Hey Chitlins: Since I was on vacation all last week I didn’t get to make anything so I asked my friend Sarah to do a post on these awesome cake pops she made a few weeks ago. Enjoy, I know you’ll love her (if not for the sole fact that she has incredibly enviable hair)!
Hi blog people! I am one of Ace’s friends, Sarah, and I am honored to have been asked by Ace to be the first ever guest blogger here! Ace was in Mexico for the past week (jealous!), but someone had to continue to slave away in the kitchen while she ziplined through the jungles and leisured on a beach. She left me here to pretend that the heat of my oven was actually the glorious Mexican sun beating down on my face. Like Ace, I also love to cook and bake (though she is significantly more patient than I am) and lately people have been complimenting me like crazy and even asking me to bake for their special events. Obviously getting complimented is awesome so feel free to keep ’em coming. And now a little about me…
For the majority of my life I was completely unable and unwilling to follow directions. A smart, but somewhat rebellious child, I took distinct pleasure in disobeying orders. Selective listening allowed me to hear what I wanted to hear and ignore the rest. I can remember my mom calling me and asking me to start the rice for dinner before she got home. She patiently explained 1 cup rice, 1-1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt. What did I do? I put in 1 tablespoon of salt. Totally gross. There’s also the infamous time that I ruined the Passover brownies (which, believe me, are pretty hard to make worse). Directions said 3/4 cup of milk and I added 1-3/4 cups.
Couldn’t cook. Couldn’t bake. But not hopeless.
It all changed for me in college when I realized I had been incredibly spoiled by the fact that both of my parents are tremendous cooks/bakers. They have a ton of signature dishes, bake bread and cookies and pastries, and even make pasta from scratch!
So needless to say when I tasted dorm food I was not pleased. (I still love you Buffalo! It’s not your fault you’re a state school). Dorm food gave me tummy aches and eventually dorm food gave me food poisoning, so I decided I would learn to cook. Baking followed soon after when I realized I COULD follow directions if I really tried. I have always been creative and craftsy, so baking sort of took on the form of a crafts project for me. And I have created some pretty cool projects if I do say so myself!
Recently I made the big leap into Corporate America. There were even Occupy protesters there to greet me on my first day! I truly feel that there is no better way to impress new coworkers (and old ones) than by making ridiculously cute and delicious baked goods for them. Everyone likes sugar, it’s a fact of life. And if that makes people want to give me promotions and raises, so be it. One baked treat that I have recently mastered is the cake pop. Now, apparently cake pops are all the rage right now, which is great for me, because I love making them! People always ask me how to make them and I sometimes want to keep the secrets all to myself. But in the interest of fairness, I feel like my formula should be public knowledge.
*Tips for Melting Chocolate: Before we begin, I should let you know that melting chocolate can be a little temperamental. Because of the sugar in chocolate, when it is introduced to high heat and moisture it seizes (hardens) and becomes unusable. It is very important to heat chocolate slowly, on a low heat setting, and make sure no moisture is introduced to it. White chocolate is especially tricky. Also, the cheaper the chocolate, the more likely it is to seize. It is better to buy real baking chocolate at a baking store. There are 2 ways to melt chocolate. The first is in the microwave in a bowl that will not get hot. If the bowl get’s too hot the chocolate will seize. Heat the chocolate in 30 second increments on a low setting, stirring in between until it is melted. The second method, and the one I prefer is called a double boiler. For this you need a small pot and a glass, heat safe bowl that is slightly bigger than the pot (Pyrex works best). Put about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pot and place the bowl onto the pot so that it sits on the edge. The bowl should not touch the water. Turn the oven on to the lowest heat setting and stir until the chocolate melts thoroughly.
*Side note: There a ton of decorations you could use for your cake pops. Or you could just coat them in chocolate and call it a day. Either is totally fine. I happened to be making my cake pops this time as a holiday present for my coworkers, (remember, kids, baked goods = impressed people) so I used snowflake sprinkles, white edible glitter, and white chocolate chips to make little snowmen.
*Disclaimer: Cake pops should not be attempted unless you are patient, curious, and a little adventurous 🙂
And now for the recipe!
Sarah’s Cake Pop Recipe
1 box cake mix, any flavor (and the ingredients you need to make it i.e. eggs, vegetable oil – look on the back of the box)
1 container of frosting, any flavor
2 lbs of melting chocolate (Comes in many colors at baking supply stores. The better the chocolate, the easier it will be to make these. P.S. Nestle sucks)
Lollipop sticks (You can also make these without the stick. I like to call those Cake Blobs.)
Decorative items (i.e. sprinkles, edible glitter, a different color chocolate, coconut, crushed M&Ms)
1) Bake the cake according to the directions on the box. When the cake is done, allow it to cool entirely. After it has cooled, crumble the cake into little pieces in a large bowl.
2) Mix the can of frosting into the crumbled cake until combined.
3) Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the cake/frosting mixture into balls (golf ball size or smaller) and place on the baking sheet.
4) Melt a small amount of chocolate for about 20-30 seconds. Dip lollipop sticks into chocolate and insert into each cake pop about 3/4 through. They should look like this:
5) Place the tray in the freezer for about 15 minutes until the chocolate has hardened and cake pops are hard, but not frozen. (If they freeze fully, allow them to thaw a bit because if they thaw after they are dipped, the chocolate coating will crack.)
6) Melt 1 bag of chocolate, stirring continually until it is very thin.
7) Dip the pop into the chocolate and coat (make sure some gets on the stick so it really seals it on there). Tap the stick on the edge of the bowl and twirl so excess chocolate will drip off.
8) If you are going to put any sprinkles, nuts, toppings, etc on your cake pops, now is the time. Either roll them in the topping or sprinkle it on with your hands. Then place each pop on the baking sheet with the stick pointing horizontally (or in a holder if you have one). Repeat steps 6-7 until all the cake pops are dipped and decorated. (If you want to make the snowman cake pops, press 3 white chocolate chips into the cake pop so the flat end faces you, then sprinkle glitter and snowflakes all over the pop.)
9) Allow cake pops to cool at room temperature. (While they were cooling, my roommate painted the details onto the faces with food coloring and a toothpick [note: you can also use edible pens to do this.) Once the chocolate has hardened completely you can pack them into a tupperware or into individual bags.
Here is the finished product:
As you can see, I have a cake pop stand that allows them to cool without any sides touching wax paper and being flattened. You can also use a block of styrofoam and press the sticks into it. Otherwise, placing them with one side down is perfectly fine.
Here is an up close look at my snowman cake pops:
I know, I know. They’re awesome.
These will be sure to impress everyone and be a hot topic of conversation anywhere you bring them! Just don’t forget to buy me a drink after you get that promotion! Or take me with you to Mexico.