Sunday, 27 May 2012

Review: Cake Pop Maker from

Never before had I attempted cake pops, but armed with a Cake Pop Maker and Cake Pops book from, I was ready to begin my journey.  I'm not even a cake decorator really, I've had a go at making Alice in Wonderland cupcakes before but my expertise only goes as far as that, so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.

My three year old son kept admiring the box and asking whether I could make some pumpkin cake pops (as on the above box), I don't think he really cared whether it was Halloween or not, he just loved the smiley faces.  I just hoped that I could produce a cake pop, any cake pop, let alone a pumpkin cake pop...

Before I began my venture, I decided that I would like to create something with the Queen's Jubilee in mind; I really liked the cake pops featured on the front cover of the book below, so I thought about how I could give them a Jubilee twist.  I decided on making the cake pops blue, white and red, with blue, white and red vintage buttons on top and blue, white and red sprinkles.  I cheated slightly and ordered the edible vintage buttons from Ebay, as I didn't really want to delve in to too much of the unknown.

 The Molly Bakes book was a fantastic book, with great recipes to follow for making your cake pop balls various flavours.  There were loads of fun ideas for creating practically any sort of cake pop that you could wish; lipsticks, handbags, sheep, rabbits, etc.  I opted for the front cover design.

 The cake pop maker was very aesthetically pleasing, reminiscent of something you could expect to find on a Martha Stewarts kitchen surface; very functional and pretty to look at too.
 It was a case of just wiping it over before first use and I was away to go....
 A very useful booklet came with the cake pop maker too, which included various recipes and helpful hints and tips.

 I opted for a simple vanilla sponge for my cake pops.  Some recipes for cake pops require you to mix up broken cake with cream cheese or frosting, which would not only be time consuming, but sickly too.  I think you have just the right combination with these cake pops as you have a small perfectly formed ball with a smothering of chocolate - perfect!
 The cake pop maker was so easy to use!  A teaspoon of cake batter needed to be placed in each of the holes and then 4 minutes later they were ready!!  Amazing!

It's hard to make any constructive criticism of this cake pop maker as it was just so good, but for future models, I would maybe like to see an introduction of a timer, as when you are making large batches of cake pops, it is easy to get distracted and lose track of time.

Also it would be great to see a larger size available for bigger batches of cake pops.

 Almost every cake ball came out perfectly formed.  The cake pop maker was really simple to use and easy to clean between each batch.  Now time for the cake decorating......

 I must admit that I'm not too good with instructions; I tend to speed-read them and miss vital points.  That's exactly what happened to me with the cake pops.  I  failed to read the part where you had to stick the cake pop sticks (available from Lakeland at £1.99 for a pack of 35) in the chocolate and then insert in the cake pop and wait a few minutes for the sticks to set.  So what happened was I put the sticks in and then tried to dip them, and because the stick hadn't set, the stick kept poking through the top of the cake pop.  This happened to about four before I decided to take a look at the instructions, where I realised my silly mistake.  Disaster averted, I proceed to dip.
 Above are the wonderful edible buttons.
 I think you'll agree they look fabulous!

I didn't have a cake pop holder, so I made holes in a polystyrene box to stand them in while they dried.

Like cake pop bouquets!  These really would make a wonderful Jubilee gift - or if you cater your cake pop to the recipients likes and pop them in to a lovely mug, you have the most perfect gift!

They are the perfect size for children too!  The options are endless; you could even place them in party bags for kids parties!

 Fit for royalty, I think you'd agree!

I'd definitely recommend the cake pop maker; I can't imagine how fiddly life would be making cake pops without one of these innovative machines.  At £19.99 it is affordable and for the amount of time and hassle it saves you it really is priceless.
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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Book Review: Po-Tolo - Plan Bee From Outer Space

This week we are reviewing Po-Tolo: Plan Bee From Outer Space. It's a gorgeous book by Olly Oliver and is published by Top That Publishing.  

I'm sure you will be instantly bowled over by the colourful illustrations of the book as we were, but the question is should you judge a book by it's cover?  Does the contents of the book live up to the bright, cheery and welcoming cover?  Read on...

With Po-Tolo: Plan Bee From Outer Space I knew as soon as I lay my eyes on the book that this was going to be a very original storyline, everything about the illustrations were unique and unlike some children's books I have read before, at no point did I get the feeling that I had read the plot somewhere before.

And I must commend the author of the book as I really think he hit the nail on the head quite a few times with regards to what children want in a book; loveable characters (the bigger eyes the better), plenty of onomoatopeia with words like "Wob, Wob, Wob" to emphasise the sound of the helicopter and also a bit of humour.  My son absolutely loved the picture of Po-Tolo getting covered in snot below.
 Anyway, the plot is rather quirky and educational; it's about a spaceman named Po-Tolo who comes to Earth one day in a spaceship called Nommo.  (I'd love to know where these names came from?)  He comes to Earth because his world is in trouble because all of the bees have disappeared, which has had disasterous results.  The results are explained in easy to understand pictures which Po-Tolo has drawn.   Which goes something like:
No bees=
Dead Trees=
Dead Plants=
Poorly Animals

Lots of bees=

Simplifying these things in the story makes it a lot easier for children to realise the importance of bees.

And again an easy to follow illustration of Po-Tolo's plan of taking the Earth bees back to his planet reiterates the storyline in an easy to understand format which makes the book suitable for younger children as well.

I think it's a great idea to have a book on such an educational subject; and as a parent it gives you that feeling of pride to be explaining such an important topic through such a lovely book. I think the book covers some important points too, such as the bee thinking that she is too little to help, and of course no one is ever too little to help....

The book is recommended by the International Bee Research Association and the back page of the book is very informative with lots of bee facts that I expect will even be of interest to adults.

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