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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Basic Cake Ball Pop Recipe

Making cake pops in the basic ball shape is one of the easiest things you can do; it would appear that decorating them is where the potential exists to lose your mind! For the pop itself, the only things you need are cake and icing (of the creamy variety). These are the tops off three 6" cakes that I leveled (a standard box of cake mix fills three 6" pans perfectly). 
You'll also need a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment paper. 
Make sure your hands are extremely clean, and start by breaking up the cake into tiny pieces; no large chunks should remain.
Now, stir in some frosting. It seems most cake pop recipes recommend more frosting than is necessary. You can always start with a small amount and add more as needed. If you start with too much frosting and wind up with a creamy mess you can't form into balls, the only solution would be to add more cake. I used maybe two small spatula dips worth of frosting for this project.
 Stir it around as best you can, but if you're like me you'll eventually abandon the spatula and use your hands. I heard this concoction referred to as a "slurry" of frosting and cake, which is pretty accurate.
 Scoop out some of the mixture; one, two, or three tablespoonfuls, depending on what size pops you're going for. I used two.
 After squeezing the mixture tightly and rolling it between my hands, here's the first ball. It should be firm and dense; not at all likely to fall apart at the slightest provocation. Remember, it needs to hold up to having a stick shoved into it, and to being dunked in melted candy or chocolate. Make it solid!
 Place the balls on the cookie sheet, and then chill them in the refrigerator for about two hours.
Before you remove the balls from the fridge, get ready for the next step: coating them and decorating them. I'm only dipping these in chocolate and covering them with toffee chips, so I picked up a bag of Heath English Toffee Bits (you can find these near the chocolate chips on the baking aisle), and I melted half a bag of Guittard Melt N' Mold pieces (melt in the microwave; stir after :30 increments until smooth). The only other items needed are a Styrofoam block and lollipop sticks (from the candy/cake decorating aisle at the craft store). 
Dip a stick in the melted chocolate…
…and push it straight into the pop. Cover your finger over the opposite end; you'll feel the stick coming and will know when to stop pushing (you don't want the stick to come out the other side). 
When the chocolate at the base of the stick is dry, the pop is ready to be dipped in the chocolate. 
Make sure the edge of the container holding the chocolate is clean. 
Dip the pop in at an angle to just over where the stick meets the cake; this will help anchor the cake to the stick. 
Tap the stick against the edge of the container to shake off the excess chocolate. Don't take too long doing this step; the cold of the pop will cause the chocolate to start hardening rapidly.
Sprinkle the toffee bits (or whatever topping you're using) over the pop until it's thoroughly coated. 
Push the stick into the Styrofoam block. Don't chill these particular pops in the refrigerator; toffee bits have a tendency to get gummy. However, at this point with most pops you would want to chill them in the fridge for about 10 minutes (no longer or the cake will shrink and the chocolate will crack). 
Wrap the pops in plastic wrap, or any sort of lollipop sleeve (available in the same part of the store where you found the sticks). Store (hoard?) them in a cool place until ready to serve, give away, or keep for yourself.

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