27 April 2011

Little Balls of Fun - Cake Pops!

A special cake pop gift for my niece
Since seeing cake pops online I thought they were mega cute. And when my sister-in-law asked me to make Oreo cupcakes for my nephews 2nd birthday party, I thought it was also a perfect opportunity to make cake pops for all the kids - fun, bite-size cakes (well not so much bite-size for the kids!)

Now even though it is a bit of work, I have to say these looked pretty spectacular so were well worth the effort. They were a big hit with the kids...and adults!

My cake balls ready to go
into the fridge
I used the same chocolate cake recipe as for my Oreo cupcakes, which was great, and I also used some oreo frosting which I had left over in the freezer (never throw away sufficient left-overs of frosting, they always come in handy). Once the cake was cool, it was time to crumb it up and add the frosting - I did this gradually until the mixture combined and rolled nicely into a ball, I wanted it to still have a cakey consistency and not be too mushy. Then covered in clingfilm and into the fridge for a couple of hours.

Next, I melted the chocolate - I chose milk and white chocolate, and even separated some of the white cholocate off and added red food colouring to make some pink ones for my niece.

Then one by one dipped the candy sticks into the chocolate about 1cm and inserted them into the cake balls (remember to flip over the balls and put the stick into the flat bottom that has formed)
Tip 1: Don't push the sticks in too far, otherwise in the next stage with the weight of the chocolate covering the sticks can pop out the top.
Tip 2: Be sure to have enough chocolate on the end of the stick, otherwise when you try to cover them in the next stage the balls can swivel on the stick.

Once the chocolate was set it was time to cover them in chocolate! To get fully round tops, the sites I visited suggested using polystyrene or florist mold, admittedly while these options are more sturdy, who has that kind of stuff lying around?!? So instead I gathered a bunch of semi-tall glasses: tall shot glasses, champagne glasses, etc. to stand them in.
Tip 3: At this stage check whether your cake pops will stand in the glasses. If the glasses aren't tall enough the pops will fall over being top-heavy.

Now this part was the most time-consuming; covering them in chocolate and sprinkles - I tried a couple of  methods for covering the pops: dipping fully, dipping half way and swizelling, and using a spoon to cover the ball. All required a good amount of tapping to get rid of excess chocolate and I couldn't decide which was best/easiest.
Tip 4: Re-heat/melt the chocolate when it starts getting too thick
Tip 5: If you take a while, put the cake pops in the freezer for 20mins - as they warm up they can get soft and break off the stick when dipped in the chocolate.

Then it is the waiting game for them to set! I left them overnight before popping them into plastic bags and tying with ribbon - I was really happy with the outcome.

Chocolate cake recipe
I made the cake in two 7inch cake tins and baked on 170degrees for approximately 25minutes.
Leave it to fully cool on a wire rack.

In addition to this you will need:
- a tub of frosting (or your own frosting)
- approx 40 candy sticks
- approx 500g of chocolate (broken down into whichever type you like)
- sprinkles of your choice or whatever you'd like to decorate them with
- cookie bags if you want to wrap them for presentation

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