My friend Karen gave me this great book Cake Pops by Bakerella. I saved the tops of my leveled cakes and some left over buttercream and we decided to have a play date and make cake pops. This was very “ad hoc”…meaning we just used what we had handy for decorations. It was great:)
Cake – any flavor
Frosting – any flavor (store bought is fine)
Candy Melts or dipping chocolate
Styrofoam to hold finish pops
Various sprinkles and sugars for designs
I had read a lot about cake balls and cake pops on the internet. The most common problem seemed to be using too much frosting. So although the official instructions call for quite a bit of frosting per cake, we just mushed up the cake and added a few tablespoons of frosting until the consistency would hold a ball. The first few cake balls we made, we just grabbed a hunk and rolled them up. But then I grabbed my handy cookie scoop and that gave us more even proportions for the cake balls. We rolled several in advance and chilled them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Do not freeze them too long or the chocolate will crack…trust us…we learned from experience:)
Melt the candy melts in a microwave in a deep narrow container on 1/2 power. I used a 2 cup measuring cup. This was a nice amount of chocolate to work with and easy for us to move in and out of the microwave. It is easy to burn chocolate so always melt it in small increments on medium heat. The book says “you may need to add shortening to thin out the chocolate”. Using candy melts, it was absolutely necessary to add shortening to get the coating consistency just right. I added 2 heaping tablespoons to the one bag of candy melts and that worked well.
You have the choice of making cake balls (not on a stick) or cake pops which are on a stick. The rules are basically the same but if you do cake balls you need to place the ball in the chocolate using a dipping fork or a regular plastic fork with the middle tines removed. This lets you remove the ball without damaging the chocolate on bottom. Place the cake balls on parchment or wax paper to set up.
For cake pops, you dip the end of the stick in the melted chocolate and then press gently into the naked ball of cake. Let it set up a bit and then you should be able to pick up the stick and the cake ball will be attached. Too much frosting and the ball will pull away. If they are not chilled enough you can have the same problem but generally for us it was a frosting issue.
Dip the cake pop into the chocolate and swirl gently until the entire ball is covered in chocolate. Lift the pop out at an angle and let the extra chocolate fall back into the container. You want to make sure the chocolate is thick enough to coat but thin enough to cover..so it’s a bit of learning curve until you get the chocolate just right. Once the cake pop is covered place the stick into a piece of styrofoam to let it setup.
Various decorating ideas:
Karen did one of my favorite design which was a swirl pattern. She dipped the pop into white candy melts, then using a toothpick applied dots of red. Using the toothpick she created patterns with the colors directly on the pop.
Sprinkles - I have a pretty big assortment of sprinkles and dragees. Rolling the cakepops in sprinkles got a solid covering. If you just took a pinch of sprinkles and literally sprinkled them on top of the cake pop you got a much more open pattern The dragees gave a fun modern effect of spots. Place each dragee separately to get a nice even placement.
For shine I had both pearl dust and a luster spray so we decided to do a side by side comparison.
The only design we did directly from the book was the cupcake pop which we loved. I can’t wait to try other designs for her book. To make the cupcake press the bottom of the ball into a small round or flower shaped cutter to create the base of the cupcake. Dip the bottom of the cupcake in one color and lay it face down (non chocolate side down) and insert the lollipop stick.
Once the chocolate has set, use the stick to dip the top of the cupcake in a another color. Apply designs and sprinkles at will. We used red gobstoppers as our cherries but you can use whatever red candies you have handy.
We were shocked at how many cake pops you can get out of a small amount of cake so be prepared to be dipping for a while!
Also my friend Ari posted a great thread on making the apple cake pops
http://letsgetcaking.blogspot.com/2009/08/chocolate-apple-cake-pops.html. They came out super cute.