Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cake Pops

Nearing the end of another school year has probably made these last few weeks most hectic and rather hurried. This post was supposed to have happened earlier, maybe two days ago but the typing never started until today in hopes that this will be published, no later than, today. 
The timing worked, what with the week being "Teacher Appreciation". Though we were at a different school in a very different place last year, I carried on with tradition and transformed my kitchen into cake pop central. 

I am obsessed with cake pops. Besides being delicious, the awe and subsequent conversation brought about when presenting these cakes on sticks is helplessly addictive.

Made famous by Bakerella and showcased popularly throughout Starbucks displays, cake pops have been a contemporaneous part of dessert culture. My keen interest came from my friend, Heidi, who introduced me to these portable treats. Running into her at Target one day, I couldn't help but notice the stash of cake goodies and baking decor she housed in her shopping cart. Going into detail, she explained the whole cake pop phenom and how easy it was to make cake on stick or rather have cake stick to a stick. At first, I wondered how smashed cake and frosting rolled into a ball could possibly be a good thing. A pivotal breakthrough happened after I made my first batch. A year and a half later, I have been transformed, no longer the skeptic, but a hard core C-pop fan, indeed.

Cake pops are nothing but pulverized cake mixed with frosting. These can be rolled into balls or molded into a number of shapes, dipped, decorated and themed according to preference/occasion/craving.  

I've made hundreds of these, each successive batch being better and even more entertaining than the previous. They make for the perfect teacher gifts, hello-neighbor(!) surprises, thank you hostess treats and always for the fancy of overwhelming one's own taste buds.

The classic cake pop recipe calls for 1 box cake mix, prepared according to instructions, crumbled up and then mixed with 3/4 container of any complementing readymade frosting. I know it may be offbeat, but I like to make my cakes and frosting from scratch. It really doesn't make much of a difference, though you'll feel a tad more pride swell when doing it all by yourself. Whether using homemade cake, mix or store-bought cakes and/or icing, you can  customize these adorable treats to your heart's content. My suggestion would be to work with cake mix/ readymade frosting the first few rounds. Get the hang of it, and later release your inner cake pop chef. I will add, since none of us are swimming in free time, that the process is tad bit consuming (pull up those patience reserves) Though, judging from my pictures and what I've just told you, the outcome well outshines the effort, don't you think ?

Things you'll need:
  • Cake
  • Frosting
  • Candy Melts
  • Shortening
  • Sprinkles, decorations
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Baking sheet(s)
  • Styrofoam or colander to stick the dipped pop in
Prep and assembly:
  • Bake your cake.
  • Cut your cake into quarters or 2 halves. Crumble each part individually, using your hands. I like the ease of the food processor, your choice.
  • After the entire cake is crumbled, spoon in your homemade buttercream or canned frosting. Usually for a 9X13 cake you will need 1/2- 3/4ths of canned frosting. If using your own buttercream, put in 2 tablespoons at a time until the mixture can pull together into a ball and stay bound.( It's easier to work with small batches, and it's best to add frosting by spoonfuls only.)
  • With your hands, roll out pieces of moistened dough into a 1 inch ball. Make 40-45 balls.
  • Set all the rolled balls on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator.
  • In the meantime, have your lollipop sticks ready and Styrofoam block/ colander for your finished pops to be placed on.
  • Pour the candy melts into a microwave safe bowl. Follow the melting instructions on the packaging. Usually 1-2 minutes for a half package at a power of 50﹪. Always use 50 % power and do not to overcook when melting these.
  • Once completely smooth and melted, pull out of the microwave. If too thick, add in 1 tbsp. vegetable shortening( for entire package), stir and microwave at a further 10 sec interval to combine thoroughly. Stir well before dunking your cake pops. The shortening can be omitted, but it helps with consistency, keeping it smoother, and thinned out enough. 
  • Take out a chilled batch of 5-6 cake balls out at once, you want them firm when dunking.
  • Take a lollipop stick and dip one inch of the top into the candy melt "frosting".
  • Place into the center of the cake ball. This will act as a glue to keep the cake and stick together.
  • Stick the coated end into a cake pop 
  • Keep the pop at an angle and tilt the bowl. Roll completely by rotating the hand that the cake pop is in, until entire ball is coated, tapping the wrist that's holding the pop to get rid of excess coating. Make sure you catch bald spots and try not to re dip.
  • Once you've evenly coated the cake pop, have some coating trickle to below (1/4 inch down) the cake ball and seal the base to the stick.
  • Now you get to decorate! Either use sprinkles/edible glitter and coat when wet or wait and "glue" decorations on with wet candy melts.
  • Let stand onto your styrofoam surface.
  • If not served the same day, set pops in the fridge until 10 minutes before serving. In some warmer climates ( like where I'm living), they pop will pop right off the stick if not cooled.
I baked 2 cakes for this,chocolate and vanilla, paired them both with chocolate buttercream. 

Play around with some "samples"- don't worry- your ugly ones won't go to waste.
Pat yourself on the back, pop a pop into your mouth and take a bite, It might be impossible thereafter to consume just the one- don't say I didn't warn you.
Notes:
For some pre-prep, bake the cake a day or two ahead. Form the balls and keep covered in the refrigerator (not more than 3 days, otherwise freeze) until ready to dunk and finish.
Proportion frosting accordingly if you are are not using entire cake. Also, if limiting quantity of candy melts, make sure you limit your shortening and lessen time in the microwave.
Colorful stash makes me happy.


Gifts for teachers as well as for some awesome office staff.
I just want to end on a note of gratitude. The days that I feel ZERO inspiration and overshadowing writer's funk, encouragement comes knocking in the form of a comment, a new follower or a very inspiring email. I am most grateful for the followers, readers, subscribers, and the many comments and suggestions that have been streaming through. Believe me, not one goes unnoticed. Many thanks to all of you!
My fellow bloggers have extended great support and welcomed me with impressionable counsel and much inspirational cheerleading. Thank you.
My sister- in- law, Annies, who is a true support, has furnished me with a few of her excellent recipes which you will see in future postings- stay tuned. Thank you, Annies
Reader comments and notes pave way to a mutual connection and much appreciated dialogue. Hopefully, I'm able to do you justice and continually improve this recipe journal and inspire through it.  My heart is most thankful.
A birthday party order for an 11 year old who loves neon.
******
 " Then, I will praise God's name with singing, and I will honor Him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30 (NLT)
 "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. "1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NAS) 



18 comments:

  1. Tisa visiting your space after a long time and can see the difference from first post!!! Great going dear! Beautiful pics of cake pops... so you have upgraded your camera right? ;) Cake pops are my favorite too :)... Candy melts are not easily available here so I usually dip cake balls in melted chocolates....

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    1. Thank you, thank you Swapna, for your wise counsel and support from the beginning! The pictures were the hardest, you know, so I'm very grateful for the compliments on those- yes, the camera is definitely an upgrade ;-) Cake pops are the best- I'm sure, they're even better with your chocolate cover- yum:)

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  2. great looking cake pops Tisa.. loved the snaps... they're too tempting

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    1. Thank you Reshmi, I think I swallowed quite few whole while assembling.

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  3. These look so pretty! I love the presentation with the little boxes as well!

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    1. Thank you Mrs. Schwartz, cute way to hold them up, right? ;-)

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  4. Lovely n fabulous presentation,I feel to grab a few,any left overs?? :-)Cake pops are in m,y to do list since long but this has tempted me so much that soon I will be making these..

    Join me in the ONGOING EVENTS-"Ginger & Pepper Corns/powder(EP Series-May) ,
    Show me Your HITS 'Iron Rich Foods'
    ERIVUM PULIYUM

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    1. Thank you Julie! Yes, you should, make a few and then parcel me some too. All mine are gone!

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  5. These cake pops are simply perfect - they look too adorable and are filled with delicious delicious cake :D
    You are very talented!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Thank you Uru- I don't know if it's talent, they are quite easy to make :)

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  6. Your cake pops are so awesome, happy and spring-like. I've only made them once before, and don't have easy access to fun things like coloured candy melts (though have discovered that food colouring in melted white chocolate seems to be the same thing), but you are inspiring me to give them another go!

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  7. Thanks so much B- white chocolate sounds just great, in fact the melts taste just like it! You should give them a go- pop making boosts spirits tremendously :)

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  8. wow cake pops looks awesome. beautiful pictures

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  9. The pics all are really nice and the presentation is excellent..

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  10. I am inspired by your story. Your cake pop colors are so grants and I appreciate the display set. Good luck on you journey in the world of cake pops.

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  11. Thank you Louise. Cake pops are fun and so easy to make. If you haven't tried them, you should.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!