Crème de la Cocoa

Cakes • Chocolates • Desserts

Cranberry Orange Vanilla Cake Pops

RecipesBailey RowlandComment

Special equipment: a candy thermometer and 12 cake pop sticks

Recipe Originally Published on Food Network 


Total Time: 4 hr
Prep: 1 hr
Inactive: 2 hr
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Level: Intermediate


Cranberry Compote

• 1 Granny Smith apple
• One 8-ounce bag frozen cranberries
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 orange, zested and juiced

Cake Pop

Orange Buttercream

• 6 ounces egg whites
• 1 pound granulated sugar
• 5 sticks (1 1/4 pounds) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
• White chocolate, as needed for coating
• Nuts, sprinkles or chocolate chips, optional, for topping

• Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the cake pans
• 6 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the cake pans
• 8 ounces cake flour
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1/3 cup sour cream
• Zest of 1 orange
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
• 3 cups granulated sugar
• 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 6 large eggs


For the cake pop: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 10-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, dust with flour and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix the heavy cream, sour cream, orange zest and scraped vanilla bean in another bowl and set aside.

Add the sugar and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until the color lightens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined, then scrape the bowl. Add half of the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Add another one-third of the dry ingredients followed by the remaining wet ingredients, mixing on low after each addition and scraping the bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the cranberry compote: Cut the apple into small pieces. In a medium saucepan, add the cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and juice and apples. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries start to pop open and the mixture thickens slightly. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.

For the orange buttercream: Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix the sugar and 1/2 cup water together in a medium saucepan, place over high heat with a candy thermometer and heat the mixture to 238 to 240 degrees F. While the mixture is boiling, mix the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. When the boiling sugar reaches 240 degrees F, pour it slowly into the egg whites with the mixer on low. Once all the hot sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and whip until thick, glossy and cooled. Reduce the speed and add the butter 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until the buttercream thickens. Whip in the orange zest.

To assemble the pops: Crumble the cooled cakes into small pieces. Mix in enough buttercream to hold the cake pops together. Add the desired amount of cranberry compote; there should be some in every bite. Scoop balls of the cake pop mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Press a cake pop stick into each ball and freeze until firm.

Melt the white chocolate gently over a double boiler. Dip the frozen cake pops into the white chocolate and place on the parchment to set. (If adding toppings, right after you dip the cake pops in the chocolate, dip them in in the desired toppings such as nuts, sprinkles or chocolate chips.)

Orange Sugar Cookie Sandwiches with Chocolate Rum Ganache

RecipesChappy CottrellComment

Special equipment: a cookie cutter

Recipe Originally Published on Food Network 

Chef's Note: Add as little or as much rum as you like; the recipe is also great without any rum.

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 30 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 10 servings
Level: Easy


Dark Chocolate Rum Ganache

• 6 ounces dark chocolate
• 6 ounces heavy cream
• Dark rum



Orange Sugar Cookie

• 10 1/2 ounces sugar, plus more for sprinkling
• 8 ounces butter, at room temperature
• 2 eggs
• Zest of 1 orange
• 12 ounces all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoons salt


For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix in the orange zest. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, and add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick and cut out cookies with a cookie cutter (about 20 large cookies). Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake just until the edges start to brown, 8 to 14 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Cool the cookies completely.

For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate to melt. Stir until shiny and smooth, then add rum to taste. Mix until incorporated, and then rest the ganache until firm. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the ganache onto half of the cookies. Press the second half of the cookies onto the ganache-covered cookies to make cookie sandwiches.

Island Fruitcake with Cinnamon-Rum Cream Cheese Icing

RecipesChappy CottrellComment

Special equipment: two 10-inch cake pans

Recipe Originally Published on Food Network

Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Level: Easy


Cinnamon-Rum Cream Cheese Icing

• 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
• 8 ounces butter, at room temperature
• 1 pound confectioners' sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
• Dark rum
• Toasted shredded coconut, for serving

Island Fruitcake

• 2 cups oil
• 1 1/4 pounds granulated sugar
• 5 eggs
• 14 ounces all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 cup shredded coconut
• 3/4 cup chopped pecans
• 1/2 cup chopped dates
• 2 ripe bananas, sliced
• One 16-ounce can crushed pineapple


For the fruitcake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 10-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip together the oil, granulated sugar and eggs until the mixture lightens in color. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure nothing is stuck. Fold in the coconut, pecans, dates, bananas and pineapples, being careful to avoid over-mixing. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Cool the cakes.

For the icing: In a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla seeds and rum to taste, and mix until smooth.

Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and use half of the icing to cover the top. Place the second cake on top and cover the top with the remaining icing. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over the cake to serve.