Lemon Coconut Chick Pops

It’s been a good year. (In my world, the year ends when Online Stopwatch announces the end of the last final exam of spring semester.) Sophomore year is a good year because people start discovering what they really love. I declared an Economics major, joined West Philly Swingers (third time’s the charm!), and mastered 20-second icing for my Christmas cookies.

It’s nice not to feel like this anymore:

Continue reading

Chocolate Cake Pops for Jen

Cake pops are having a moment. Bakerella, queen of the cake pop, published a book, and now even Starbucks is offering cake pops in three funtastic flavors (probably the lowest-cal item on the menu by sheer smallity).
.
Note: If you haven’t seen Bakerella’s site, go do it. Have a snack at the ready.
Jen suggested cake pops or cake balls for her party, and since cake balls are (were) on my to-bake list (see the right sidebar for reference), I decided to give it a whirl.
.
In the world according to me, it’s usually unacceptable/ blasphemous/ intolerable/ super upsetting/ inexcusable/ just plain wrong to make a cake from a box. But with cake pops, the cake is beside the point. The point of a cake pop is the concept and the presentation. I wouldn’t describe cake pops as gourmet. A cake pop is not a chocolate gateau truffle infused with buttercream and enrobed in tempered 83.75% couverture chocolate. It’s a moist ball of crumbled cake and frosting speared on a stick and dunked in Wilton’s candy melts. Cake pops are one of those desserts that people get really excited about. Sure, people like cake, but cake pops are much more fun. Continue reading

Whoopie Pies with Strawberry Buttercream

Get this: on April 20th, a law passed in Maine making Whoopie Pies Maine’s official “state treat” (not state dessert—that title goes to wild blueberry pie). Apparently there’s a big debate between Maine and Lancaster PA over where whoopie pies originated. A bakery in Maine claims they’ve been making whoopie pies since 1925, but Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish families swear their great, great grandmas made whoopie pies with leftover cake batter in a wood burning stove back in 1872. Or something like that.
.
Clearly, people take whoopie pies very seriously: “Whoopies contain too much lard to be seriously considered as an official food in a state with an obesity problem, said the lone opponent to Davis’ bill, Rep. Donald Pilon. The Saco Democrat dismissed whoopies as “frosting-delivering vehicles masquerading as food” (full article in all of its ridiculous glory here). There was even a rally in Lancaster to prevent Maine from declaring whoopies the state dessert, and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country homepage (they have a homepage?!) says that Maine is committing “confectionary larceny.” Continue reading

Coffee Cheesecake with Raspberry-Sourcream Swirl

My first order of business when I returned home for spring break was to bake a birthday cake for my dad, since I missed his 50th a few weeks earlier. One morning, before heading out to see a Brain Exhibit at the Natural History Museum, we sat down to seriously discuss his birthday dessert.

.

.

We started with the basics. First, we had to figure out what type of dessert he wanted: A pie or tart? A traditional cake? A creamy dessert like flan, creme brulee, or cheesecake? My dad said he liked the idea of something creamy, like Vietnamese Coffee Creme Brulee I had made. Unfortunately my ramekins were still at college so I nixed that idea, and we decided on a cheesecake. Next, we brainstormed flavors. We ruled out chocolate. (Apparently, eating chocolate gives him zits, but this is all extremely theoretical since nobody has ever glimpsed said acne). We toyed with citrusy flavors, like lemon curd or coconut lime, but in the end we ended up where we started, with coffee. Because cheesecake is super sweet, we decided to add a tart raspberry syrup to balance the rich coffee flavor.

My mom was laughing at our conversation, but seriously, choosing the perfect birthday dessert is crucial. Continue reading