Nov 22, 2011 Cooking & Baking
So I’m not sure when I first got it in my mind to make cake pops. It might have been after I brought a couple of really beautiful NY Cake Pops home for the kids from an event (the Hugh Jackman interview – that’s right, eye candy and dessert), and they raved about them. It might have been when I spent an hour searching for the perfect cake decorating book on Amazon and discovered that cake pops were taking over. Or it might have been the moment I decided to do Slim-Fast and my inner demon said “Cake pops. Cake pops!”
Regardless, I decided to do it, and in true “me” fashion I ordered a bunch of supplies before making even one batch. I ordered a big Styrofoam block to let them dry on, a plastic display stand for serving them (to whom, I had no idea) and little bags and gold twist ties to wrap them in.
But then over the weekend, before any of that stuff had arrived, Fiona and I decided to jump in and make some. I had a layer of yellow cake in the freezer that I hadn’t used because it was really lopsided, so I put Fiona to work breaking that into crumbs.
I wanted to have some kind of vanilla/chocolate flavor contrast, but didn’t have any vanilla frosting to mix with the crumbs (and just didn’t feel like making any), and only had dark chocolate melting chocolate, so I just used those. Fiona mixed everything up by hand – literally – and I took out my new Wilton chocolate melter (which is awesome, by the way).
Fiona made the pops many different sizes, and as much as I wanted to correct her I was also curious as to which size would work best (we discovered that if you make them too small, they fall apart when you put the stick in). We put those in the fridge for an hour.
Then we dipped our sucker sticks in the melted chocolate, stuck them halfway into the pops, and put it all back in the fridge for another half hour.
Jake came over to help dip (yeah, he’s the kind of “helper” who shows up for the fun part and then disappears) and they decorated the pops with chocolate chips, colored sugar, and sprinkles.
We let them sit until they were dry to the touch, then we tried them and oh my GOD they were good. I mean, how could they not be? It’s frosting and cake dipped in chocolate. The next step was to make them look good. And I’m sorry to say, I had to do this without Fiona. Don’t get me wrong, the kids’ turned out really cute, but I get annoying with this stuff. If I can’t make it look professional I’ll just buy it from someone who can.
The only additional supply that had arrived was the Styrofoam block. I covered it in packing tape, got out a ruler, and poked sixteen holes on one side and twenty-five holes on the other (for different sized pops). I put some foil over the top to catch drips. Eventually I think I’m going to get a wood block and drill holes, but who knows when I’ll get around to that. If someone could just sell me one that would be fabulous.
I made a 13x9x2” devil’s food cake from a mix and let it cool completely, then I put it in my stand mixer and mixed it up until it was in pieces. Since the cake was nice and moist it didn’t really get to a crumbly stage like the other one had, but it did get to the point where there were no big pieces.
I added canned chocolate frosting a spoonful at a time until the cake was the consistency of soft Play-Doh (I ended up using 3/4 of a cup).
Now, here’s the part where you’ll start to suspect that I’m a little crazy, but I got out my trusty Oxo kitchen scale and weighed out cake balls 30 grams each. Trust me: if you want to make things a uniform size nothing is as easy as weighing them. The key is to have a scale that can weigh in negative numbers, so that you just keep taking the dough out of the bowl until you’ve reached 30 grams. So much better than eyeballing it.
Once balled up, I put the pan in the fridge for half an hour to chill. About half way through that I pre-heated the Wilton chocolate melter and melted some chocolate, stirring frequently. Then I switched it to the “warm” setting and got the pan from the fridge.
I dipped each sucker stick into the chocolate and pushed them about halfway into the cake balls. I’ve checked out a few sites over the past few days for cake ball advice and even though most of them advised putting the balls back in the fridge before dipping, I didn’t. I let them sit for about fifteen minutes to let the sticks set, then got to dipping. (It’s worth noting though that by the time I got to the last ten, I had to put them back in the fridge – they were totally warm and mushy. So depending on how fast you work, you may or may not have to cool them down again.)
It took me a while to get my technique down so that they came out smooth, but here’s what I ended up with after making about a dozen uglier ones: I dip the ball in and immediately (but gently) tap the stick against my finger to get off excess chocolate. This leaves the chocolate a little lopsided, so I twirl the ball slowly while letting the rest of the excess drip towards the stick. Once the chocolate stops moving and starts to set I put the stick into the Styrofoam.
After about half an hour the cake balls were dry, and I drizzled them with white chocolate. Another fifteen minutes and they were stable enough to be laid down again without wrecking the chocolate. Ideally I would have put them into my new plastic stand, but it isn’t here yet!
Some sites have said to refrigerate them at this point, and some said they would “weep” – that the moisture would escape from the insides and things would get ugly. These are going to my son’s classroom tomorrow for their Thanksgiving feast, and since I routinely leave frosted cake or cupcakes out for forty-eight hours, I think these will be fine too.
I can’t wait until the white dipping chocolate I ordered gets here, because that’s when the fun will begin. Even though I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, coloring it does make the cutest cake pops.
Now that I’ve got my dipping technique down I want to try something more complicated, from a booklet I was sent to review, Cake Pops & Mini Treats. I need a few more supplies though. Yay, more shopping!
While making these look good is certainly harder than making them taste good, this was a great project for Fiona and me to do together, and I can’t wait to make them with her again. And I promise not to critique her technique. :-)
I visited the following sites to learn the basic techniques for making cake pops:
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1 (NY Cake Pops, Cake Pops & Mini Treats booklet). Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.
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