Influenster

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baking with babies...cake pop do' sand don'ts

Sophie's Christening is this Sunday and as a favor I decided to do my research and find out the best way to make cake pops. I found tons and tons of pins and tons and tons of blog posts with do's and don'ts of pop baking and here's what I've gathered through trial and error and a lot of laughs with friends. 

If you're making any combo of supermarket boxed cake flavors, the cake balls them selves are simple! Simply follow the directions on the box and bake your cake as you usually would and let it cool in the fridge for a bit. No problem! Then my favorite part, take the cooled cake and smash it. Reach in there and really crumble it all up like a crazy lady, go head girl get your stress out. 

Next mix the crumbled cake with almost a whole tub of frosting, but not the whole tub! Just about 3/4ths of the tub. Too much will make your balls too sticky and mushy....ha, sticky and mushy balls...go ahead and laugh you know you want to. Next just roll them up into balls and lay them out on cookie sheets to be placed back into the fridge again to chill for a while


Once they've hardened (but not solid as a rock) take them back out for dipping. I put mine in the freezer for about an hour or two. On bakerella she suggests letting them sit in the fridge overnight and she is a cake pop queen so I believe her. I however had limited time and the freezer works just as well. 

Now this is where I ran into trouble. I used Wilton's chocolate from Michaels in pink and white to dip the balls in and it was horrible! It was way too thick and I even tried adding vegetable oil like the bag suggested. This only caused my chocolate to burn almost immediately in the double broiler I was using. I think that chocolate is just meant to be for chocolate taffys instead. I 

had read that slow and steady was the key to the chocolate melting and we were taking our sweet time but still having no luck. We then tried the 30 second interval microwave way. Again, no luck, still lumpy and hard to deal with. We didn't waste it though, so my first round of pops that I had help from friends making turned out looking more like lumpy chocolate meat balls. But the baking with baby team at least looked cute doing it. And baking with a 2 and 4 month old is no easy job. There were many of "who's that", "mine or yours", "who pooped" and one armed dipping. I am they luckiest girl to have a 7 month preggo friend and a new mommy of Sophie's future hubby that are still willing to help through thick and thin. I love those chicks (and Owen)!

The next night my loving husband helped with the remaining 50 undecorated pops. He ran to the store and bought the only thing I could think would work guarantied on short notice. The same chocolate I've used for strawberries or pretzels in the past. 

This worked perfectly! I know that if I had bought better chocolate online ahead of time I would have been good with the first batch. I would love to know where and what brand I could get good chocolate without buying online though if anyone has suggestions for next time?!

But this kind worked perfectly and I had a few other tips I used. Aside from making sure the cake balls have hardened a bit before dipping, also be sure not to stir the ball in the chocolate. Put the ball in and pour the chocolate over top of it. This will help keep the cake ball in tact and not crumble. Pick the ball up from the bowl with a spoon and tap the spoon against the side so that the excess chocolate slides off and leaves a smooth look still. Plop the ball onto a cookie sheet with wax paper on it and decorate with sprinkles before it completely cools and hardens. Also before it hardens this is when you add the stick. Dip the stick in chocolate and then poke it into the cake ball, the chocolate works like glue and keeps the ball from falling off the stick. Ta - Da!!

The flavors I went with were funfetti (mixed with cream cheese icing), chocolate (mixed with double fudge icing, 6oz of mini chocolate chips and Duncan Hines mint flavor packet-yum btw) and the last kind was something different. I've made eggless cookie dough balls before and I am obsessed with them. I could literally eat it all myself. So I decided to make these chocolate chip cookie dough bites and dip them as if they are the same as the cake. It turned out great, just be sure to refrigerate until serving. Here is the recipe for the cookie dough balls, it's super easy and no baking required at all and only 5 ingredients!!! 

Ingredients

    1 cup salted butter, softened
    1½ cups packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups flour
    6 ounces miniature chocolate chips 

Directions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well -- use your hands to get it together the best.
  3. Roll into 1-inch balls.
  4. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Dip in chocolate, drizzle with chocolate or eat as is -- equally delicious no matter what!
  5. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Store in the refrigerator.