When I was at BlogHer this past summer, I was part of a group that was invited to the Wilton Headquarters for an afternoon to learn about some of their new products – and take them for a test drive myself. I walked away that afternoon with a goodie bag and a promise that I’d receive one of their new pans this fall.
So when my doorbell rang last week, and there was a package from Wilton on my doorstep, I was excited to see what they sent me. We knew that there were going to be several new cake pans to make snack cakes, from the orb mini cake pan I received to the delectovals mini cake pan to the coil cakes mini cake pan, all of which are designed to replicate some of our favorite convenience store snack cakes.
I had an absolute blast with my orb mini cake pan. It was perfect timing for me, as Little Miss just finished up her dairy free cupcakes at school, so it was time for me to make another batch of cupcakes for her to bring in to store in her teacher’s freezer for special occasions. When I asked what kind of cupcakes she wanted, she thought for awhile then decided she wanted brownie cupcakes. Who am I to refuse that idea?
Of course this wasn’t nearly so exciting as some of what I made and saw when I was at the Wilton headquarters. I loved the welcome they provided for all the bloggers. Definitely first class.
They really know how to roll out the red carpet. Looking (and smelling) around, we were all taken aback as we walked into the building. The talent and creativity of people absolutely astounds me. I saw more gorgeous cakes and decorations than I have in even the most chi-chi bakeries around me.
After a tour of the facility where we saw – shocker – even more amazing cakes, we heard about some of the new products coming out like the new mini snack cake pans. I thought the new edible decorating dough was absolutely brilliant. Finally there is a product where you can model it like clay to make decorations even more lifelike while at the same time keeping everything edible.
The ability to create shapes that hold in place without wilting or dropping or falling apart was incredible. I loved some of the samples they passed around, though the monkey was hands down my favorite.
Ok, so maybe the robot was my favorite. Or…
The Shape-N-Amaze edible decorating dough comes in all sorts of colors from red to pink to white to brown and more. There are eight colors in all that come in six ounce resealable zipper pouches to keep the dough fresh. Each pouch is just $4.99. And wow can you make a lot with it!
Don’t get me started on the new melting disc flavors either. We were lucky enough to try a couple of them, and they are so tasty. The colors are gorgeous to use for decorating, and it has the added zing of flavor that you don’t expect. Usually (like with my Minecraft Cake Squares) you simply color white chocolate, but here you have all sorts of added flavors, making your desserts even more fun. The Candy Melts came in flavors like raspberry that were so light and yummy. And for the holidays, they have candy cane and egg nog – or so I’ve been told! Each 10 ounce bag of Candy Melts is $3.29.
Then we got to have fun. We each chose two decorating areas to play with. My first was the snack cakes. The most adorable sponge cakes were ready and waiting for us, and we were able to decorate them however we chose using Wilton products from the candy melts to all sorts of sprinkles and other decor.
They gave us some ideas, but… none of our cakes came out looking quite so perfect, though everyone had fun making them. They all looked pretty impressive though.
I don’t know that he’s the best thing Wilton has ever seen, but I loved my little catepillar. He was a hoot to create – and he tasted pretty yummy, too!
Next up was the best part of my day. I love to bake, and I do it regularly. I make really tasty treats, but they aren’t always the prettiest. I keep telling myself that one day I’ll take a cake decorating class to learn how to do it right, but I haven’t managed to yet. Instead, Little Miss and a friend named my pretend bakery. I’m now known in my home as “We Don’t Make Pretty Cakes; We Make Tasty Cakes(tm)” – which I suppose is better than making gorgeous desserts that taste terrible, right?
Finally, I had some lessons on how to decorate cakes. We learned several techniques to make things look fancy from lattice to flowers. I learned all sorts of tricks like what tip to use for each kind of decoration (tip 5 for the outside and tip 2 for the latticework) to finding ways to keep constant pressure going, as well as the practice for each decoration.
I wasn’t the greatest at the latticework, as I don’t have a steady enough hand. Or enough confidence to keep my piping even. It still looked pretty cool, and it’s way more than I’d ever done before.
We also practiced pulling the icing to make a lovely artsy design (again, not my forte – I’ll spare you) and little c-shells. That was surprisingly the hardest for me, as I couldn’t get my wrist to flick quite right.
When we got to the flowers, I was in heaven. It’s possible that mine weren’t picture perfect. And they may not have been the best in the class, but they were very recognizable as flowers. And so I kept practicing.
I have fallen in love. It’s possible that you will see flowers on every item I decorate from now to eternity. That’s what happens when I succeed at something I expect to find difficult!
So when I received my orb mini cake pan, I had to try it out. There are so many ideas for how to play with these from making snow balls to baseballs to – my plan for Christmas – gluing two orbs together to make a sphere and then decorating it to look like a Christmas tree ornament.
For my first try with the pan, I went a little simpler. Per the pan instructions, I washed it by hand first and then greased it before adding my batter. I baked the cupcakes just a touch longer than I would a normal cupcake, though the size was fairly consistent with my cupcakes. They came out beautifully, with the center just a touch rounded.
After letting the orb cakes cool on a rack for ten or so minutes, I attempted to remove them. This was my first moment of panic. They didn’t fall out when I turned them upsidedown. They didn’t fall out when I tapped the pan at an angle on my counter – a surefire way to get cupcakes out usually. Due to their shape, I couldn’t slide a knife around the edge, and I didn’t want to scratch the nonstick surface. After a brief moment of panic, I gently pressed down on one side of the orb. The other end easily slid up. From there, it was a quick and simple process to remove the orb cakes from the pan.
Looking at their bottoms, they baked evenly and thoroughly, with no hot spots or dough places in the center of the orb cake either. This is definitely a pan I will keep playing with down the road. It is a fun shape that lends itself to so many uses. As it is, the next time I host bunco, I have my perfectly themed “dice ” desert, right?
What would you make with your orb mini cake pan?