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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/28/13

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

TIPS FOR MAKING BETTER CAKE POPS!!

8 TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT CAKE POP

As many of you know I get asked to make cake pops for various events. After having some major pop catastrophes and trying to make the best of the rolled cake pop method, I knew there just had to be a better way.
I had originally thought if hand-rolled pops were good enough for Starbucksthen they must be easy enough to make. Wrong. Though I did find ways to make it slightly more successful, my cake pop grave yard was growing with sad little cake babies that had bitten the dust and slid off sticks into the candy, while drying, after being decorated… you name a point in the process and I had pops sliding off sticks. Plus, some people didn’t care for the extreme sweetness that came from the additional frosting. The rolled method really has the texture of cake batter rather than actual cake. The softness was part of the problem. I knew I needed something more firm to hold up on the stick. So when I was asked to do the cake pops for my sweet friend Kelly’s baby shower, I knew I needed to find a solution.
Enter the Cake Pop Pan… I had seen these before but I wasn’t sure about them. I kinda thought it was a gimmick. It was not a gimmick… it was a GODSEND! These cake pop pans have saved my life. Seriously. No more rolling, scooping, measuring, freezing, shaping, rolling more, and ruining cake pops! Each pop comes out perfectly round. I picked these bad boys up from Target for $16 each. You can also buy them online.
Here’s how to make fool proof cake pops!
TIP 1: GREASE AND FLOUR THE PAN.
Definitely grease and flour the cake pop pan before you pour the batter. This will help the cake balls pop out easily. You want perfect little cake balls, not ones that are all mangled from you trying to pry them out with a knife. Do not skip this step, trust me!
TIP 2: CONSIDER YOUR BATTER
Use a batter color that contrasts with your candy coating. This gives a really nice effect when your guests bite into the pops. I used red velvet batter to match the hot pink candy coating. Also, the recipe I used called for 1/3 cup oil and 2 eggs. I adjusted it by only adding 1/4 cup oil and 3 eggs. This made a more firm cake ball that held up better on the sticks. One cake mix made 60 pops exactly.
TIP 3: FULL CUPS MAKE FULL POPS
Fill the bottom cups completely full. I know with cupcakes and such you might be used to filling the pan only 2/3 of the way full but that is not the case with these pops. You want the pops to rise and fill the top half completely so you end up with a nice round ball. If you fill them too shallow you will end up with lop-sided pops. Bake the pops for about 15-18 minutes.
TIP 4: LET THEM COOL
After you have baked the pops, let the cool COMPLETELY before attempting to remove them from the pan. Don’t even take the top pan off. Just leave them as they are and let them cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This will save you from having them split in half when you try to open the pan.
Once the pops have cooled, gently remove them from the pan and place them all in a bowl or on a plate. You will notice that they have a slight edge to them.
TIP 5: SHAPE THE POPS
You’ll want to gently cut off the edges using a serrated knife so the balls are perfectly round. Don’t cut too deep, just slide your knife gently around the circumference of each ball, shaving off the excess cake.
Now that the cake balls are prepared, its time to decorate!
TIP 6: USE SHORTENING
Add PLENTY of shortening to your melted candy. I added about 6-7 teaspoons for one package of candy. If you add more candy, add more shortening. You want a nice thin candy coating. If the coating is too thick it will be heavy and the pops are more likely to slide off the sticks. Also ensure that your candy stays hot and melted. If it begins to thicken it will cause problems. If you are using a double boiler like I am (two pyrex measuring cups) be sure to keep freshly boiled water on hand and refresh the water about every five minutes. Another option is to invest in a candy melter available at Bed Bath & Beyond or Michael’s.
TIP 7: PREPARE THE STICKS
Poke holes in the pops using the stick, then drop a little candy into the hole. Dip the stick into the candy and then back into the hole you created. This will give you double glue. It really helps! Let the candy and sticks cool and harden before moving on. I like to use a styrofoam piece to hold them.
TIP 8: GET IN AND GET OUT
And now for the moment of truth. Dipping the pops. If you have done all the previous steps correctly you should be able to dip the pops successfully without having them slide into the candy. I was so nervous trying it this way, but it really worked! Out of 60 pops I only had 2 fall into the candy, and that was because I had allowed the candy to cool and thicken.
You can do this! Don’t swirl around. Just get in a get out. Make sure that you have enough candy to completely submerge the pops without hitting the bottom. You may need to add more candy after dipping several pops. I promise it will work if you follow these tips. Look at this picture. That is a real cake pop dipped all the way into the candy! Gently tap the pop on the edge of the bowl until no more big blops of candy come off. Spin and tap. Don’t do this for too long, or too hard. If you knock off too much candy you will have spots where the cake shows through. Just a few taps should work.


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WORLD SAUNA CHAMPIONSHIPS FROM HEINOLA, FINLAND!




   The World Sauna Championships were an annual endurance contest held in HeinolaFinland, from 1999 to 2010. They originated from unofficial sauna-sitting competitions that resulted in a ban from a swimming hall in Heinola. The Championships were first held in 1999 and grew to feature contestants from over 20 countries. Sauna bathing at extreme conditions is a severe health risk: all competitors competed at their own risk, and had to sign a form agreeing not to take legal action against the organizers. Notably, the Finnish Sauna Society strongly opposed the event.
After the death of one finalist and near-death of another during the 2010 championship, the organizers announced that they would not hold another.  This followed an announcement by prosecutors in March that the organizing committee would not be charged for negligence, as their investigation revealed that the contestant who died may have used painkillers and ointments that were forbidden by the organizers.





   The championships began with preliminary rounds and ended in the finals, where the best six men and women would see who could sit in the sauna the longest. The starting temperature in the men's competition was 110 °C (230 °F). Half a liter of water was poured on the stove every 30 seconds. The winner was the last person to stay in the sauna and walk out without outside help. The host country usually dominated the event, as only one foreign competitor ever made it into the finals in the men's competition. The first non-Finnish winner in the women's competition was Natallia Tryfanava from Belarus in 2003.





Rules

  • The starting temperature is 110 degrees Celsius. Half a liter of water will be poured on the stove every 30 seconds.
  • Use of alcohol is prohibited prior to and during the competition.
  • Competitors must wash themselves beforehand, and remove any creams and lotions.
  • Competitor must sit erect, their buttocks and thighs on the bench.
  • Ordinary swimsuits must be used. Pant legs in men's swimsuits may be up to 20 centimeters long, and women's shoulder straps may be up to 5 centimeters wide.
  • Hair that reaches the shoulders must be tied into a ponytail.
  • Touching the skin and brushing is prohibited.
  • Competitors must not disturb each other.





  • At the request of the judges, competitors must show that they are in their senses with a thumbs up.
  • Competitors must be able to leave the sauna unaided to qualify.
  • A breach of the rules results in a warning. Another one results in disqualification.
  • The last person leaving the sauna unaided is the winner.

 TV Broadcasting and Other Media

   In 2004, Nippon Television filmed a documentary about the World Sauna Championships. The program had an audience of about 40 million in Japan. The network did a similar documentary again in 2007, when they filmed a whole week in Heinola and in Lahti. This time Kazumi Morohoshi (former singer in a popular boy band Hikaru Genji) was with them and also took part in the competition. He ended in the first round, with a time 5:41. Also in 2007, American sportswriter Rick Reilly (who described it as "quite possibly the world's dumbest sport") was also in Heinola. His time in the first round was 3:10 and was eliminated from the second round.






 2010 accident

   On 7 August 2010, Russian finalist and former third-place finisher Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finnish five-time champion Timo Kaukonen passed out after six minutes in the sauna, both suffering from terrible burns and trauma. According to a spectator who asked not to be identified, Kaukonen was able to leave the sauna with assistance, but Ladyzhensky had to be dragged out, and almost immediately went into cramps and convulsions.   They were both rushed to the hospital but Ladyzhensky died en route. Kaukonen was reported to suffer from extreme burn injuries, and his condition was described as critical, but stable.   Just a few minutes before the finals, Kaukonen told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang that the saunas used for the 2010 championship were a lot more extreme than the saunas used for previous competitions.   
   As Kaukonen and Ladyzhensky were disqualified for not leaving the sauna unaided, Ilkka Pöyhiä became the winner.






   The organizer, Ossi Arvela, said that there will probably never be another sauna competition. Two days later the City of Heinola noted that there are no official decisions about the future of the event, and the decisions will be made after the incident has been examined.  Arvela later reported that Finnish police had decided not to file charges in connection with the tragedy, but were continuing to investigate.  Kaukonen woke up from a coma two months after the event. His respiratory system was scorched, 70% of his skin was burnt and eventually his kidneys failed as well. In late October, Kaukonen was reported to be recovering quickly. He did not blame the organizers for his injuries.





   Ladyzhensky's autopsy concluded that he had died of third-degree burns. His death was aided by his use of strong painkillers and local anesthetic grease on his skin. Kaukonen was competing according to the rules.
   On April 20, 2011, the City of Heinola announced that they would no longer organize the event, noting that " If the city was to organize the World Sauna Championships in the future, the original playful and joyous characteristics of the event should be reintroduced. No ways to achieve this have been found."

Champions

YearMenWomen
1999Finland Ahti MerivirtaFinland Katri Kämäräinen
2000Finland Leo PusaFinland Katri Kämäräinen
2001Finland Leo PusaFinland Annikki Peltonen
2002Finland Leo PusaFinland Annikki Peltonen
2003Finland Timo KaukonenBelarus Natallia Tryfanava
2004Finland Leo PusaBelarus Natallia Tryfanava
2005Finland Timo KaukonenBelarus Natallia Tryfanava
2006Finland Timo KaukonenFinland Leila Kulin
2007Finland Timo KaukonenFinland Leila Kulin
2008Finland Bjarne HermanssonFinland Leila Kulin
2009Finland Timo KaukonenRussia Tatyana Arkhipenko
2010Finland Ilkka Pöyhiä[14]Germany Michaela Butz

CHOCOLATE MOLTEN INDIVIDUAL CAKES!!

Chocolate Molten Cakes
makes 6 medium cakes or 12 small individual cakes


2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of cocoa
......

3/4 cup of butter
12 ounce of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream 
5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of flour

Prepare cupcake pans by coating the inside of each with melted butter by swirling it around.  Then sprinkle the insides with cocoa, coating completely. 

To make the batter, place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, then top it with butter and cream.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth.  When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour.  Pour into prepared cupcake pans.  Refrigerate for 1 hour (at least) and up to a couple of days.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes for regular 12/pan size and 15-18 for jumbo 6/pan size, just until the outsides and most of the top have set, and the centers are still slightly runny.  You can insert the tip of a knife to test.   You just want a bit of the very center to be a thick pudding like texture.   Let them cool for 5 minutes, then place a sheet pan on top of the muffin pan and invert them.  

Serve with whipped cream, ice cream and dusted with chocolate or cinnamon.

 

Melting chocolate with the butter and cream this way is so easy - microwave! 


The pans buttered and cocoa-ed while the chocolate is in the microwave.


Perfectly melted. 




You can fill them almost all the way to the top - they don't puff too much. 


Cooling for 5 minutes to help them continue to set. 


Top with a sheet pan...


Ready for the flip... 


Mid-Flip 






So, so good.  You really must try them. 


10 seconds later...