When it comes to perfect sugary nuggets of happiness, there is nothing that beats out a good old cake pop. From the sprinkle-topped basic cake pop, to the uber fancy, cake pops have entered the world of finger food with a boom and have made it clear that they are here to stay! (Also, have you seen how cute they look at parties?)
The only question now is - how does one go about making the perfect cake pop?
For starters, let’s talk ingredients–
Now the best thing about cake pops is that you can literally make them all out of supermarket aisle products, they are literally the definition of ‘no hassle’. What makes them better though is that there are literally pre-made ingredient mixes that can make this even easier for you.
Step One: Building the Batter and the Cream Bases
The first thing you are going to need is obviously – a cake-mix.
Now, you can opt for a basic box brand or if you want to be a bit more of a Martha Stewart you can make your own cake mix, either works fine because all you really need to do is bake yourself a typical cake and crumble it into a bowl.
The upside to baking your own of course is that you can ensure that you have the best possible texture, we recommend chocolate cake with blackberry buttercream (we’ll explain where the cream comes in, in just a moment!) The freshness of the blackberries makes the chocolate stand out even more and, we’ll let’s be honest, is there really anything better than a chocolate cake?
Start by building yourself a base, you want about two large eggs, and 1.75 cups of granulated sugar and an additional forth cup of light brown sugar. Mix in half a cup of coco powder, and two and a half cups of all-purpose flour.
You’re then going to need a cup of warm to hot water, and a teaspoon each of baking soda, baking powder, instant coffee powder and vanilla extract. Add an additional cup of vegetable oil, or melted butter, and a cup of buttermilk.
This leaves you with the need for cream. Now, personally we prefer using a store-bought brand, just because it’s usually pre-frozen and that helps make the texture hold better, but if you want to make your own, just make sure you so it the day before so that you can freeze it beforehand.
For this particular recipe, we’d recommend starting with about 7 cups of confectioner’s powdered sugar, 2 cups of salted butter, half a cup of blackberry puree, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix until light and fluffy and then freeze for at least 12 hours.
Step Two: Bake and Break the Perfect Cake
If you are done making your batters give your bowl one last whisk add a touch of salt and start baking at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Or alternatively, grab yourself a box of Betty Crocker’s or whatever store-bought brand you prefer and just follow the instructions.
Once you have your cake are warm and toasty, you want to break it into a bowl, while it still crumbles, as you do add in a frosted cream. Once you have your cream mix it in with the crumbled cake and freeze it for an additional hour.
Step Three: Back to the Fridge
Line a pan with non-stick paper and then use a tablespoon to scoop out the precise amount and roll it between your palms until the desired ball shape is acquired.
Once you’ve gone through your batter, stick the pan in the fridge, (yes, again!), while you fashion yourself a double boiler to make the fancy coating you’re going to be using.
Now keep in mind that even though continuously popping the mixture into the fridge may seem like an annoyance, you really need to make sure you do just that, or the you’re going to risk a crack once you’ve coated the cake pop and nobody wants that.
Another trick is to slide in the sticks before you freeze them for the last time. If you don’t have sticks handy or you can’t find any at your local grocers, you can actually reuse old lollipop sticks or straws.
Step Four: Cake Coatings
Now, coming back to the coating, you want to grab yourself a few candy melts in the color and flavor of your choice. Or alternatively just go with white and add in a touch of food coloring.
You can do this one of two ways, you can either pop it in cake pop maker or in the microwave – which means you are going to need to dial down the power to about 50% and then heat the melts at 30 second intervals, making sure you give them a good stir every 30 seconds until well combined.
Alternatively, you can use a double boiler, or make your own double boiler, where you place the melts in a separate pan or bowl and boil, that in a saucepan filled with boiling water, just make sure you aren’t using anything that will melt or shatter from the heat, preferably steel.
Now, as you melt the melts, try to make sure that you don’t over heat them, if you do you’ll notice that they’ve become hard again and stiff peaks are not something that you want.
In cases like this set your mixture aside for a minute and allow it to cool, usually the melts tend to loosen up as they cool down, although you can also achieve the same effect by adding in a touch of shortening and mixing it into the melts.
Once you have achieved the desired texture, which is smooth but not runny, you can grab your cake balls from the fridge and start to dip them into the mixture.
Step Five: Dip, Dip, Dip!
While dipping may seem like the easiest bit, it’s actually extremely important that you get this bit right, presentation is everything after all. Start by dipping each cake pop in the mixture once, and then giving it a nice twirl to even the surface out.
Allow it to cool for about 30 seconds and then repeat, use the twirling motion again to get rid of any excess and also to even out the surface. Once you’re done stick it into a piece of Styrofoam or an egg carton to allow the cake pops to stand upright as they dry.
This is also the best time for finishing touches, remember the sprinkles or glitter won’t stick as well once they are completely dry. If they’ve already dried off however, just use the extra melts as glue to apply your edible décor – air dry and serve!
N.B. – Cake pops tend to be super addictive so make sure you’ve make enough for the whole party, you’ll also want to re-freeze them if you are going to be serving them later, you don’t want the heat to get the better of your perfect happy nuggets!