|Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats|
In the blogoverse there are many different topics covered; almost surely something for everyone. In my Google Reader I’ve got a wide variety of blogs that I try to read (and comment on) each day. Recently I read about cake pops and since I hadn’t seen them before, decided I needed to give them a try! I was planning on trying to make these for my son’s birthday in a month but another opportunity presented itself first – the End of the Year Picnic at his school and celebrating his birthday with his class.
For Mother’s Day the boys got me the Cake Pops book by Bakerella (pictured above). I was very nervous about taking on this task since I’d never made the cake pops before. The awesome thing about the book (which I highly recommend you get!) is that it walks you through making a basic cake ball (cake pop without the stick) with easy to follow instructions and tons of pictures. She also has a page dedicated to “troubleshooting” which answers a range of questions you will either think about before you being or encounter during the process. There’s also a “techniques” section that gives you suggestions on cake and frosting combinations, tips to help your cake crumble, making shapes, candy coating basics and a handy reference of different colors and flavored candy melts from Make ‘n Mold, Merckens and Wilton. Bakerella also touches on dipping methods with a handy do and don’t list, some tools, ingredients, equipment, sprinkles and decorative add ons. From here, the book goes in to a wide variety of “Cake Pop Projects”. At the end of the book are some recipes and a great picture index of the projects included in the book. Corbin had decided on the “Ice Cream Cone Sundaes” for his class. I thought these shouldn’t be too challenging and was a good place for a newbie like me to start out.
|Corbin’s choice for his class treat|
As directed, I made my cakes (yellow and chocolate) two days before I actually needed the cake pops. The reality is these aren’t really something you can come home tonight and decide you want to make. It does take a little bit of planning. I made the cake two days in advance so it had plenty of time to cool before I crumbled it to make the balls (kind of seemed counter productive to make a pretty cake then smash it but I got over it pretty quickly). I used box cake mix as suggested in the book because it’s more consistent than a homemade recipe. The following night we came home from work and school and the boys were beyond thrilled to help Mommy in the kitchen. They quickly washed their hands and started making “crumbs – but not a mess” as my sweet four year old pointed out several times. (My kitchen counters and floors didn’t agree with the “not a mess” part…I’m not gonna lie some did escape the bowl but it wasn’t terrible.)
|Can you tell my helper was excited???|
|Corbin and Carter helping to make cake crumbs|
Once we got everything crumbled up, it was time to add the frosting. You’ll have to find a use for the remainder of the frosting – you’ll only need 3/4 of the container to make the cake crumbs sticky enough to make balls. (Don’t get rid of the “extra” too quickly – one batch did require a bit more frosting than the other) Here’s what we came up with:
|Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting|
|Yellow cake with chocolate frosting|
Using a whole cake is supposed to give you 48 cake balls. There are tips in the book if you don’t need or want 48 of them. I will tell you that I got more than 48 out of each batch we made and the cake balls were all pretty good sized (three to four bites each). It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it might to make the cake balls themselves but I did have one interruption:
|Jeff coming over to visit|
Jeff the Alligator decided to move in behind out house so we were all watching him cross the street. It was interesting to see him watch and wait for the cars on his journey across the road. Before too long, we had two pans of cake balls.
|A batch of cake balls|
|Cake balls up close|
I covered both pans of cake balls with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge until the following night when I was planning on dipping them in the candy melts. I ran around on my lunch hour and got the ingredients I didn’t already have at home to make our creations. One thing not pictured is something to store these cake pop creations in/on. For the actual pops, I used a piece of Styrofoam which worked great. The cones I just stood back on the cookie sheet when I was done with them.
I got started by melting the candy melts in the microwave (this is when I got really nervous…there was no turning back now!). It took about three minutes (in 30 second intervals) on 50% power to melt the candy melts and get the right consistency. If you’re worried that it looks too thick, consult “the book” for tips on how to thin the candy melts or if you should just scrap it and start over. To make the ice cream cones, I needed a color for the “ice cream” and for the chocolate tops.
Cake balls came out of the fridge about eight at a time so the rest stayed nice and firm while I worked on the ones I had out. I dropped the cake balls into the candy melts and made sure they were fully coated. I used a lollipop stick to get them out of the candy melts and onto the mini ice cream cones I got (from Walmart). (Tip – if your cake ball gets stuck on the lollipop stick, give it a little twist to make the cake ball come off) Don’t stress if the stick leaves a hole – you can cover it with the chocolate! 🙂 The recipe called for peanut M&Ms on top but since Corbin’s allergic to peanuts (and I had a bag in the cupboard), we used regular M&Ms which worked just fine. Things went a bit more quickly than I’d planned with the ice cream cones. I made another batch of basic cake pops (cake balls on a stick) which seemed to take a lot longer and used a lot more of the candy melts to cover them (sorry for some reason I didn’t take a picture with my camera of the cake pops…not sure what happened there!).
|My ice cream cone creation|
Once the cake balls had all been dipped, they went back into the fridge for the night thanks to the heat and humidity we have here in the South. In another climate they probably would have been ok on the counter over night. The cake pops went to school in the piece of Styrofoam they were stuck in and the ice cream cones just went in a plastic storage container. Thankfully Corbin’s teacher has a refrigerator in her classroom so I didn’t need to worry about storing them there. Bakerella’s got some tips on storage and shipping in her book if you’re making and sharing these yummy treats.
I loved that this process was overall pretty easy and really anyone could do this. My kids enjoyed making the cake into crumbs but also could have easily helped dip the cake balls (I’m sure they would have loved this!!). My oldest son really enjoyed passing them out in his class. One of the best parts is that you could break it up over a couple of days if needed like I did (I think it would be at least a full day project from baking the cake, letting it cool completely, making the cake balls, letting them chill and finally dipping them). They were a huge hit with Corbin’s class and very popular at the cake walk during the picnic. I would make these again, and plan to make them for Corbin’s birthday party next month.
|Little Brother was happy he was able to come to school for the treat!|
Share your creations with me!!
This post is not sponsored in any way by Bakerella or any other companies listed. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.