Monday, June 7, 2010

It's Cake...On A Stick!

I do not know what it is about cake pops, but people seem to go a little nuts after they have had one...or five. They are like crack, people can't get enough, and the emails and phone calls have been flowing in with questions about how they can get their next fix. Insanity right?

I kid you not, 350 of these puppies vanished within an hour at the wedding reception last weekend. You take something with which people have a long-established love affair, cake, mix it with some decadent homemade buttercream frosting (this may be where the crack factor comes in), add a little whimsy by putting it on a stick, and people just lose their minds.

Need to make some friends? Make some cake pops. Need to impress your co-workers or boss? Make some cake pops. Woo-ing a boy? Make a lot of cake pops. No really, make some cake pops. These little spherical balls of cake have some sort of magnetic energy field surrounding them that just pulls people in and makes them gush compliments at you. Its like magic. Seriously, you will thank me later.

I got the basic recipe from the cake pop queen, Bakerella. If you haven't been over to her site, drop everything you are doing, and check it out. Just be sure to come back here afterwards. Thanks. She calls for boxed cake mix and canned frosting, but since these were for a wedding, I thought I would up the game a bit. Now, I couldn't pass up the buy 2 get 3 free boxes of cake mix at the grocery store, but I did make my own swiss buttercream frosting, which is what I think you really taste the most. If I had made a normal amount of these (you know like 50 or so, rather than 350) I would have made my own cake, but quantity and convenience won this round. Who knows, there may be homemade red velvet cake pops in my future, possibly decorated in blue and white, possibly for the fourth of July? Just a thought.


Cake Pops
adapted from Bakerella
makes about 50-60 cake pops (depending on the size you roll)

1 box vanilla or chocolate cake mix, baked as directed on the box in whichever form you like
1 cup of sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 packages white vanilla candy melts
sprinkles (optional)
50 4-inch lollipop sticks

Bake the cakes according to package directions. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a small metal or glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, whisk together the egg whites and the sugar, whisking constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture resembles marshmallow cream, about 3-4 minutes. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture has cooled a bit and has formed a thick, shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Change over to the paddle attachment and beating on a medium speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing until completely incorporated after each addition. After all the butter has been added, mix in the vanilla, then beat on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy and smooth.

When the cakes are room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl with your fingers until broken up into pea-sized bits. Mix in 1 and 1/4 cups of the frosting to start with, using either a large wooden spoon, or you hands if you want to get messy. Mix until the frosting is evenly dispersed. Take a quarter sized about of the cake mixture and try rolling it into a ball with the palms of your hands. If it stays together, continue to roll the rest of your cake mixture into balls and place them on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. If they fall apart or do not hold together, add a little more frosting until the mix is moist enough to allow you to roll an intact ball.

Once you have rolled all the cake mix into balls, place in refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes. When the cake balls have been chilled, melt a small amount of the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions. Take one of the sticks, dip about 1/2 inch of the end into the melted candy and stick it about half to three-quarters of the way through the cake ball. Don't go too far into the cake ball, or it will fall apart. The candy melts will help adhere the stick to the cake.

Place the cake pop (we can officially call them pops now since they are now on a stick) back onto the parchment and repeat process with all remaining balls. Place the cake pops in the freezer for 15-30 minutes before coating. This will save you a lot of headache when trying to dip the cake pops into the hot candy melts. If they are mostly frozen, you will have a much easier time getting them to stay on the stick while dipping and tapping the excess coating off. So don't rush this step.

Once the cake pops have been chilled, melt the rest of the package of candy melts according to package directions, and add your candy coloring, if using. I kept the majority of the cake pops in the freezer and took them out about 5 at a time. This way, the whole pan of cake pops doesn't come up to room temperature while you are dipping the first batch.

One at a time, dip the cake pops into the melted candy coating being sure to get the coating all the way up over where the stick is attached to really seal it in. GENTLY tap off the excess coating on the edge of the bowl while rotating the cake pop, to get a even layer all the way around.

At this point you can do one of two things. If you want lollipop-like cake pops, you can stick them in a piece of styrofoam, let them dry pop side up, and serve them just like that. If you do it this way, you may want to reshape the tips of the balls a bit with your fingers before dipping them, as they may have a flattened bottom from sitting and chilling.

If you are making 350 of them it may be easier for you to put them pop side down with the sticks up in the air. They are still just as cute, but easier to make in large quantities, plus you don't have to worry about the flattened bottom since you are just putting it back in that same position anyway. I will leave it up to you.

While the candy coating is still wet, feel free to go crazy with sprinkles, edible glitter, or even crushed nuts. If you are piping or dipping another color onto the pops, wait until the base layer is completely dry before doing so. You may need to melt more candy melts depending on how thick your coating ends up, always have extra bags on hand.

Let cake pops dry for at least an hour or two before packaging them up. I placed mine in a paper towel-lined ziploc baggies and put them into the fridge. You can leave them at room temp for a day or two, especially if you are using canned frosting, or even freeze them for a few weeks. These things have the shelf life of canned goods, I swear to god. My neighbors were actually still rationing the 10 or so that I gave them in return for fridge space, nearly two weeks after the wedding. I told you, crack on a stick, that is the only explanation I have.

19 comments:

Taylor said...

That's a lot of cake on sticks! They are so cute though...I love the color!

Fashion Meets Food said...

Those turned out absolutely fabulous! I just found your blog and love it! You have a new follower!

xo

Joudie's Mood Food said...

I love making cake pops. Its true what you said about people going absolutely nuts over this. Its the perfect bite on a stick..... Lovely pictures.

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Your photos are spectacular!

Hope to try these one day...my to do list is growing!

Carmen

Zahra said...

lol well when you call it crack on a stick...how can one possibly resist?! ;)

I'm torn about these cake pops. I tried to make them about a year ago, (I used a cake mix and home made frosting) and it turned out tasting like raw cake...if that's even possible! it was quite gross and I ended up throwing it out. I've seen so many people make them, and I'm thinking maybe I went wrong somewhere, SOMEHOW? How does it taste to you guys? I might just give it a try one more time...your description is quite convincing ;)

lovely blog btw :)

The Urban Baker said...

These are adorable. Loving the color. My mantra, is all things green! I am attempting my first cake pops tomorrow. Three different end of the year parties...getting some mileage out of them! Wish me luck.

HollowPeas said...

Taylor- It was a LOT of cake on sticks :-) But you wouldn't know because they disappeared so quickly!

Fashion- Thanks for stopping by, always happy to have a new follower!

Joudie-Thank you! I actually really enjoy the slightly tedious process of making them, plus you get to eat all the broken ones :-)

Carmen - Do try them, they really aren't hard to make, just a lot of different steps. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Zahra- Well they definitely taste like incredibly moist cake. But they will never have that light cake-like texture as a real cake or cupcake would. So it may just be a matter of taste, your taste-buds may just not have liked the texture, and that is okay too! I would say try mixing in less frosting, and stop adding frosting the very second you are able to roll a ball. Although this might be a good challenge to find a way to make a cake pop-like treat that isn't so saturated with frosting? Thanks for checking out my blog, hope this helps!

Urban Baker- Good Luck! Let me know how they turn out please!!

Snuffles said...

I am definitely going to try this. And then probably blog about it. The only thing I'm not sure about is the candy melts. What are they exactly? Where do you get them? Are they hard, or more of a chocolate consistency?

Great blog!

Bria said...

Snuffles,

Thanks!! You should try them they are fun, a little challenging, but worth it. Candy melts are very similar to melting chocolates, just a more neutral, vanilla flavor. You can also use chocolate or white chocolate with the same effect. You can find them online, or at craft stores such as Michael's or Joann fabrics, possibly Hobby Lobby. Good Luck, let me know when you make them!

MommyB said...

I'm getting ready to make these for my friend's 33rd birthday!! Thanks for the detailed instructions!

DeVonna said...

I want to make neopolitian "cake pops" for my daughter-in-law's birthday. (chocolate cake/chocolate frosting/chocolate coating...vanilla cake/vanilla frosting/white chocolate coating...strawberry cake/cream cheese frosting/white chocolate coating, tinted pink). I'd never made the cake pops before so I did a "test run" to try on the "girls" at work using carrot cake/cream cheese frosting/peanut butter coating. You're right. They went balistic! Of course by making three different kinds, I'll have a bizillion. They have assured me at work however, that having the leftovers will not be a problem.

Bria said...

Mommy B -

Hoped they turned out well and that the birthday girl enjoyed them! If you have pictures, please do share!

DeVonna -

The Neapolitan cake pops sound fantastic!! I am going to have to add that to my endless list of flavors I want to try! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Shannon said...

I'm in total awe! I just ran across your blog looking for black/white cake pop ideas for a friend's wedding. (Her colors are black & white). I LOVE cake pops! I can't believe you made that many!!

Bria said...

Shannon,

Yeah it was a crazy amount of cake pops, it was fun seeing them all lined up though. Black and white will be a great combo, as you won't get as much variation in color between the batches like I did with my greens! Good luck, please do let me know when/if you post about them!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Bria

Angry Asian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thank Heaven for Little Swirls said...

I LOVE the colors!!

kmah88 said...

i realize this post is from awhile ago but i just recently found out about these little bites of heaven. they do definitely have a crack-like addictivness to them. about 6 months ago, i was given a red velvet from a 1-year-old's birthday party (?!). my sister-in-law went and brought them back. she was disgusted at the idea and wouldn't try it. lucky me! then i didn't see anything like them again until a few weeks ago when i was at starbucks. i had the birthday cake flavour. not as delicious but still yummy. i was wondering how they made them so... moist. thanks to your post, now i know. i'm going to try this out myself too. thanks!

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Cake Pops are really taking off in the UK now as well. I heard about Bakerella from another Brit blogger, Plus 2.4, and she also pointed me in the direction of the amazing Bakerella. I discovered you on good old Google - great explanation, thank you. Just one question: what are 'candy melts'? I don't think we get them in the UK. Will melted chocolate do?

Bria said...

angels&urchins,

candy melts are basically like almond bark. Its a white chocolate -like candy coating that you don't have to mess with tempering and it still will set up and have a nice crack to it. You can always jsut use chocolate as well. thanks for stopping by!

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