Cake pops, a Bakerella creation, are a lot of fun to make because they can take on so many personalities. When I made Penguin Pops in August, I loved the decorating, but I was a little frustrated with the process - the dough refrigeration seemed to cause problems.
I've done some experimenting since then, and here is my updated tutorial. Highlights - refrigeration causes cracking and moisture, and cake pops can be made just as easily at room temperature.
Boxed cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge, 18.25 oz)
Can of frosting (I used Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate, 16 oz)
Candy Melts (I used Wilton White Candy Melts)
Decorations (these are just some sprinkles I already had)
Small bags and ties for packaging (optional)
Step 1. Bake cake mix according to instructions on package. Let cake cool completely.
Step 2. Melt the Wilton melts. This can be done in the microwave (heat in 30 second to 1 minute intervals, stirring between each interval) or in a chocolate melter (keep on "melt" setting for melting, mixing and dipping.) The advantage to a chocolate melter is that it will keep the chocolate at a constant temperature during the entire dipping process.
When chocolate is melted, it will still be thick. To thin the chocolate, add small amounts of vegetable shortening, mixing between additions, until the chocolate is smooth. For a 14 oz package of melts, you will need a total of 1 to 2 tablespoons shortening. (Don't add too much or it may end up tasting like shortening.)
Step 3. Transfer the cooled cake to a bowl, and break into crumbs using a fork.
The dough is made by mixing frosting into the cake crumbs. Start by adding 1/2 can of frosting. Mix until combined, then test to see if you can form a ball with your hands. Squeeze the dough together, then roll between your palms. If the ball cracks or falls apart, continue adding small amounts of frosting until a ball can be formed. (This will be about 3/4 of the can in total, but the exact amount depends on the specific cake and frosting.)
Be careful not to add too much frosting, or the dough will become sticky and difficult to work with. (And will have a funny texture when eaten.)
Step 4. Roll dough into cake balls with clean hands and arrange balls on a Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Each ball should be about 1-1/4 inches in diameter.
Step 5. Attach a lollipop stick to a cake ball by dipping the tip of the stick in the melted chocolate, then inserting the stick into cake ball (about 3/4 of the way into the cake ball.) Let the chocolate set so that the balls won't fall off the sticks during dipping.
Step 6. Dip cake pops in chocolate until chocolate covers the entire ball. Take pops out of the chocolate and tap the cake pop stick against the side of the bowl or melter while spinning, to remove excess chocolate. Add sprinkles while chocolate is still wet.
Place the pops in a Styrofoam block or in a small cup to allow them to dry before packaging. (Let them sit for at least an hour in a cool spot of your kitchen.)
A Few Other Thoughts on Cake Pops:
- Consider this "cake dough" on a stick - it won't have the same texture as cake.
- Wilton melts are already tempered - the shortening is only added to change the consistency. Adding vegetable oil does not work as well as shortening.
- Chilling finished cake pops can cause the chocolate to become soft at room temperature (and make a sticky mess when you try to package them.)
- Avoid getting any water in your melted chocolate (check food coloring ingredients if you plan to dye the melts) or the chocolate will seize up and become grainy.
- You can substitute home-made cake and frosting, but the proportions for the dough may be different.
- Chocolate bark can be substituted for the candy melts, though you may have to play around with how much shortening you add.
- Cake pops should be good for up to a week (no refrigeration needed.)
- Check out Bakerella's site for all sorts of fun decorating inspiration!