Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with CakePops

We have a little niece who turned 10 this week! Happy Birthday to little C! Ten is a big age full of opinions, pouting, energy and ideas. It just so happens that the week before we had all been to an event and C wanted cakepops sold by a vendor. Daddy said "no" and Nana mentioned that if C wrote me a letter, maybe I would make cakepops for her birthday. So I got a letter and who could resist?
I have to admit I cringed inside. I do not like cakepops in their popular incarnation. They may be a "pop" but they're not cake, more like gooey truffle on a stick. If I wanted truffle on a stick, that's what I'd make. Since C hadn't actually had a cakepop at last weekend's event she wouldn't know what to expect so I set out to make a better cakepop, one that was actually cake. Mine contained no icing. I had some cake oops moments but all turned out well. Here's what I did.

For the cake I started with a vanilla white cake recipe. This cake did turn out yellow but was super-moist without being too dense.

Vanilla Cake
Makes 24 cakes (3 tbs. of batter each)
1 c. white sugar
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 c. all purpose flour*
1/2 c. + 1 tbs. cake flour
2 tbs. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 c. milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Almond Bark Coating
Sucker Sticks
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and liberally oil and flour your pans/molds
Cream butter and Sugar until fluffy
Add eggs one at a time, beating between each egg
Sift together dry ingredients
add 1/4 of the dry ingredients and 1/4 of the milk alternately until fully mixed
Add Vanilla and mix
Fill cakepans/cups 1/2-2/3 full. Batter will be very thin.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched.
*The recipe calls for 1 1/2 AP c. flour but my brain wasn't working so I only used about 1 cup total. They were a little wet but held up well for the final stages. I do think the cake flour helped lighten them up some. I could go either way on this one with no harm done.

I used a silicone brownie pan to get flower shapes. Yes, you still have to oil and flour. Don't believe the claims of non-stick/easy release. They lie and the more intricate the shape, the more it's important to oil and flour. When the cakes have just come out of the oven, run a knife around the edges to loosen and gently pop out of the molds onto a cooling rack.

When the cakes are cool, carefully trim the backs so they're (mostly) flat. Pop these in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Now is the time to break out the candy coating. I used vanilla almond bark or you could use candy melts. (I have a friend who uses a Belgian chocolate but that was a little much for a 10 year-old's birthday party.) Melt a small amount of the candy coating in the microwave for 30 seconds, I used one almond bark square. The candy won't be completely melted out of the microwave but will melt together with stirring. Do not overheat.

Pull the cakes out of the freezer, roll about an inch of the sucker stick in the candy and insert into the cakes. I liked to pick a spot where the petals joined, mostly for aesthetics.

Place the pops back in the freezer to reharden for 30 minutes. Next you'll melt the candy to coat the cake. I use a large 4 c. glass measuring cup set in my smallest sauce pan. Put water in the saucepan to boil and the measuring cup on top. Add candy coating to the measuring cup, effectively making a double-boiler.  Melt the candy and coat the cakes on a stick, dripping off any excess. Lay on waxed paper to cool. Apply sprinkles to your hearts desire as the candy is cooling. Freeze to firm.

That's it! All told this took me about 3 hours without freezer time and they were pretty tasty too!

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