Monday, February 29, 2016

Cake Pops Made Easy... or infinitely more complicated

For Bentley's first birthday, I had the genius idea that making cake pops would be easier than going the cake/cupcake route. Obviously. While they ended up being a ton more work (and time) then expected, they were awesome, tasted amazing and everyone was impressed. We didn't follow any recipe or procedure, just went with the general gist of how we thought they should be made.

You need:

  • Cake mix (and whatever ingredients your cake needs)
  • Frosting (3/4 a can per cake)
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Chocolate chips or melting chocolates 
  • Candy/sprinkles
  • bowls for mixing cake, crumbling cake into, and melting coating in
  • saucepan for the dipping stage
  • baking pans for cakes
  • waxed paper
  • cookie sheets
  • Styrofoam blocks
  • plenty of counter space
  • no place to go for several hours

Step 1: Bake cake(s) as directed on the cake mix box. Or go all fancy and make a cake from scratch if you're going to be all ambitious... though if you're that kind of baker you're probably not looking here for advice. We baked a total of 4 cakes for Bentley's first birthday and turned three of them into cake pops.

Step 2: Crumble the entire cake once it is cool. This is oddly satisfying even though you're essentially just ruined the hard work of baking a cake.

Step 3: Add frosting. We went with about 3/4 of a can of frosting per cake to get the right consistency. Basically you want it to be almost cookie dough-like consistency. You want it to stick together when you roll it. You can mix with a spoon, but I found that the batch that we mixed with hands was easier because we could tell when we had just the right amount of frosting. 

Step 4: Roll into balls. I saw on the internets that some people use a cookie scoop or a melon baller to get just the right size/shape. We're not that fancy around here, so we used an ice cream scoop to get the amount we wanted, then rolled them in our hands until they were semi-roundish. Ours ended up being bigger then most people probably want, but they tasted good and that's all that matters. We put the finished balls on a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet. Once your cake balls are rolled, stick them in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.
We didn't do that with these ones,
and the sticks fell off as we tried to dip,
so we ended up redoing them.

Step 5: Put the stick in. We discovered by trial and error that if you put a little of whatever coating your putting on your pops on the stick before you put it in the ball, it stays a lot better. So we dipped each stick in chocolate chips (for the chocolate ones) or melting chocolate (for the vanilla cakes) and then put them back in the fridge to harden. This made dipping the pops a lot easier.

Step 6: Dip your cake pops. For the chocolate pops, we dipped them in melted chocolate chips and I highly do not recommend this. It was really hard to get the right consistency. It took forever to coat the entire pop, and it was a mess. We did those first and it took us almost 2 hours to dip all of the pops. The blue ones we did with melting chocolate took about 20 minutes. Lesson learned. To dip them, melt your coating of choice in a small bowl over a pot of hot water. I'm sure there's a technical cooking term for this, but it kinda looks like the picture to the left. We also used a grill brush to make the coating even. The ones we didn't do this too ended up uneven and odd-shaped. This does leave little lines on the pops, but we thought they looked kind of cool

Step 6.5: While you are dipping pops, you need to add candy/sprinkles/crumbled cake pieces to the tops of them before they cool. We used m&m's and rainbow sprinkles on ours. Sprinkles were easier because they stayed on by themselves, the m&m's I had push on individually to make sure they stayed on the chocolate and not all over the floor. 

Step 7: Place dipped and candied pops upright in a piece of Styrofoam. Luckily we had some still in the garage from a Christmas present. I've also seen people use an upside down colander for this. Whatever method you use, you want your pops as upright as possible and not touching each other.

Step 8: Refrigerate. Once the coating hardened, we laid ours down upside-down on waxed-paper lined baking sheets, so they would take up less room in the fridge. Since the coating was already hardened, we didn't have to worry about making flat spots on the tops. We left them like that overnight before the party.

Step 9: Display and enjoy. We put ours on styrafoam blocks inside these containers (cups? vases? no idea) so they would stand up right on our lovely cake table. And then we ate them. And people loved them.


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