Have you ever had a cake pop before? I think the first popular chain to sell cake pops would be Starbucks. Here’s one of their cake pops; their cake pops are about $2 a pop. At first I was shocked at how much they cost for such a tiny little snack. It’s about the size of a large lollipop and yet it costs almost as much as a cheap bag of cookies? Well, I finally made cake pops of my own and I will tell you, I don’t think I would make cake pops for anyone unless they were people I cared about or I was paid $2 for each pop because it is labor intensive!!!
It is definitely the fact that I made these for the first time (aka I didn’t have the setup all ready and the prior experience), but even if I became a pro at this, it would still take an X amount of hours! My total time to make these (spanning over two days): about 2 hrs for the first day and 5 hrs for the second day. LOL. The next time I make these (IF there is a next time) I think I could cut it down to 3-4 hours total. Ehhhh.
A cake pop is basically a cake that is crumbled to fine crumbs, mixed with frosting to make a gooey texture, rolled into balls, stuck with lollipop sticks, and dipped into chocolate. It’s far more special than if you just used a mold to bake round cake balls and dipped it into chocolate. The process of making such fine crumbs and combining with frosting makes it very moist, sweet, and a creamy texture. I thought they sounded delicious and absolutely cute so I decided to make these as gifts for my friends this holiday season. Do I want to make it again? I’ll consider it again after I have a good rest and forget about it for a little bit, lol.
So…here is the entire process, with my tips & hints, and all of my screwups.
First, I baked the red velvet cake. After it was done, I crumbled it up the best I could with my hands, but the hardened edges were harder to get at. So after crumbling with my hands, I had to put the entire thing in a food processor to get better results. Next time I will cut the edges of the cake out and throw it in a food processor, and continue to do the rest of the cake with my hands.
Food processed cake
After I added a little more than 1/3 of the 12 oz can of cream cheese frosting and mixed it into the cake, I started forming cake balls.
Do not eat :)
I made sure to put a note on the refrigerated cake balls, informing everyone in my family to not eat them. I left them refrigerated overnight.
This part of the prep work took way longer than I expected. I had to buy a long block of styrofoam since I didn’t have any and then cut it half to make it easier to fit in the fridge and to have two blocks to switch cake pops onto. One batch would be able to sit in the fridge while the other was for freshly made ones. I had to cut the styrofoam which made a flaky mess, of course. Then I wrapped & taped it in saran wrap. Plastic wrap and styrofoam do NOT like each other. I had to put some extra effort into taping the plastic wrap down. >_< Then, I used the lollipop sticks to poke holes into the styrofoam.
I poked holes into the cake balls with the lollipop sticks, dipped the lollipop sticks into melted chocolate, and dipped the sticks back into the indents I had made in the cake balls. After the chocolate hardens, it acts as a glue to hold the stick to the ball.
After all the cake balls had the lollipop sticks in them, it was time to dip them into the melted chocolate. I just got chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave (15-30 sec intervals). My first cake pop wasn’t so bad, but the chocolate was kind of running down the stick. The second cake pop decided to break and stay in the chocolate. The following cake pops broke as well, and I started to panic because I had intended to make all of the cake pops count (aka perfect & not total failures).
After briefly freaking out, I re-evaluated my technique and decided the “dip & twirl” method was not working for me, at ALL. The cake balls were too heavy and too fragile to handle that. I took a plastic fork and broke the two center legs to make a prong. After dipping the cake ball into the chocolate, I used the prong to dump chocolate all over the ball and then pick up the ball between the two legs (tines). I tapped the fork a bit to get out the excess chocolate, gently lifted the cake ball from the fork, and used the fork to gently scrape off the excess chocolate while twirling the cake ball around. I also used the fork to fix any bald spots that didn’t have enough chocolate. This method totally works because I was able to save a lot of cake balls that had already cracked or weren’t very securely stuck to the lollipop stick.
The partially rescued rejects
I found that using the previously mentioned method can actually save cracked cake balls – they could stand on their on when stuck on the styrofoam and harden properly. It even saved cake balls that broke apart in my bowl of melted chocolate. I just spooned chocolate all over the broken ball until it was completely covered, and then I transferred it face down (lollipop stick up) onto a sheet of wax paper. When the chocolate hardened, I was able to lift the cake pop with the lollipop stick and it was all in one piece. It wasn’t pretty, but it was somewhat salvaged. Those will be eaten as samples, and I might use them to see how well they freeze & defrost.
The chocolate was super difficult for me to deal with because too much of it stuck to the cake ball and wouldn’t drip off. That made it one huge, ugly lump of chocolate. So I decided to try adding some oil to the chocolate, and also heating up the chocolate for about 10 seconds whenever it started to harden a bit. The oil helped SO much; it was a walk in the park compared to how unwieldy the chocolate was without it. The chocolate was much runnier, making it easier to cover the cake balls, shake off excess, and make a nicer shape. There is one drawback: it will taste like oil. Duh. I don’t know what I expecting, but I think I put a little too much so the chocolate doesn’t taste amazing. It doesn’t taste bad, but it definitely doesn’t taste like pure chocolate anymore. The lesson here is that a tiny bit of oil really does a lot to affect the taste.
I used crushed candy canes as decoration on the chocolate before it hardened.
After all of the cake pops were finally done and cooled off in the fridge, I wrapped them up in pairs. Like I said, I plan to give these out as gifts. They don’t taste as good as they could have been, but these were seriously made with hard labor and love so I hope everyone will still appreciate them.
That was one troublesome project. But hey, at least the ones that turned out right actually look decent!
And honestly, it could have been a whole lot worse. This person’s attempt had me stifling my laughs since it was too early in the morning to wake anyone up with my laughter.