Cake Pops for Beginners and for Those That HATE them!
Ahhhh the cake pop.... even the mere mention of the word on a social media forum brings out all kinds of nasty in people. I haven't for the life me a clue why! (That's not entirely true and once upon a time I felt the same way....) Poor little cake pops... little bundles of sugary goodness...revenue generator of wasted cake.... so misunderstood...sigh.....
Let me start by saying, cake pops, love them or hate them, if you are a cake maker, who has cake scrapes left over at the end of each week and are not selling cake pops you are missing out on potential revenue!!!
Now you might be thinking at this point "I Ain't Got No Time For That...." and you would be wrong! They seriously take the minimum amount of fuss to roll out 100 and flog them off on your page for a few bucks extra and all for scraps you were going to either eat (and who needs cake on their hips!) or throw away.
Let me take you on a little journey to make them SOOOOOOO easily that you will be tempted to give them a shot in this fail proof method...
1 kilo of cake scraps - we all have this each week right!?!?
2 to 3 table spoons (depending on the moisture content of your cake, the denser it is, the less you use) of your fav melted chocolate or a high ration ganache (being 4:1 ratio)
Chocolate of your choice for dipping - my weapon of choice is plain melting chocolate that I then colour
A spoon or 2 of canola oil to "water" down the chocolate for dipping
Some cake pop sticks or paper straws
Mixing bowls including a heat proof bowl
Clean hands and do what I do and ALWAYS wear gloves!!!
Method to my madness...
Crumb up your cake scraps - you can do this in two ways:
The hard way - by hand - crumb it as fine as you can, this will take about 5 to 10 minutes
The easy way - shove the entire lot into your awesome food processor and let it do the job - it will become a ball of dough - awesome!
Add in the melted chocolate or ganache - now you might be tempted to use left over butter cream frosting... Do not do it!!! This is where most amateurs fail!! You need firmness!!
Roll into even balls and again there are 2 ways to do this:
The hard way - by hand, trick here is to weigh each ball for consistency, yes I am that anal when it comes to consistency
The easy way - invest in a cake pop roller - cost peanuts when you work out the time saving and how much you will use it going forward - I did a year without one, worse year of my life - when hubby finally cracked it and bought it for me I was a new woman... I can roll out a couple hundred cake pop balls in 30 minutes with this little sucker!
Chill them a little - 10 to 20 minutes to "firm up"
Meanwhile heat up the chocolate of your choice and add a little oil to unthicken the consistency especially if using dark chocolate
Prep your bench, stick, balls, melted chocolate, a tray lined with baking paper or sil mat and dip in this order:
stick into melted chocolate - approx 1cm
stick it now into a cake ball - move onto the next one until all the sticks or straws are in place and upright (try to be neat about it! You affect my OCD when I see crooked cake pops!)
Now dip ball into the chocolate up to where your stick starts.
Tap the side lightly to let excess drip off and turn while it's setting for about 20 seconds
Place on prepared tray and try and keep them evenly spaced and again consistently upright
Once they are set, you can move them into storage.
If they are made with straight melted chocolate they will keep out of the fridge for up to a week
If you used ganache, about 5 days is the going rate.
Now it's up to you how fancy pants you want to get with your decorating, but a simple few flicks of a contrasting chocolate will suffice for most people.
It's important to note for your common cake pop failures and why they happened:
Oh for the love of god, they have cracked!! They were too cold from the fridge when you dipped them.
They are too soft and fell apart while dipping, wtf!! Way too soft cake and too much frosting or ganache to ratio of cake or too warm. This is the part where I remind you NOT TO USE BUTTERCREAM!!!!
My cake pops are sitting in a pool of chocolate on the tray!! Refer to step 6.4 above - get excess chocolate off your pop. OR your chocolate was way to thin and too warm, meaning it continues to "pool" after you set it on the mat
My chocolate is lumpy and gloppy on my cake pops! 2 things can be happening here, your chocolate is too cold for dipping or too thick in which case add a little more oil.
My cake pops popped their bottoms, why!?!?!? Temperature is the culprit again here - you either dipped them too cold or they have been in and out of the fridge. Once they are dipped and set, they stay out of that fridge!! Go it!
How do I store them for transport? Something I get asked all the time. My hack here is a regular cupcake box without the insert and I place each cake pop in a mini cupcake wrap of its own and lay it down. They don't bump and get damaged during travel. There are proper full on cake pop transporter boxes available from most good cake decorating suppliers.
I made 200 of these little buggers, what do I do with them now?!?!? Flog them off on your FB and IG pages and make some money!