Cake Pop Disaster

I was initially going to title this post “Butter-Cream Yellow Cake Pops,” but in light of recent events, I changed the name to “Cake Pop Disaster.”  Read on, mes amies

A little over a week ago, a friend of mine bought me a cake pop when we were out shopping.  I honestly had no idea what a cake pop was, but after a single bite, I was in love.

The cake was moist and delicious, and the Rocky Road flavors were wonderful.  My only complaint?  I wanted a dozen, stat.

My friend told me that cake pops were easy to make and that she had done it.  She even detailed the steps for me, but I couldn’t fathom something so wonderful being that easy to make.  It turns out that I was right.

I’ve detailed how I was instructed to make the pops, and then afterwards I thought it was only fair I tell you, dear readers, exactly what NOT to do so that your cake pops turn out a bit better than mine did…

Butter-Cream Yellow Cake Pops
Makes about 30 pops.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cake of your choice – I used a yellow cake recipe (you can make a homemade cake, use a store bought cake mix, or even buy a cake at the bakery)
  • 2 cups of the frosting of your choice (I opted for Butter-Cream frosting since I was trying to make a birthday-cake type flavor)
  • a generous amount of multicolored sprinkles
  • 2 cups of vanilla-flavored candy coating (I only used 2 cups and unless you’re a candy-coating genius, you will need a lot more than 2 cups!)
  • food coloring
  • sprinkles, nonpareils and other food accents for decorating

Supplies:

  • popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks
  • wax paper
  • small cookie scoop or melon baller
  • sheet pan
  • foam (as in floral foam or Styrofoam)

Bake the cake or use a store bought cake mix or ready-made cake.  I added sprinkles to my cake for added “birthday” effect.

Mmm. It looks promising, but wait...

Once the cake has cooled, use a spoon to break the cake up into smaller pieces in a large bowl.  I made a mistake here, because I think the cake base would taste better in the pops if you cut off the top, bottom, and side crusts from the cake.

You can see the brown crust bits in this photo and they only made the cake pops lumpy. Cut off the crusts!

Make the frosting.

Combine the cake with the frosting in two batches to add moisture to the cake and make it malleable.  Put the cake/frosting mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow it to firm up a bit.

I added the frosting in batches and smooshed it vigorously into the cake bits. I am sure that smooshed is a proper culinary term.

The cake and frosting together.

Use a cookie scoop to make the cake pops from the cake/frosting mixture.  One 9×13 sheet cake mashed up yields approximately 30 rounded pops, each pop being two small cookie scoops full.  I especially like my little cookie scoop because it makes forming the pops pretty easy.  It makes great little cookies too!  If you need to, you can make the balls with your hands.

Put the cake balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Some cake balls.

To make the candy coating, melt the coating according to the package directions.

Begin to assemble the cake pops by coating the end of each lollipop stick with a bit of candy coating and placing each stick into each cake ball gently.

This is where the cake pop process goes awry. To me, the stick step should be last. See my adjustments, below.

Add food coloring or flavored extracts as desired.  I used 3 drops of red food coloring to make a light pink color for my pops.

A pretty pink coating...

Drizzle each cake pop with the melted candy coating.  Allow the excess coating to drip off.  I was initially told to dip the pops into the coating, but this makes some pops fall off the sticks and break — not good.

The candy coating firms up fast, so it is important to work quickly and have all your decorating materials set up prior to heating the candy coating.

Once the excess has dripped off the pop, carefully roll each cake pop in the sprinkles or decor of your choice (nuts, nonpareils, mini marshmallows, coconut, etc.) or be lazy like me, and just decorate the tops.

A few finished pops...I found it hard to make a nice, smooth candy coating for them.

Allow the pops to dry by sticking them into foam.  I used some cheap green floral foam.  Be sure to get the kind that doesn’t flake off!

Adjustments:
Too Sweet
I found these cake pops to be a little sweet for my tastes, so I would make a savory cream cheese icing or a icing with less sugar since the pops are drizzled with candy coating to finish.

Coat and Decorate First, Then Place on Sticks
If I ever attempt cake pops again, I would drizzle the cake balls in the melted candy coating (or more likely, melted chocolate) FIRST, and then decorate them.  After the pops were decorated, I would set them in waxed paper lined plastic containers with lids and put them in the freezer to set up.  I would only put the pops on the sticks before I served them to prevent the pops falling off the sticks and breaking.

Invite Friends
Also, be aware that the candy coating likes to get lumpy and hard, even if you have melted it perfectly.  An extra set of helping hands would be ideal.

Don’t Have Delusions of Grandeur (Like Me)
The most important ingredient in making these cake pops is patience, which I confess I ran out of, after drizzling only about six cake pops.  I suggest making cupcakes or some other confection, and saving a small amount of cake batter and frosting for pops the first time that you make them so you don’t wind up with an epic baking fail like I did!

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