The Cake Pops Trial Run Adventure

I was hoping to call this post something totally different, something along the lines of ‘The cheat’s easy peasy cake pops‘ – but it turns out all new things require some trial and error. The only way this weekend’s DIY doings can be classified as a success in any way, is as a tale of experimentation and lessons learnt. 

Danielle and I have been wanting to try out cake pops for quite some time now – even looking into taking a morning class in how to make them – but that never materialised due to  schedule conflicts and then just radio silence from the teacher in question.  So when I came across this recipe on the Taste magazine site I figured that, between the two of us we will master the art of cake pops in a morning without paying anyone to show us how.

If you haven’t had a look at the linked recipe here are the steps:

  1. Crumble cake.Crumble the cake
  2. Mix crumbs with cream cheese. Flavour it with an extract of your choice if you want.Mix cake crumbs with cream cheese
  3. Roll into balls and let the balls chill in the fridge for a while.Roll into bite size balls and chill in the fridge
  4. Cover with chocolate and decorate.  This was the most fun and messiest part of it all. Luckily I have two live Hoovers that like to lick up messes, not terribly hygienic but then eating of the floor is not really a thing in our house – not for the humans anyway.Cover cake pops with chocolate and decorate

As you can see from the picture above, our results were not very pretty… /0\.  But ever so yummy \0/!

So what are the lessons we learnt?

  1. DO NOT use box cake.  That was the first mistake.  I forgot to check whether I have all the necessary ingredients in the kitchen before going to work on Friday, so when shopping time came around I figured I’d be better off just buying a pre-mix.  Big mistake!  The resultant cake is very oily and heavy, not great for something that is supposed to be light and airy.  Tannie Ina lettuce down.
    Roll bite size balls

    All that oil is coming out of the cake crumbs… 🙁 siesa man!

  2. Make friends with gravity! I don’t know why this was not obvious to us while we were doing it, but let those cake ball suckers chill upside down!  And drop some chocolate at the base around the stick to secure it.  That will stop the balls from sliding down the sticks like ours did.

    Let the suckers chill upside down.

  3. Let the cake pops chill for longer than thirty minutes. On the second try I left them in the freezer for over an hour and the covering with chocolate business was a lot easier and much less messy.  Fewer balls fell apart during the covering process and because they were a little bit more sturdy I was able to let the chocolate run off evenly.
  4. Spend money on quality chocolate!  I can not stress this enough.  Both Danielle and I HATE plastic tasting baking chocolate, so we opted for milk chocolate instead. Ok first up I will say that if we had deeper, smaller melting containers we would probably not have had as many problems as we did, because we would have been able to dip them and then let the excess chocolate drip off.  As it was we blobbed a spoonful of chocolate on the ball and turned it until it was properly covered.  This is now going to turn into something of a chocolate rating rant but bear with me.
    • The Nestlé Milky Bar was an utter disaster as far as melting is concerned.  It did not melt into a runny liquid and our attempts to make it more runny turned it into a ‘curdled’ mess.
      maak’it Top Tip – do not add any water based liquids to melted chocolate, this includes milk!
    • The Cadbury’s Dairy Milk’s  glass and a half full of milk seems to make it a bit more suited for melting.  It melted fine, but was never fully melted, whenever you scraped the bowl it left a ‘powdery’ trail.  The best way I can describe it is like this.  Imagine finding a melted chocolate and then eating it (We’ve all done it, right?  That one that you forgot in your cubby hole).  That peanut butter like stuff that sticks to your ‘verhemelte’ – that was the problem with the Dairy Milk.
    • We tried Cadbury’s Dream next to replace the Milky Bar and our results were about the same as with the Dairy Milk slab.  Although there was less of a powdery trail when you scraped the bowl.
    • The Cadbury’s Bourneville slab worked the best of the lot.  I have no idea why this is because I can’t imagine that the higher cocoa content would have anything to do with it.
    • In the second try out today I sacrificed my week’s stash of Lindt Chilli Chocolate for experimentation purposes /0\.  And what do you know, ‘goedkoop koop is duurkoop’ when it comes to chocolate.  The chocolate melted uniformly and was runny until the end, the excess chocolate dripped off the cake pops quickly and hardened much faster so less chocolate was wasted.

      The difference between good quality chocolate and regular chocolate.

  5. A beer box with holes in it and covered with wax paper works perfectly fine, although packing Styrofoam would probably be a little bit more stable.Make holes in a beer tray to keep the cake pops upright.
  6. As for the decorations – the Hundreds and Thousands makes for a wonderfully interesting chewing experience, it adds crunchiness to the chocolate.  That probably made it my favourite.  Although the Peppermint Crisp was great too, although next time I will try to get to just the peppermint bits and pick the chocolate off.

We have decided that we are going to hunt down a cake pops baking pan and the next trial run will very definitely include one of those.  What I do like about this option though is the opportunity you have to hide surprises in the center of the ball.  A Marachino cherry for a Black Forest cake pop, a blob of Nutella and so forth, the list is as endless as your imagination.

Until next time, happy cake popping.