Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Witches Hat Cake Pops

Happy Halloween! 

I know my usual blog-post-date is Friday, but as I couldn't let Halloween pass by without sharing my recipe for these cute little cake pops! Besides... a little bird could be heard to say that there will be a new regular(ish) Wednesday blog post coming your way in addition to the weekly Friday posts :-)

It may seem like I've been bitten with the Cake Pop bug (and there's probably some truth in that!), but I absolutely LOVE these Halloween Cake Pops. They are a simple vanilla cake with vanilla icing style cake pop, dipped in dark chocolate. The trickiest part of this recipe was getting the colour of the cakes to match the colour of the fondant icing! The witches hats can also be made a few days in advance, if that helps!

For the witches hats:
30g orange coloured fondant
30g purple coloured fondant
30g green coloured fondant
A little edible glue

For the cake:
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
Orange, purple and green food colouring

For the icing:
75g butter
150g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
Milk, if required.

To decorate:
200g dark chocolate (you may end up with a little left over)
1tsp vegetable oil

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Makes 15 cake pops

  1. Start by making your little witches hats, as you'll need to give these a little bit of time to dry. Starting with the orange icing, roll out to around 3mm thick and cut out five small circles (I used the wrong side on and icing nozzle for this). Gather the icing back together into a ball, and then tear chunks off to mould five small cones with your hands. Use a little of the edible glue to stick the cone to the circular base, and put to one side to dry. Repeat this step with the purple and green icing. Put the hats to one side to dry.
  2. Meanwhile, move on to the cake. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcakes cases.
  3. 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. Split the batter evenly between 3 bowls, and use the food colouring to create an orange, purple and green batter.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes,  until golden brown on top and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. 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.
  6. Using one colour sponge at a time, 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. Once the cake is sufficiently crumbed, pour the crumbs into a bowl, then mix in a tbsp of the butter cream. Add more butter cream a little at a time until you get a mixture that holds together well without crumbling, but isn't too sloppy. 
  7. 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. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with the other two colour sponges. 
  8. Once you've turned all of your mixture into balls put these into the freezer for 20 minutes to set. You'll probably find that you have a small chunk of each different colour left over. You could mash this together to make a multicoloured cake pop, however, it's always best to just eat any leftover mixture :-)
  9. Melt your 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! 
  10. 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!
  11. Dip a lollipop stick around 1cm 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 lollipop stick in this way. By the time you've stuck all of the sticks, the first one you did should be set. 
  12. 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 hats in the corresponding colour onto the cake pop. Repeat with all the pops and then leave to set. 

Cake pop tips:
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!

When dipping, it's best 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 your 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.

Line a baking tray with clingfilm, then pour any leftover chocolate onto it and put it in the fridge. Once set, you can break the chocolate into chunks and store in a food bag until next time. Note - this doesn't work so well if you drop cake in the chocolate or keep dipping your fingers/a spoon in!

Finally: Practise makes perfect!

Funny story - I put the 3 less fortunate looking pops (one in each colour) to one side to use as the ones I would slice into to show you the cross section. It didn't cross my mind at the time that the purple one with chocolate down the stick would still have chocolate down the stick after I'd chopped into it! So this, ladies and gents, is why it's important to tap off the excess chocolate! :-)

Happy Thoughts

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