I baked so much yesterday that I had to post twice today! Now that’s just ridiculous.
We had a physical therapy Halloween party at my friend Lola’s house yesterday. Fritz and I dressed up as House and Dr. Cuddy (cute, right?), and I decided to bring over cake pops! Having a food blog kind of raises people’s expectations of your baking ability, and I have wanted to try something fun like these cake pops for a while. With that said, next time I’ll probably make these over two days (building them one day and decorating the second), like Lola suggested to me. She made red velvet cake balls, which are the same as cake pops but without the lollipop sticks. To check out our inspiration, visit Bakerella’s website. She is the mastermind behind these cute and delicious treats.
First, you have to bake a cake. It’s against my personal beliefs to buy a cake mix unless I am extremely crunched for time, so I used a recipe from my go-to cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, for an all-purpose chocolate cake. It was A-mazing. Seriously the best plain chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It physically hurt me to crumble it up. But alas. Also, it was not healthy at all. None of this cake pop business is. Sorry!
All-Purpose Chocolate Cake
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 2/4 C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 t instant coffee/espresso (I used a mocha mix)
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter; I used Smart Balance
- 1 3/4 C sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 C milk (the recipe calls for whole; I used skim)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9′ x 13′ pan with canola oil. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. One at a time, beat in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and beat in 1/3 at a time, alternating with the milk.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (or with a few crumbs attached), 20-25 minutes.
I took a lot of pictures of the baked chocolate cake, but for some reason my camera mysteriously deleted them between then and now. Bummer because it really, really looked good. Not a huge deal, though, because cake pops require you to do this to the cake:
That’s right. Destroy the cake! Crumble into a fine-textured crumbs, then add icing and smush (that’s a technical term) together until the cake can be molded into round balls without falling apart. Don’t add too much icing, though, or it won’t hold its shape and you’ll have to bake another cake. And you don’t want to do that.
On to the cake pops. Melt a small amount of candy melts according to package instructions (I used white). Shape cake into quarter-sized balls and dip one end of a lollipop stick into melted candy before inserting less than halfway into the pop. Place them on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or the freezer for 15 minutes. We went with the freezer method (again…time crunch!).
One cake recipe makes about 50 pops. After they are cool, melt the rest of the candy melts in the microwave in a tall, thin container (for better dunking). Take a few out of the freezer at a time, and dip into the melted candy. Twirl them while tapping the lollipop stick against the glass to remove the excess candy. You’ll get better at making them look smoother as you do more of them. Place them into a styrofoam block so they can dry upright.
After they dry completely, you can decorate them! Use candy, edible pens, and frosting to draw on faces, eyeballs, and other frightening designs. We only green and black frosting to decorate, and when we were finished, we stuck them into half of a pumpkin for a cute Halloweeny cake pop stand.
This is definitely a work-intensive process, so make sure that you have quite a few hours to spare–but it’s worth it.
Also make sure that your husband is willing to make you a gourmet turkey and onion burger with spicy mayo on a whole wheat bun and peppery oven fries to prevent you from keeling over with exhaustion!
What a good man, that Fritz.