Some New Variations On Old Faves

Cake Poppers

For every birthday party, it seems, someone asks for Cake Poppers. And while I still stand by the Red Velvet/Chocolate combination being my favorite flavor, I do like to try to have fun with the appearance once in awhile. Hobby Lobby sells some great colors of candy coating, but it’s all vanilla. And since it’s a different brand from what I normally use on the cake poppers, it’s a little bit of a different consistency. Thicker and sometimes globbier. (Is that a word? It is now.) But – it makes for pretty treats. I let Nikki and Wes pick their colors. We also dyed the white cake batter before we cooked it so the cake poppers were the same color on the outside as on the inside. THEN…we picked out sprinkles and – BEFORE THE COATING DRIED – we sprinkled each one. The end result was BEAUTIFUL. And if you like vanilla? TASTY. It’s not my favorite flavor so I stuck with the chocolate/red velvet.

He asked for rainbow cupcakes and starsSpeaking of pretty colors…a certain little boy also asked for “Rainbow Cupcakes” which he also wanted to top with his star sprinkles. This turned out to be quite an easy project, albeit quite messy. Any project that dirties SEVEN BOWLS and SEVEN SPOONS is a bit extreme in my book.

All I did was mix normal white cake batter and then divide it “evenly” into 6 bowls. Everyone in town was out of Primary Food Colors (and you have to use the GELS…they color much better) but I made do with some pastel colors and a Neon color pack I found at Hobby Lobby. Without primary colors we had no “red” but the pink worked out just fine. I mixed each color and then just globbed (Another made-up baking term!) a spoonful of each into the cupcake holder. Don’t try to flatten it to make smooth layers, because then the colors get mixed up. They stay separated if you just let them be and – while it may not be a perfect layered rainbow – they are still AWESOME in every way. It only made about 16 a batch because I think you loose a little bit of the batter each time you divide it up, so I ended up cooking two batches. This meant I had to wash dishes first because I do NOT have 12 bowls to use simultaneously. But even with all of that mess? Still totally worth it.

OH! Make sure you use cupcake holders because seeing the expression on your guests faces when they pull it off and see all the colors? PRICELESS. The kids loved them and the adults thought I was pretty damn awesome. Which, you know, I TOTALLY AM.

Wes also wanted a few “with worms,” so I used chocolate icing on half and topped them with gummy worms. Easiest – and most fun – cupcakes ever. Since I never make cupcakes (I’m sure you could guess that by how hideous the icing job looks) I didn’t have a way to store them. I’m sure every one of you has one of these Awesome Cupcake Holders but it was new to me so I had to share it just in case it would be new to you too. TWO LAYERS! And it even allowed for my gummy worms. Nothing got smooshed. You do have to be careful making sure the lid actually locks on the bottom dish, but other than that it’s easy breezy.

Last, but NOT least, is a “new” treat I came up with recently. Nikki was talking about marshmallows and I had melting chocolates I needed to use but didn’t feel l like making another batch of cake poppers. (For the record, since the week the power went out? I’ve made about 700 cake poppers for various events. I would like to take a break for awhile.) I had an idea to use marshmallows and try to improvise some S’mores Poppers with my leftover melting chocolates. BEST IDEA EVER.

S'mores Bites

This was SO EASY. First I crushed some graham crackers in a large sandwich bag. Actually – I let the kids do that – they love that job. Then I melted the chocolates (I always use the stuff I mention here because it’s easy to work with) and grabbed some bamboo skewers I had laying around. I rolled the sides and the “bottom” of the marshmallow in the chocolate and immediately (but slowly) rolled them in the graham cracker crumbs. I popped them on the wax paper to harden and TA-DA! S’mores bites! E took some to school last week and said the didn’t last 5 minutes. SO EASY but also a HUGE crowd-pleaser. I only wish you could buy a size of marshmallows between normal and mini – because I think these would be perfect if the marshmallows were just a tiny bit smaller. They are a bit big for “bites” for small kids, but that didn’t stop my kids from eating them.

SO! There you have it. Some yummy treats we’ve made for various gatherings lately.

I can NOT believe I just wrote a blog entry about various alterations to standby desserts. Just the fact that I have standby desserts now is quite a huge change from where I was when I had Wes. He’ll never know me as someone who is NOT comfortable in the kitchen. And that makes me damn proud.

But not as proud as my rainbow cupcakes. Those things were AWESOME.

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19 Responses

  1. Monica says:

    Wow! You have really upped (uped?) the ante in the cooking department, Kim. Those cake poppers look professionally done. And rainbow cupcakes?! Dang, woman. Plus you are creating your own recipes now and everything!

  2. Lisa says:

    I have to make desserts for my son’s Track and Field picnic on Sunday, I am so making those Smores poppers! Thanks for sharing that idea!

  3. Han says:

    I made Rainbow cupcakes a few weeks back – I took them into work and everyone thought they were really funny. I didn’t put any icing on them but they were still yummy

  4. Amber says:

    Oh my! I’m just starting to plan my daughter’s first birthday party because the thought of it seems a bit overwhelming right now.

    BUT these are totally going on the menu :) Thanks!

  5. crankymommy says:

    This might be in the running for my favorite Zoot post ever. I love that you are a dessert queen in the making.

  6. stephanie says:

    Oh my gosh… I MUST make those s’mores bites for something. I LOVE s’mores.

    This is off topic, but based on your comments (a very long time ago) on the Harry Potter audiobooks, I just finished listening to the entire series. It made me love the books even more than I already did, which I didn’t think was possible. So, I just wanted to thank you… listening to the series made the transition to having to drive to work in terrible traffic (after years of walking to work in 15 minutes) bearable.

  7. Susan says:

    S’mores poppers. You are a GENIUS! Love love love that idea. Totally stealing it, too! And, I have to admit: when I saw this entry, I didn’t realize it was you who wrote it (since I subscribe to your shared items on Google Reader). I thought it was a Bakerella post until I saw the name “Wes.” When I saw his name, I was extra impressed. Everything looks super cute.

  8. Swistle says:

    It would be a ton more fuss, but I wonder if it would work to dip the marshmallows in chocolate, then let them set, then RE-dip them in chocolate before rolling in the crumbs—to improve the marshmallow proportions.

  9. Brenda says:

    I have a great 3 level cupcake carrier that carries 27 cupcakes. I always get a lot of comments from the other Moms at school when they see it. We made the rainbow cupcakes a few years ago for my daughter’s birthday and they were a huge hit. I’m going to have to try cake poppers one of these days. I love you baking posts!

  10. Lindsey says:

    Love the rainbow cupcakes! I’ve made it in cake form (my kids call it the tie-dye cake!) but never even thought to make cupcakes that way!

    Question though, I’ve been looking for a 2-layer carrier like that, but all the reviews I’ve read say the bottom layer is too deep and it messes up the frosting when taking them out. Did you find that to be the case? If not, do you mind sharing what brand it is!

  11. Bethany says:

    I bet you could cut the marshmallow in half. It would still be round just kind of short and squat. Could be the perfect size.

  12. Mary says:

    I LOVE cake poppers (aka cake balls). Have you tried making brownie balls? It’s the same technique as the cake balls except use1/2 a jar of frosting per box of brownie mix. Everyone loves my balls (hehe!) but when they had the brownie balls, people went crazy! I either leave them plain (no toppings) or top with nuts, coconut, or sprinkles. I also like to mix up the cake poppers with different flavors (lemon cake, cream cheese icing, and vanilla bark is one of my favs). The possibilities are endless with these! As is the subsequent weight gain… Oh and the candy bark from Hobby Lobby works great when thinned with teaspoon or 2 of vegetable oil.
    And great idea about the s’more poppers! I have a bag of unused marshmallows left over from our last camping trip. Now they won’t go to waste!

  13. Heather says:

    Look at you go! I’m really going to have to try some cake pops or poppers one of these days. And nice work with the alternatives too!

  14. Cara says:

    This post just made it in to my recipes bookmark folder, right beside those of PW, Simple Recipes and all the other food bloggers who make me drool. And cook more interesting foods. I thought you’d want to know.

  15. Melizzard says:

    Stop please! You’re setting the bar too high.

  16. Kate says:

    Everything looks gorgeous! I was thinking the same as Bethany above- you could try cutting the marshmallows in half with a pair of scissors. Dipping the cut end in the chocolate would negate any inner marshmallow stickiness, and I bet they’d be the perfect size!

  17. Sweet T says:

    I use the candy melts from Hobby Lobby, too. I thin it out with a tablespoon of shortening then hold it over a bowl with forks underneath, so everything drips through. Cake balls look so much smoother now.

    The smores on a stick ARE a genius idea! I made them for 4th of July last year (toddlers and bonfires do not mix well) and the kids loved them! =)

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