Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Experimenting with Cake

With Memorial Day quickly approaching, I had been tasked with bringing dessert to a cookout, and although I had all but two ingredients to make my mother's delicious eclair cake, I was on the hunt for something new. It was in the middle of "muli-tasking" while chatting with Ken that I stumbled upon Bakerella's recipe for cake pops. I was instantly smitten. I had an internal compelling need to make cake pops, decorated with red, white, and blue stars, for our Memorial Day dessert.

In a flurry I jotted down the items I needed, grabbed my canvas tote, and headed out the door. I also decided this would be an excellent time to check out the rumored-to-be amazing new Safeway grocery store a few blocks from our apartment. As I hopped into our car that has a working air conditioner, I could practically see the completed cake pops.

My arrival to the Safeway confirmed that the rumors of its greatness were valid, and I promptly got a cart and began perusing the aisles, eagerly searching for the baking section. This is where I found my first reality check. Safeway does not carry red white and blue sprinkles in the shapes of stars. The only red and blue sprinkles I found were in the shape of dinosaurs, T-Rex to be precise. They also do not carry melting candies or lollipop sticks. After a few minutes of staring at the sprinkles and food dye section of the store, I made an executive decision to make my own lollipop sticks and to use white chocolate, gulf wax, and food dye to make red, white, and blue shells for my cake pops. I quickly picked up a box of Carrot Cake mix (Safeway also does not carry Red Velvet cake mix) and a can of cream cheese frosting, and proceeded to the check out.

Once I got home, I followed the recipe for the Red Velvet cake pops and simply substituted my Carrot Cake and cream cheese frosting. Here are the cake balls chilling (literally) in our fridge. They started as a beautiful cake, potentially the least deformed one I've ever made, which I promptly shredded and mixed in the can of cream cheese frosting. Note: cake pops are NOT a health food item.

After letting the cake pops chill with my make-shift lollipop sticks (originally designed to be bamboo kabob skewers which I cut in half), I created a double boiler from a pot (one of the three I own) and another smaller metal bowl, and heated the white chocolate, adding a small amount of shaved gulf wax to help the chocolate harden and keep it shape as it cooled. All was going well, except that my home-made lollipop sticks weren't holding the cake pops, so I scrapped them and used two spoons to roll the cake pops in the white chocolate.

Further, I discovered first hand that white chocolate is more difficult to keep at the right temperature than milk chocolate. After 20 minutes of transitioning the stove top heat from high to medium, and back again, I had only a little chocolate left, and I needed to thin it out. Sadly, I did not know that adding milk to white chocolate while it is at a high heat causes an almost instant curdling effect, which you can see in this picture.

Thankfully I had successfully finished 18 cake balls, though none were red or blue. After confirming that three of the local corner markets do not carry white chocolate, I called it a day, and went to our Memorial Day cook out with 18 all-white cake balls rather than cake pops with red white and blue stars.

Even though they didn't turn out quite as I had originally intended, they were still a big hit at the cook out. I love it when that happens!

-Domestic in the District

No comments:

Post a Comment