Even in the heat of summer, some companies aren't cooling down. I call them toppers, but you may know them as companies that are on a financial roll to the point of blowing past analyst estimates. It's a good place to be, at least until Wall Street catches up.

That said, let's take a closer look at a few of the companies that humbled the prognosticators this past week.

We'll start with CKE Restaurants (NYSE:CKR). The company behind the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast-food chains earned $0.23 a share in its first quarter of fiscal 2007. That was better than the $0.21 per share that analysts had been expecting as they pulled up through the drive-thru, and the crisp performance even includes stock-based compensation charges that weren't baked into the Street's forecast.

Burger chains may be seen as fickle investments, especially for operators like Carl's Jr. and Hardee's that have embraced the decadent side of the niche with their extreme burger concoctions. Battling everything from minimum wage shifts to the fluctuating costs of raw ingredients, it's never a cakewalk. CKE will have its ups and downs along the way, but why dwell on the negative when it's doing so well at the moment?

Topps (NASDAQ:TOPP) was another topper. The baseball and trading card maker was looking to earn just $0.02 a share for the quarter, but it wound up earning twice that sum. It was a notable event because the company had come in below expectations in four of five previous quarters.

The ground rule double was made possible thanks to a 27% spike in its flagship baseball card business. There is still weakness in the company's candy business, but Topps is now looking to earn between $0.25 a share to $0.30 a share before charges this year. Analysts had been penciled in for a mere $0.19-per-share showing.

Then there's Lennar (NYSE:LEN). The homebuilder earned $2 a share for the quarter for a $0.15-per-share upward surprise. Unfortunately, as we've seen with far too many real estate developers, the outlook isn't as rosy, as order cancellations and the need for costlier incentives to seal new deals are likely to sting the company's bottom line in the coming quarters.

Lennar warned, but this is also a company that has beaten Wall Street's numbers for 15 consecutive quarters. There are certainly reasons to be fearful, but with the stock already trading more than a third off last summer's highs, it may be worth a nibble, given its history to overdeliver.

So, keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, it will be a rewarding experience for investors. That's the kind of surprise that market watchers relish in the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service. The strategy has paid off as the average Rule Breaker selection has trounced the S&P 500's market return. Want in? Try it out with a 30-day trial subscription.

Either way, come back next Monday to learn about more stocks that blew the market away.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.