These hyacinths are actually chocolate cake pops frosted with pretty pastel-colored white chocolate ganache, then surrounded by chocolate leaves and sitting in a personalized floral monogrammed mug containing more chocolate cake. They were so fun and easy to make, all packaged in a pretty pop bottle "cloche". They made the perfect gifts for mommy friends on Mother's Day! Conveniently Mother's Day falls on the weekend of Teacher's Appreciation Week, so they were a twofer gift for my daughter's Pre-K teachers too. We, mommies, love our flowers and also love our chocolate, so this gift takes the cake!
Step 1: Make That Monogrammed Mug
For the floral monogrammed mugs, you'll need:
Sharpie oil-based paint markers for large design elements
Sharpie permanent markers for fine details
1. Draw the base of your design first. The bases I used were ogee shapes and letter initials using Sharpie's white oil-based paint markers. Set aside until dry to touch.
2. Again using oil-based paint markers, draw circles/swirls for flowers. Set aside until dry to touch.
3. Using Sharpie permanent markers in shades darker than the oil-based markers, draw finer details for flowers (layering finer swirls on top of the oil-based paint.
4. Using a variety of green Sharpie permanent markers, draw details of leaves.
5. For the final step of the design, draw the initials and names using a Sharpie permanent marker (I used black).
6. DO NOT PREHEAT THE OVEN. Place the mugs in the oven, then set to 350F. Once the oven reaches temperature, set the timer to 30 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the oven, but do not remove the mugs. Let the mugs cool in the oven.
Step 2: Supplies and Ingredients
FOR THE CAKE POPS:
1 boxed cake mix, baked, 2 x 8" square cakes
Cake pop sticks (inserted into paper straws for reinforcement)
Round cookie cutters (sized to fit into mugs, 1 small for bottom, 1 larger for top)
Piping tip #31
Gel food colors
Milk Chocolate Ganache: 1 cup heavy cream + 2 cups milk chocolate chunks
Dark Chocolate Cake Pop Coating: 1/2 tbsp refined coconut oil + 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
White Chocolate Ganache: 1 cup heavy cream + 2 cups white chocolate chips
2L pop bottle
Step 3: Cake in a Mug
1. Heat cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the milk chocolate chunks and stir until thoroughly melted. If there are still chunks of chocolate, place in the microwave for another 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between. Cover with plastic wrap, ensuring plastic wrap completely touches the surface of the ganache. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the fridge for another 30 minutes until thickened.
2. Using two sizes of round cookie cutters, cut cakes into 4 circles of each size. Resist the urge to eat the cake scraps (!) and set them aside.
3. Place the cooled ganache in a mixer bowl and whip on medium high speed until it reaches a frosting consistency.
4. Place ganache in a piping bag. Cut the tip of the piping bag to about 1/2".
5. Place the bottom layer (smaller circles) of cake on the bottom of the mug. Add ganache frosting. Place the top layer (larger circles) of cake.
6. Pipe a "bulb" on top. Make sure there's at least 2 tbsp of ganache left for the next step.
Step 4: Form Those Cake Pops
1. Add about 2 tbsp of ganache to the cake scraps. Mix until thoroughly combined.
2. Form into 4 small logs, about 2-1/2" long and 1-1/2" in diameter. Resist the urge to think anything else other than these are deeeelicious logs of chocolate cake and chocolate ganache, because that's what they are. Refrigerate until firm.
3. Melt dark chocolate in a tall cup or mug (tall enough to fit the cake pops). Dip each straw in melted chocolate before placing paper straw into cake pops. The melted chocolate acts like a glue between the cake and straw. Refrigerate for one or two minutes until the chocolate firms up.
4. Add coconut oil to the melted chocolate (heat in the microwave for 30 seconds if the chocolate already started to set). Dip the cake pops in the melted chocolate and allow any excess to drip off.
5. Place the cake pops in a mug and refrigerate.
Step 5: Turn Those Cake Pops Into Hyacinths
1. Heat cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the white chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly melted. If there are still chunks of chocolate, place in the microwave for another 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between. Cover with plastic wrap, ensuring plastic wrap completely touches the surface of the ganache. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the fridge for another 30 minutes until thickened.
2. Place the cooled ganache in a mixer bowl and whip on medium high speed until it reaches a frosting consistency.
3. Divide ganache in small bowls and tint with food color. I allocated 3 colors of ganache per flower, including white (untinted) ganache.
4. Layer the colors of ganache frosting on a small sheet of plastic wrap about 8" wide. Start by spreading the lightest color (untinted) at the bottom, then spreading a middle mid-toned layer, and place the top (darkest shade) layer just in the center (don't spread out).
5. Roll the plastic wrap into a log and cut one edge so that the ganache frosting is right at the edge of the plastic wrap. Place the rolled frosting log into a piping bag with a coupler and piping tip.
6. To pipe the flowers, make sure the PIPING TIP IS TOUCHING THE CAKE POP. Squeeze lightly and quickly lift off. If the piping tip does not touch the cake pop directly, you will not get the look of having a concave center on the flowers and instead the frosting will just be a mound.
7. Place the cake pop into the mug cake. I found it was actually easier to do this first and then finish off piping the flowers.
8. Place the cake pop in the fridge for the ganache frosting to firm up.
Step 6: White Chocolate Into Green Leaves
1. Cut parchment paper into leaf shapes about 4" high and 1" wide. Fold each parchment leaf in half.
2. Melt white chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between. Add food color. I used Wilton's Juniper Green gel color at first, but ended up adding yellow gel color to brighten up the green.
3. Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate on parchment leaf. The less perfect the edges of the chocolate, the better. Lay the leaves around the perimeter of a baking sheet in order to have a 3 dimensional shape and refrigerate until set.
4. Once the parchment is removed, you will have perfectly imperfect chocolate leaves.
5. To place the leaves into the mug cakes, cut a small slit into the cake first before easing the leaf into the cake. I made 4 slits for 4 leaves around each cake pop.
Step 7: Give It Away!
1. Cut the bottom part of a 2L pop bottle.
2. Cut a slit on the side of the pop bottle large enough to allow for the mug's handle.
3. Trace the pop bottle on a piece of foam board ensuring the foam board is slightly (a couple of mm) larger than the pop bottle so that the pop bottle can sit on the circle.
4. Using a sharp box cutter, cut the circle of foam board. You can cover the edge of the foam board with decorative tape.
5. Place the mug with cake pop on the circle of foam board. Cover with the pop bottle, aligning the mug handle with the open slit.
6. Tape the pop bottle on the foam board.
7. This time, tape again with decorative tape.
8. Don't forget decorative tape on the pop bottle cap.
9. Add a pretty tag, then share the love and chocolatey goodness!
Judges Prize in the