For years Cake Pops have been taking the baking world by storm. Some say they are gimmicky, but secretly they are just jealous they didn’t think of this fabulously simple idea themselves. That honour belongs to my baking inspiration, Bakerella. If you haven’t checked out her blog (and really, who hasn’t??) you should. You really should.
After my wedding (which I had been planning for most of 2012) I all of a sudden found myself with a lot of spare time. Cake Pops were one of those things on my baking bucket list so I invested in some lolly pop sticks and set to work. My very first ever cake pop was a Christmas Pudding. Inside was chocolate mud cake with store bought frosting…. I know, I know, but it was already in the fridge from when a friend came to visit and made me a cake. God bless her.
They turned out great, until I realised I didn’t even think of tempering the chocolate for the outside. If they stayed too long out of the fridge, then they would drop off the sticks! But they were very pretty!
I decided to make Cake Pops again for a friends birthday party recently. I made them gluten free seeing as a couple of the guests were gluten intolerant. I was a bit worried about this as GF is generally quite dry and the pops have to be quite moist to turn into balls and stay on a stick. But the recipe I used was absolutely fine. And I used my own frosting this time!
After a bit of research, I decided to use Nestle White Chocolate Melts instead of the Wilton Candy Melts for the coating. I still haven’t used the Candy Melts but from all accounts they taste a little strange, so I will continue using the White Chocolate and colour it myself. Who want’s a strange tasting cake pop? I am a huge fan of white chocolate, and it is so much cheaper than the melts anyway, so win-win.
I used a really simple recipe from Taste and substituted the milk with Soy Milk and butter with Nuttelex. My body doesn’t appreciate too much dairy, and seeing as though this would be coated in dairy-laden white chocolate, I had to reduce it where I could.
After the cake is cooled, blitz it in your food processor so it resembles fine bread crumbs. Place it into a medium sized bowl and start to add the frosting. I usually add two heaped tablespoons of frosting first and work it through the mixture, adding more if it needs it. This is where it gets messy. It has to be worked in with your hands – kind of like rubbing butter into flour when you make scones. There is no real measurement to the amount of frosting, just enough so it holds its shape when rolled into a ball.
Invest in a small ice-cream scoop so your balls are the same size, this makes it so much easier than having to guess each time. All you do is scoop it up and roll. Repeat a million times…
I like to put the first few finished cake balls in the freezer, how ever many you can fit on a small plate. So these are getting cold while you do the rest of the cake balls. I find it easier to put the sticks into a cold cake ball, as room temperature ones like to squash out of shape. After you have made all the balls and they are in the freezer, melt about 15 discs of Nestle Melts of chocolate in the microwave until smooth. I use a ceramic mug and microwave for 30 seconds at half power. Stir and microwave again for another 30 seconds.
Dip your lolly pop stick into the chocolate, give it a bit of a stir and insert it through the middle of the cake pop. Don’t go too deep as the cake pop won’t hold it. Aim for the middle of the cake ball. The chocolate plug on the outside of the cake pop will act as a base, keeping the cake pop secure. This will get covered eventually. Pop them back in the fridge to harden.
After about 20 mins chilling time in the fridge, take the cake pops out and leave to warm to room temperature. The warmer the cake pop is when you dip it in the melted chocolate, the less likely it is for the chocolate to crack.
I microwave the chocolate. You can use a double boiler, but I find the microwave easier and there is no risk of steam getting into the chocolate and causing spoilage. On 30 second increments at half power, stirring between. It usually takes 4 or 5 goes. I also add a little bit of Copha/Vegetable shortening. Just because I find it helps in smoothing out the chocolate. Make sure this is completely melted and mixed through. Otherwise it will cause the chocolate casing to weep. I like to use a bowl that is quite tall, just so I can dunk the cake ball in the chocolate in one easy plunge. Pull it out when coated and give it a little tap to remove the excess chocolate still dripping off the top. When the dripping starts to slow down, turn the cake pop right side up so the peak melts back onto itself.
Place your finished cake pop in a polystyrene block, or a florist block – you can usually get these from craft shops. Depending on how you want to finish these, you may want to include your decorations while the chocolate is still melted. I find coloured sugar sprinkled over the top is really pretty and so super easy. All you have to do is put some normal sugar in a zip lock bag. Add a few drops of food colouring and mix till even. You can buy this pre-prepared at the supermarket or specialist cake shops, but it is so simple, why not make it yourself?
There are a million ways to decorate a cake pop. I used royal icing and piped some hearts and swirls on the others. But if you need ideas, a quick google image search on Cake Pops will definitely help. As for presenting these I like to get a bit of florist block and stick it on the bottom on coloured noodle boxes or cute tins. Jam jars filled with brown sugar or rice works well too and keeps them in place.