Day 5: Pocky Cupcake Toppers

These fabulous cupcake toppers wrap up our very first 5 days in 5 ways and we've eaten more than a few Pocky with no regrets. This final DIY is super duper pretty and takes only a few minutes. Get creative! Maybe chocolate Pocky with colorful candy melts and sprinkles?! Do it up, my friends.

We hope you loved this series, and if you have any suggestions on what should be our December 5 days in 5 ways product, let us know in the comments section below :)
 What you need:
-Pocky
-white candy melts
-parchment paper
-small cutting board
-spoon

What to do: 
1. Cover your small cutting board with parchment paper.
1. Place 3 Pocky beside each other in a fan like formation.
2. Melt candy melts in the microwave,  stopping to stir every 30 seconds. If you're nervous about melting these babies read this.
3. Dip your spoon into the candy melts and move the spoon back and forth horizontally across the Pocky.
4. Put a little blob of candy melts at the base of the Pocky to make them extra secure. 
5. Once completely dry put your whole cutting board in the fridge for extra setting time.
6. stick them directly into cupcakes for a beautiful and delicious topper!
store in air tight container

Don't forget to tag @thepartyparade and hashtag #thepartyparadediy if you're inspired by our post! We want to see your creations :)
xoxo,

Mercedes & Sarah
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Day 4: Double Chocolate Pocky Cake



Every time I tell someone that one of my cakes is "super easy!" they're like uh, yah right. No way. So I'm here to prove ya'll WRONG! Not only because I like to be right, but because I think everyone should enjoy delicious and beautiful cake always.
First lets talk a bit about baking. Growing up in an Italian kitchen there has never really been such thing as anything made from a box, or pre-made in any way.  The cakes I sell through our build-a-cake service are homemade from scratch. BUT! Sometimes when I make cake for my and friends,  I cheat. There are certain box cakes that if mixed with homemade filling and frosting can taste spectacular.
With that said, baking chocolate cake from scratch is pretty wonderful too. So I've come up with 3 options based on how much time/patience/ambition/ you have for your Pocky cake.  I've done all 3 of these and I promise no matter what you choose you wont be disappointed.
1. Box Cake
If you want a moist and delicious chocolate cake that takes 5 minutes to mix grab a box of Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake. This is what I used for the tutorial, and it turned out delicious with my homemade frosting and filling. Definitely the most cost effective option!
2. Homemade Cake 
There are sooo many recipes online, it's hard to know where to begin looking.  I tried a bunch of them, and back in the day Nat and I made up our own. Honestly though, the most delicious cakes I've made are from one of my favorite bloggers, Miss Rosie at Sweetapolita.  Her Double Chocolate Party Cake recipe is decadent and delicious.
 3. Buy a Cake
 If you really don't want to bake and just want to decorate, go to a local bakery and grab a chocolate cake! If you're in Toronto I recommend Desmond and Beatrice. Remember to buy locally, because supporting local business is awesome.

Now that you've decided what your cake base will be, let's do this.
What you need:
-1 box Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake  OR 2 cups of chocolate cake batter

-6" round cake pan
-1/2 tablespoon soft butter
-parchment paper
-basting brush
-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate bakers squares
-1 cup heavy cream
-2 teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract (optional)
-decorator bag
-scissors
-cutting board
-offset spatula
-serrated knife
-30 fancy pocky
What to do:
-Prep your pan with parchment paper.
 {I always get Nat to do this part for me because I hate it she's better at it. It's very important in creating a flat and round cake that easily pops outs of the pan. If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about here's a video to show you how.}
 -Bake your cake. While it's in the oven prep the ganache.
Prep the ganache:
1. Coarsely chop chocolate on a cutting board, and put it in a heat proof bowl.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the heavy cream to a boil.
3. Pour heavy cream over chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes.
4. Stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in optional extract if desired.
5. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ganache and leave it to cool in the fridge for 1 hour.
6. Put your decorators bag in a cup and fold over the edges. Put the ganache into your decorators bag. and cut it about a 1/2" from the tip of the bag. Set aside.
Prep the cake: The video below shows exactly how to do the following steps :)



1. To fill and frost your cake you first need to cut it. I used a serrated knife to cut my cakes but some prefer a wire cake slicer.  Cut the top of the dome of the cake in one smooth slice so the top of the cake is as flat as possible. Take a look at the video to see what I mean. If it's not perfect don't worry!
2. Pick up the top half of the cake and and place it on parchment paper beside the bottom half.
3. Now you can fill the cake, starting at the middle and circling all the way out. You should be using the top of the cake as the bottom tier. (see vid)
4. Flip the top layer upside down and place it on top of the filling so your nice flat cake bottom is now the top.
5. From the base to the top of the cake create lines of ganache directly beside each other.
6. Use your spatula to smooth them out, being careful not to life the ganache off the cake.
7. This is when I start to use my turn table. If you don't have one, they sell they're sold at most dollar stores, but you can definitely do this without one.
8. Put a thin layer of ganache on the top on the cake and spread in the same motion as the sides, being careful not to lift the ganache from the cake. If the ganache lifts your cake frosting will be full of crumbs.
9. Add your Fancy Pocky in straight lines until the whole cake is full.
10. Show your friends and wait for ohhhh's and awwww's!
 






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Day 3: Pocky Grams


These babies could simply be decorated with no words, or they could say anything you want. How about, "be my bridesmaid?" or a simple "you're pretty!" to brighten up a girlfriends day. I love that they are so yummy and fun to make. Sarah and I made them together, and I couldn't help but think how fun wold this be as a group activity at a party! OR have one in the middle of a plate with your guests names on them. An edible place card...I mean...Come. On.
What you need:
Pocky (We used 6 for each)
Dark chocolate molding wafers (not chocolate chips)
Small cutting board
Paint brush
Parchment paper
Your favorite candies, sprinkles and nonpareils
Sugar roses (optional)
Gold luster dust (optional)
What to do: 
1. Cover your small cutting board with parchment paper.
2. Melt molding wafers in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds. If you're nervous about melting these babies read this. Keep melts in a microwave safe air tight container.
3. Hold 6 Pocky together on the wax paper.
4. Dip paint brush into melted wafers and paint onto the Pocky sticks. This is the glue that holds them together. Keep holding them for about a minute. Don't move the Pocky until the melts are 100% solid to the touch. Try not to let the chocolate drip through the cracks.
5. Once they're dry put the whole cutting board in the fridge for 5 minutes, just to firm them up a bit more.
6. Flip the Pocky bar over.
6. To add your sprinkles and candies you can use a bit of the melted molding wafers and a paint brush as glue. If they get hard just put them back in the microwave and reheat 15 seconds at a time keeping a close eye on them. OR if you're making royal icing, that makes a great adhesive as well.

To write you need:
-Royal icing 
-Decorators bag
-Elastic
 -#1 round tip (optional)
-Coupler (optional)
To write on your Pocky bars you need royal icing. You can use a decorators bag and simply snip the tiniest bit of the tip off OR if you want more control you can go pro and get yourself a coupler and a #1 round tip.
Royal Icing: 
-Wooden spoon
-Large egg white, or equivalent amount of dried egg whites
-2 cups of icing sugar
-1/2 teaspoon of water

1. Combine the sugar, egg white, and water in a large bowl. Mix ingredients together for about 2 minutes,  until the icing is thickened and smooth.  It should form soft peaks as seen below.


Photo Source:  Cake Journal

2.  If it's too thick, add drops of water. If it's too thin, add sugar. Keep your royal icing in an airtight container in the fridge when not being used. It will last up to 2 days.
3. If you want to color your icing add small drops of food coloring and stir until you have the desired color.
4. If you're using a tip, prep your bag with a coupler. I found this quick tutorial in case you're not sure how to.
5. Put your decorators bag in a glass and fold the edges over the side.
6. Spoon your royal icing into the bag and tie with elastic. If you're not using the #1 tip cut as little as possible off the tip of your bag.
7. Write whatever you want on your grams. It's good to practice first of a piece of parchment paper.        
Note: I like to put a tiny bit in my decorators bag and test the consistency before filling it up. That way you can add more water or sugar before it's all prepared in the bag.

Adding gold:
 If you want to add gold to your Pocky bars mix a drop or vodka with gold luster dust in a cup (I always use the lip to my luster dust) and mix them with a paintbrush until you get a nice paint-like consistency. This youtube video goes through the process in more depth if you're interested.
Sugar roses:
 I bought them at Bulk Barn and added the gold luster dust around the edges.

You can dip your bars in sprinkles, cover them in candy, or keep them simple with just a message. Get creative and have fun!

Sweetest Love, 


Mercedes

Don't forget to tag #thepartyparadediy to share your creations! :)


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Day 2: Pocky Skewers



Okay I know I said yesterday's DIY was the easiest ever, but this actually might be even easier. And delicious. And pretty. And easy. And awesome.
What you need:
Wood skewers
Pocky
Your favorite chewy candies. Marshmallows are great too because they're so soft. We also used key ring candies and just cut off and threw out ate the long part.
What to do:
 1.  Poke the pointy end of the skewer into your candy.
 2.  Move it in small circles until you increase the size of the hole so it looks big enough for the Pocky to fit.
3.  Very gently put the Pocky through the opening, being careful not to break it. Make sure to put some candies on from the bottom and some from the top of the Pocky. The more you slide them the more gooey the Pocky gets and it's more likely they will break. We broke a few while making them so don't feel bad just use it as a taste tester and keep trying!
These would make a great party favor in a little bag with a ribbon, don't you think?



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Day 1: Fancy Pocky

 I dated this guy when I first moved to Toronto. It was a bit of a major disaster. When it was all said and done I learned a whole lot about myself, men, relationships and growing the F up. However, the most important thing he taught me was that Pocky exists (and The Beatles are geniuses).
Pocky has since become one of my favorite treats, and so it only seemed right that it would be the one to launch our 5 DAYS 5 WAYS series. Once a month we're going to choose an awesome product and show you how to style it, craft it and eat it in 5 unique and creative ways.
So here it is. Day one. FANCY POCKY!!!!!
This is seriously the worlds simplest DIY.

What you need
A glass
Pocky (any flavor!)

What to do
1. Put 4 Pocky at a time in your glass upside down and microwave for 30 seconds stopping after 15 to turn them around.
2. Take them out of the glass and roll, dip, and sprinkle on little candies and sprinkles.
THAT'S IT!

Note: Everyone's microwave is different.  You want the Pocky to be melted enough that the goodies will stick but not so the chocolate is melting off.
Have fun and don't forget to tag @thepartyparade and hashtag #thepartyparadediy in your posts so we can see how awesome and brilliant you are!

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Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Cheesecake

I love Ferrero Rocher (duh). And chocolate. And cheesecake. And cake. So why not mix them all together into one giant ball of deliciousness. I still had quite a few leftover Ferrero Rocher's from my little Pastel Christmas Brunch, so I decided to make the yummiest of desserts and incorporate them. I really love hazelnut anything, and this cheesecake cake incorporates Nutella to get that perfect flavour.
Of course I am not the first person to think of such a fabulous idea, I found a few online that I liked and modified them. I actually used a chocolate cake recipe that I have in one of my cookbooks, so you could use your favourite recipe, or try the one here. For the Nutella cheesecake layer, I used this, and halved it. I decided to go with a taller cake, so I used 2-6 inch cake pans and 1-6 inch springform pan instead of 9 inch ones, but you could do that one if you would like a much larger cake. For the icing I used this recipe for Chocolate Nutella Cream Cheese Buttercream, and it is so yummy! I also added some crushed Ferrero Rocher Chocolates.
Bake and cool 2 cake layers, 1 layer of cheesecake, chilled, and buttercream. To assemble Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Cheesecake Cake, place first cake layer, (I level off with my cake cutter) on a cake stand or plate. Place a layer of buttercream with Ferrero Rocher layer on top of the cake and then add the cheesecake layer. Ice a layer of buttercream on top of that. Then add the last chocolate cake layer.  Ice the top of your 2 tier cake with some buttercream. I then used a decorators bag fitted with a 1M tip and made little swirls evenly spaced along the edge and topped each with a full Ferrero Rocher. Tadaa!
TIPS:
-I always parchment paper my cake pans, it make for perfect sides when you remove from pan. You can find a tutorial on how to do that here if you aren't sure how.
-I put my cheesecake in the freezer in the pan after letting it cool so that it got very stiff, as to not buckle under the top layer.
-I put my buttercream in a decorator's bag and make circles starting on the outside, and then use an offset cake spatula to spread it out evenly. This is not necessary but I find it makes it a bit more even and prettier ;)
 Here's the photo setup for those who asked!
 xoxo love,

Nat
I used a black piece of foamcore as the backdrop and two smaller pieces on the sides, with an opening  to allow light to fall onto my objects. I couldn't find my reflector at that moment so I just used a piece of white paper to bounce a little bit of light onto the left side. It was a pretty gloomy day, so I decided to go for a bit of a darker look and am very happy with how it turned out. 
 
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