Family Circle magazine October 17, 2011

Helpful Hints to Remember When Making Cake Pops

Family Circle October 2011

Family Circle October 2011 Cover

Don’t be a sucker–get in on the newest version of the petit four on a stick and make your own cake pops at home with these simple tips.

Chances are you’ve seen one of the most popular petite treats popping up just about everywhere lately. Cake pops, the sensation popularized by Bakerella blogger Angie Dudley, have graced magazine covers, been the subject of TV talk shows and created a cottage industry of their own.

Family Circle’s October 2011 issue featured Halloween-inspired pops, while Taste of Home’s December 2011 installment showed an array of treats perfect for the holidays.

I’ve yet to venture into making cake pops, but I’ve been slowly working up the nerve by making the fundamental piece—the cake ball. Read Bakerella’s blog for instructions on how to make them, and it sounds pretty simple, but it can be a lengthy process that requires a good bit of patience.

Now that I’ve made (and attempted to make) the red velvet version several times, I’ll share a few tips to keep in mind should you attempt to make them yourself.

Beware of cake pop makers. You know those contraptions that quickly bake cupcakes and doughnuts? There’s one for cake pops too. And while they are literally cake pops, the handmade versions are better. That’s because there is a can of frosting mixed (by hand–get ready to get messy) into the baked cake, which is then formed into balls, making them melt-in-your-mouth moist.

The process is pretty flexible. Try to tackle the entire project in one day, and it may seem overwhelming. Besides, who’s got the time? If you must, you can spread the steps out over a couple days. For example, bake the cake and let it cool one day. On the next, mix in the frosting, form the balls and let them chill. Finally, coat the balls in chocolate and let them set.

Patience is a virtue, especially when melting chocolate. Bakerella suggests melting the chocolate for the coating in the microwave. But I prefer the use of a double boiler—especially when it works. The key is patience. The water in the bottom of the boiler should be slowly heated over low heat. Then the top pot with the chocolate should be added after the water in the bottom is hot but not boiling. The chocolate will take a while to melt.

Now for the fun part. With the chocolate melted—and no need to re-microwave throughout the process—it’s time to put the finishing touches on the cake balls. For best results, spoon the chocolate over the ball, rather than moving the ball through the chocolate. This helps maintain the ball’s shape while not getting cake crumbs in the mixture. You may also want to invest in a candy-making tool (they’re inexpensive), rather than using a spoon or fork. If you do improvise, clean off the utensil periodically so the finished product comes out smooth.