Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here is one of the cake pops I made to go with my sister's (Carrie) diva birthday cake. Before I discovered these little yummies, I threw tons of cake away. For all the cake decorators out there, you know how heart-wrenching it is to level your cake and then toss all the cut off away. For large cakes, (like my 3 tiered wedding cake) you're likely to throw away enough cake to amount to a whole 3-tiered cake! Albeit a smaller one. Anyhow, Wilton has introduced the idea of cake pops (probably been around longer than what I know of so forgive me if I've given credit in the wrong place).

Instead of throwing away your cut off, stuff it in a baggie and toss it in the freezer for cake pops. When you're ready to use it, crumble your thawed cake into a large bowl. You'll need enough to amount to one box mix (about a 9 x 13 cake or two 8 inch cakes). You can use less or more, you'll just have to adjust the amount of icing you add accordingly.

Next, spoon about 1 cup of icing into your crumbled cake. You can use some left over buttercream or store-bought. It doesn't matter.

Then, use your hands and mix it all together until it forms a dough. Kinda the consistency of playdough. Yeah, you can be a kid again and claim your cooking. How fun is that?!

After you've mixed it all up, take a cookie sheet and lay a piece of wax paper on it. Begin rolling balls out of your dough. I usually make them about 1-1 1/2 inch diameter. Any larger and they will fall off the sticks when you go to dip them in chocolate.  When you've finished rolling your balls, place them in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so to let them firm up. While they are in there, you can prepare your chocolate dip.

For this next part, you'll need candy coats or almond bark, or heck, I suppose even chocolate chips will work. Just some sort of meltable chocolate. Candy coats work good if you want a colored chocolate on your pops. Melt your chocolate in the microwave (or stovetop, whichever you prefer). Add some vegetable shortening (the solid stuff, not liquid) to it and mix it in until you get a nice, syrupy texture, smooth, not thick. There is no magic amount here, just add a little at a time. Like 1/2 tsp or so. Don't put a big glob in there or it'll taste like shortening (yuck!).

When you're chocolate is melted and a good consistency grab your cake balls out of the fridge. Insert a sucker stick about 1/2 inch or so into melted chocolate, then immediately stick it into a cake ball. Work quickly while the cake balls are cold. This help solidify the chocolate on the stick inside your ball so it will stay in place. Once you've added sticks to all your balls, place them back in the fridge for a few more minutes. At this point, you may want to stick your chocolate back into the microwave for a few minutes to make sure it hasn't started to harden on you. In the meantime, grab a styroform board and get ready to dip!

After about 5-10 minutes, take your cake balls (pops) out of the fridge. Holding the pop by the stick, dip it down into the chocolate and then quickly pull it back out, using a slight twirling action. Holding the now dipped pop at an angle, gently tap the stick against the edge of the chocolate container or against your finger, gently tapping off the excess. I also slowly turn the pop as I do this, helping to get a nice smooth coat over the pop.

If you want sprinkles or dragees or candies (m&m for example) on your pop, add them now. Hold pop over a bowl or container and sprinkle sugar or candy sprinkles, letting the excess fall into the bowl. You can gather this and reuse. Add dragees or larger candies by hand. I use a pair of tweezers. It helps.

After you've decorated your pop, stick it into the styrofoam to dry. Once dried, cover with a celophane bag and tie closed with decorative ribbon or twist tie. There's also pretty pop wraps you can buy.

For presentation, you can purchase cake pop boxes which allow your cake pops to stand up. I think they hold about 12 pops. I used a white box with a celophane window and just laid my pops inside using pretty tissue paper to make it fancy. Kind of like wrapping a shirt or something for a christmas present. I added some glitzy stickers to the box and viola, a fancy diva cake pop box that matched Carrie's diva cake.

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