Ok. So it’s time I blogged about cake pops in a positive way. I’ve worked out some of the tricks to doing them and I can’t just have a blog about them being a total flop…
Cake pops have; without a doubt, become one of the most popular and versatile treats to – excuse the pun – pop up since the cupcake. Kids and adults alike, love these tasty morsels and they can be themed for pretty much any kind of party or get-together from formal engagements to kids parties.
While cake pops are awesome to eat, they can be a challenge to create – in more ways than one! I am by no means an expert at cake pop making, my first ones were a bit of a mess to be honest, but after some careful reading, video watching and further research I have started to work things out – so why not share what I’ve found…
I have tried two different methods to bake cake pops. First I tried cake pops made using the cake pop tin – as I mentioned in the previous blog don’t follow the recipe provided with the tin, they flop… I have since used the Bake Pops tin with a simple cupcake recipe and they worked just fine. I guess any cake recipe would work if you don’t alter it in a way that will make it too dense to rise.
The other way to make pops is the original method. Bake a standard cake, crumble it, mix with frosting and roll into balls (or other shapes – you can even buy single moulds in a variety of shapes) and refrigerate. With this method you don’t have to buy any special baking equipment, but it does take longer as you need to bake the cake and crumble it up before you can start making the ball shapes (all by hand – one at a time!)- as opposed to just baking the balls from the start.
The first thing to do before decorating is to insert and secure each pop onto a stick. It doesn’t matter what method you use to make the cake pops, always dip the stick into some of the melted chocolate before inserting it into the cake balls. Then let the chocolate set, usually in the fridge. This was another one of the things that I didn’t know before and by skipping this step I had a few cake pops drop off into the chocolate when dipping or worse, sliding down the stick once they were dipped and sticking to the bench!
After all of the cake pops are on sticks, put them into the fridge or freezer (I prefer the fridge). Chilling them helps set the chocolate and makes the stick…stick. It also helps set the chocolate a little faster when you dip the cake pops.
Speaking of dipping in chocolate….Once the cake balls are firm to touch they are ready to dip – something else I had trouble with. Getting stuck into cake pops; like everything else, without any guidance or recipe I simply melted the chocolate and dipped…it doesn’t quite work like that, but it is pretty simple when you know how – and there is a trick or two too!
There are different types of chocolate you can use for dipping your cake pops in. Everything from specific “candy melts” for cake pops (which come in a variety of colours) to basic Nestlé melts and curvature chocolate. Each type of chocolate having many brands – from the cheaper selections to more expensive options and each brand of chocolate tends to be quite different to melt and use.
If you are using candy melts you can melt them in the microwave, otherwise melt the chocolate according to its type. For example, in a saucepan or over a pan of hot water – if you’ve spent money on decent quality chocolate the last thing you want to do is burn it. Now, here’s the trick, stir in a little vegetable oil – a tablespoon at a time, until it runs smoothly from the spoon. This will not only give it a silky shine but make it more workable when dipping. Gently tap the side of the bowl or your finger to help remove any excess. I do this on both sides of the pop to make the coating even if they are to look super special. If you get any air bubbles you can pop them with a pin or toothpick.
Once the dipping is done – or as you’re dipping, decorate using sprinkles, nuts, coloured sugars, crystals…the list is almost endless. Cake pops decorated with bigger or heavier lollies require a little more time and patience as they need to be stuck on after the chocolate has set completely…use melted chocolate or royal icing to attach them to the pop.
Hopefully this will help you to not make the same first mistakes that I made, happy decorating!