15 Tuesday Apr 2014
Cake pops were all the rage a few years ago, but they still make a great little sweet treat. Perfect for favors or handouts for school parties. Caroline was given one for Halloween last year and ever since then she’s been talking about cake pops. Since I’ve never made them I figured this was a good opportunity to try them out. I figured anything could be less labor intensive than our usual birthday favor bag treat, Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing. Since I had to make 2 birthday cakes and cupcakes for school, I wanted easier!
Here’s the funny thing, I’ve wanted to make cake pops for a long time. I have a million cute ideas bookmarked, I have one of those little machines still in the box down in the basement, and I have all of the materials ready to go. Yet, I’ve never tried them. I was told to steer clear, they were a pain to make. I was told a million different ways to make them. I tried that little cake pop machine that was supposed to make life easier, but it didn’t. Finally, I took some of what I was told by a few trusted friends and just sat down one day and started my journey by myself. That was the key advise I received. Set aside a day. Well, at least a few hours! The next bit of advise that was helpful? Go ahead and use boxed cake if you want. I made them both ways and there was no difference. While I have a ways to go to perfect the decorating portion of cake pops, these earned rave reviews from everyone and I’ll be playing with these in the near future to get my decorating skills perfected. So, here’s what I did.
1) Bake the cake and let is cool. Once it has cooled, crumble it with your fingers until you have consistent fine crumbs.
2) Make frosting or open up a tub of store-bought. I used almost all of the store-bought, leaving only a couple of tablespoons behind. Slowly add frosting to cake crumbs and mix in with your hands. This was the hardest part for me, it totally felt worse to me than making meatballs! You do not want to add too much frosting that it becomes a sludge-like texture, but enough that the cake will hold shape.
3) Using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop cake mixture and then roll into a uniform ball in your hands. Taking care while rolling, you do not want to put pressure on the cake, just gently rolling it until you have reached the perfect shape. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat and continue until you have used all of the cake mixture.
4) Melt a small amount of chocolate that you are using and submerge the tip of your candy stick in, about 1/2″ and then place half-way through your cake ball. Take care not to push the sticks all of the way through the cake ball.
5) Place cake pops in the freezer for about 20 minutes. You do not want to freeze them any longer. Too cold will make the chocolate freeze to it and crack, too warm and the chocolate will take forever to cool and adhere to the cake pop.
6) Melt chocolate in a narrow cup. I used Wilton’s Candy Melts. I accidentally made one batch with the pink raspberry chocolate and the flavor combination with the chocolate cake was delicious!
7) Taking a few cake balls out of the freezer at a time, submerge the cake pops in the melted chocolate. Hold the cake pop over the cup at an angle and tap your wrist with your other hand until you have shaken off excess chocolate. Then, place your finished cake pop in a holder and repeat with the rest. The chocolate should harden within 30 seconds. If you are using sprinkles, add them just before the chocolate hardens. Too early and they will sink into the chocolate as it is hardening and too late and they wont stick at all. Any kind of holder is fine, I used spray-foam since we had some laying around and created my own Styrofoam board. You can also buy some cardboard ones in the baking aisle of many stores. Lots of folks make cake pops with the sticks pointing up, this is the easiest since you can lay the cake pop directly on to a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
8) Once the chocolate has hardened. You can wrap them in cake pop candy bags. They will stay fresh for 2 weeks. The chocolate coating and wrapper will seal in the freshness. I’ve even tried longer and they were fine, but I live dangerously! You can place them in the freezer to quicken the process, but mine were hardened and wrapped within 30 minutes.
If you choose to further decorating, simply do so after the initial chocolate coating has hardened. Then allow to fry and wrap and store them as mentioned above.
Yields roughly 40 cake pops.