Yesterday I set out to attempt a baking CRAFT that I have been wanting to try for awhile now – CAKE POPS.
Cake Pops (term and assembly method credited mainly to Bakerella) have taken the country by storm. And what’s not to love? Cake – icing – toppings – chocolate… all on a STICK. I bought a set of 2 silicone cake pop molds and spent a few minutes on Google trying to find tips on how to use them. I didn’t find much.
Instead, I found a post from Love from the Oven – all about making cake pops by hand. Hmm. I hadn’t even considered doing that. I had always figured it was too much work. But her post convinced me that it was worth a try because they were a little bigger, looked a bit tastier and gave me so many more flavor possibilities.
So let’s start with the silicone mold because I made the pops both ways. Making the batter was simple – I used Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix because it’s what I had on hand. I prepared it according to the directions on the box, but I added one extra egg and instead of 1 cup of water, I used 1/2 cup of milk. (That was a suggestion that came with the silicone mold directions.)
The directions did not say whether or not I should grease the molds, so I did just in case (using non-stick cooking spray). I filled each of the two bottom molds almost completely. Then I placed the top molds over the bottom, securing them into place. (I put the cake pop molds on a baking tray to keep everything a little more sturdy.)
I baked these guys for 16 minutes at 350 degrees. After they came out of the oven they sat (in the molds) on a cooling rack for a half hour or so before I popped them out and onto a plate.
I had some batter left over from the molds… that’s what gave me the inspiration to try making cake pops “by hand” as well. I dumped the rest of the batter into a baking dish and when the molds came out of the oven, this dish went in for about 20 minutes.
After cooling for at least an hour, I was ready to get down and dirty with the cake. I scored the cake into squares to break it up a bit.
Then I scooped each piece out of the dish, two or three at a time. I crumbled them by hand into a bowl. (You could use a food processor to crumble the cake, but honestly, it went so quickly by hand – a food processor might not be worth the hassle.)
Add 1/2 to 3/4 can of frosting to your cake crumbles. I used cream cheese frosting – again, because it’s what I had on hand. Next time I try this I want to make the cake and frosting from scratch!
Mix your frosting and cake crumbles together.
Now you need to chill your mixture. You can do this by placing the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours or in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. By the time I got around to crumbling and mixing, it was later at night, so I left my bowl in the fridge overnight.
Chilling the mixture makes it much easier to work with when you are rolling it into balls.
Working with chilled “dough,” I rolled it all into equal sized balls and placed the balls on wax paper.
I pulled the silicone mold cake pops out of their container and placed them next to each other. The difference is pretty obvious – not just the size (because I could have hand rolled mine to be smaller) but the cake pops from the molds will be straight up cake. They are lighter and fluffier and well, more cake-like. The pops that I hand rolled are dense, moist and pre-mixed with frosting.
I filled my Wilton Chocolate Melter with white chocolate melts while I set up my workspace on the dining room table.
Helpful tip – sometimes the candy stick has trouble staying in the cake pop – especially when you are dipping it into the thick melted chocolate. What worked best for me, was to poke a hole into each cake pop with the stick Then I dipped the stick into the melted chocolate and put the stick back into the cake pop. I let the pop sit for a few minutes before attempting to dip in the chocolate – letting the stick set a bit.
Now it’s time for some dipping!
I held the cake pops over a small bowl and shook various sprinkles over the entire pop. I placed them standing up in small holes covering the top of a cardboard box. (A piece of styrofoam would work great for this.)
Now, there were definitely a few OOPS moments along the way – several pops collapsed because I accidentally shoved the sticks in too far.
Several pops that threatened to join the carnage pile were saved because I placed them top down on wax paper before they could fall apart.
With the smaller (silicone molded) pops, I tried something else – I left the stick off and just covered them in chocolate. Then I placed them on wax paper and sprinkled.
I have to say – first attempt – I’m totally pleased. I am glad that I got over my intimidation and just made them. I can’t wait to make more!!
And how did I like the molds vs. the by-hand method? If I was pressed for time, the molds would be AWESOME – they are a total time saver and SO simple to use! I enjoyed the taste of the hand-made pops way more than the cake that popped out of the molds – so if flavor was my goal, I would go the more labor-intensive route.