Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Valentine's Cake Pops

Valentines was the theme for our February 2012 meeting, but I had already decided what I wanted to bake. My Mum got me this wonderful Cake Pop recipe book for Christmas, and since then I really wanted to try them. However, I'd had my heart set on making Macaroons in January, so the Cake Pops got pushed back a month and ended up being my Valentines themed bake instead. (Stick hearts and flowers on anything and it's automatically Valentines themed ;-P) I was also lucky enough to have this recipe feature in Macmillan Cancer Care's Little Book of Treats 2012 - the Cake'n'Bake Club voted for this as their favourite recipe for a "luxury treat" and so this was the recipe we submitted. Proud doesn't even cover how I felt when I was able to buy a copy in M&S!

Cake Pops are, in theory, really simple to make. In practise; well it was a little bit of trial and error, and the recipe in the book (in my opinion) used way too much icing which made the mixture difficult to handle. What I would say is if you want to give Cake Pops a go then just do it! They are great fun to make and even when decorated simply they look fantastic! I've amended the original recipe and directions below to add in some of the hints and tips I learnt in the process. I used chocolate cake with vanilla icing, white chocolate and pink candy melts, however you could use pretty much any flavour (or combination of flavours of) cake, icing, chocolate, candy melts, you name it! One idea I toyed with, but didn't try this time was melting some fondant to coat the cake balls and having fondant fancy inspired pops... Just a thought!

Prep time: Around 2 hours
Make 20 Cake Pops

125g margarine
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
125g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
150g white chocolate buttons or white candy melts
300g pink chocolate buttons or pink candy melts
3-4 tsps vegetable oil, as required
love heart shaped sprinkles
8 fondant roses

You will also need some lollipop sticks, and a block of polystyrene to stand you cake pops in as they set!

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, and grease and line a baking tin.
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together until creamy, then add one of the eggs and beat til fluffy. Fold in half of the flour and the cocoa. Beat in the second egg, and then fold in the remaining flour. 
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Whilst your cake is cooling, it's a good idea to make your sugar roses, and clear some space in your freezer! You can also get the cream cheese icing ready, by beating together the cream cheese and icing sugar until creamy.
  5. Once the cake is completely cool, break it into pieces. You want to turn your cake into crumbs and the easiest way to do this is to stick the pieces in a blender and give them a quick whizz, however if you don't have a blender you could always use a cheese grater and crumb you cake by hand, but this takes much longer. 
  6. Once your cake is sufficiently crumbed, mix in half of the cream cheese icing. Add more icing as needed to bind the crumbs together, but be careful not to add to much or it may make your mixture too sloppy to work with. 
  7. Measure 30g blobs of the cake pop mixture, and roll these into balls. Place the balls onto a lined baking tray and into the freezer for at least 20 minutes. (Gives you a chance to wash up some of those dishes... this recipe uses a lot of dishes!)
  8. Once the cake balls are solid, melt your chocolate/candy melts, either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water. A few tips here - as I was only making a few cake pops, but still needed the chocolate/candy melts to be deep enough for dipping, I found it helpful to melt mine in a mug. It was wide enough for me to dip my pops into, but not so wide that the chocolate lacked the depth required. Secondly, it helps to add a tsp of vegetable oil to your mug of melted chocolate/candy melts. Yes, I know it seems weird to do so, but this thins down the chocolate/candy melts just enough to make them much more suitable for dipping!
  9. I started with the white chocolate... to begin with, dip each lollipop stick around 1cm into your melted chocolate, and then push that end into a cake ball. (apparently this helps the stick the cake to the lollipop stick!) Once that chocolate has set (which won't take long since you cake balls are very cold!) Dip 8 of your cake pops, one at a time, into the white chocolate. Gently tap the cake pops on the side of the mug to discard the excess chocolate, then stick the pop upright into your polystyrene block to set. Repeat the process using the melted pink candy melts for the remaining 12 cakes pops. However, this time sprinkle a few of your heart shaped sprinkles over each cake pop as the candy begins to set. 
  10. Place any leftover pink candy into a piping bag fitted with a very fine nozzle. Go back to you white cake pops, and pipe vertical stripes onto each. Use some melted candy to secure a sugar rose on the top of each of these cake pops.
  11. Hey presto, you're all done! The cake pops are best stored wrapped in cellophane bags in the fridge, and will keep for up to a week (if they last that long!!)

Happy Thoughts

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