Foodie Alert: Polka Dot Cake

HOW TO MAKE A POLKA DOT CAKE TODAY

Experimenting in the kitchen is a lot of fun.  Some times things go horribly wrong, complete disasters, while other things turn out better than expected.  This is one of those times where everything turned out delicious!

I have been making cake pops awhile now, ever since my Sweetie got me a cake pop maker.  Never in a blue moon would I have ever thought of placing cake pops inside a “cake”… until I did it this weekend.

So here’s the scoop on what I did to make the coolest looking cake in the world!  (well, maybe not the entire world, but in this household it got rave reviews!)

To make this cake, I bought two different boxes of cake mixes, one white and one chocolate (Devil’s Food Cake, to be exact).  I mixed the white cake up first exactly as the box directed me to, then I divided out three portions of this cake batter into three bowls, and added a few drops of food coloring to each.  This is what the cake pops are going to be from.

PINK

BLUE

YELLOW

After I got the perfect color mixed, I poured the batter into my Cake Pop Maker and cooked them for about 5 minutes.  I went through all three bowls of colored cake batter and made as many cake pops as I could.  Once all of this batter was gone, and the cake pops were cooling, I started to mix up my second cake batter.  I used a chocolate Devil’s Food cake mix for my cake.

Next, I poured a thin layer of the chocolate cake batter on the bottom of two 9″ round cake pans and spread it around evenly, then I placed the colored cake pops on top of the batter, and evenly distributed the colors throughout the entire pan.  Then, I added the remaining chocolate cake batter on top of the cake pops to complete the cake and covered them up.

COVER CAKE BALLS WITH CAKE BATTER

Side note:  I had a small portion of my white cake mix batter left from making the cake pops, so I decided to pour the white cake mix on top of the chocolate batter and swirled it around a bit.  I kinda liked the look of it as now it looks marbled.  (did not want to waste any cake batter ya know)

I baked the cake according to the directions on the box, and tested the cake by poking it a few times with a toothpick.  (ya know that ole toothpick tester method that we all love)  Once done, of course the cake had to cool before being frosted.  Now, this is where I am on pins and needles as I am dying to know “what” happened to the cake pops inside the cake!  Time passed slowly at this point… must know, must know, must know what happened!

COOL CAKE ON WIRE RACK

To make a long story short, the cake cooled, it was frosted, and the cake knife found its way inside that delicious cake awaiting to be eaten.  Results:  AMAZING!  What I found inside the first piece, was colored circles floating all around chocolate goodness!  This will definitely be something that I will make again now that I know this process works!

POLKA DOT CAKE READY TO EAT

Can you just imagine making a cake for Christmas like this?  Ooooh, a white cake with red and green cake pops floating inside each slice!  Now that is what I call ingenious!

What have you created in your kitchen lately?

 

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Garden Update June 3, 2013

NIKITA MAGAZINE COVER

Ah, the beginning of June has finally arrived.  By now, everyone’s garden should be planted and the hopes of harvesting a plentiful crop is on everyone’s mind.  We are as well, dreaming of the day when we can start picking veggies from the garden, but also watching your plants mature is an adventure in itself.

6-3-13 OUR GARDEN

A few days ago, we took off the Creamora bottles from our zucchini.  The plants have matured enough to stand alone from chippie attacks, but we are still keeping a watchful eye on them.  (one seed still has the bottle over it so the chippies don’t eat it!)

6-3-13 ZUCCHINI

Our strawberry plants are growing like they are on crack and will soon take over the whole garden bed by our garage.  We even got to eat our first few strawberries over the weekend, and need to watch the chippies as they are starting to nip the ripe berries.

6-3-13 BLOOMING STRAWBERRY

The Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce is coming in beautifully in two straight rows.  It is funny how we have some spots that are bushier than others, but that is probably because we might have dropped more seeds in those places.

6-3-13 LEAF LETTUCE

Both are red and green pepper plants are maturing nicely.  We even have little peppers forming!

6-3-13 RED PEPPER

Two of our Juliet Tomato plants that we thought we might have lost due the frost we had are actually producing tomatoes right now!  Nice!

6-3-13 JULIET TOMATOES

I even added some Halloween crows in our garden, which scare the pants off of Roy every time he goes into the garden.  I laugh, but hope that the birds will scare away whatever might enter to munch on our plants.  We’ll see if they do any good, but for now, it provides a good laugh every time we head into our garden.  Here’s one, just hanging around on our garden door.

6-3-13 GARDEN BIRDIE

We headed off to our local garden center over the weekend to purchase the only two plants we did not start from seed.  These Jalapeno plants will be used for my salsa and I will get my Cilantro from our next door neighbor.

CONE FLOWER BLACK AND WHITEYELLOW FLOWER

All in all, we are so pleased on the progress of our garden as it is coming along nicely.  Even Roy’s Jack Be Little Pumpkin plants are getting bigger by the day.  We also have other pumpkins growing too, which include Connecticut Field and Red Warty Thing pumpkins.  If you have never heard of the Red Warty Thing Pumpkin before, Google it to see how cool it looks! It it reddish orange in color with bumps or warts all over it.  We tried to grow these last year and they did remarkable in the garden, but the deer ate them and we were left with nothing.  This year, we have them protected inside our garden fence, so the deer won’t be munching on them this year.  Live and learn – the gardeners hardships only make them better gardeners!

What’s for Dessert? Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas

We have a great surprise for you today, and you will definitely be making these this weekend as you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand.  If you are looking for something different for dessert, then these Apple Cinnamon Chimichangas will be the perfect fit!

Click HERE for the PDF Recipe & Directions

For the Apple Filling
•    3 Apples, chopped into small pieces
•    1 1/2 cups water
•    1/4 cup cornstarch
•    3/4 cup sugar
•    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
•    1/4 tsp. salt
•    1 Tbs. lemon juice
For the Chimichangas
•    15-20 small tortillas (or you can use larger tortilla wraps too)
•    1/2 cup sugar
•    1 Tbs. cinnamon
•    Vegetable Oil for frying
For the Apple Filling
Combine the water, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes very thick.

Add the chopped apples and reduce to a simmer. Allow the apple mixture to simmer until the apples become just tender (approximately 10 minutes). Allow the mixture to cool.

Mix cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Next, spoon the apple filling in the middle of the tortilla.

Roll in both sides of the tortilla before rolling up the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, and then continue to roll the tortilla up like a burrito.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet with 1/2 an inch of oil. Once oil is hot, fry the chimichangas on all sides until the tortilla turns golden brown. (approximately 30 seconds on each side)

Remove the chimichangas from the oil and immediately roll the warm chimichanga in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and serve.  You can also drizzle some caramel over the top of the chimichanga before serving too!

 

Get Ready to Make Your Chicken Happy, Not to Mention Your Taste Buds!

Oh snap, Mommy did it again!  She loves creating new dishes in the kitchen and earlier this week she came up with an awesome homemade dipping sauce for chicken.  She made it right before Daddy came home from work as her chicken wings were cooking and she was eager to see if he would like it.  Success is all that we have to say, as when he tasted the new dipping sauce – every other word out of his mouth was “this stuff is awesome” and “give me more”.  Pure happiness is what it is to make something in the kitchen and get rave reviews over it, now our chicken will never be the same as we will make up a batch of this dipping sauce every time we dine on chicken!

So, without further deliberation, here is the recipe for Mommy’s Chicken Dipping Sauce and if you want to printout the recipe & share it with others, click HERE:

CHICKEN DIPPING SAUCE

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Honey
Pepper to taste

Home Made Is Better

Store bought goodies are ok, but when you can make homemade cookies that look this good, the choice is easy!  Daddy bought Mommy a really neat “homemade cookie stamp” on eBay awhile ago and she loves it, but Daddy is the one who benefits the most because he gets to eat all of the cookies! 

Anyhow, when Mommy first got her cookie stamp, she was dying to make cookies right away, but did not have all the ingredients she needed, but she did have a bag of store bought sugar cookie mix in the pantry, so off she went on her first attempt at stamping cookie dough.  So many things went wrong this first time around… the sugar cookie dough was ok, but she did not know that the dough should have been put in the fridge for a few hours first, and she did not read the instructions on the cookie stamp that you should shake a little flour on it so it does not stick to the dough (she learned this the hard way), and she balled up a little of the dough, placed it on the cookie sheet, and stamped each ball of dough.  Well, they looked correct, each cookie ball of dough was now stamped with “Home Made” on them – then it came time to bake them.  She watched though the oven door at her first batch, and they looked fine, until a few minutes into baking……then, the stamp mark disappeared and flattened out.  She was so disappointed.  Now what? 

Well, Mommy contacted the world known lady called Bakerella via email and she responded back that using a store bought mix would not work well, and that the dough definitely needs to be placed in the fridge for a few hours for the stamp to work properly.  She also mentioned that instead of sprinkling flour on the cookie stamp every time, to try using a little cooking spray ever so often and that will work out the best.  (Thanks Bakerella!)

Since Mommy corrected all of these boo-boo’s in the art of cookie stamping, she is on her way to making some incredible looking, not to mention tasty cookies.  She mixed up a batch of Spritz Cookies (aka: Party Press Cookies – the dough you use from your cookie gun) and made some “Home Made” cookies for Daddy.  She added a few drops of blue food coloring to the dough and only slightly mixed it in so she could get a marble effect in the finished cookies. 

Kiss those store bought cookies goodbye when you can make homemade cookies that look this good, not to mention very tasty too!

What’s Your Favorite Recipe For Homemade Salsa?

With the arrival of Summer and the anticipation of picking fresh tomatoes from our garden, we wanted to ask everyone to SHARE their favorite homemade salsa recipes with us! 

So, get out your recipes and share your thoughts on how you make the BEST SALSA recipe!  

We’re anxiously watching the growth of our tomatos, onions, cilantro, and jalapeno plants, and we’re gearing up for Salsa Season!   Once we get your recipe, we will try out each and every one and let you know which one is our favorite! 

Heading to the store right now to stock up on chips!

 

Easter Cake Pops – Carrot Cake Infused with Cream Cheese

Inside a Cake Pop

There is no way that I could let the Easter holiday pass us by without making some Easter Cake Pops for the family.  I spent the entire day yesterday making these delicious Carrot Cake cake pops injected with cream cheese and I am so pleased at how they turned out, not to mention how yummy these tasted!  (yes, I had to sample one to see

Cake Pops are easy to make, if you have a neat Cake Pop Maker (which I got for Christmas).  And, if you don’t have a Cake Pop Maker, then you would have to take a cake mix, bake a cake, cool the cake, then crumble the cake and mix it with frosting, then mold your cake mixture into balls or any other shape.  By having an actual Cake Pop Maker, the process is a lot easier.  So, I will walk you through the steps in how I created these Cake Pops. 

First, you take any cake mix, (for these, I used a carrot cake) and make the cake as per the directions on the box.  While you are mixing up your cake mix, you turn your Cake Pop Maker on to heat up.  Once the CPM is hot, you just spoon a tablespoon of cake mix into the 12 holes in the CPM, close the lid, and bake for exactly 4 minutes.  Then you just pop out the Cake Balls and set on a platter to cool.  An average cake mix makes anywhere from 80 – 100+ cake balls.

Once I had all of the cake pops made & cooled, the next step was to inject each cake pop with cream cheese.  I used this little cool injector that came with the CPM and just filled it with the cream cheese, then injected the pops.  (for example, you could also make donut holes filled with jelly too by using this same process

After all of the cake pops were injected with cream cheese, you need to put them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  The reason you do this is to make them easier to dip into the chocolate.  If you tried to use the cake balls not frozen, your cake ball would break apart since it is so moist.  Freezing them holds the cake batter balls together nicely. 

While the cake balls are freezing, you can start melting your chocolate melts in your Melting Pot.  I got the one I use from KMart for about $20 and it does such a great job at keeping the chocolate at a perfect temperature and perfectly melted without burning your chocolate.  You could also melt your chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, but doing it this way, you run into the chance of burning your chocolate, not to mention that your chocolate is not being kept warm like it is in the Melting Pot. 

Once your chocolate is melted, take the lightly frozen cake pops out of the freezer, insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake pop, dip it into your Melting Pot of chocolate and spoon the chocolate over the top.  Pull cake pop out of the chocolate and let it drip off any excess chocolate back into the Melting Pot.  Place cake ball onto wax paper.  (this is very important because if you don’t, your cake ball will stick to your cookie sheet)  Now, just continue with each cake ball and dip them into chocolate, and once you run out of chocolate, you can clean out your Melting Pot and melt a different color of chocolate melts.

Once you get a full cookie sheet of cake balls dipped in chocolate, place them in the refrigerator to harden.  Once all cake balls have been dipped, the next step is to do the milk chocolate drizzle over the top.  Take your plastic bottle with small nozzle, open it up, and break up into small pieces the milk chocolate melts into the plastic bottle and fill about half way.  Place plastic bottle in microwave for 10 second intervals, and in between intervals, squeeze bottle together to help mix the chocolate, and keep doing this until the chocolate is melted.  (do not over microwave because your chocolate will harden)  Then, bring out your cookie sheet of cake balls from the fridge, and tap your bottle upside down on the counter to get the chocolate in the bottle down to the tip, and lightly squeeze over the top of the cake pops.  At this point, you could do so many different things with the milk chocolate, like making “dots” of chocolate all over the top of your cake pops, to writing an “initial” on top of it, or just doing a nice drizzle over the top.  The possibilities are endless, but be creative! 

So that is how we made these delicious Carrot Cake Cake Pops for Easter, but since we don’t rush things and want all of our goodies to look good, we had to place them in a box with each one sitting in a paper cup to make a nice presentation, with an adorable Easter note on top of the box.

Cake Pops to Impress

We have been experimenting with Cake Pops lately, and we made some delicious cake pops that would impress anyone, not to mention, they taste great!  Just look at these double chocolate fudge cake pops, dipped in milk chocolate and drizzled with green vanilla chocolate.  Just a perfect treat for St. Patrick’s Day, or perhaps for someone’s birthday!  Yep, Mommy made these delicious Cake Pops for Daddy’s boss (his birthday is on March 17th), but they are celebrating his birthday today at the office.  I hope he was surprised with the 50 cake pops and saves some to take home too!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY RON (aka: “Big Guy”)  We just wanted to let you know that we were thinking of you on your special day! 

Anyhow, these are really easy to make if you have an actual Cake Pop Maker.  You just take a regular cake mix and add all the ingredients for a cake, then add one tablespoon of cake mix to each cavity in the cake pop maker (it makes 12 at a time), bake for 4 minutes which is the perfect length of time.  Once all the cake balls are made and have cooled, just pop them into the freezer for a few minutes.  The reason you do this is to make it easier for you to dip the balls into the melted chocolate.  If you don’t do a quick freeze on them and try to use the really soft cake balls in the chocolate, you will have a mess on your hands with crumbled cake!  We have learned this from experience, so do a quick freeze first! 

While the cake balls are freezing, you can start melting your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, or you can use a Melting Pot to melt your chocolate.  If you are doing the microwave method, make sure you melt the chocolate in increments of 15 seconds, check the chocolate, another 15 seconds, and so on, and mix the chocolate in between, and finally you will have melted chocolate.  We used a bag of chocolate melts that we got from Pat Catans, and these melted really nice.  (we have tried melting chocolate chips which does work, but we have found that using the chocolate melts is easier.  Once the chocolate is melted, you just dip the flash frozen cake balls into the chocolate and make sure that you cover the entire ball.  Now, you have a decision to make, do you insert a lollipop stick in them or not, either way, you have great chocolate dipped cake balls!  Once you have dipped all of your cake balls (side note here:  Forgot to mention that a regular sized cake mix box can make over 100+ cake balls), you place them on waxed paper on a cookie sheet, or if you are inserting a lollipop stick you will need some styrofoam so you can place the stick in it until they set. 

Next, flash freeze the dipped cake balls, and while they are in the freezer, you can melt your next color of chocolate melts for the drizzle (here we used the green chocolate melts which was a vanilla flavor) in a squeeze bottle about halfway full in the microwave.  Once again, do this in 15 second increments until all the chocolate has melted.  Tak the chocolate dipped cake pops out of the freezer and you can now drizzle the tops with your green chocolate.  Whala!  Delicious Cake Pops fit for a king, or a boss, or for any reason!  They are time consuming to make with all the steps involved, but we are sure that the more we make these, the process will get easier! 

Just think, any cake mix will do, from Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Vanilla, Chocolate, and if you have an actual Cake Pop Maker, you will receive in the box an injection tool so you can sneak some “filling” into each cake ball before they are dipped in chocolate!  Imagine biting into a Carrot Cake Ball and finding some cream cheese frosting inside, now that sounds yummy! 

Have you ever tried making Cake Pops before?  If so, how have you decorated them?  What did you make them for?