The first of my Halloween inspired recipes is these eyeball cake pops, which weren't originally Halloween themed at all, in fact, they were made for Valentines Day. You see, one of my friends was doing an internship at the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies - London's only purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind. Part of Helen's responsibilities at HSMS was to look after the volunteers, and so she often put on social events for them to help them get to know one another better, but also to improve the human volunteers understanding of monsters, and vice verse. So, for Valentine's Day this year, Helen, another of the interns, Dee, and their monster colleague the Yeti decided to host a Monster Speed Dating event, and I was called in to do the catering. Below is the recipe for my "Eyes for You" cake pops, suitable for humans at Halloween, or for monsters at Valentines!
For the cake:
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
For the icing:
100g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
Milk, if required.
200g white chocolate
1tsp vegetable oil
50g coloured fondant (in the colour of your choice - I used half green and half blue, but it might look fun with more spooky colours!)
Black food colouring or a black edible ink pen
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
Makes 15 cake pops
- Start by making the cake. I usually bake cupcakes if I'm baking specifically for cake pops, as they tend to cook and cool faster than a large cake would. However, cake pops are also a great way to use any leftover cake or cake scraps, so just use whichever cake tin is your favourite - your cake will end up in crumbs anyway!
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcakes cases.
- Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour until the ingredients combined to create a smooth batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare your butter cream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy, adding a little milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
- Take the cooled cupcakes out of their wrappers and break them into a blender. Pulse the cakes on a high speed to break them into fine crumbs. One the cake is sufficiently crumbed, pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl, then mix in half of the butter cream. Add more butter cream one tablespoon at a time until you get a mixture that holds together well without crumbling, but isn't too sloppy - you might not need to use all of the butter cream for this!
- Now its time to get your hands dirty! First of all, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and make some space for that tray in your fridge or freezer. Measure out 30g portions of the cake mixture, then shape it into a ball with you hands and place this on the baking tray. Once you've turned all of your mixture into balls put these into the freezer for 20 minutes to set. Eat any leftover mixture (a 15g cake ball is no good to anybody!)
- Meanwhile, prepare the decorations for the cake pops. Roll out the coloured fondant and cut out circles - I used the "wrong" side of a Wilton icing nozzle which seemed to be around the perfect size. Use the black food colouring / food colouring pen to draw on the pupil of the eye in the centre of your coloured fondant then put these to one side to dry.
- Melt your white chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Once the chocolate has completely melted, stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil to "thin down" the chocolate. Don't worry - you won't be able to taste the oil! My tip here is to use a tall, thin receptacle for melting your chocolate, such as a mug or small bowl. If you use a wide bowl your chocolate will be too shallow for dipping!
- Take your tray of cake balls out of the freezer and place on your work surface next to the melted chocolate and your decorations. The cold cake will set the chocolate very quickly, so it's important to have everything you need to hand here as you will need to work fast!
- Dip a cocktail stick around 1.5cm into the chocolate and then push this into one of the cakey balls. The theory behind this is that the chocolate will help to stick the cake pop to the stick! Stick each cake pop with a cocktail stick in this way. By the time you've stuck all of the sticks, the first one you did should be set.
- Dip each cake pop into the melted chocolate and give it a quick spin to coat evenly. Take the tap the cake pop on the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate, then put the cake pop, stick side first, into a polystyrene block. Whilst the chocolate is still sticky, press one of the fondant irises onto the cake pop. Repeat with all the pops and then leave to set. My tip for dipping is to get your cake pop in and out of the warm chocolate as quickly as possible, as the temperature of the chocolate and the bowl/mug will melt you r cake pop and make it fall off of it's stick. Don't worry too much about doing it, just go for it and it will work. And don't forget: Practise makes perfect!