I MADE CAKE POPS!
I've always imagined cake pops as being some extravagant treat that you get from a bakery or someone who knows all the tricks and secrets of making special pastries and treats. You know, like crescent rolls and terrines.
In my mind cake pops were made in a special cake pop contraption and coated in some special cake pop frosting that you couldn't buy in a grocery store.
Little did I know.
Then I saw a scrumptious pin on Pinterest for Chocolate Mint Cake Pops, by A Cup of Mascarpone.
I quickly visited A Cup of Mascarpone and found that Carol does some pretty special sweet & savory dishes and shows them off with the most enticing photos. The photos alone were enough to convince me I had to give cake pops a try.
Carol suggested watching a YouTube video: Cake Pops by Bakerella, so I did. This video by Bakerella was a wonderful introduction to making cake pops. The video explains that cake pops are basically a regular cake crumbled, mixed with frosting, rolled into balls then coated with a candy shell.
Hmmm...sounds easy, right?
Here are the steps to making cake pops at home:
Boxed cake mix made as directed (I used Betty Crocker Red Velvet)
2/3 container of store bought frosting (I used Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate)
Candy Melts or Almond Bark (I used one 24 oz. bag of Almond Bark)
4 or 5 Candy Canes -crushed
Note: You can mix and match your cake, frosting and coating flavors to make whatever combinations you desire. You can also be creative with sprinkles and crushed candies on top.
Bake a sheet cake following the instructions on the box.
Cut into 4 - 6 large rectangles.
Take 2 rectangles of cake at a time and crumble into a large mixing bowl.
Rubbing two chunks of cake together crumbles them up quickly.
Here's what a bowl of crumbled Red Velvet cake looks like.
Make sure there are no larger chunks of cake left.
Add about 2/3 of a jar of store bought frosting.
You don't want to use the entire container because the cake balls will be too moist and will not hold their shape or stay on their sticks if you do.
Mix the cake crumbs and frosting together using a rubber spatula and pushing the crumbs and frosting together against the sides of the bowl.
Roll mixture into balls using the palms of your hands. Just like the kids do with Play Doh!
(I didn't measure or weigh mine. I just estimated, trying to keep them all about the same size.
I'm NOT a perfectionist! Can you tell? )
Place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and chill.
You can put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, move them to the refrigerator. Take about six out at a time for the next step.
Crush candy canes in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin.
Melt your candy melts or almond bark in the microwave following the package directions.
Use a deep, narrow bowl so the melted candy is deep enough to submerge the cake balls completely.
Dip popsicle sticks into the melted almond bark and then poke them into the cake balls ~ about halfway through. Be careful not to push the sticks all the way through. Don't twist or mess with the sticks at this point. The candy will solidify inside the cake balls and adhere them to the sticks.
(Note: I used wooden stir sticks instead of buying popsicle/cake pop sticks. I already had them on hand and I like the way the wooden sticks look.)
Dunk cake balls into the melted candy coating submerging completely until the melted candy is touching the stick.
DO NOT swirl or twist.
Hold the dipped cake ball over the bowl and tap the hand holding the stick with the other hand, causing the excess coating to drip back into the bowl. (This is where I remind you to watch Bakerella's video if you haven't already...so you can do this step correctly. It makes a huge difference in how your cake pops turn out.)
Poke cake pops into Styrofoam and allow the candy coating to set completely before storing or wrapping.
You've now become a Keeper of Special Treat Secrets.
When people Ooooh! and Aaaah! about these delicious and adorable treats just smile and say,
"You are SO worth it!"
I placed a few in a small Ball jar with mini marshmallows in the bottom to give them some stability.
Then I stored the jars inside this super duper two-story cake and cupcake carrier.
It was just the perfect height for them.
I tied a few into little "bouquets" with candy canes and curling ribbon.
Perfect as a party favor for holiday guests.
They made a very nice accompaniment to some minty hot chocolate from our hot chocolate station.
This pop fell from the styrofoam and cracked it's outer shell. Oh, the poor little cake pop. I had no choice but to call this one defective and eliminate it. MmmHmm.