Monday, 3 September 2012

Simply Cake Pops

After all my failed batches of macarons, I've been feeling a little skittish about trying something new.
But cake pops are something that you just can't avoid for very long, aren't they?!

The idea of a piece of cake on a stick never really appealed to me. Especially not cake that has been man-handled into dense balls...
But I'm an inveterate re-cycler at heart. That applies to food, too. (Sorry for you if you don't like left-overs in this household!) So, cake pops are actually right up my alley...

I tried a new chocolate brownie recipe this weekend. I already have 2 great recipes for brownies, but one uses Lindt dark chocolate - which doesn't hang around for long in our cupboard, and the other requires Bar-Ones - which I didn't have.
I do, however -  for a reason I can't clearly recall - have blocks and blocks of baking chocolate at the moment.  So I wanted to use it up. Well, some of it...

That new brownie recipe isn't one that I will bother to share.
And by today the cake (because it was definitely more cake than brownie) was really only good for one thing - crumbing up and re-inventing.

Enter the Cake Pop.
I'm sure that that is actually why they were first invented -  a parsimonious baker just had to come up with a cool way to use up left-over or off-cut cake.
I mean, would you really take a perfectly decent, fresh whole cake and demolish it??

(In my youth- ahem! - I waitressed...briefly... at a coffee shop that made bread-and-butter pudding out of old cake. The owner was very parsimonious!)

I only had 250g of crumbs, but they made 8 good sized cake pops. I used chocolate flavoured butter icing, and made it slightly softer than normal piping consistency.  (I did that by adding the cocoa powder to warm milk and beating that into the butter icing.)

This is how I did the rest:

250g cake crumbs (crumbed cake, rather...don't go gathering the crumbs off their cake plates once your guests have left!) - ideally use a food processor to get very fine crumbs
+/-2 level tablespoons of butter icing* (soft, chocolate butter icing) - to get a consistency of just-starting-to-clump-but-still-looks-crumbly mixture. Don't overdo the icing!
300g white chocolate
cake pop sticks
powdered food colouring, if desired.

(You can obviously double these quantities to make more pops; or use whatever amount of cake you have. Just adjust all volumes accordingly.)

Use a scoop to measure out equal amounts of mix. About 30g per cake ball is a good size

Compact them, and round them into balls in your hand. And place on a tray.

These look like they could pass off as meatballs (is it only in South Africa that we know Frikkadel?! Sounds very SAfrican, doesn't it...frrrr-rolling your tongue-rrrikkadel??).

Okay, back to the point:

Pop the pops in the fridge for 15minutes. (This step is debatable - if you are finding that your chocolate is cracking after dipping, rather omit this and accept that the chocolate will take longer to set on the cake pop).

In the meantime melt your white chocolate.
You can use a double boiler, but if you are cautious, the microwave works fine: just do it at low power for a 30sec at a time, stirring with a plastic spoon in-between.
It takes 3-4minutes in total to melt this amount of chocolate.  You want a thin, easily pouring consistency.

Add your powdered colour to all, or half the chocolate.
Don't use liquid food colouring, the chocolate may seize.

Pour the chocolate into a deep narrow container - this makes the dipping easier. I used a perspex 240ml jug.

Dip the pop stick into the chocolate, then stick the stick into the pop ; )

Now dip the cake ball...all the way in. Give it a swirl and tap it on the side of the container to get rid of excess chocolate.
 Once this coat has hardened, you can dip for a second time, or partially dip into another colour.

Sprinkle on the sprinkles, vermicelli, coloured sugar, etc immediately - before the chocolate hardens.

Stick the pop-stick into a styrofoam block to set.

That was fun!

I am definitely going to be looking for excuses to demolish cakes from now on!


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