Cake pops: what I learned in 13 tips

August 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Cake balls, cake pops, and all things tiny-cakey-goodness seem to be all the rage for parties these days, so I decided to try my hand at them for the garden party brunch I posted about earlier.  After much searching on the innerwebs, the general consensus seemed to be that you could not go wrong with instructions from Bakerella.  I mean, even Pioneer Woman swears by her!  So, here we go…down the cake pop trail.

You start out with this hot mess.  Or cool mess rather.  You bake a cake (I swear by Duncan Hines, as do most bakeries, believe it or not) and let it cool completely, then you toss in a container of cream cheese frosting.  All that I read led me to the prepackaged kind–not typical for me, but I went with it because I could use all the help I could get this weekend.  The end result was a bit sticky, but seemed like a good, semi wet, consistency.

Then there was rolling.  Lots of rolling.  At this point, I can tell you a few things: 1. Do not wash your hands or worry about getting dirty.  Just go with it.  2. Do not try to “flour” or coat your hands to prevent mess.  Again, lost cause. 3. This is going to make a lot.  I think I got something in the neighborhood of 48 cake pops from the one recipe.  4. Have a plan.  I found myself scrambling and sort of looking around, going, “uhhhh…” a lot.  5. As part of said plan, get out your wax or parchment paper and line some containers before hand.  Have space in the freezer cleared out.  And, for goodness sake, don’t try to touch anything else while you’re doing this!

So, after you’ve rolled them and thrown ’em in a pan, you can break out the lollipop sticks and put them into each one.  I went ahead and did this prior to freezing on this round, but I just put some in the freezer the other day that I did not do this step for.  I’m trying some new things, and want to see which is better.  The reason I’m trying a different way?  Well, when I went to dip these little bite-sized sin balls, I found that the stick was slipping down into the ball more than I would have liked.  Remember when I told you that the mix would be a little wet?  Well, I’m trying two things different on this batch, and this is the first thing: waiting to stick them.

The next step is melting the coating.  I used a vanilla candy coating and a chocolate almond bark for the coating.  I had sprinkles on hand in clear and hot pink, and I got out a couple of little bowls, and lined my counters with parchment and wax paper to prepare for drying.  I spilled the sprinkles onto little plates so that I could dip the coated balls in, and I had plenty of forks nearby for drizzling and turning the pops.  There are some “techniques” that are supposed to make this whole process smoother, but I couldn’t really get anything to magically work. (For the record, I’m not a big “quote” user, but this instance is meant to indicate a sarcastic tone and eye rolling. Now back to the post.)  Tips for this step: 6. Don’t get discouraged.  7. No, this is not easy-peasy. 8. Coating can cover up a lot.  And, if it looks bad, just dip it in sprinkles, or drizzle another coating over it. Ta-da! You’re avant-garde! 9. Have your microwave on standby. You’ll need to reheat your coating every six balls or so to loosen it back up. 10. Don’t worry about keeping the ball shape, and go ahead and embrace the flat side by letting them set on the counter.

So, I told you I changed two things on the batch in the freezer.  The second thing is that I used only 1/2 a container of frosting during the initial mixing process.  I did this because once the cake pops were set in the coating and on the sticks, I still had a slight issue with sliding.  I remedied this for the garden party by breaking out little cellophane bags and some fabric scraps to wrap them each individually.  The fabric scrap tie was placed strategically under the ball so that it held it up on the stick for the presentation.  I’m hoping that this next batch will be a little sturdier with less frosting and hold up better on the stick.  We’ll see.  The last few lessons learned for this project: 11. These are a show stopper, so persevere. 12. They do taste good, so your efforts aren’t in vain. And, 13. Have some sort of squat vases, pots, containers standing by because the bouquet effect turned out super cute!

If the thought of a pop wears you out, you can always just dip the top, and call it a mini cupcake.

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