Christmas treats

Christmas cookies 2017

We specialise in custom treats throughout the year, but at this time of the year, I get requests for a “Christmas catalogue.’ So here it is!

https://popolate.com.au/christmas-2017/

 

Please remember to place your bookings in early.

 

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Logo macarons

Logo macarons Sydney

Logo macarons Sydney

Aren’t these colours pretty? These macarons were individually packaged and were a feature at the Revitalising Newcastle booth at the International Convention Centre Sydney.

I’m used to colouring chocolate and fondant to a T, but macarons are harder to colour. Because of the almond content, there is a cream-ish tinge to start with. You also can’t colour correct mid-way through a batch, as you could with the other mediums.

Dr Seuss cookies and cake pops

Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat cookies and cake pops

Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat cookies and cake pops

Oh, how I loved making this set! I am a huge fan of Dr Seuss. Okay, maybe I got a bit tired of the Sleep Book after reading it zillions of times to my kids and secretly wished the book would disappear for a bit (hey, that is one loooong bedtime book!) but he is still very close to my heart. The backdrops to the cookie and cake pops are well-worn books pulled from my library.

The challenge here was making them look ‘drawn’, just like on the book covers. Also, because there are no Cat in the Hat shaped cookie cutters in the market, the cookies had to be hand-cut.

Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat Ball cake pops

Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat cookies

Cookie and cake pop classes in Sydney

So for the last few months, I’ve delved into the world of teaching. The concept of teaching is not new to me. When I was an editor, I loved teaching my staff writers. I loved seeing them embrace something new, loved seeing their work evolve, and I loved thinking that I had somehow inspired them.

Standing up in front of a crowd of strangers however, is a little different! I’ve had shaky hands while demonstrating piping, and had stuttered my way through the first 10 minutes of my first class. Still, I found I enjoyed it, and hoped fervently that my students did too.

I started with cookie decorating classes and I’ve just launched a whole series of beginners and advanced cake pop classes in Hornsby, Sydney with Pearl’s Creations, a full-fledged studio with kitchen facilities. I’ve made over 30,000 cake pops, and was one of the early adopters of cake pop making in Sydney. I’ve made all sorts of mistakes and have refined my process along the way. These classes have been a while in the making, because, well, cake pops are my baby and I wanted to get it right.

 

Cake pop classes Sydney

Here are some pictures from the last cookie decorating class in Hornsby.

Cookie decorating class Sydney Cookie decorating class Sydney Cookie decorating class Sydney Cookie decorating class Sydney Cookie decorating class Sydney

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Christmas cake pops 2016

Aussie Christmas cake pops gift set 2016

Aussie Christmas cake pops gift set 2016

I am not a naturally very creative person. I know people who just have it in their bones, and can whip up designs in their sleep. I am not one of those people.

My best subject in school was chemistry. I graduated with a business and economics degree. I spent a good part of my career in financial journalism.

I do love pretty and clever things, and it is this love which has pushed me to try and constantly make beautiful food. It still doesn’t come easy. I spent a lot of time at the planning stage. I go through several rounds, where I do something, not fall in love with it, ditch what I make, and start over.

So when I make something I do like, I am pretty chuffed. These Christmas cake pops and Christmas cookies are my ode to the Aussie Christmas. We don’t have snowflakes. We don’t have penguins. We do have great beach and party weather!

Christmas cake pops gift set 2016

Scary (or are they cute?) cake pops for Halloween

Halloween cake pops

Halloween cake pops Eye ball cake pops halloween

Halloween box set of treats

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Grumpy cat cake pops

Instagram grumpy cat cake pop

Grumpy cat cake pops

I’m a bit clueless, but when my teenager saw this, he said, “Hey, that’s the grumpy cat!”

“The Grumpy Cat?” I asked. I just followed a pix that was sent to me, of A grumpy cat.

“Yes, it’s all over Instagram,” he said, rolling his eyes at my lack of education.

I was struggling with it, so was fairly happy he recognised it. Making animals are pretty easy, making animals with expressions are super tough. How do you make a face grumpy? It’s harder than one would initially think, and not as easy as just putting a mouth with sides turned down. A state of ‘grumpy’ is reflected not only in a mouth, but in the shape of the eyes, the frown, the mouth and the contours of the face.

Watercolour cake pops

Watercolour cake pops

I’ve been admiring all those gorgeous watercolour buttercream cakes that I see, and finally got a chance to try my hand at handpainting my own watercolour cake pops. I love how they turned out! They key to the watercolour effect is diluting the edible paints, till they get that watery, almost washed out look, and then blending in the paints just at the edges.

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Thomas the train cake

Thomas the train cake

I have a problem with cakes. I can’t stop fiddling with them. Until it is picked up, I’ll be ironing out the flaws, adding more flowers, moving the stones, etc etc etc. And then when they are picked up, I feel like someone took my precious away and there is a gap in my life.

Cakes can be terribly expensive because the materials are not cheap (which you will know if you have tried to make a fondant cake yourself and added up the cost) and some decorations or shaping and moulding are very time consuming. Fondant figurines, are in my opinion, are not necessary if you are on a budget. Complex ones take hours to make, and if you input the minimum wage per hour, plus materials, you are looking at a very expensive topper that won’t be eaten anyway.

So I often recommend placing a toy. You even get to play with it after!

Thomas the train cake Thomas the tank engine cake

Nautical anchor cake pops

Nautical cake pops

I buy stuff all the time, just because I think they may come in handy. In this case, I bought these anchor moulds just because they happened to be the right size for a cake pop. I had a play with them with some leftover chocolate one day, and this is what emerged.