It's time for another copycat recipe!! I admit, I was VERY intimidated thinking about making this, but little man wanted it so badly, I gave it a shot, so that I could guarantee it would be completely safe for his allergies.
Much to my surprise, it was easier than I thought it would be, AND it was really tasty!
Like so many other recipes I do, you can change this up a little bit to suit YOU and your needs. While the original version at Pop Century Resort has Red Velvet Cake on the bottom, don't want it? Do chocolate! Or white, and make those colors really pop! Have a holiday approaching? Don't do the bright neon colors, do pastel, or red, white and blue, or even a team's colors! Make a large one, or make a bunch of minis (I did both!) This is very versatile! The most labor intensive part is the amount of dishes it creates.
I'm going to show you step by step, then put the recipe at the end. This recipe is actually enough to make 24 mini cheesecakes, and one 9 inch springform pan cheesecake, not quite full.
When you think about these bring around $6 each at Disney...it's much better to do it DIY! the total cost of ingredients, for me, was around $7, because I had the icing colors on hand, and the vanilla and sugar, I only calculated the portion that I used in my cost. I'm using the same icing colors that I used in the Copycat Banana Split Cupcakes, because I love (and need) them from a Nut Free Facility.
If you are making a large cake, go ahead and mix the batter, putting about half of it in your springform, and put it in the oven. If you are making only minis, line the pan, and put in the bottom of each something like a vanilla wafer, or a piece of graham cracker.. It makes a nice crust, and makes it easier to handle the cheesecake.
Mix your cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, eggs, vanilla and lemon until smooth.
Divide the mixture into small bowls, one bowl for each color you want your cheesecake to be, and then color it until you are happy with the color.
Cool your cake, and once cool, or if just doing minis, start to drop spoon fulls of colored mix.
Keep dropping spoonfuls until your minis are about 2/3 full, and about an inch from the top of the larger pan, because the cheesecake mixture will expand as it cooks.
Once it is all mixed, take a toothpick and drag it through the batter, swirling and mixing until you think it looks nice.
Isn't that beautiful??? Like a work of art!
Pop it in the oven and keep a CLOSE eye on it.
Of course, the small ones cook faster, but I am not kidding, I thought to myself, naaaah, the big one needs just another minute or two, and in that time, I went from bright colors, to a sepia tone. Still tasty, and attractive, but not the bright colors I had planned for.
The minis turned out great, just as vibrant as when they went in, however....it would appear I didn't take a final picture of those!! Whoops! I guess we ate them too fast!
Here's the recipe! Please note, I used full fat versions of ingredients, sometimes lighter doesn't bake as well. You can try whatever you like though!
1 Box mix of Red Velvet (Or your favorite flavor)
the ingredients needed to make the box mix
3 bricks of REGULAR cream cheese room temp
1 1/3 cups white sugar
16 oz tub of REGULAR sour cream
1/4 all purpose flour
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice
food colors (I used gel) in red, purple, green, blue, yellow, orange OR your desired colors
Make cake batter, and put about a third in the springform pan. Bake until done, and cool. If just making minis, skip this step!
Heat oven to 325
Beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each. Add flour, vanilla, lemon juice, and sour cream and mix until incorporated, but don't overmix!
Divide batter between bowls matching the number of dyes you want to use, then add dye until you have the color you want. Drop spoonfuls of colored batter over the cake, or the cupcake pan in the spring form pan, leaving about an inch from the top of the pan.
Use a toothpick to swirl and blend colors.
Place in the middle of the top rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes for the large cake, ABOUT 20 minutes for the mini cheesecakes. This is where I went wrong with my larger one. Trust the hour 15 min unless you've made cheesecakes before and know your oven cooks quick or slow.
Don't leave these alone, and keep peeking on them. Sometimes the cheesecake starts to rise too high and will make a mess in your oven. If you see it rising too high, don't turn off the heat, but open the oven door a crack for a few minutes, and then close it, the cheesecake will drop in height.
The large cheesecake will not be set completely at the end of the hour 15 minutes. After the baking time is up, crack the oven door and leave in for an additional hour. After an hour, remove and cool, then refrigerate, overnight.
The minis, can be eaten after just a few hours of cooling!
Final step, slice, serve and enjoy!
Want to see how our minis, compare with the real thing? Here's a picture on Trip Advisor that shows what the Pop Century version looks like! See how tiny it is though???
I really hope you try and make this! It's less intimidating than I thought, and I admit, I feel really proud I was able to make it!
Any ideas what we should make next??
Since our youngest developed a food allergy, we have become much more aware of how difficult it can be to dine out. One of the hardest things to get are desserts, so trips to Dunkin Donuts, or most any bakery treat have been out for a while now. While the particular treat he might want may not actually have his allergen in it, it could have been exposed to the allergen through cross contact. Cross contact is when chocolate donuts are put on the same pan that ten minutes earlier nuts were sprinkled onto an iced donut. Same thing with cupcakes, muffins, cookies, often pans aren't washed between batches. Unfortunately, just because you don't see the allergen doesn't mean it's not there. The oils and proteins aren't visible from a nut that was dropped, then brushed aside, and that's what can stick to the side or bottom of a treat can cause a reaction. Cross contamination stinks, especially when you are a kid, and just want a fun looking, and tasting dessert.
I've always been up for baking, but when my youngest kept talking about all the great cupcakes he had last time, and asking if they were going to be safe or not, I admit my heart broke a little. I told him they might not be, but promised I would learn to make whatever he wanted, and wow has he thrown some doozies at me. Some of them I'm worried to try, but I'm going to figure it out, and help YOU to figure it out too!
I've agreed to make one Disney Dessert a month, and chronicle it here, so that I can share how AWESOME, TASTY and EASY it can be to make a Disney Dessert, AND best of all, on a budget!
Here is the first he asked me to make, Pop Century's Banana Split Cupcakes, but, with vanilla icing, not banana flavored. If you really want the banana flavored icing, I bet you can find an extract for it at the grocery store.
These 24 delicious Banana Split Cupcakes were made for less than the cost of 2 cupcakes at Disney, with leftover ingredients for next time. Ready to learn how? I think you'll like them as much as my baby does!
Gather your supplies. You'll need:
A yellow box cake mix, your favorite brand plus all the ingredients on the back (not pictured!)
Butter, 2 sticks
1 half bag of confectioners sugar
a tbs of milk
1 tsp of vanilla
pinch of salt
Whipping cream, whipped cream in a can, or cool whip
Yellow icing dye
Maraschino cherries (not in the picture, I totally forgot to add them!)
Hershey's Chocolate sauce
Make your batter, and pour into your lined pans. Bake according to instructions.
While those are cooling, start to make your icing. If you have a stand mixer, that works best, but a hand mixer can get the job done too.
Beat the butter, and confectioners sugar. Add the salt, and vanilla, and drizzling in about half the milk while beating. After about 2 minutes, you will be able to tell if your icing is too stiff. If it is, add a little more milk until the icing is soft enough to push a spoon through, but not so soft a spoon can't sit upright when pushed into your icing without tipping over. If the icing is too soft, maybe it's a hot day, maybe you added too much milk, then add a little more sugar, a spoon full at a time until you get the desired constancy.
Once your icing is made, color it a cheery yellow. I like this brand of icing, it's a gel, and made in a nut free facility. I bought it at Hobby Lobby, for about $2 a bottle. I really like this better than the Wilton dye I used for so many years. It squeezes out, AND it's safe for my son's allergies.
Now it's time to put the icing on. I didn't pipe the icing on, I didn't see a need to do that, since it's going to be covered up. Just a nice dollop, and then spread almost to the edge.
Take your Hershey's Syrup, and make a circle, not quite to the outer edge of your cupcake. The syrup will actually become almost gel like after a few minutes, but in the meantime, if a few drips run down, just looks more like a Banana Split Sundae!
I didn't have cool whip or in the can whipped cream, so I had to make my own. If you've never done that before, all you need is heavy whipping cream, I used about a cup full, and a spoon of regular sugar to stabilize the cream. The sugar sweetens the cream, but it also stabilizes it, which is VERY important. It means that your whipped cream won't collapse, and turn back into a liquid state.
Beat at a medium speed until the cream starts to stiffen and make little peaks. Don't over beat, you'll make butter!
Either dollar on, or pipe with a bag and tip. I did it both ways, it looked great either way.
Shake on sprinkles, and if desired, add the cherry! It's very, very yummy!
Here is a picture of my version, and you can click here to visit Disney Food Blog and see a picture of the Disney version. Mine is smaller, and I don't have 3 inches of icing on there, but it's also not $6, yet still a generous portion, but not so much you can't finish it all, or feel obligated to share!
What do you think? Are you going to try and make them this weekend? I will tell you...they only LOOK hard to make!
The reports are rolling in that most places you might get a beverage at in Disney World are either offering a straw with no lid, a lid with no straw, or no lid and no straw.
I'm not sure about you guys, but if I pay $4 for a soda, I like it to stay in the cup, as I try and carry my tray of food through the gauntlet of pushing, impatient people jockeying to order their food or for a table.
We all knew this day was coming when Disney said they were going to make eco changes (and save money at the same time), but while a few have embraced it, I'll be honest, I haven't.
If you are like our family, and want a lid and a straw, while it is not ideal, I'm sure you already know you can bring a handful of straws, but what about that lid?
Glad Press and Seal Wrap! I cut off a small piece, and it adheres wonderfully to anything! A paper cup, a plastic cup, a Styrofoam cup... it's awesome! See? Even when you get it a jiggle or shake!
While it is one more thing to stick in my bag, I have been experimenting with cutting out squares, and putting them in a ziplock bag. So far they have unstuck for me pretty good. Maybe it's an idea for you! I know we plan to try it.
Do you remember the adorable Mickey goldfish crackers that appeared to help celebrate Mickey's 90th? They are back, with with an on the go, portable, or giftable size! I spotted (and promptly bought) these at Target. There are 24 mini bags, and these would be cute to send in for snacktime or as valentines, but I am actually going to save them in case I can't get more, for our upcoming Disney trip! Goldfish were already on the list,and I just know as yummy as these will taste, they will have a bit of extra magic while eaten in the Magic Kingdom!
If you are looking for them yourself, check in the section where they have the Valentine treats. These were $6.99.
Planning to get yourself some? I don't blame you! Going to Disney soon? Taking your own snacks to Disney is an awesome way to save a bundle, did you know that? They are really generous with how much food you can bring in. Click here, to read all about it!
New year, new Disney Dining Plan!! There have been a few changes, and it’s up to YOU to decide if the Disney Dining Plan is still the best for your family or not.
The price has gone up compared to in 2018, however the price only went up for children's dining plans! Could this be because of the dramatic price hikes for beverages and snacks, this past fall? Keep reading to see the new prices!
Disney Dining Plans can be a little bit confusing if you've never used one before. If used wisely, the Dining Plans are a fantastic way to save a little or a lot on your trip, depending on what you eat or how much you drink, letting you add even more magic to your vacation!
Here's a basic overview about the Disney Dining Plan for 2019 to help you decide if the plan is right for you.
Disney World offers three dining plans for guests staying on property. The Quick Service Dining Plan, the Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. Each plan comes with a refillable souvenir mug that can be used at any resort during the length of your stay. Each restaurant will have a different theme, so it's often fun to try a new place each time.
The Quick Service Dining Plan is our favorite right now since we have small kids who don't want to sit still at a sit down restaurant for very long. This plan includes 2 meals per day, consisting of an entree and it's included side(s) (think half chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, or sandwich and fries) and new in 2018, those under the age of 21 can choose to have soda, tea or coffee, a milkshake, smoothie or other specialty non alcoholic beverage. Those over the age of 21 with valid ID can choose to have a beer, cider, mixed drink or wine if available. This plan also includes 2 snack credits which can be used on a variety of things from soups or salads, drinks, desserts or packaged snacks. My favorite thing to use a snack credit on are the themed cupcakes. Gigantic works of art and delicious! We have never felt like we've sacrificed food choices with this plan. Quick Service doesn't mean you are stuck with just burgers and fries. There are yummy salads, seafood, fajitas, and so much more. Mr. Disney Magic loves going to Animal Kingdom and having lunch at Flame Tree BBQ so he can order the Ribs, chicken and pulled pork plate that includes baked beans, coleslaw and jalapeno cornbread. With Quick Service meals, no gratuities are charged and you do not need reservations.
The Dining Plan is the standard meal plan with Disney World and it includes 1 Quick Service meal, 1 Table Service meal and 2 snacks. You get everything as above with the Quick Service plan, but the Table Service meal can be a buffet or a sit down restaurant, and includes a dessert. This is a popular plan because it's the best of both worlds. You can have a quick lunch if you want and a leisurely dinner to unwind after a day at the Parks. There are a few Table Service restaurants that even offer special seating for nighttime shows, or Character Meals including breakfasts, however some of those might require the use of two meal credits. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The Deluxe Dining Plan is the most expensive plan because you get a lot more. This plan includes 3 meals, your choice of Quick Service or Table Service. If you choose the Table Service, in addition to the above entitlements, you also get to choose an appetizer. Gratuity will be added on additionally for Table Service restaurants just like if you went to a sit down restaurant at home. Reservations are usually required, and may be reserved up to 180 days before your trip.
The prices for the 2019 Disney Dining Plans are as follows:
Quick Service - Per night Ages 10 and up $52.50 Ages 9 and under $23.78
Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $75.49 Ages 9 and under $27.98
Deluxe Dining Plan – Per night Ages 10 and up $116.25 Ages 9 and under $43.49
There are some legitimate reasons as to why, or why not this plan might be good for you. If you love the idea of having all meals paid for in advance and if you like to have Table Service meals and don't mind planning in advance this plan may be perfect for you. If you just like to snack in the park, or want to bring in part of your own food and just eat one meal in the park, you might not get as much benefit from this.
An incredibly easy way to see if you will come out ahead or not if you buy this plan is to use this fabulous dining plan calculator. DisTripPlanner.com has put a lot of work into making your decision as easy as can be. Just make sure that you do add in the refillable mug in step 2, in order to get the most accurate result. Just click here to see the calculator.
A few things to remember.
Want to read more?
Click here for tips and tricks to maximize your Disney Dining plan credits
Click here to read about bringing your own food in at Disney
Click here to read about how to save HUNDREDS in just a few minutes at Disney