Monday, March 25, 2013

Butterfly Kisses Cake Pops


A little while ago I received an email from Janine @ Sugar Kissed asking if I would like to join in a cake pop collaboration post she was pulling together with a 'Spring has Sprung' inspiration.

I love the whole bloggers getting together thing and I knew the others involved were a lovely bunch and it seemed I had time so of course I wanted in and said yes.


But y'know I didn't read the email properly and I had time to do it before the due date (that's today).....but a couple of weeks ago when I was supposed to send through the photo's and the link - yeah that was totally undoable.

Well I was only a couple of days late and Janine still seems to be talking to me :) That all kinda worked out ok.


Anyhoo my idea was Butterfly Kisses cake pops.

Yup I know I have already made butterfly cake pops. But seeings as I love butterflies and my kids love butterflies and come on pretty much everyone loves butterflies I decided to make them again.


Plus they are different, this time I decided to shape the actual cake pop into butterfly shapes and hand paint the butterflies. Then I made them into a bit of a spring bouquet with chick and flowers filler pops (the chicks are based on the sweet birdie pops from my cookbook).


I was going to make the butterflies out of white chocolate modelling paste but due to my poor time organisation skills in this instance I just used fondant which I had on hand.

I've popped together a tutorial on how I made them below but before you have a look check out what everyone else came up with and make sure to 'pop' on over and have a look at their blogs :)

Spring Cake Pops with Tutorials
1. Bunny Cake Bites by Miss CandiQuik
2. Kite Cake Pops by Party Pinching
5. Chick Cake Pops with Bonnets by sugarkissed.net
7. Springtime Cake Pop Nests by Munchkin Munchies
8. Elegant Spring Flower Cake Pops by Pint Sized Baker
9. Butterfly Kisses Cake Pops by Bubble and Sweet
10. Pastel Sparkle Cake Pops by Heavenly Cake Pops

I have used the blue butterflies in my example, of course you can make different colors just like I have in the pictures.

Spring has Sprung Butterfly Kisses Cake Pop by Linda V @ Bubble and Sweet


Ingredients and Equipment

Cake pop mixture chilled - (make cake pop mixture by crumbing a cake with frosting until it is moist enough to hold it's shape)
Butterfly cutters (Link to the ones I used: Fox Run Flower and Butterfly 11 Piece Cookie Cutter Set)
Lollipop sticks
Butterfly plunger cutters (link to the type I used:Set of 3pcs Veined Butterfly Plunger Cutter cake decorating fondant plunger embossing tool)
Fondant (light blue)
candy melts (light blue)
edible dusting powder (dark blue) and or food color/edible markers for painting the butterflies
clean brushes (used for food only)

Make the fondant butterflies the day before decorating to allow time to set.


Roll out fondant on a workbench dusted with a small amount of cornflour and using butterfly cutters cut out the shapes you wish to use. I tried to make sure they were not too fiddly as you will be using the same cutter to shape cake pop mixture soon which is fiddly.


Emboss the cut fondant butterfly shapes by pressing a butterfly embosser onto the fondant before it is set. I used butterfly plunger cutter to emboss with. To emboss the detail lay the fondant butterfly on a flat surface, place the embosser above the fondant shape, press down on the plunger button and then push the plunger onto the butterfly shape.

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In real life I then fold the butterflies and pop them into cardboard folded with parchment paper to make a V in the center to dry so the wings look like they are flying. For the purpose of the photo's I have added the details while the butterflies are flat


Paint the details on the butterflies. I started by adding some edible dusting powder, you can use some blue food color watered down with some rose spirits if you don't have dusting powder. Then I painted some white edible food color by hand using a very fine brush. If you like you can use an edible marker instead of hand painting for this detail.


Following day - Shape the cake pop mixture into butterflies by pressing cake pop mixture into the butterfly cutters. To do this line a baking tray with parchment paper, place the cutter onto the lined tray and press as much cake pop mixture as you can into the cutter. Gently ease the cake pop mixture out of the cutter.


 Use a lollipop stick make a hole in the bottom of the shape.



Repeat until all mixture is used and then place the tray into the fridge to chill.

Melt the candy melts, I add copha or paramount crystals to my candy melts at about a ratio of 7 parts candy melt to 1 part copha/ paramount crystals. When melted your mixture should be very fluid (but not so much that it is watery). The mixture should be like thick cream.

I melt my chocolate in the microwave on medium low for short bursts of 60 to 90 seconds.

Grab a bunch of lollipop sticks. Holding one end of the stick dip the other end into the melted chocolate/candy coating and insert it into the butterfly shape so the stick is sitting in the bottom side of the cloud and the stick is parallel to the tray. Repeat for remaining butterflies.

Place the tray back into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes or until the sticks are secure.

Make sure the chocolate/candy coating is still melted, if needed remelt in the microwave. Holding the end of the stick dip the whole butterfly pop into the melted chocolate/candy coating. Lift it up and allow as much of the candy/chocolate mixture to fall off as possible. tap gently on the side of the bowl if necessary. Place upright in a stryofoam block. Before the candy melts have completely set gently press on a fondant butterfly and hold a few seconds until it is set securely.


Alternately you can wait for the butterfly pops to set completely and then lay them on a tray to work on. Using a toothpick take some of the melted candy coating and stick a butterfly onto the front of each pop.

I prefer the first method the second method is a little easier to do but the butterflies are not quite as secure :)

Store pops in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.




Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores:

Link to Amazon:

Or at Fishpond (free shipping Australia)
Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! 


and I've joined in the fun and included my link over @

Skip To My Lou

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter is coming - Easter Egg Macarons


Easter is coming, in fact it's pretty much nearly here.

I can hardly believe it this year is rushing past, so to get me into gear I've popped some Easter eggs onto my macarons to make Easter macarons.


These were a couple of reject left over macrons from a batch I made someone. The shell sizes didn't quite match, I didn't pipe the raspberry ganache quite right. They were delicious but just a touch less than perfect.



But with the little eggs on the top no one will notice. Well not my kids anyway.

To make up some similar yourself, make or buy a batch of macarons (CLICK HERE for my recipe to make your own) take a little ganache and whip it until it is light and fluffy (CLICK HERE for white chocolate whipped ganache recipe, you will need about a quarter or less depending on how many macarons you have).


Then pipe a dot of ganache onto the top of the macaron and push an Easter egg into the ganache, you might need to hold it a second.

I stuck mine into the fridge to set up for a while.


The eggs I used were chocolate eggs with a thin candy coating but you could use any type you like.

Oh and make sure to keep an eye out for a special post I have coming out in a couple of days where I have joined up with some other lovely Blogs and then next weeks post will be a couple of days late so I can have a rest for Easter as well. I'm all over the place at the moment :)
 


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores:

Link to Amazon:

Or at Fishpond (free shipping Australia)
Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life is beautiful pastel rainbow meringues


Life is beautiful, how amazing is our world, how lucky are we that we have all the colors of the rainbow.

We should grab hold of life embrace it and not let the little everyday things let us forget that.


This week I had a little whinge on my facebook page about some really insignificant things that happened making my day 'bad'. Really my day was still awesome despite those couple of little things that happened, I just needed to focus on the simple everyday lovely things.

So I made up these little pastel rainbow cakes with sprinkles and frosting swirls.


and guess what - they are gluten free....ummm maybe not the sprinkles I used, I'm not positively sure, but y'know you can get gluten free ones.

Pretty much they are a pavlova (meringue) with whipped white chocolate ganache.


Sweetness alert - they are really sweet. Like really, really, really sweet!

Of course you could make them with regular cake which would reduce the sweetness, or maybe serve with a tart berry sauce or some passion fruit, which would be my preference.


Life is Beautiful rainbow soft meringue cakes (makes 6 - plus extra meringue for snacking)


Pavlova (soft meringue)
Make the pavlova the night before - I find that sitting it in an airtight container overnight makes pressing out the circles easier.

6 extra large egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (US use a gently heaped  1 1/2 cups super fine sugar)
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
Yellow, Pink and Blue food color

Preheat oven to 140 C ( 285 F)

Line 2 trays with parchment paper and grease and sprinkle with cornflour

In a large bowl of a stand mixer on medium high speed beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Mix in the sugar about 1/8th of a cup at a time beating well until all the sugar has dissolved before adding the next batch of sugar. This will take at least 15 minutes in total. Once all the sugar is incorporated beat in the vinegar.

Divide the mixture into 3 equal portions. Add a couple of drops of yellow food color to one, pink to the second and blue to the final batch. Mix each batch until the color is incorporated well.

Spoon the  yellow mixture onto one of the prepared trays and shape the pavlova into a rectangle.around 16cm X 21cm (6.5" X 8.5"). You should be able to get 2 rectangles per tray.

Place the pavlovas into the oven and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes or until the shell is firm to touch and dry, the pavlova should not be browning.

Allow pavlovas to cool to room temperature pick up still on paper and store in an airtight container at least overnight. Can be stored for 3 days.


White Chocolate Ganache

300 grams (10.5 oz) white chocolate
100 grams (3.5oz) heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt

Cut the white chocolate up into small pieces. Pop in a microwave safe dish, add salt, pour the cream over the top and microwave at high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, allow to sit a couple of minutes and then use a fork or whisk to mix together until no lumps remain. If you can not get all the lumps to melt, return to the microwave for short bursts. Allow the mixture to set to room temperature and then whip in the bowl of an electric mixer at high until smooth and light. Divide mixture into 3, color one section purple, one section green and leave the other plain (or you can add a little white).Use immediately.


Assembly

6cm (around 2 1/4") round cutter
3 x piping bags
pastel sprinkles
piping tip (I used Wilton 2D)
pink, yellow and blue pavlova
white, green and purple white chocolate ganache

Place each of the pavlova rectangles on a flat work surface, top with another piece of parchment paper and then carefully place a cutting board on top and flip the whole thing over. Remove the parchment paper that the pavlova was baked on.. Rub a little cornflour onto the cutter and press down gently while twisting the cutter from side to side. If you just press down you will flatten the meringue. You should get six rounds from each rectangle, you can save the off cut pavlova to snack on.


Pop the green ganache into a piping bag with the tip and starting in the middle working outwards in a tight circle and applying light pressure to the piping bag,  pipe a rosette onto each of the yellow pavlova rounds. Finish piping the rosette by letting go of the pressure to the piping bag and pulling the tip away. Top with a blue pavlova round and gently press into place trying to ensure the meringue is as evenly placed as possible.

Pop the purple ganache into a new piping bag and once again starting in the middle and working outwards in tight circles pipe a rosette onto the top of each blue pavlova. Carefully top with the pink pavlova circle.

Finally place the plain white chocolate ganache into the last piping bag and starting in the middle of the meringue pipe a rosette by piping a tight circle working outwards. Add some rainbow sprinkles to the top of each tower.

Can be made up to a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge around 15 minutes before serving.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores:

Link to Amazon:

Or at Fishpond (free shipping Australia)
Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! 


Sunday, March 10, 2013

A pretty white light filled organised creative space

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Welcome to my new creative work space.

Keep on reading and I will share my secrets with you and show how with jut $15, five minutes a day and items you already have around the house you too can have a fabulously clean, organised and gorgeous craft room.


Yup that is a total fib....here is the real story :)

Once upon a time I had no kids and a clean house, then I had some kids and I started to make cakes and blog and my mess and clutter totally won. It was not a happily ever after.



I knew I had to throw everything out or get some serious storage.

So I turned my formal dining room into a kinda extension of our kitchen which can be used for a study or creative space, or even extra kitchen. We never used it anymore because we have a breakfast room and outdoor dining area and hello did you see that before picture above...it was unusable.


I was redoing the kitchen anyway (I have a post coming up next month on the kitchen) so I had Craftbuilt Kitchens pop in an extra wall of storage into the old formal dining room with a built in desk, open shelving and pull out shelves inside the cupboards. We ripped up the old beige sisal and popped down some new flooring.


I'm not quite sure if the before and after photo's do the makeover justice but there is such a different feel to the room now.


See look here it is through the doorway to the kitchen, I know I could have removed the wall, but I wanted a separate space for me.


Although the room was always quite light, removing the sheer curtains, painting the walls white (instead of the previous light blue) and the removal of the carpet has made it feel cleaner, more open with increased natural light.

Plus there is lots and lots of storage so all that mess is hidden away. I'm not saying that stuff is easier to find, my mess had a method to it and I knew where everything was, well mostly. But the access is way better and now everything has a space and that means it's easier to keep the clutter at bay.


Also I added lots of pretty details so I have incentive to keep it looking good.

In the corner I already had a little Ikea Billy bookcase with glass doors that I stored my cookies cutters and fondant tools in and it worked fine, plus it mostly matched so I decided to keep it as I was working within a budget. But I did pick up a cute and relatively inexpensive plate rack from Ikea to finish off the corner.


Cute huh!

Side story at one of my baking demonstrations someone commented that I get a lot of stuff from Ikea which is true. All I have to say to that is free child minding obviously works as an incentive for me.

Now I know some of you are thinking it's a bit white. I did consider popping some wall paper behind the plate rack, on the backs of the open shelves and glass front cupboards and also the area above the desk. But if I hate the wallpaper in a couple of months time I'll be stuck with it for a while this way I can just change around the accessories and update it whenever I like. That's not to say  I won't change my mind next week and pop in some wallpaper, but for now white is right for me.


Also I hear you, what is with that depressing ceiling light! Well there is a story to the light. I actually bought a fabulous 30% lead crystal chandelier to pop up in the new space which was TOTALLY gorgeous. But according to my electrician it seems most people actually like to walk around without ducking or hitting their heads so he didn't install it. Sometimes I get carried away and don't think through the little stuff. By the way if anyone has seen any beautiful flush fit chandeliers make sure to let me know - really I need to know :)

Anyhoo back to the storage, now I have draws for all my stuff. I have a draw for sprinkles:


The sprinkles are sitting on little wavy racks from Ikea that don't quite fit into the draw flat so they sit on a nice angle. There is a bit of space underneath the top back that I can store other things that I don't access often. I know that there are more space effective ways of storing sprinkles, but this room is not just a storage cuboard it's a creative space and opening the sprinkle draw makes me happy. Yes I do have more sprinkles in other spots, many, many, many more sprinkles.

I have a draw for piping bags and ziplock bags.


Seriously this one has changed my life. For some reason before I had the Wilton bags stored in one spot, the cheaper ones stored in another spot, the box of Kee-seal large bags on a roll (pictured at the back of the draw) in the back of my cupboard and the ziplock stacked up somewhere else. It doesn't look like much but I love this draw. If you are wondering why I need so many different types of piping bags that will take a whole post on it's own :)

A draw for piping tips, fondant cutters and tools and stuff....


A draw for paper doilies and brown paper bags.


I have no sensible excuse for this one, but it's good to be able to find the paper bags for the kids tuckshop at a moments notice, oh and there are business cards at the back - so it's not just totally paper doilies.

I have a draw for ribbon and twine which needs a lot of work. I have another large box of ribbon somewhere and twine and paper ribbon squirreled away in other spots. My ribbon storage needs more work. I do have a ribbon detangle plan underway.


There are lots of pull out shelves, these ones hold big click clack containers of almond meal, bitter sweet chocolate, white chocolate, lindt milk chocolate, hazelnute meal.......y'know that stuff that I always use in my super delicious recipes. Also rolled fondant, more sprinkles, candy melts, modelling chocolate, pouring fondant, food colors...the decorating essentials.  There is lots of stuff in here, it used to be stored in big plastic storage bins underneath my dining table covered by the tablecloth. It was hard to access this stuff when I needed it in the old system.


Pull out shelving rocks - just saying.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and I came in within a couple of hundred dollars of the original budget for the whole kitchen renovation. Here are some hints and extra information:


- have lots of pictures from magazines or pintrest of kitchens that you like. A lot of the kitchens I picked had different features but they all had similar profile doors and a bright airy whiteness. When I was being swayed towards other options I went back to these pictures and refocused on what I wanted.

- do it your way. I got a marble look laminate top instead of natural stone or some other fancy bench top, mostly because I am messy and use lots of stainy type food colour. The profile doors were a lot extra than plain doors but I was willing to pay extra. That was for me, it was something I wanted, however if you love natural products but couldn't give a hoot about the doors.....you know what you have to do.

- research appliances, draw options and other nifty gadgets before hand. But only get it if you need it, every extra thing adds $$$. Note: as mentioned above pull out draws and pantries are awesome.


- Get a few quotes and different designs, of course. Price is important but so is the feeling you get for how the company does business. I had one of the biggish flatpack places that offers interest free come out. Wow they are hard sell. At the start I said I had other people coming to quote, so after drawing up the design she priced it and then said she would call her boss to see what the best price they could do if I signed up today on the spot. I said I can't do that I still have quotes to come, she said I'm going to do it, I said but I can't sign today I have more quotes coming, she said but we have a one time special today, I said please don't (really I used those words 'please don't)....despite my plea she called up and gave me a nearly 30% on the spot discount if I signed NOW. Obviously we did not go with that business.

- Tell the designers drawing up your design your budget, everyone that quoted mostly worked to my budget, they gave me options of what I could cut to get the stuff I really wanted. The places I had come out all included the labour costs e.g. electrical, installation, plastering so there were no hidden costs later.


- Have an idea of what you need to store. For example I have some really tall items so I needed some of the shelves to be double the normal height in the cupboards. You want that sorted out before you install fixed shelves. Alternately make the shelves movable.

- I really wanted those handles (CLICK HERE for link). The kitchen design took a couple of hours, finding the handles I wanted took a couple of weeks. As it turns out they were from Ikea. The kitchen store had round silver pull handles that might have matched for the overheads but I felt they were too big or small, I found the ones I ended up using at Big W (discount department store) they were $26 for a pack of 6.

- I liked Sue the consultant that designed my kitchen, she was sensible and warned me about possible issues without trying to sway me to change. The last thing I do each night before going upstairs is wipe down sticky little fingerprints from the handles and dust the little ledges of the profile doors that catch everything - but I knew that going in and I would still choose them again.

- Cupboards up to the ceiling mean no dusting the tops and extra storage. Craftbuilt included and arranged the cornices and plastering in the installation.


- The chair is one of the old dining chairs painted white with the seat recovered in Tilda fabric. I have repurposed the dining table and remaining chairs in the kids craft room. If your on my facbook page you might have helped me out with voting on which you preferred - white or blue. I am actually going to paint one in sea foam (light mint green) next.......if the rain ever stops here.

- The toile curtains and pelment were already in place, I had them custom made at Curtain Elegance years ago. I really wanted new curtains but they still look so good I can't replace them.

- There are built in lights under the open shelves above the desk area. A power point behind the kitchen aid, under the desk and an area in the cupboard that I use to recharge stuff. I like those nifty power points that pull out of the desk like a little tower then push down flush but it's not practical if I'm going to be cooking stuff in this area.


and I'm sitting right here typing this post up - your seeing exactly what I am seeing.

So now I've had this creative space for a couple of months I can honestly say it is way easier to keep clean. Also I have been inspired to declutter other areas in the house.

Is it my happily ever after? Well I'm happy right now and that's all I can ask for, oh and maybe a flush chandelier :)

Shop the Details

The wall is 4.6 meters (over 15 feet) long so there is a lot of cupboard space.
All up the shelving, installation, electrical, plastering etc. cost around $8,500.
Cabinets, installation - Craftbuilt Kitchens
Handles - Ikea and Big W
Fabric on Chair - Tilda similar from Fabric Traders
Pink and Blue folders in overhead cupboards - Bantex
Sprinkle organisaiton - Ikea
Plate rack - Ikea
Most of the display stone wear and tins are Greengate
Mint Camera Bag - Missy Mint by Jo Totes mine from Cambags


Hey check out this bag - it's a camera bag with little inserts to keep your camera and lens etc safe but I love it because it has a super section for my laptop. I picked this one up at Cambags in Australia. If your in the US try Jo Totes.
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Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores:

Link to Amazon:

Or at Fishpond (free shipping Australia)
Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!