Since moving to CA, I have been able to spend time doing two of my favourite things, baking and looking after animals. When we first arrived, whilst I was unemployed, I started volunteering at the Irvine Animal Care Center (IACC). It was a great way to fill my time off, meet new people, and a great way to give back to the community. I have always been a believer of adopting animals from shelters, both of my kitties have been rescues, our newest one was adopted from the IACC itself. You cant help but fall in love with the animals there.
So on December 5th, the IACC held its Christmas event, ‘Home for the Holidays’. The event involved many of Orange Counties Animal Rescue services and Shelters, helping find animals in their care find homes. There were so many adorable faces looking for homes.
As a yearly way to make donations, the Shelter held a bake sale! What a perfect way to help out, so with this I decided to be creative! Earlier this year, the hubby had brought me Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats from Bakerella (aka Angie Dudley), but I had never had an opportunity to try any of the recipes. ‘Home for the Holidays’ created a perfect opportunity, Cake Pops would be a fun, cute way to help raise money. So I set a plan for Puppy Cake Pops, directly from Bakerella’s book.
Normally I would prefer to make the mixture and frosting from scratch, however sadly for this occasion, time wasn’t on my side. So cake mix and Hershey’s Frosting is was. I decided to go with Chocolate Cake Balls, as Chocolate has always been a firm favourite with people I have baked for. After baking the cake as per the box instructions, and cooling time, the cake ball creation began! This became messier than I expected, but that was half the fun.
After 15 minutes in the freezer, the balls were ready to become popsicle. I chose to two different types of candy frosting to decorate the balls with – Peanut butter and White chocolate. Not only would this create different coloured puppies, there would be a choice in two very different flavours.
From the first ball, I realized I might have taken on a bit of a big project for a first attempt of Cake Pops. However, thanks to the clear instructions and advice from Bakerella, the first layer was done. I now had 24 lolly pops to play with. While the frosting was setting on the cake balls, I needed to create the ears. To make these, I used and A4 piece of parchment paper, drawing pairs of tear-drop shapes on one side. Then, using a piping tube, I traced round the shapes on the other side of the paper (now laid on a large baking tray), and filling in the middle. To set them quickly, they were popped into the freezer for 20mins until they set.
Creating the facial features was the most difficult part. For each nose, I used M&M, sliced into half (which is much harder than it looks), and with the frosting on the balls still setting, they were easy to attach on. The facial features usually call for an edible ink pen. Sadly, due to time, I didn’t have one of these, however I did have an icing gel pen. This seemed to work as well as a pen, at least at this stage. After throwing on a LifeSaver candy as a collar, there they were, my finished creations – and they looked pretty good for a first attempt (If I do say so myself!).
So the cake pops were ready to go, and after little wrapping, and packing up, they were ready for the Bake Sale. Sadly this is the point where I realized where an edible ink pen had its advantages. Icing gel and plastic wrapping don’t mix so well. However, with abit of fiddling and some patience, it didn’t have too much of an effect. So they made it to the Shelter in one piece.
So Sunday was the Bake Sale – and they Cake Pops went down a storm. As I helped out at the event itself for the shelter, I only got a quick glimpse at the Bake Sale stall. However, what I did see made me happy. The volunteers said the Cake Pops were selling really well, and 20mins after the event had opened, 2/3rds of them had gone! Success on both levels, people got to enjoy my creations, and the money went to a good cause.
I also owe a big thanks to Bakerella for the great idea!