Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cake Pops

 My adorable niece, Ela, is having her christening this weekend and we are all trooping down to Atlanta to be a part of the festivities. My contribution to the lunch reception is cake balls, or as they turned out, cake pops. Cake balls seem to be like cupcakes were a few years ago, the in thing. I looked up a good recipe and it didn't seem too complicated. Actually it looked really fun and since I never make sweets I never get to decorate sweets. I pictured myself in an apron standing over the table and dabbing dots here, and a swirl there, on my perfectly executed, and stress free, cake balls. Well, I will say they turned out pretty darling.



Gypsy Slow Down



    Stress-free? Not exactly. I started out baking three different cake mixes; one a yellow gluten free mix (by Betty Crocker), one red velvet and one chocolate. That was the easy part. Then I let them cool.




Gypsy Slow Down
 


       In a large bowl I mixed each cake separately with a tub of icing (white for the yellow, chocolate for the chocolate and cream cheese for the red velvet), until it was almost like silly putty but still had some texture. That wasn't so bad either, and I'd used the time the cakes were in the oven to work out and so I felt refreshed and excited and hopeful about these cake balls. Then it was time to roll them out, into little balls. One cake mix makes about 50 balls, so by the end of the first cake mixture my back was a little sore and I'd used up two of my three pans lined with wax paper. Nonetheless, The Young and the Restless was on and even though I have no idea what's going on, it's entertaining, so I was ready to press on. I used my lollipop sticks that I'd gotten at Hobby Lobby and I melted some of the candy melts, dipped each stick into the candy melt and then into the cake ball about halfway.



Gypsy Slow Down


    Three or four hours later, the last cake ball was rolled and stabbed. My freezer was over flowing and half the cake balls were in the fridge, not where they should be. The cat was playing with a plastic bag in between trying to jump from the couch onto the table and ruin my entire enterprise. I had to lay on the floor to soothe my back (meanwhile swatting the cat from below with the broom). I wondered if I could continue this ordeal.


    However, I rallied myself and it was time for the candy melts, or, as their real name should be, the little devils. Once all the cake pops were set in the freezer, about 45 minutes, it was time to dip them to coat. The candy melts can be microwaved and once they are melted it's important to rush back to your work station, dip the cake pops in as fast as you are able (don't worry, they won't break off in the impossibly thick candy--oh wait, they will) and swirl it around, stick it in the Styrofoam block that you have (or run out and get one) and then do all 150 before it solidifies again. Ok, actually, you will get maybe 5 done before the candy melts begin to re-harden. This is when you need to purchase a candy melter that will keep it melted but not overheated. If you are considering cake pops as your profession (if so, I feel for you) then this is essential to keep your rage down.

Helpful word: you cannot dye the candy melts with anything but dye that is intended for the candy melts. I don't know why. Something about it being oil based, but if you try anyway it will harden and become impossible to work with (because it's so easy to get along with as it is).



Gypsy Slow Down


After the melts were dipped and once I got the candy melts to co-operate with whatever color they were supposed to be, I began decorating. At this point the kitchen sink and the counters was piled high with every bowl, spoon, pan, plate and candy melt goo imaginable and my courage was failing. I just wanted to sit down and drink a glass of wine. Or three. But I plucked up and by the time it was dark out, in between a Target run for an icing gun, I had finished all the cake pops, cleaned the kitchen and was ready to sit back and look at my little creations.

      I was so happy with them, it was kind of like childbirth where you forget the pain you went through while you hold all 150 of your babies. Actually, I remembered the pain but they did turn out really adorable and so I think it was worth it.



Gypsy Slow Down




Gypsy Slow Down



Gypsy Slow Down


                                  Come on, you know you want to get started on some!

A basic recipe can be found here, along with tons of inspirational designs.


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