Popping in!

Before she got really sick, my Grandmother was one of my big supporters in my cupcake business. She would always find little gadgets for the kitchen and ask me, “Don’t you need this?” or “Won’t this help you?” Sometimes the answer was “Yes that is genius!!” and sometimes I stared at a picture in a catalogue like Ariel staring at a fork wondering what the hell the dinglehopper did. One thing she asked me about was a BabyCakes Cake Pop Maker. At the time I said no thanks because a: I thought it was too expensive and b: I made my cake pops by hand. It was very labor intensive but they were REALLY good. I mixed the frosting and the cake together before dipping it. But it involves freezing, food processors making frosting, baking a cake, hand shaping, dipping and time, tons and tons of time. After a few orders I was looking around my local big box store and I saw that they had the BabyCakes Cake Pop Maker on sale, so I figured I would give it a shot. Darnit, Gram was right! That thing is SO easy!

You start out making your batter. Then you fill the bottle that comes with the maker. After which you squirt batter into the “dents” on the bottom of the maker. I found it works best if you almost fill the bottom of the “dents”. Close the maker, flip it over, leave for 4 min (don’t try to open it, you WILL make a mess, trust me on that one),  after 3-4 min flip back and use the fork tool (included) to remove your pops onto the white cooling trays (also included).

While I was looking for photos to include here, I saw that there was many different styles. I got the pink waffle iron style that flips over. It is REALLY awesome and I truly wish I had gotten it earlier. This is a photo of mine. The only thing I am not a HUGE fan of is the bottle. While it works, I wish there was a way to “burp” it better so that the thick batter would come out easier.

 

I don’t think it needs to be said, but just incase, all opinions are my own. I was not sponsored by or asked by anyone to write this post. Heck they don’t even know I am doing it!!

So while I probably won’t admit to her that she was right, I don’t even know if she would remember suggesting it at this point, I will take Gram some baked treats. One of her favorite things is Pumpkin donut holes from Dunkin Donuts. So last night I made some with the maker and I will bring them over to her since they are out of season at Dunkin. It doesn’t just have to be used for CakePops. I also plan to use it for Thanksgiving to make some Waffle Bites, for the kids to munch on while watching the parade.

 

So Happy Thursday, I am off to shovel the first snow of the season off my doorstep!!! Keep Warm everyone!

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Chocolate Cupcakes

Today I made some chocolate cupcakes. Wait strike that. Almost every day I make some chocolate cupcakes. It took me many tries to find a recipe that I liked. It never happened. What I ended up doing is taking the bits and pieces of all the recipes I liked and making one that I LOVED. Some of you may like it, some not. My customer love it.

I haven’t posted in a while. Things have been up and down. Busy, Back to school colds, all valid excuses. But just that excuses. So as my penance, I am tackling a big fear. Posting a personal cupcake recipe. Why is this a big deal you ask? Many reasons. Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe someone will think I’m an idiot, or my biggest fear- If they can make it themselves, why will buy them from me? I can only hope that I charm them and dazzle them and they are as pressed for time as I am. So here goes…. Chocolate Sin Cupcakes by VCVC.

2 1/2 Cups of Flour

1 1/2 stick of butter WITH salt (room temp. softened but you should not see your finger print in it when you pick it up, that is TOO soft.)

3/4 Cup of Brown sugar well packed

3/4 Cup granulated white sugar

2 Tbs. Valrhona (or any decent dutch process coco powder… yes it makes a difference)

1/2 tsp espresso powder

1 1/2 tsp Baking POWDER (don’t use baking soda it is NOT the same)

2 eggs (room temp)

1 1/4 cup of whole milk (room temp)

pinch of salt

Splash of vanilla

 

First get your ingredients organized… in a small bowl put your brown and white sugar. Turn your Oven to 350F

Flour.. now don’t go a willy nilly with the flour. I keep mine in big bins. Most people don’t. If you keep it in the bag or a deep container that is your best bet. Take a whisk and stick it in there… stir that flour up…loosen it. (I learned this at King Arthur School of Cooking in VT). Then Dip your 1Cup measuring cup that looks like this… a DRY measure

Then level it off with an icing spatula. That is the proper way to treat your flour. It will make a difference. You end up with too much flour if you don’t fluff it first and your cupcakes will come out dense.

So… back to the recipe– In the Large bowl you are going to put your Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Cocoa Powder, Espresso Powder and salt.  Stir lightly with the whisk and set aside.

Now… pop your butter into the stand mixer… add beater blade and turn on to medium speed. Let it go for 90 sec or until light and fluffy. NO LUMPS.

Then add your mix of white and brown sugar… Turn mixer back onto medium until that is nice and smooth. This will take 2-3 min. You really can’t over do this part. You can’t over mix until you add the flour.  So the smoother you can get this, the better.

Add a splash of vanilla (the better the brand the better the taste. I use Prova or Neilsen Massey. But anything will do in a pinch. Turn that mixer back on until it is nice and combined and smooth. Smell it… I love that smell.

Add 1/2 of your flour mixture and 1/2 of your milk and turn the mixer on slowly. If you turn it on fast you will end up with a mess… it is fun, but generally someone has to clean it up and that always ends up being me. Im  not cleaning up after you, just saying. When that has gone for about 30 sec and is just combined, add the other 1/2 of the flour and milk and mix completely. (about 90 sec) Make sure you scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl for rogue butter and flour.

The batter will seem thin, that is ok. Grab an ice cream scoop and the pans with cupcake liners that I know you have prepared (We are making cupcakes after all). Fill your cupcake cups about 2/3 full. I use Sutton Gourmet paper liners because I love the designs and they never bleed thru. But anything will do really. I am just OCD like that. I hate having beautiful paper that no one can see because the grease has seeped thru.

So after your tin is all set stick it in your oven for about 17 min (give or take a min depending on your oven) at 350 and enjoy!

And there you have it… My Chocolate Sin Cupcake recipe… I would love to know what you all think!