Ah! It’s been far too long. I’m sorry! The sad thing is, I’ve been baking up a storm but just have had no time to post anything! A week after ACK, I made special cake pops for a friend’s bridal shower – the pops for ACK were my test run, and they passed! Her shower was outside at the Hawthorne House in Salem, MA. Her colors are gorgeous and summery: coral and peach, with gold tones. I couldn’t wait to put these together.
I decided to stick with the same vanilla cake and frosting recipes. I added a little pink and yellow food coloring to the cake and frosting to turn them a peach-y color, but once baked the color of the cake wasn’t really visible, oh well! Once again, I got 60 balls out of this recipe, but I only needed 35 for the shower, so I put 20 in a bag in the freezer (for later, yum!) and kept 40 so that I had some room for error.
I made cake pops covered in white, coral, and peach and (once cooled completely) sat them in cute mini gold cupcake cups. The white, obviously, was super simple. I had more trouble with the peach color. I started with orange Candy Melts and added yellow and pink until I pretty much ran out (Wilton has a peachy color, but it’s water-based so it does not work with candy melts, which require oil-based colors). I dipped two pops and still didn’t like the peach. After adding a lot more yellow, I think I finally achieved a good peach! The coral was easier. I just started with orange candy melts and added pink (and a little red). It was definitely a darker coral, but it worked really well!
As decoration, I did a variety of white pearls, peach pearls, gold dust (edible, obviously), white nonpareils, and white or peach “stripes” with the leftover melted candy. They were displayed on a simple white cake plate next to a gorgeous cake, which they complemented perfectly. I’m told they went super fast and were a huge hit. I’m so happy that I was able to contribute something special to my friend’s beautiful day.
Next up was the 4th of July. For the last few years, we’ve spent the 4th of July at my husband’s family camp in upstate NY (not “upstate” like Syracuse, but upppppstate, like Lake Placid). It is so much fun because his whole extended family makes the trip for the weekend. There’s a lot of food, drinks, and laughing. This particular year, two of my husband’s cousins graduated college, so one of his aunts asked me to make a cake for the occasion. This is a crowd that loves to eat, so I didn’t want to make a regular ol’ vanilla or chocolate cake. Instead, I decided on a rich chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, filled with chopped Reese’s cups.
I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe, courtesy of Barefoot Contessa and the unbelievable peanut butter frosting found here, from Smitten Kitchen. I quadrupled the cake recipe to make a 2-layer 10″ square cake and made 1 1/2 times the frosting recipe. I have to say, the cake totally came apart when I tried to remove it from the pan. I don’t know what made it so difficult (I didn’t use parchment paper). I was ever the calm baker, however, pieced it back together, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap, and put both layers in the freezer while the frosting (that I had made ahead of time) came to room temperature. Freezing the layers also helps if you need to even out the sides or tops – much easier to cut a cold cake (with a serrated knife).
Once the frosting was manageable, I put one layer face down on a sheet of cardboard, plopped 3 big spoonfuls of frosting on top and spread it around in a thick layer using wavy motions. Once it was nice and thick and just barely spilled over the edge, I chopped up Reese’s cups and spread them over the frosting. I then put the other cake layer on top, upside down (so the perfectly pointed corners of the bottom were on the top). Next step is the crumb coat. This should be a thin layer of frosting that you spread on to basically collect any loose crumbs that might be hanging on. Start on the top and work your way over the sides, and all around. Once you’re done, pop the whole cake in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the frosting to set. After the 15 minutes, spread the remaining frosting on so it’s nice and thick. You can either smooth the sides, as I did, or leave it fluffy and “messy.” My grand plan was to pipe some designs on it, but I ran out of frosting, oh well! I just used bits of the Reese’s cups and the bites (which are adorable, and also delicious). Make sure to leave it out for at least an hour before you serve it. You don’t want the cake to be hard!
It was a huge hit, and I’m so happy for my cousins-in-law! The whole weekend was so much fun. My family even made the trip, including my sister’s boyfriend and brother’s girlfriend. We played lots of games, ate a lot of food, and had a lot of fun just hanging out in the sun. I hope you had a great time over your holiday weekend, too! What did you do, and bake?!