My mom’s 50th birthday was this past weekend and I told her any dessert she wanted, I would make. She asked for me to make a lemon dessert, which left things pretty wide open. I scoured the internet and found a TON of different lemon desserts–cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bars, cheesecake, and so much more! I finally decided on making cake pops for two reasons: 1) my Nana (my Mom’s mom) makes delicious lemon bars that I have been instructed to not even attempt to compete with, and 2) my mom said she had lemon cake mix in the house so I could use that.
I went to the story to get the rest of the ingredients and struggled to say the least. Typical cake pops have of course those lollipop stick things which I couldn’t seem to find. I then decided to make these cake “pops” into cake “balls.” My mom had never had either and I knew she would still appreciate the effort and taste of the cake balls. Another typical ingredient for cake balls/pops is a bag of vanilla candy melts, which I also couldn’t seem to find. I had read that almond bark and white chocolate could also be substituted. I decided that I would go with white chocolate since I had worked with that before. Unfortunately, I had extreme technical difficulties melting the white chocolate…it simply wouldn’t melt! It would start to melt, then when I would stir it just seized up and turned into a blob. So there I was, at 9:00pm on a Friday night, driving to the grocery store to pick up some almond bark (my mom’s birthday was Saturday and I HAD to have them done Friday night). Also, at this point I had already formed the cake balls and I had no clue how they would hold up in fridge/freezer/out over night and I didn’t want to take ANY chances after all I had already been through.
Almond bark in hand, I got back home and finished the dessert. They ended up turning out well, but I would just warn anyone making these that they take a LOT of time and are very messy too. There is probably a more efficient, less messy way to create these desserts, but I had neither the time or patience to figure it out.
Lemon Cake Balls
1 box lemon cake mix
20 oz vanilla almond bark
sprinkles or other decoration
store bought frosting OR make your own (recipe below for vanilla frosting)
– Bake cake according to package directions. Let cool.
– While cakes cool, make frosting (if you are using store bought, then you’re all ready to go!)
– Put cooled cakes into a large bowl and crumble into bits.
– Mix frosting in with the cake. I started with small amounts of frosting to make sure the cake was moist enough. (I used a 2 forks to mix cake and frosting together).
– Start rolling cake into balls (about 2 tablespoons big). If they start to crumble, add more frosting. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
– Once finished, place baking sheets in a freezer for at least 2 hours.
– Melt vanilla almond bark according to directions. (I did about 3 squares at a time).
– Roll cake balls in the almond bark, then set on sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle the sprinkles on top. I would recommend taking only a few cake balls out of the freezer at a time so that they don’t warm up to room temperature before they get doused in the almond bark–it’ll make your life much easier.
about 2 cups powdered sugar (rough estimate)
1 stick margarine (room temperature)
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– Beat margarine, milk and vanilla together in stand mixer.
– Gradually add in powdered sugar until you get a thick consistency and not shiny appearance.
Now I realize these directions are horrible because they are so vague. I learned how to make frosting from my mom and am still not quite sure when it is actually “done.” I usually just ask her because she has the eye for it, but from what she had said, “thick and not shiny” is what you’re looking for.
What’s your favorite way to make vanilla frosting?
cream cheese frosting? buttercream? whipped? which do you think is best?
I spent part of Memorial Day Weekend at my Grandma’s lakehouse in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. A lot of my family was there, so I decided to bake some chocolate peanut butter brownies from a recipe I found here. They were simple to back and turned out well! The batter was pretty thick, so I really had to spread it in the pan. I got a little lazy with appearance, so the top isn’t super smooth and pretty, but taste is more important, right? They tasted good enough that I couldn’t take a picture once they were cut because they were already eaten!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8X8″ pan with cooking spray. (I only had a 9X9″ pan, so I used foil to make a smaller pan).
– Combing flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
– Combine sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined. Slowly add flour mixture and beat until just blended.
– Mix in peanut butter and chocolate chips by hand.
– Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick comes out of center with just a few crumbs. Cool on wire rack completely before cutting.
What’s your favorite brownie recipe?