Graduation Cake Pops

graduation cake pops

A post about graduation cake pops in September? Why yes. The maker of these literally and figuratively sweet graduation cake pops will be the one donning the cap and gown next June. That leaves yours truly and firstborn Beauty to make the next round of graduation cake pops and we will need this time to prepare.  Actually, I will need this time to prepare. Being “that” mom, my thoughts are already wandering and emotions are already fluttering over the next wave of change to envelop our home in the coming scholastic year.

Youngest Beauty is by and large the family baker who has a seemingly unending supply of intricate-cake-decorating patience. Though it took her the better part of a day to make over 60 of these treats (with the help of dear friends), she tells me making graduation cake pops is really a piece of cake. (Ha!)

I have seen graduation cake pops with milk chocolate squares for the motar board, but that won’t do. My baby is all about authenticity and her graduation cake pops need to match the completely red colored regalia of MHS. In true form she found a solution for making edible red motar boards: red candy melts and a flexible bite-size brownie pan. Wilton’s bite-size treat mold is the perfect dimension for holding exactly 1 1/2 red candy melts. Simply melt in  the microwave oven, level with a toothpick, freeze until firm and then effortlessly pop the flats out of the pan. (This is a completely free promo for Wilton and well deserved for making such an awesome pan.)

graduation cake pops motar board mold

As for the cake itself, both of my daughters insist that there isn’t a better batter than Amish white cake.  It’s firm but not too heavy and wonderfully rich tasting.

Decorating the graduation cake pops is a long process and patience is a necessary virtue. Begin by dipping the cake pop into a bowl of melted white chocolate and allow to dry. Next, dip only the top portion of the cake pop into a bowl of melted red candy melts and spread to replicate the hat portion of the motar board using a knife or a cake decorating paint brush. Allow to fully dry and then re-dip the very top of the cake pop once again to attach the square top.  When fully dry, pipe a fine line of black frosting for the tassle and pipe on a happy face. Voila!

May the cake pops eldest beauty and I make next June be just as pretty as these!


Serbian Cupavci – the perfect size sweet


You never know what treasure you’ll find at the bottom of the freezer. Like a small well-packed pack of Serbian cupavci. That sure beats a small not-so-well packed unidentifiable freezer-burned foiled object. 

Cupavci are one of my family’s favorites and having one last taste of the Christmas season was well worth nearly crawling into the little chest freezer to dig it out.  We’re a two-freezer family. Actually one and a half as the chest freezer is the small “extra” freezer – the first one Hubby and I bought. And the one that I’m trying very hard to clear out and unplug until late next fall.  Next fall. Sniff, when my firstborn who turned 18 last week will be leaving the nest for college. BIG sniff. Now back to cupavci.

Serbian cupavci

Never heard of them? You might know them as Lamingtons, or maybe not that either. Well, let me say, you must try them. Cupavci are the perfect portion control sweet. If you can eat just one, or two.  Serbian cupavci are made by cutting a deliciously moist hot milk sponge cake into small squares or rectangles, dipping each individual morsel in a layer of chocolate glaze (you decide the thickness) and then cover it in sweet desiccated coconut. Mmmm, mmm. It was one last taste of Christmas just as we’re quickly approaching the start of Great Lent.

cupavci cut in half

We’re still very much in the throws of winter here in Wisconsin, though it’s so nice to have teeny weeny signs of change becoming increasingly more noticeable. Small signs like driving my Beauty to jazz band in daylight and driving home from work in daylight. Even the somewhat annoying reminder that I heard much of the afternoon today: the loud dripping sound of melting snow from the gutter outside my home office window. Ahhh! Spring is on the horizon but I’m not going to let myself get spring fever quite yet. There are still weeks of winter ahead, especially if that hairy Punxsutawney groundhog called it right. 

By the way, cupavci is slang for cupav: hairy, unkept.  Perhaps it’s the messy coconut that drove the naming convention or the fact that the squares and be cut in varying shapes so I suppose they can look a bit haphazard on a plate. I really don’t know. But I do now I struck gold in my freezer dig today.

Prijatno, friends!

Serbian Cupavci - the perfect size sweet
  • Hot Milk Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 can 2% evaporated milk plus enough 1% milk to equal 1¼ Cups of milk combined
  • 10 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • Chocolate Glaze ingredients:
  • 2 cups powder sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 bag desiccated coconut, available at most import stores
  1. Grease a jelly roll pan with spray,
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs for 5 minutes until thick and lemon-colored
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Combine flour and baking powder and gradually mix into batter
  6. Pour into greased jelly roll pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done.
  7. Cool completely. Cut into small squares or rectangles and refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 hours..
  8. Prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients in a double boiler.
  9. Quickly dip cake square into glaze, coating on all sides, and then roll in coconut.
  10. Store in container in a cool spot until ready to serve. These also freeze well.



Pumpkin Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin zucchini cake

Yesterday was our last “Summer Sunday Supper” – our weekly gatherings that I absolutely love. Being Labor Day weekend I thought the occasion called for a dessert that bridged the taste of summer (zucchini) with the autumnal flavor of fall (pumpkin). A dessert that marked the end of summer vacation and the beginning of a new school year. Hence, my brilliant creation: pumpkin zucchini cake with maple cream cheese frosting. Brilliant? Perhaps not. Moist and delicious? Definitely. Pumpkin zucchini cake with maple frosting is a perfect marriage of flavors if I do say so myself.

The weather was just as perfect for our last summer hurrah …right up until Hubby started the grill. The heavens opened and despite putting an end to our pool volleyball and a kibosh on our al fresco dining, the rain was a welcomed watering.  Thanks to an oversize golf umbrella and my Love’s grilling prowess, dinner wasn’t soggy and our indoor barbecue couldn’t have tasted any better had it been served outdoors. Good food with family and friends – rain can’t dampen that.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day!

Pumpkin Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves: 16
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 ½ C all-purpose + ½ C wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup 1 % milk
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups pure pumpkin (one 15oz can)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (increase to 1 cup for a sweeter cake)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans nuts (optional)
  • Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • ⅓ Cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 Cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine milk and lemon juice in liquid measuring cup. Mixture will appear curdled.
  3. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
  4. In mixer bowl, combine milk/lemon juice mixture with eggs, pumpkin, sugars and oil; stir in zucchini. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in nuts (optional).
  5. Pour into greased 13x9 pan and bake 40-45 min or until tests done.Cool completely.
  6. Prepare frosting by beating butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add maple syrup and powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until smooth.
  7. Frost cake and enjoy!

{9/12/13 note:  This is a dense cake – don’t be alarmed when it sinks while cooling.  Also, for those folks with an ardent sweet tooth, I suggest increasing the white sugar from 3/4 cup to 1 cup. I have a divided household: Hubby and I enjoy more pumpkin flavor to come through in the cake and find the maple frosting to provide plenty of decadence, while my teenage daughters are, well, typical teenagers who prefer very sweet sweets.  Which ever way you make it, I hope you enjoy it!}

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

I’m convinced that teenagers will eat anything that has frosting on it. Sprinkles help but frosting is key.

Knowing I would need to bake for the band concert in early October, these cupcakes were the perfect way to use up the final straggles of zucchini from this year’s bumper crop.  Sans frosting they make pair wonderfully with a cup of coffee, having only a hint of sweetness. But slather on some caramel frosting and  voilà – cupcakes that teenagers will dive into and never realize they are scarfing down a bit of veggie with every bite.

zucchini spice cupcake with caramel frosting

These cupcakes (or muffins) combine the tastes of summer and fall and freeze well. Just thaw overnight and frost the next day.


3 cups shredded zucchini
1 C sugar
2/3 cup canola oil (or vegetable)
2 teasp. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teasp. baking soda
1/2 teasp. baking powder
1 1/2 teasp. ground cinnamon
1/2 teasp. ground nutmeg
dash of mace

Heat oven to 350F and place 20 liners in standard size muffin pans.
Stir first five ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients just until wet. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full and bake for 20 min. or until tested done.

Cool completely before frosting. If freezing, place in ziplock freezer bags and thaw at least 4 hours before frosting.

Caramel Frosting: In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 C milk, 3/4 C packed brown sugar and a dash of vanilla. Stirring constantly, bring to a complete boil. Cool for 10 minutes and then add to a large mixer bowl with 1 3/4 C confectioners sugar. This makes a very thick caramel frosting. If you prefer a creamy texture, add another 1/4 C butter with 2 tbsp milk and beat well.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Zucchini Cake

chocolate zucchini cake


2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the four, cocoa, baking powder, soda; set aside.
  3. With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and zucchini.
  5. Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan.
  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes, testing after 45 minutes as every oven bakes differently. Be sure to cook the cake in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack or the cake is likely to come out in chunk — delicious nonetheless, but not exactly pretty looking for the time and effort.

When the cake has fully cooled, add 6 oz. semi sweet chocolate, 4 tbsp butter  and 1 Tbsp corn syrup to a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the chips have fully melted. Frost the cake and enjoy!