Posts Tagged ‘Bakerella’

Go Bananas!

September 7, 2009

This is the story of two banana cupakes…with two very different endings.

So there I was one day with a couple of bananas who were ready for their last rites. I also happened to have some very yummy cream cheese frosting left over from my Italian Cream Cake adventure. These were of course the perfect makings for dessert, but what to bake? I happened to log onto Bakerella’s site and lo and behold there at the top of her blog was a posting for banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! It was fate!

I baked some up that very morning and was met with complete and utter dissapointment. I’m not sure what went wrong. I don’t know if I missed an ingredient, if the recipe was just lousy, or if my 3 year old helper somehow distracted me. Either way, these were one of the most horrible things I’ve baked in awhile. The cupcakes never browned, even after leaving them in five minutes longer than the recipe called for. They were dense…like off-white little bricks. Seriously, I could have done some damage if I’d have thrown these at someone. I tried to liven them up by filling them with a little buttercream. I somehow managed to make an ugly cupcake even uglier. How unappetizing are these?

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What? Not disgusting enough? Want a closer look???

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After that fiasco, I was determined to make some good banana cupcakes. I was leery to try the same recipe again so soon, but I will attempt it again just to figure out what went wrong. In the meantime, I found what seemed like a good recipe here at allrecipes.com. This one was a winner! The main difference I could find between the two recipes was that the allrecipes one includes baking soda. I know baking soda can certaintly make a difference and I’m wondering if that is the key here.

But in any case, this second attempt at banana cupcakes was awesome! These cupcakes tasted like banana bread and were super moist, but they had the texture of a light and fluffy cupcake. I was in no mood to whip up any more cream cheese frosting, so I used a can of milk chocolate frosting I had in the pantry. I love home made frosting, but there’s something about a can of chocolate ready-made frosting that is just so tasty. The combination of banana and chocolate was definitely a winner.

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I couldn’t resist…had to take a bite!

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Today’s lesson…if at first you don’t succeed…try, try again or at least try another recipe!

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Cake pop trials & tribulations

August 13, 2009

If you know what a cake pop is then you undoubtedly know who Bakerella is. I don’t think she invented the cake pop, but since she started making the cutest ones on the planet, they have become synonymous with her name. My friend Sheila directed me to her blog earlier this year and I fell in love with the adorable cake pops she had made for Easter. I immediately wanted to try my hand at them…so I did.

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For my first time making these, it actually went fairly well. While these don’t even remotely compare with Bakerella’s, I was pretty proud of them. It was this positive experience that gave me a false sense of confidence that would soon be my undoing.

I immediately decided I was going to start making cake pops for everything…birthdays, holidays…every occasion was going to have a cake pop to go along with it! I am walking in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Walk this year and thought that selling cake pops would be a great fundraising idea. So before I’d even had a chance to try making a few more cake pops, I contacted the director of our local chapter and promised to make 200 cake pops to sell the morning of the walk. Yes, that’s right…200 cake pops! She was thrilled of course!

With my cake pop making confidence in full gear, I offered to make them for Sheila’s daughter’s 2nd birthday party. She had turned me onto the things after all, how could I not? I’m not sure what went wrong with that second attempt, other than everything! It was a complete disaster. Suffice to say, there were no cake pops at that party. Thankfully, I had also made the birthday cake so the missing pops weren’t too much of a let down.

But I have really started worrying about those 200 cake pops that I am supposed to make in November. I have nightmares of what it’s going to be like in the days leading up to the walk. Do you remember the candy making episode of I Love Lucy? That’s basically what I’m envisioning…but without the laugh track.  I knew I needed to try to make them again.

This time, there is no pressure…no holiday, no event…just me and some cake. Things start off well…cute little chocolate cake balls, armed with their paper sticks…

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Then when I begin to dip into the candy coating, things start to get ugly. One by one the brave little chocolate balls begin to lose their footing and slip off the sticks. I try gently tap-a tap-a tapping the way Bakerella has explained in her cake pop tutorial. Nope…the little suckers continue to fall off. Right around pop #7, remembering my last failed attempt, I begin to wonder if Bakerella is some sort of sorceress with magical baking powers. I cannot fathom how her pops look so absolutely perfect and mine look like they have been chewed and then spit back out!

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Then just when I’m ready to swear off cake pops forever, a few things begin to click. First, the size of the cake ball is extremely important. I notice that the smaller ones are easier to dip into the candy as they don’t get as heavy. A diameter of about an inch is just right…no bigger.

Second, you have to be FAST. You can’t dip the cake ball and then linger around, rolling it back and forth to get a good coating. No, no, no…you have to MOVE! Cake ball in, swirl once, tap gently and get out! If you don’t get it right…don’t look back…move on, there’s no saving that pop now.

Finally, the melted candy coating has to be in a container deep enough to completely submerge the cake ball in one plunge…no double dipping. If you don’t heed the above advice, this is what you have to look forward to…

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In the end, I get about three that I’m not embarrassed of…

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I think I have learned enough from this attempt to give it another try. I’m still not convinced that Bakerella doesn’t possess some sort of magical powers. And I’m still not sure how I’m going to get good enough to whip up 200 of these babies without said powers…but we will see. Stay tuned!