Not to toot my own horn…but I can bake! My baked goods are pretty awesome. There is only one problem….they rarely look “pretty”. I don’t know why but no matter how much I practice, or how careful and meticulous I am when I’m decorating…they just don’t turn out like the baked goods I see a lot of others make. To me taste is more important anyway, but when you are serving your food to people who are not your family the first thing they are looking at is the “prettiness”. I mean, if you have two trays of cupcakes and one looks beautiful and the other one looks like a 4 year old slapped some icing on top…which one do you think people are going to try?
So with that in mind, I am not sure why I thought making cake pops would be any different than the cakes, cupcakes, or the cookies I’ve made in the past….tasty but not pretty!
Each month at work we have a “staff training day” where we basically shut down so that we can focus strictly on meetings, staff development & training. As part of this, I like to treat my staff…whether it’s donuts, or bagels, pizza or my often requested “baked goods”. I wanted to bring something different that I hadn’t brought in yet so I decided to give Cake Pops a try. I asked friends their opinions on making them and did a lot of research and read a lot of tutorials. I came to the conclusion that they did seem like a lot of work but really didn’t seem too difficult. How hard is it to screw up making a little ball of cake on a stick?
I saw this cute picture on pinterest which is how I totally envisioned my cake pops would turn out. Since the 4th of July was coming up I thought this would be a really nice presentation for my employees. Then I really became ambitious when I decided I wanted the cake in my cake pops to be multi-colored!
I was so pumped to make these awesome cake pops! I used my favorite white cake recipe and a basic buttercream and even making them “multi-colored” (red, white & blue for 4th of July) worked out nicely. I was moving along so well…thinking that I was right…a lot of work, maybe a little time consuming but overall not difficult. Adding the icing a little bit at a time to each color cake, they formed nicely into a “play-dough” consistency. I melted some chocolate and dipped the ends of the sticks in and then inserted the sticks into the cake balls. I put them in the freezer to just “firm up” and allow the chocolate on the stick to harden and become a binder for the cake to the stick.
They were looking pretty good….
All that was left was dipping them into the chocolate. From what I’d read and the advice I’d received I knew this part would probably be the “hard” part of the process, but since I wasn’t doing anything too fancy I figured it wouldn’t be so bad.
Until I started the first few and this is what I got…
Frustrated, I continued on. I took the advice of a friend to add shortening (I felt like this was good solid advice because this suggestion was also on the package directions.) to the chocolate to help thin it out, as can happen when it is over heated. Although this did seem to help a little bit and when I started dipping the pops again, it did not completely destroy the cake pops, they looked nothing like I wanted them to! The chocolate was still too thick (which I now have learned was probably because my shortening was too old and really didn’t do much to help out the chocolate. Since making these the other day I saved a few to be dipped later after I had a chance to purchase a new jar of shortening and it was much easier…still not pretty but easier!).
I was able to salvage about 30 pops that I was only partially embarrassed to serve my employees. Mostly everyone assured me they did not look that bad, but I’m pretty sure this was just because they were scared to tell the boss the truth. Only one of my employees (who is also a fairly good friend) was honest and said “wow, if you could decorate you could make so much money opening a bakery.” Thanks….I think!!!
So what was the ultimate outcome of this cake pop saga?
They tasted awesome!!!
They looked horrific!!!
It was basically just the usual…nothing fancy from this baker!
So even though they weren’t as pretty as I had planned, I am still sharing my recipe and the steps I went through to make them. Like I said these tasted great…and if you are better at decorating and working with chocolate than I am then you will definitely have success and will impress whoever you are making them for!
The final question is: ”Would I make them again?” The answer: “Maybe”.
To those of you brave enough to try them…may the decorating gods be with you!!! 😉
Cake Pops (Makes 50-60 1” cake pops)
1 white cake
1-2 cups buttercream icing
2 pkgs. (12 oz.) white chocolate melting candy
1-2 tsp. vegetable shortening
Food coloring**, blue & red
Block of Styrofoam
(**Instead of using food coloring in the cake mix I used Wilton Icing Colors. This made a very rich color and I didn’t have to use very much at all.)
- Prepare the cake mix as directed. You can use a box mix, but I always prefer from scratch!
- Divide the cake mix evenly into three bowls. Add red food coloring (or Wilton Icing Colors) to one of the bowls and blue food coloring to another bowl, to desired color.
- Pour each bowl of cake mix into a separate pan or use a muffin pan. (Since you’ll be crumbling it up it doesn’t matter as long as it gets baked! :p) Bake as directed.
- Meanwhile prepare the icing (you can use store bought if you like) and set aside.
- Allow the cake to cool and once cool enough to handle crumble the cakes into three separate bowls (one for red, one for blue, one for white).
- Add about 2-3 tbsp. of icing into each bowl and mix with your hands. Continue to add icing a little bit at a time until the cake forms a large ball. You want the cake to be just moist like Play-dough.
- Next form the balls, take a little bit of each color cake and mold together into a round ball. Once all the balls have been formed place them in the refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes just to firm up.
- Melt a little bit of chocolate according to the directions on the package. This will be for the sticks. Dip the end of a lollipop stick in the melted chocolate and then insert it into the center of the cake pop about half way through. Be careful not to push the stick through to the other side.
- Return to refrigerator or freezer for another 10-15 minutes to allow chocolate to harden and cake balls to continue to firm up.
- Melt one bag of chocolate per the package directions. Add 1-2 tsp. of vegetable shortening if chocolate is too thick. Make sure to melt the chocolate in a deep dish or glass so that the cake pop can be completely covered by the chocolate. At this step, you can decorate the pops however you choose with different color chocolates and adding sprinkles, etc.
- Dip the cake pops in the melted chocolate and insert into a piece of styrofoam to dry.
- Cake Pops will be ready to eat immediately or can be frozen for a later time.