Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Firecracker Cake Pops + Flag Cakes

With the Fourth quickly approaching and the World Cup spirit, yesterday seemed like the perfect day to start baking some patriotic treats. Today, I’m sharing my step-by-step instructions for these easy-to-make sweets that your entire family can enjoy!
I’ll start things off with my firecracker cake pops – they look adorable on your dessert table and are a fabulous idea for kids (they’re easily portable and virtually mess-free)!
FIRECRACKER CAKE POPS
What you’ll need:
  • Boxed Cake mix (whichever you prefer!) – also whatever ingredients the mix calls for: eggs, oil, water and sticks of butter, usually.
  • Lollipop sticks – whatever length you think best for your pops!
  • Candy Melts – these can be found at most places (I bought mine from Michael’s in their baking section for a great price!), there are different colors and flavors that you can choose from depending on your occasion or theme.
  • Assorted sprinkles or topping decorations of your choice
  • Cake Pop baking pan – these can be found at Target, Williams and Sonoma or other baking supply stores! This pan was perfect for making the cake into exact mini pop size without the hassle.
  • *Recommended* Cake pop stand, styrofoam piece or can to stick pops upright while drying!
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by preparing your cake mix in a mixing bowl and grease your cake pop pan.
  2. Fill one half of the cake pop pan inserts (the half that doesn’t have the small air holes!) – it will rise into the other part of the pan as it bakes.
  3. Make sure to check your cake pops about every five minutes by inserting a toothpick in the small air hole slot. Depending on your oven, the pops could be done very quickly!
  4. After they’re out of the oven, allow them to cool for a few minutes on a plate. You can continue making more batches of cake pops as you pull one batch out – one box of cake mix allowed me to make about 40-50 pops.
  5. Once they’ve cooled, melt a few of your candy melts in the microwave (I recommend a glass bowl if possible) for 1-1.5 minutes. Afterwards, dip the end of your lollipop sticks into the melts before inserting them into the cake pops – the candy melt helps to hold the sticks in place later on when dipping and decorating.
  6. After they’re dry, melt more of your candy melts, chocolate or whatever coating you wish to use to dip your cake pops in! When using the candy melts, I was afraid of the cake breaking. So, I used a small knife to spread the melt onto the cake pop – this was actually ideal because I could control how much of the melt was used and how much of the pop was covered.
  7. While the coating is still wet, add some sprinkles, edible pearls or drizzle on your favorite topping! Stick the pops upright so they can dry and then enjoy! :)
PATRIOTIC CUPCAKES/FRUIT FLAG CAKE
Whether you’re in the mood for a cake or cupcakes, you can apply this recipe!
What you’ll need:
  • Cake mix of your choosing – I like to use boxed cake mixes to make things easier and when I’m on a budget!
  • 3 packages of strawberries
  • 1 package of blueberries
  • Cream cheese, buttercream or vanilla frosting (as long as it’s white!)
  • *if making cupcakes* Baking cups – a lot of places are selling ones that are flag or Fourth of July designs!
What to do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake mix as instructed and grease your glass or baking pan.
  2. Fill the pan with your cake batter and place in the oven to bake.
  3. Once done, allow the cake time to cool before frosting the top with your white frosting (make sure the cake is cool so the frosting doesn’t melt!).
  4. Rinse blueberries and strawberries. Slice strawberries into halves.
  5. After you’ve iced the cake, place blueberries to cover the upper-left corner of the cake (like the star area on our flag!). Place strawberries into rows around the blueberries (like the stripes!) – allow a little bit of space between the rows if possible.
  6. For cupcakes, slice or dice the strawberries to create smaller pieces for the tops of your cupcakes.
  7. Make sure to refrigerate your cake until it’s time to eat – the summer heat can melt that icing and cause the fruits to discolor the top of cake! Enjoy!! :)

The Fourth of July is such a fun holiday – time with family and friends, fireworks and fabulous flag-inspired treats! Have any other great dessert recipes for The Fourth? Put them in the comments below! And let me know how your baking adventures turn out if you try one of these treats! 
xx, B
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