Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cake Pops


I made cake pops! I seriously thought this day would never come.

Back in the day, Bakerella was one of the first food blogs I started following and cake pops are her signature. I always oohed and aahed over her adorable creations, but I was never brave enough to attempt them myself. This year she published a cake pops cookbook and in October my mom and I went to a signing at our local William Sonoma. Seeing her at the signing and looking through her cookbook motivated me to start working on this blog, which was something I had been wanting to do for a long time. Thanks Bakerella!

Armed with my new cookbook and some tips from Bakerella, I was ready to give cake pops a try. I decided to go with red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting for my pops, but any combo of box cake and icing will work (things get a little trickier when you make our own cake and/or frosting, I would recommend buying the cake pops cookbook before giving this a try).

Make things easier for yourself: Set out all your ingredients beforehand

The great thing about cake pops is they are incredibly flexible. So don't stress if you can't find the exact candy used in the recipe. Work with whatever you can get your hands on. And feel free to decorate the pops differently. Who knows, your cake pops may turn out better than Bakerella's (and even if they don't, people will still think they are super cute).

Rainbow chip sprinkles from Michael's make great ornaments for the Christmas tree pops

I have a few tips, but first a word of warning: cake pops are not for the faint of heart! They take a lot of time, effort and patience. It's important to set several hours aside to make them and also be aware that the finished product might not look that great. There are about a million things that can go wrong when making cake pops, so prepare for some frustration and be ready to improvise.

That being said, here are some of the glitches I encountered and tips to avoid said glitches.

Problem: There were cracks in my candy coating after it dried.
Solution: I left the cake balls in the freezer for too long, so the cake started expanding after it was covered with coating. Do not leave the cake balls in the freezer for longer than 15 minutes, transfer them to the fridge after 15 minutes have passed. You can leave them there for as long as you need. If the damage is already done and there are cracks in your candy coating, use a toothpick to fill in the cracks with extra coating.

Problem: Some of the candy decorations fell off my pops.
Solution: I worked too slowly. Candy coating dries quickly, so it's important to keep up the pace. This is where advance preparation comes in. If you have all of your candy out and ready to go, you should be able to work at a decent speed. This is particularly important when putting on the reindeer antlers. If you let the candy coating dry, you will have to push the pretzels through the coating which will cause it to crack.

Problem: My candy coating burnt.
Solution: I heated the coating for too long. Follow directions carefully when heating your candy coating. It's better to do things super slowly than to burn the coating and have to start from scratch.

Problem: My cake ball fell into the candy coating while I was dipping it.
Solution: I either stuck the lollipop stick too far or not far enough into the cake ball. Try to stick the lollipop stick about half way into the cake ball, no more, no less.

Problem: My candy coating kept dripping after I stuck it into the styrofoam.
Solution: Practice. Unfortunately, I don't have a better answer for this one. I was still perfecting my technique when I finished the last of my pops.

For more extensive cake pop troubleshooting, buy Bakerella's cookbook. It's amazing!

The finished product!

That's all folks. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!
Bon appetit!

Christmas Cake Pops
1 box cake mix (I used red velvet)
16 oz. can icing (I used cream cheese)
48 lollipop sticks
Large styrofoam block about 3-5 inches thick

Reindeer
1 lb. bag dark chocolate candy melts
24 red or brown M&M's
48 round white sprinkles
ABC pretzels from World Market (the Es, Fs and Ys work really well)
Edible ink pen, black

Christmas Trees
1 lb. green candy melts
Rainbow chip sprinkles
Jumbo star sprinkles
Toothpicks 

Bake cake in a 9x13 in. pan according to instructions on box. Cool completely on a wire rack. Once cake has cooled divided into 8 rectangular pieces. Crumble cake by rubbing two pieces together over a large bowl. Once all the cake is crumbled, run a fork through the bowl to break up any large pieces.


Mix thoroughly with 3/4 can of frosting. Use the back of a large spoon to combine the cake and frosting. To make the reindeer, mold the mixture into 24 balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Freeze for 15 minutes and then transfer to the fridge until ready to use. Use the remainder of the mixture to make the Christmas trees. Mold into 24 cone shapes, instead of balls and freeze. Transfer to the fridge after 15 minutes.


To make the reindeer, melt the chocolate candy coating in a large, deep microwave-safe bowl according to package instructions. Remove several cake balls from the fridge at a time. Dip a lollipop stick into the candy coating and push about half way through a ball. Dunk the cake ball into the candy coating, making sure the entire thing is covered, and pull out in one swift motion. To remove the excess coating, hold the cake pop horizontally in the left hand, using the right hand to lightly tap the left wrist.

Tap the left wrist quickly to remove the excess coating before it dries

Immediately stick the cake pop into the styrofoam block and quickly press on two pretzels for the antlers (Bakerella uses E, F and Y-shaped ABC pretzels from World Market, but if you can't find those, just get regular pretzels and break them to make it work, that's what I did). Hold in place until the candy coating sets and the pretzels stand on their own. Let stand until completely dry.

Apply a small amount of candy coating to an M&M for the reindeer's nose. Hold on the front of the cake pop until the coating sets. Draw small black dots on two white sprinkles for the eyes. Apply a small amount of candy coating using a toothpick and hold each sprinkle on the pop until dry. Use the edible marker to draw a mouth on the reindeer. Smile and repeat.

Oh hey, Rudolph!

To make the Christmas trees, melt the green candy coating in a large, deep microwave-safe bowl according to package instructions. Remove several cake cones from the fridge at a time. Dip a lollipop stick into the candy coating and push about half way through the cone. Dunk the cake cone into the candy coating, making sure the whole thing is covered, and pull out in one swift motion. To remove the excess coating, hold the cake pop horizontally in the left hand, using the right hand to lightly tap the left wrist. Drag a toothpick through the wet coating to create the branches. Place a star on the top and hold until the candy coating sets. Allow to dry completely.


Use small amounts of candy coating and a toothpick to attach the rainbow chips sprinkles to the branches. Allow to dry completely in the styrofoam block.

Santa loves Cake Pops!

Source: Bakerella

5 comments:

  1. Love them. You did great.

    Bakerella

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tried one! These were adorable, festive AND yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ditto to Emily! Super yummy and perfect for the holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice job explaining to the novice. I will be following you from now on. THank you for making it easy with step by step directions.

    ReplyDelete