Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cupcake pops and other life lessons

There was a dual purpose to getting together with Lori & Heather on Saturday afternoon at my house.
  1. We were going to make some Cupcake pops, just like Bakerella for Valentine's Day.
  2. Heather and I wanted to try to comfort our dear friend, Lori, who is struggling with heavy sadness as the anniversary of her beloved mom's passing was fast approaching on Valentine's Day. It is so difficult to watch someone you care so much for suffer and the only thing we could think to do was to just be listen... to share... to learn... and as it turns out to laugh.
The first step was to crumble up an entire 9x13 cake, which Heather had thoughtfully colored pink. We dug in with both hands and crumbled away. Lesson: Sometimes it is fun to break the rules.
But things got really, really messy once we added the tub of cream cheese frosting to the cake crumbles. The once pretty pink color turned more fleshy colored and reminded me of raw hamburger! Lori was completely grossed out by the texture and elected not to roll the resulting cake/frosting mixture into balls. Lesson: Three people can look at exactly the same thing and see something totally different.
We were able to shape the cake/frosting into 27 very, very sticky balls. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT mix the entire tub of frosting into the cake crumbles. The dough was way too sticky, I think 3/4 of a tub would have worked better. We popped these into the freezer for 15 minutes before moving on to the next stage for shaping. Lesson: Don't be afraid to NOT follow instructions exactly and improvise.

We thought that shaping the cake balls into mini cupcakes would be easy after chilling the dough, but we were wrong... it was still too sticky. After several attempts and gut wrenching laughter, we finally found a method that worked. First coat the mini-flower cookie cutter with spray Pam, then quickly smoosh the bottom part of the ball into it while shaping a dome over the top. This is a picture of an upside-down cupcake pop. Lesson: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.... laugh, make ridiculous wise-cracks and try some more.
After chilling the shaped cupcakes again, we moved on to adding melted chocolate to the bottom half (the cup). The first attempt to coat was difficult since the chocolate wasn't warmed enough and was very gloppy. We were so distracted with getting the chocolate thin enough to work with that we completely forgot to add the lollipop sticks BEFORE the chocolate hardened. We would later find out that this is an important step. Lesson: Sometimes it is necessary to follow instructions carefully. The trick is knowing which instructions to follow and which ones not to.
Resulting chocolate covered cupcake pop bottoms with lollipop stick added before the chocolate hardened. Once the chocolate was dry, we melted pink almond bark to coat the top of the pop.
Once the top was covered with pink almond bark, multi-colored sprinkles were added and the pièce de résistance was a little red hot on top. I can't tell you how excited we were to finally have one cake pop completed... after literally 2 hours! We were CHEERING!!! Lesson: The more effort you put into something, the sweeter success is!
Our joy was short lived, as we watched the top heavy cake-pop, slide down the lollipop pole, like a firefighter answering a 5 alarm fire. Luckily, we were able to repair the resulting hole with a versatile red-hot (a.k.a man-hole cover), but not before we crumpled into laughter resulting in tears leaking out our eyes and total confusion to Abby who happened to be nearby.

We decided not all of our cupcakes needed to be pops... they looked just as cute as little mini-cupcakes on their own. Keeping in mind that coating a dense cake/frosting ball with almond bark, will result in an object too heavy for a lollipop stick. Lesson: Height doesn't define how cute something is.
The resulting tray of pop-less cupcakes.

We are very proud of our pops because although they are imperfect, they are still wonderfully sweet and cute, just like their creators! :-) These two women mean so much to me. I love them dearly and am glad they allow me to be their sister-friend.

"We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails." That defines the approach we took that afternoon and the ultimate life lesson.

Steve, Abby & Angelique thought the cupcakes were delicious.

Although, if I ever attempt to make these again, I MUST.HAVE my sister-chicks with me to help me navigate through this laborious process.

Lori's blog on our experience can be found here. Heather's version can be read here.


Heather said...

Oh what a great time! Thanks so much for making this happen....I love our unique ways of saying the same thing!

Lori said...

I love your post!! That day will go down as one of my all time favorite days. Thanks for the pick-me-up. I treasure your friendship so much. You girls are my life line.

Charlene said...

those look cute!! My daughter saw them and wants to make them!!

Cindy said...

I was scrolling thru and saying to myself I miss Renae's Wordless Wednesdays...when I ran across this "Cupcake pops and other life lessons". What a beautiful experience between wonderful friends, taken place at just the right time! I chuckled as I visualized each and every step you so painstakingly described. But when I finished reading I couldn't quit thinking about three friends laughing and sharing, and the memory of it being with you for a very long time. just can't beat it. :-)