July 03, 2012

Cake Pops, the real story

You know those TV shows like "Tom Cruise: E! True Hollywood Story" where you watch it and you suddenly feel like you have all of these secret insights into this person's life? (even though you probably didn't learn anything too special)

Well, this is going to be "cake pops. The Real Story." Get ready.

We've all seen links to cake pops on blogs. Bakerella, the queen of cake pops, makes them sound so easy. "Just form them into the shape of a bluebird, add some extra touches, and voila! Anyone can make cake pops!" So when I saw these flag cake pops over at Bee In Our Bonnet, I was like "oh yes! I am making these!"

I imagined the process as a peaceful and gentle tableaux where small children sat outside my kitchen window playing yankee doodle on a tin whistle while I formed perfect cake pops to prove my prowess as a patriotic cake-pop-inator.

It didn't go quite like that. Be prepared, this is "the real story." It might (will) get ugly.

Some people in my family commented that these looked a little bit more like Jack the Ripper cake pops. Not very celebratory.

 It all started with the red cake pops. I had bought red chocolate candy melts at the store, thinking that would be easier than dying white chocolate. On the contrary--it melted into a light pink, so I had to add a ton of red food coloring anyway. As I started to dip, I realized 2 things. First, the cake pops were just falling off of the sticks (see one of the causalities above) Second, the cheap candy melts were not creating a beautiful, smooth surface. Instead they were creating a bumpy, hideous surface. 
Maybe all of my cake pops were going to look like this. Maybe no one would eat my cake pops. Maybe I would go down in history as the worst cake popper ever!  Maybe I had no skills and should never bake again.

But I had to press on. So I started with the blue cake pops. Wait a minute! These weren't as hard. Probably because I was using real white chocolate, instead of candy melts. And I had a system for letting the cake pops drip so they no longer fell off the first time I twirled them. And I had added some crisco, so the chocolate was more smooth.

Let me pause here and tell you another secret about cake pop making.

No one tells you how messy it is! There was melted chocolate everywhere. Crisco, cake pop sticks, fallen cake pops, pops to be stuck on sticks, just crazytown. 

Red and Blue cake pops were done now. The white ones had to be double dipped to really cover them. I looked at the cake pops and realized I didn't have enough to make a real flag. Well, at least they tasted good, and the red ones didn't look TOO terrible once they were drizzled with white chocolate. I called it a day, and slid the finished cake pops into the freezer.

There were a few cake pop casualties, which some people made into horned cake-pop narwhals.
But then it was time--time to see how I was going to display these non-flag cake pops. I went with "Bouquet Americana." This is also known as "Finding a rectangular vase slightly shorter than the pops themselves and stuffing them in."

The moral of the story is: don't use candy melts. Cake pops are more difficult than you think. And yes, there are very few things a drizzle of white chocolate won't fix. 

So you want to make your own cake pops? 

Bakerella does the best job explaining how to do it.
For these pops, I made all of my own cake and frosting, but you can obviously go the box/canned frosting route as well. 

Red Pops-Chocolate Cake-Chocolate Frosting
Blue Pops-Red Velvet Cake-Cream Cheese Frosting
White Pops-Banana Cake-Peanut Butter Frosting

For each of the frostings I used these super basic recipes
butter + 1/2 powdered sugar and 1/2 cocoa powder + milk
cream cheese + powdered sugar + milk
peanut butter + powdered sugar + milk

Beat together until right consistency. If too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more sugar. Easy. You need less frosting for the cake pops than you think--use just enough to keep the cake together. If you use too much frosting, your teeth will hurt when you bite into the cake pop, and no one likes that.

Happy Fourth of July!

1 comment:

Sarah Lorence Johnson said...

They look great! This post was hilarious. I think I will never attempt making cake pops, though, now that I know the REAL story.

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