Friday, June 22, 2012

Cake Pops, The Sequel (and Jesus Dies on the Cross - in case you didn't know)

So, this past week my dad turned 96.  No, that's not a typo.  I was a late, late baby.  (Because I am only 30ish, so how could that even be possible???)  I am the last of 10.  No, that is not a typo. 

I don't write much about my childhood or my family (the one I came from, not the one I birthed and currently live with).  This is not because they are a motley group of side-show freaks (although - they are).  It's just that I usually have plenty of blog fodder with my own little family and if I added the other circus side-show to it I would never do anything but blog (which would be fine with me, but hubby might get a little ticked). 

One of my sisters (I have six) suggested, after seeing my cake pops post, that I make basketballs and baseballs for our dad's birthday party in June.  Daddy is a huge sports fan.  (Who watches golf in person let alone on TV?  And likes it??  Dad does.)  The consensus (and by consensus - I mean the one in my head) was I should look up some recipes for balls (sports balls) and make them for Dad. 

I immediately searched Pinterest for "basketball cake pops" and "baseball cake pops."  And came up with this  and this.  Yeah, I know.  Now, I have a couple of theories here.  These pops were clearly done by a professional, or at least someone way more talented than me (which would be about 99% of the developed world).  Or, Pinterest is only for over achievers.  Or, people do not pin their mistakes.  Or, no one besides me makes mistakes.

I stopped looking at Pinterest and gave myself sometime (a few months) to talk myself out of it.  Alas, I can be stubborn when it comes to thinking I can do something.

So, even though I realized I had made a date with my new hair sylist (who I kinda love) the day before the party, (and all the talent cards were stacked against me!) I still decided to forge ahead with the idea.  In an effort to have the cake pops ready in time, I started making them two days before the party. 

It mostly went okay.  The kids insisted on helping since it was for grandpa.  (I'm pretty sure no kids are helping on Pinterest.)  So, that's kinda why this happened:

There is a God, so this is how the rest of the balls came out:

Not as neatly round as before, but okay.  As you know, nothing can ever be perfect or normal in my house, so the process of decorating these balls the next day was laborious and painful.  Again, there is a God (apparently) and her name is Our Ex-Babysitter.  (That's not really her name, but if I gave you guys her real name you would all try to google her and ask her to babysit for your kids and she would never get to be in the movies.)

I loved her before.  (When she wasn't moving to Hollywood to become a famous script supervisor.  Damn her for getting her degree ?? and not staying our babysitter forever).  But after she stayed at my house after watching The Heathens for two plus hours (while I got a hair cut) to assist me in decorating the rest of the balls, helped clean my disaster of a kitchen, and helped get the kids ready for swimming - I felt I might want her to be a sister wife to me (thank you, TLC for giving me that idea).

She helped get the balls to look like this: 

Do not look too closely.

Here's what I learned: 

Chocolate can be a little like a rosebush - prissy and finicky.  (Except that we do not go around eating roses, nor do I know anyone who craves them at midnight - but you get the point, right?)  If you add any moisture to chocolate it turns into the paste we used to use in school back when there were dinosaurs.  There is no way to fix that when it happens.  You just have to break open another package of Wilton's chocolate (that costs about $4.00 per bag).  That whole ordeal *might* make you want to curse.  Especially if it happens more than once.  (Not that that happened to me.  Twice.)

I also learned that you should make sure you have all the ingredients on hand before you start to decorate (like food coloring).  When you want to dye the chocolate - you need food coloring.  Duh!  You might want to make sure it is still in your cupboard and wasn't used in a volcano making science project by Girl 1 and her dad.

I also learned you need to have the proper tools to decorate.  Gel writers are NOT the proper tool because they never dry fully.  I think it says that somewhere on the tube.  Who knows what it really says.  (Because who reads labels?  Not me.)  What it should say on the tube in large letters so that even if you don't read labels you will see it:  This blessed writer is perfect for nothing because it never fully dries.  Don't buy it.  Gel writers *might* make you want to curse again.  Here is what happens when they are not dry and you try to put them in the cute little wrappers:

This is why I am not Martha Stewart.

In the end it all turned out okay.  Our Ex-Babysitter gets most of the credit for saving my arse. 

The kids all helped put together a nice little treat basket for dad.  He has mostly sweet teeth, so we packed this basket full of snacks for him that he can enjoy while watching his sports.  And the best touch was that the kids all made him cards.  Girl 3 colored two pictures for him.  One was from her Christmas coloring book (because it's June) and one was from her Religious Coloring Book (because she's kinda the holy roller of the family).  Both perfect for dad's 96th birthday!  When I questioned her, "Are you sure you want to use Christmas and Jesus for grandpy's birthday basket?"  Her answer was simply, "Yes.  It's grandpy's birthday with cake pops!  And, Jesus died on the cross!" 

All righty, then.  Because that's how our family rolls?

I will pin this on Pinterest because I'm pretty sure there's nothing like this already on there.  And if there's anything Pinterest needs it's a little more realism.  You're welcome.


Cassandra said...

OK so I feel your cake pop pain. Here are some tidbits I myself have learned in this department, or as I think of it, "Pinterest, you lying bitch"
Rarely is anything as easy as it looks on pinterest.
That is the most important rule EVAH.
Here are some others.
If you have a winco supermarket near you, or one with a good bulk foods section, look for white vanilla melties there. You can color those and they are cheaper than Wilton melties. However to get regular food coloring to work with any chocolate meltie, you need this stuff called "Flo color" which will prevent the entire chemistry of chocolate from going to shit when you want to color it. Damn science.
I use royal icing to decorate cake pops, because I always have it on hand from making fancy assed cookies. (Plus, it can sit on your counter in a sealed container for a few weeks.) Royal icing works better, but I know most people are scared of it or don't have it. Don't fear the icing. If you are crafty a little it might be worth it just to get the plastic Wilton candy melting bags and a few #2 tips just to have. On my site, I have links to some awesome easy peasy clean up frosting bag strategies that are seriously, the best tips I have ever read. They could apply to cake pops for sure.
That is my two cents.
Your pops were adorable, btw!
Now I am off to decorate 6 dozen boob and moustache cookies.
Don't ask., lol

Shannon said...

I love that you are having trouble with the cake decorating because I still haven't forgiven you for laughing so hard about the pirate cake. You remember the cake that first broke in half (at which point I should have declared it a wrecked pirate ship and kept going!!!) then the second one I finished at 2 am got squished so pirate cake three was served at the damn party.

YOU found this hilarious, so it is entirely possible that some of your cake problems result from a cake curse I places on you that long ago day.....Just saying. Love you anyway. Glad it did eventually work out.

Monica said...

@cassandra - you are AWESOME. i love you (only in a purely friendly cake poppy kind of way)! i love your tips they are super helpful and i wish i would use them. i often bang my head against the wall with "i should haves" because i am just a poor, poor planner and executer. what am i good at? ha! we have yet to find that one thing. but, PLEASE keep telling me things because i AM going to keep making things despite my better judgment and one day i will do what you tell me. huge smiles!

Monica said...

@shannon - you are AWESOME II. and i love you, too. i am sooooo sorry for laughing at many things (the cake disaster being one of them). what can i say? i have no heart or shame and i KNOW i am being punished on a daily basis for past transgressions. xoxo. and we will HAVE to have a huge cake pop making session in december. can. not. wait.

Jae Carlisle said...

OMG! I love it!

YES! Pinterest is only for over-achievers. Which, is why I left!

Jesus goes w/anything, so I think the addition of Cake Pops is really perfect!

I love your kids. :)

Monica said...

@jessica - ha! JC does go with anything, right? especially for little l. she is not afraid to talk jesus all. the. time. ;o)

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

I think you are doing a good job with this. They turn out well, but gosh, it seems like a pain.

96. So glad your dad has great genes. I only hope mine are that good especially giving birth late in life like your dad.

Monica said...

@leigh - thanks! they ARE a pain. and to tell the truth - not too tasty for all that work. and mine were completely homemade?! my dad's family has great genes. my paternal grandpa was 98? or 99 when he died. i think all of us kids have kept my dad young! (at least that's what i'd like to think ;o)

WeezaFish said...

I just love you for DOING this, and I think they turned out way cool. And 'real' too. Nothing's real on Pinterest. I find it a bit weird, so I don't go there often!

Monica said...

aw! thanks, weezafish. we liked them - so it was "good enough for me." ;o) pinterest features the best of the best. my work is always the "meh" accomplished with four tiny "helpers." ;o)

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the cake pops on Pinterest are NOT edible. Yours looked wonderful to me. Some day I will show you the pyramid cake I made for Dimples' birthday one year. Very embarrassing.

Monica said...

@whatimeant2say - it would make me feel a titch better to know that there are other bakers out there who totally screw things up. i would like to be on the martha stewart show just to see if she could like help me. she'd probably have a heart attack. oh, and my cake pops did not taste that great to me - the kids, of course, couldn't eat them fast enough.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog, hilarious! & I think the pops turned out just fine, really.


Monica said...

@becomingshehulk - i will have to go back and look at your blog more carefully when i do not have four small people clamouring for breakfast (???) (really???) (it's only 7:28?). but at first glance you and your blog look AMAZING. i need to check out your motivation. a huge thank you for the read and comment and i will be visiting you virtually soon. :o)