramic dish, so I use glass cups.  The reason using glass makes it easier is once it's heated, the glass retains heat for a longer period of time (the same goes for ceramic).  So the candy melts will stay melted longer- you'll have more time to dip 3-4 lollicakes before re-heating candy melts in the microwave.  

If you're finding that the candy melt is very thick in consistency... Or your creation looks more like a blob than the actual shape...  Or when you tap off the excess, nothing really happens...  There are two possible issues... 1.  Make sure that you're using a glass or ceramic dish.  If you're using anything else, it may be more likely than not, that the candy melt hasn't reached the peak of it's melting point OR there is not enough heat to keep the consistency soft and warm enough.  2.  If you've troubleshooted with #1 and that's not the issue, your candy melt may, in deed be too thick and you can add oil (VERY SLOWLY AND VERY LITTLE) until you reach your desired consistency and stir well.

....Keep trying!!  And please, keep those questions coming, it helps everyone else who falls in love with lollicaking!!!