Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Summary: What's cuter than a cupcake? A cake pop, of course! Wildly popular blogger Bakerella (aka Angie Dudley) has turned cake pops into an international sensation! Cute little cakes on a stick from decorated balls to more ambitious shapes such as baby chicks, ice cream cones, and even cupcakes these adorable creations are the perfect alternative to cake at any party or get-together. Martha Stewart loved the cupcake pops so much she had Bakerella appear on her show to demonstrate making them. Now Angie makes it easy and fun to recreate these amazing treats right at home with clear step-by-step instructions and photos of more than 40 featured projects, as well as clever tips for presentation, decorating, dipping, coloring and melting chocolate, and much more.

Angie Dudley is the creator of, her very popular blog that chronicles her adventures in baking. -- Chronicle Books

CAKE POPS: TIPS, TRICKS, AND RECIPES FOR MORE THAN 40 IRRESISTIBLE MINI TREATS by Bakerella truly is a wonderful gift idea for the baker (or baker wannabe) in your life. I honestly can't remember ever seeing a cuter and more fun cookbook!

For those of you not familiar with the term cake pop, where have you been? Just kidding! A cake pop is a mini cake that sits on top of a lollipop stick. The pops are then decorated to look like... almost anything! Check out these Valentine cake pops. Aren't they amazing and totally cute?

I have to come clean! I firmly intended to make some cake pops and feature them as part of this review. Unfortunately, Mother Nature stepped in with a nasty ice storm and kept me home with the entire family for two days this week. If I had had the ingredients, it would have been the perfect time to try them, but no such luck. Then life just got in the way. I volunteered to make not only desserts for the Father/Daughter dance at the elementary school (the one my daughter no longer attends), but also finger sandwiches. I ended up making 200 mini jelly sandwiches (yuck!), and my cake pop plans fell to the wayside!

So I can't attest to the difficulty in making cake pops, but I will tell you that the recipe for the inside cake part doesn't look difficult at all. You just mix a baked cake (from a box) with some canned frosting and shape them. The dipping part probably isn't too difficult for most people either, although I do seem to have a hard time covering candies smoothly. The fun part (and probably the most difficult) is in the decorating. Bakerella uses candy coating, assorted candies, icing pens, etc. to bring these little guys to life. In this book, she features cake pops as various animals, fruits, Easter eggs, graduation caps, and much more. In fact, there are over 40 ideas for mini-treats in CAKE POPS alone. And if you want even more ideas, check out Bakerella's amazing website!

What I do know is that I will definitely be trying some cake pops of my own in the very near future, and I will share my results (unless they are totally embarrassing!) One of the things that I love most about this cookbook (besides the photo) are the step-by-step directions and the helpful hints/tips. Bakerella states at the beginning of the book that she doesn't have any formal training in chocolate, pastries, or confections -- just like me. She gives terrific instructions for each cake pop variety, and even has me thinking I can do it! However, I do think Bakerella has some very special skills when it comes to creating and making these pops; and I have no doubt that my cake pops will look nothing like hers, but it should be fun just trying.

CAKE POPS is one beautiful cookbook that's definitely a must-have for anyone who loves to make unique desserts!

Summary: This flexi journal features art star Mike Perry's artwork. What's not to love? -- Chronicle Books

I fell in love with the I HEART EVERYTHING JOURNAL -- it's just adorable, plus it's useful. It really would make a fantastic Valentine's Day gift for a friend, significant other, relative -- or even yourself! The journal is definitely eye-catching. My 11 year old daughter, who is a major girly girl, has been eying it up!

The 192 page journal features colorful artwork by Mike Perry on the front and back covers. And the inside covers feature more of his sketches. Each page of the journal is unlined but does have different Mike Perry borders. Trust me -- it's too cute!

If this journal isn't quite the style that you are looking for, make sure sure you check out Chronicle's other journals!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me copies of these delightful books!

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Just Mom said...

I made just the plain cake balls from when her website frist started and the coating was tricky! It is hard to get the temperature and consistency just right so that they coat smoothly and look good. Mine looked lumpy but tasted pretty good - very sweet!

bermudaonion said...

I love the Cake Pops book, but I'm sure my cake pops would look nothing like the beauties in the book!

Beth F said...

I love the Cake Pops book too. I haven't reviewed it yet because I haven't gotten around to getting all the decorating bits.

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

I want a cake pop right now! They look adorable!!! XO

Anonymous said...

I love these; they're SO good.

Joy said...

Those are so cute! I love the owls on the cover!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have been wanting that Cake Pops book ever since it came out! :--)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

What a fun book - I love this and would love to try my hand at these!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I have CAKE POPS, too ... and intended to make them before Valentine's Day. Like Beth F, I've got some shopping to do, to get all the accessories.

And, 100 mini-jelly sandwiches?! Yuck, indeed!