Balls to the wall baking
Easter weekend was a huge baking ordeal this year. Not only did I plan on bringing some desserts to the T house per usual, but my little cousin’s 4th birthday party was also the day before Easter. My aunt just got a new job in Philly, so she and my uncle now had tons of space to host the little guy’s party, plus, I hadn’t seen him in a while and he requested “chocolate and vanilla” so I had to HAD TO make something for his birthday. In addition to these 2 major events, I agreed to donate a bunch of baked goods to this awesome charity I worked with last year. They were hosting an event a couple days after Easter, so I figured I might as well make some extra mini cupcakes and bring them to the charity event. I mean, Easter + WWJD but pull off a miracle and make tons of baked goods appear, right? =)
I planned out my post-work calendar the week before Easter weekend. It went a little something like this:
Monday: berries & cream frosting; (orange & cream) Creamsicle® frosting; vanilla frosting
Tuesday: Mix and roll out cake balls
Wednesday: Dip and decorate cake balls for the birthday party
Thursday: Bake & frost chocolate cupcakes
Friday: Dip and decorate cake balls for Easter
Saturday: Bake lemon cupcakes and Creamsicle® cupcakes; frost
I think I only got 3 hours of sleep on 4 of the 6 nights. I’m a little slow and perfectionistic when it comes to this, and I didn’t have anything prepped so it just took FOREVER. And once I get in the groove and I’m plugged into Pandora on my phone (after dropping my phone countless times during baking sessions, I finally got a Velcro sleeve that will hold the phone so I can listen to music and bake at the same time), the minutes just fly by and before you know it, it’s almost 3 am.
So the first night, I made at least 6 pints of vanilla frosting, then divvied the buttercream to make berries & cream frosting and a frosting concoction that tastes basically like a Creamsicle®.
I used the last of my precious mashed up chocolate cake reserves from the freezer to roll out some chocolate cake balls with berry frosting for my little cousin. I had some fun rainbow sprinkles, so I started meticulously and speedily placing each sprinkle on the dipped cake ball. I did about 4 of those, and then just decided to throw the sprinkles on each ball. I love the little kid but let’s be real here, he’s still going to love it because it’s sprinkles + sugar + chocolate. haha
I had leftover cake layers from the ombre cake in the freezer, so I popped them in the food processor to grind up for cake balls. I forgot how awesomely delicious and moist these were, so the texture was a little too soft for my liking for cake powder. I didn’t need much frosting to hold the balls together. On a whim, I decided to make each ball be half pink cake and half red cake, kind of yin-yangish, and it was an interesting effect upon biting the ball in half (that is, if it wasn’t entirely popped into one’s mouth). I dipped some of them in blue chocolate and the rest in pink raspberry cream candy coating. I thought it would fit with the berries and cream frosting for the cupcakes. I drizzled some white chocolate zig zags on them; that one simple step just makes it look so elegant and classy. Haha
I stayed up late to bake little mini chocolate cupcakes for my cool little cousin. I totally went overboard. Only 15 people or so came to the party, and there were tooo many cupcakes. I brought about 50 of them, AND the cake balls. But my aunt and uncle said they’d bring some extras to my cousin’s school for his birthday; how’s THAT for a first impression at a new school?
When I got back from Philly I baked a massive amount of mini lemon-vanilla cupcakes. I got these pretty tulip wrappers from Michael’s b/c they were on sale, and coincidentally my frosting colors matched (hey man, I just realized that when I was baking @ 2 am). I lost track of how many I made after I counted 216. I had planned on making about 80 extra for the charity event and bringing about 45 to Easter, but ummm… yeah. Kinda overshot that. I ended up bringing about 120 cupcakes to Easter, in addition to 2 dozen cake balls and about 20 extra chocolate cupcakes from my cousin’s birthday, too. Quite a few people took home some extra cupcakes =)
A couple days later, I brought in about 100 mini cupcakes for the Dynasty Project’s 2.0 event. I was going to head there after work to set up and hang out and buy raffle items for a good cause, but I got a major migraine that afternoon =/ I got a couple event photos from one of my friends and heard it was a great turnout. Anything to help raise $ for kids!
Post in a post: I heart balls
I used to really hate making cake pops/balls, but now I find they’re the easiest and fastest and most “wow” way to brighten someone’s day. I usually have some Ziploc bags of finely ground cake and extra frosting stashed in my freezer in the event I need to make some last minute treats, and an entire shelf in my downstairs pantry is full of a rainbow of different colored candy melts. Put some sprinkles or designs or a bow on the pop and package it nicely and it’s a pretty and delicious present.
I sent a few extra of the birthday and Easter cake balls to a friend in Boston and she and her husband loved them. He said, and I quote: “These are dangerous!” (I have to disclose that she hooked me up with some really sweet workout gear after devouring the cake balls. haha)
I whipped up some cake pops for my lovely friend L for fixing a hair color disaster and taking me from a dark brunette to caramel blonde. She did an amazing job! I have to think of something else to bring when she kicks it up a notch to go lighter. Can’t go to a friend’s house empty handed, can we? I also brought her hairstylist friend some berry cake balls when she fixed my botched up hair cut (I was having terrible luck with my hair; pay attention to the risk of using flash deals, kids =/
And one of my friends from college had a great write up in the NYT and an awesome concert coming up (she’s an amazing classical musician) so I promised her I’d go and bring her some baked treats. It was so great to see her again and hear/watch her perform. She shared the cake balls with some of the performers and they loved them.
I think these are a pretty good way of saying “hello” and “thank you”, don’t you think?