Last weekend we had two major baking projects going on at the same time, both of which were pretty messy. The kitchen was even more of a disaster than usual, and that’s saying something. While Betsy took the lead on Mini Mocha Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze, I led the charge on these Halloween Cake Pops.
A word about the cake pops. This was our attempt to replicate Bakerella’s famous cake balls on a stick, and as the BF had a pumpkin carving party coming up at his work, I decided to make pumpkins for him. The project took forever – upwards of 4 hours – but they were a HUGE hit. They disappeared so fast, people arriving late at the party were fresh out of luck. So if you have a whole day looking for something to do, try this. But if you need something for your kid’s class party tomorrow morning, just bake some cookies. As always, the recipe below is how we made them, which is not necessarily what the original recipe recommends.
- baking stuff
- 5″ lollipop sticks
- orange (vanilla-flavored) candy melts
- black gel food coloring
- tiny paintbrush
First, we baked a cake. We used a prepared mix of extra moist devil’s food cake and baked according to package directions. (Trust us, this process is complicated enough, you will thank yourself for using a mix. There’s no need for scratch-made here.) Then we crumbled up the cake into a big mixing bowl (though a cookie sheet may have been better) and stuffed it in the fridge to help it cool faster. Once it was completely cooled, we mixed in about 3/4 of a can of buttercream icing. I may or may not have eaten the rest of the can after Betsy left.
After we got our hands in there and got the cake/icing mixture to a nice smooth consistency, we rolled the mixture into balls and placed them on wax-covered cookie sheets. Then I melted just a few orange candy melts (we bought them at A.C. Moore) and dipped the tip of the lollipop sticks (also A.C. Moore) in the orange candy, then speared the cake balls about 3/4 of the way through the ball. Bakerella recommends this little process of candy coating before spearing so that the stick stays put in the cake ball. The speared cake balls went in the fridge to firm up.
A few hours later, after driving to my sister’s for family dinner, I returned to finish the cake pops. I melted the rest of the orange candy melts and rolled each cake ball until they were completely coated. I thought it was easier to use the back of a spoon to make sure everything was covered instead of trying to actually roll them. If I got a little too much, a few soft taps on the side of the bowl got all the drips off. Then I added a chocolate sprinkle on top for a stem and stuck the pops into styrofoam to let them firm up. The orange candy hardens quickly enough that when the last pop was rolled, I could start painting the first pop.
I took the jar of Wilton’s black gel food coloring and put a bit into a small bowl. It turns out that black food coloring turns your fingers purple for a couple days and stains jeans, so I would suggest being careful here. I added a tiny splash of vodka until I achieved a good consistency. Then I dipped my paintbrush in and got to work. Vodka?! What?! Yep — this was Betsy’s idea, and it worked out fantastically. You need liquid to make the ink smooth enough to paint with, but water makes it runny. The vodka achieves the right consistency, and as it dries, the alcohol completely evaporates away, leaving the thick paint-like ink behind. Cool, huh?
Ta-da! They’re done!
How Sue Sees It:
- Estimating for supplies was difficult. Of course batches will vary, but here’s some numbers that might help if you try to make some cake pops: The cake/icing mixture made 53 balls. One bag of orange candy melts covered 39 balls. I had to use chocolate – which I always keep on hand – to cover the rest. And I greatly underestimated the need for styrofoam. I used a 12″ by 9″ piece of green styrofoam to make my pumpkin patch, and rested it on top of a cookie sheet. Spaced about 2″ apart, I only fit 24 pops. Because I was rushing to have them the next day, I didn’t go out for more supplies. Instead, I took the leftover orange and chocolate pops, let them harden, and then served them on a tray in paper mini muffin cups.
- And without styrofoam, I didn’t have anywhere to let them dry, so I turned a colander upside down and stuck the sticks through the biggest holes.
- They are soooo delicious and soooo rich! Because the cake is rolled down into balls, it’s very dense. Pace yourself — it’s very easy to eat a few quickly and then regret it. One cake pop is like a whole slice of cake.