Cake It Easy No-Bake Cake Pop Kit Review

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IMG_3600I received this cake pop kit for review from Cake It Easy last week and couldn’t wait to try it once I had enough time to really review it properly. The kit is very easy to use and would be a great activity for kids to do on their own since it doesn’t require a hot oven.

IMG_3608The kit includes the following supplies:

  • No Bake Cake Pops Mix in Chocolate
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • 10 cake pop sticks
  • 10 paper cupcake liners
  • A paper mat to work on

The only thing you need to complete the kit is some water and oil. The box also has a couple variation suggestions if you don’t want to use water. It says the water can be substituted with cream cheese, melted butter, frosting, etc., but I don’t know if it’s an exact amount substitution or if you have to use different amounts of those other ingredients. Also, if you use the melted butter instead of water, do you still use the oil? That wasn’t clear. Although I like that they include other options for making the cake pops, I find this substitution section a little vague and ambiguous. The rest of the instructions are easy to follow though.

IMG_3609I like that they include a paper workspace sheet so that you don’t get your table or countertop messy. A sheet of wax paper or parchment paper would also suffice if you need more space to work than just the sheet that is included.

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I used the included sheet to lay out the cake balls as I made them and got a sheet of wax paper out for the decorating. This kit is so easy to use, even my 93 year old grandma was decorating like a champ!

IMG_3612Once you’re done decorating the cake balls you can put them in the included paper cups and add the sticks if you want to make them into pops. The instructions say to put the sticks into the balls and then chill them, but I found that without some kind of “glue” like candy melts, the sticks didn’t really stay attached to the cake balls even after chilling them for a while.

I used the rainbow sprinkles that came with the kit, as well as some of my own cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and some other candy sprinkles to decorate these with.

IMG_3616If I were to make these again, I think I’d try the cream cheese substitution because the water and oil cake balls were not as rich as I was hoping they’d be. They didn’t taste bad but were just too plain.

It took no more than 30 minutes to make these and were super easy put together. Despite a few of the drawbacks like the sticks not staying in the cake balls, I’d definitely recommend this cake pop kit, especially if you have kids. I had a lot of fun making these with my grandma. I just wish it made more pops! These cake pops went quickly.

The kit retails for $19.95 USD and ships for free! You can buy these kits directly from their website or on Amazon.

Connect with Cake It Easy on the web!

Cake It Easy’s website

Cake It Easy on Facebook

Cake It Easy on Twitter

 

***DISCLAIMER: I received this kit in exchange for my honest review of the product. I was not compensated monetarily.***
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Retro Cookbooks

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IMG_3592I love retro cookbooks! I found these two books in a kickass thrift store called Class ‘n’ Trash in Salinas, CA for only $1 each. Some of the recipes in them are a bit funky, but I love the photos and trying some of the odd meals. These are circa 1963 and came in quite handy for my ’60s cocktail party I told you about a few days ago.

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For the cocktail party, my boyfriend made a Western Chili Casserole from the Better Homes and Gardens Lunches and Brunches book, and I got the idea for my Pineapple Upside Down Cake from the Better Homes and Gardens So-Good Meals one. I ended up using my grandma’s recipe because it sounded better than the cake mix-based recipe in the So-Good Meals book, but the idea is the same.

Just look at this spread!

IMG_3595One thing I realized was that jello was THE THING in the 1960s. Everything had jello in it from desserts like the Bing Cherry Mold (pictured below) to more savory dishes like the Tune Ring pictured in the center of the image above (yuck!).

IMG_3596Don’t forget to get the kids involved in the kitchen!

IMG_3597This also must have been when the whole eating healthy movement started, because one of the books even has a low-calorie cooking section.

IMG_3598Even if I didn’t use these books for cooking, I’d still love them because they are perfect little snapshots of times past.

Do you love vintage cookbooks as much as I do? Where do you find them? Have you inherited any from family?

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Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad {Recipe}

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IMG_3566Skeetie Salad is a fruit salad that’s been in my family for years. My family renamed it Skeetie Salad after my uncle Scott, because as a child he loved to make and eat it so much. (Skeetie was his childhood nickname).

I made this recently for a ’60s themed cocktail party, along with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It is not hard to make and only uses a few ingredients (although others could be added)

Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. canned pineapple tidbits (I used one 20 oz and one 8 oz can)
  • handful of maraschino cherries
  • 2 - 11 oz. cans of mandarin oranges
  • 6 bananas
  • half of a 10.5 oz. bag of mini marshmallows (about 2-3 cups)
  • Approx. 1/3 cup mayonnaise (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Strain the pineapple and mandarin orange juice into a bowl. Drain as much liquid off of the fruit as you can and put into a large separate bowl.
  2. Dump mini marshmallows into the juice and allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. In the bowl with the pineapple and oranges, add cherries and sliced bananas.
  4. After marshmallows have soaked up some of the juices, strain the juice and discard, and put the marshmallows in with the fruit.
  5. Add the mayonnaise and mix it all together.

Notes

This salad often tastes even better the next day, although slightly mushier. The mayo measurement is approximate because we never really measured it before.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/skeetie-salad-a-k-a-fruit-salad/

 

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake {Recipe}

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I went to a ’60s themed cocktail party last week and wanted to bring something of the era as a treat, so I scoured my mom’s recipe box and found my grandma’s recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that seemed perfect. I love how it turned out.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • Large can of sliced pineapple (save the juice)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • For the cake:
  • 2 eggs (separate the yolk from the whites and put both aside)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose flour and it worked just fine)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until completely mixed together and caramelized. Don't let it burn.
  3. Pour into an 8" cake pan, making sure to coat the whole bottom.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices in the bottom of the cake pan on top of the caramel mixture. I put one in the middle and six around it.
  5. Place halved cherries inside and in between the pineapple slices.
  6. Beat egg yolks until very thick.
  7. Gradually add sugar to yolks and continue beating.
  8. Boil pineapple juice in a small sauce pan and add to egg/sugar mixture. Combine well.
  9. Then add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mixture; mix until smooth.
  10. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes, checking it every so often.***
  12. It should be done once a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean.

Notes

***Notes on baking time

The recipe I used somehow forgot to put how long to cook the cake on it. At 325*F, mine took 50-55 minutes to completely cook. Since it was taking so long, I ended up changing the temperature to 350*F for the last few minutes. My experience may be different from yours, so check on the cake occasionally to make sure you don't over bake it.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe/

Here’s some other great photos from the cocktail party:

 

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Hamburger Cupcakes with Pound Cake Fries

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IMG_3521Happy Independence Day everyone! Instead of a red, white, and blue dessert today, I decided to make burger cupcakes and cake fries because they are perfect for a summer BBQ.

I was inspired by several sources including Bakerella’s adorable Hamburger cupcakes and the pound cake french fries from the book What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I also used some of the book’s ideas from its submarine sandwich cupcakes. There are so many great ways to decorate hamburger cupcakes that the possibilities are almost endless.

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To get started here’s what you’re going to need for the cupcakes:

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  • Brownie mix or brownies from scratch (baked in a 13″ x 9″ pan)
  • Yellow cake mix or cake from scratch
  • Ingredients for mixes (oil, water, eggs, etc)*
  • Corn Flakes
  • Can of frosting or frosting from scratch
  • Red and yellow icing dye (gel coloring works best)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green candy melts (maybe some yellow candy melts if you don’t like the shade of green)
  • Starbursts (we’ll need the orange ones)

*Note: I used Bakerella’s suggestion of substituting 1 cup buttermilk for the water in the cake mix. It made the cake very moist and almost sponge like. I’d recommend this substitution.

Bake the brownies first and let them cool. Once cool, use a 2″ circle cutter and cut out the patties.

While the brownies cool, make and bake the cupcakes in liners. If you cook them without liners the sides of the cupcakes will look too dark for the “buns.”

As the cupcakes are cooking as per the recipe or box mix’s instructions, start to make the ingredients for the burgers. Warm the orange Starbursts in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds and then, on a piece of wax paper,  smash two together and roll it out.

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Then cut it into a square:

IMG_3483Now you have your cheese slices!

For the lettuce, melt some green candy melts (adding some yellow candy melts if you want to soften the shade of green) and pour some corn flakes into the melted candy. If the candy isn’t thin enough, try thinning it with some oil. Stir the cereal around lightly, coating the them, and then pull out the individual pieces to set up. It’s good to put these on a piece of wax paper and then stick them in the fridge.

IMG_3484Once the cupcakes are done baking and cooling, cut the top and the bottoms off and set aside. The middle part will not be used for these. Save them for another dessert (mix any left over frosting into them for cake pops!) or throw them away.

IMG_3479Mix up your yellow (mustard) and red (ketchup) frostings and put them in piping bags or ziplock bags with the corner cut off.

IMG_3486Layer the hamburgers however you want. I layered in this order (from bottom-up): bun bottom, frosting, lettuce, frosting, brownie patty, frosting, cheese, frosting, bun top.

On the top of the bun brush a little water on top and then sprinkle some sesame seeds.

For the poundcake fries, I used a frozen Sara Lee poundcake. Not sure if this would work as well with a homemade loaf but you could try. Pull the cake out of the freezer and let defrost for a little bit. It’s best if it’s still a little cold or frozen when you cut it because the ridges from the crinkle cutter will be more pronounced.

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Using a crinkle cutter or knife (used to cut vegetables and potatoes), cut the cake into 1/2″ slices and cut off the brown edges. Then cut those slices into the fry sticks. Place them on a baking sheet and heat them in a preheated broiler on high for no longer than 30 seconds or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on these as they will brown quickly and burn easily.

Put some left over frosting ketchup in a dish or condiment container and serve with the cake fries for dipping!

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That’s it! These are fairly labor intensive but so easy to put together. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

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