December 19, 2011

Guest Post: Mmmmm, Cake Pops!

I'm pleased to introduce you to another guest blogger, Jennifer Wellsman of Me, Myself and I. Jennifer is a wife and mama of two who, after the recent birth of her second child Harrison, loves the fact that life just got more interesting. Currently on maternity leave, when time allows, if she's not reading or listening to great music, she loves spending time in the kitchen cooking or baking up a storm, especially with her little girl Charlotte.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice
by Jennifer Wellsman

I started at the beginning of November thinking about some ideas for hostess gifts for the Christmas season. We have a number of family gatherings over the Christmas season and I wanted to bring something special. I had decisions to make. Should I buy a little token or make something? I decided it would be nice to make something. Being on maternity leave I have lots of spare time, right? Once I decided that I would make something, my next step was obviously what. I decided it would be some type of food item rather than a craft. I wanted it to be something that hopefully people would not only appreciate but enjoy eating. Being the Christmas season, I wanted it to be something that they probably wouldn't make themselves. In my research, I came upon cake pops.

Chocolate cake pops with Christmas sprinkles
The first time I saw them was this past summer at Starbucks. My little girl loves them. They are just enough to satisfy her sweet tooth. Apparently though, they've been popular for 3 or 4 years, who knew. Cake pops are relatively easy to make, but do take some time due to the freezing process. They are very versatile though and can be adapted to any occasion. You just have to change the toppings accordingly. New Years, Birthdays, Canada Day, Halloween, Christmas... these little guys will have you covered. And if you have kids, get them involved in helping you make them. My little girl loves to dip the balls in all the coatings!

1 Two-layer cake mix or cake recipe of your choice
2-5 tbsp icing (depending on desired consistency you may want to use less or more). I use the bought icing rather than making it as the quantities are quite small.
24 oz of melting chocolate (I use Wilton Candy melts - about 1 to 1-1/2 bags)
35-40 lollipop sticks
Toppings (crushed candy canes, chocolate or coloured sprinkles, coloured sugars. Bulk Barn has lots of options)
Floral foam

Directions:Bake the cake according to instructions. Let it cool and then break into pieces in a large bowl.

Break the cake into pieces
Add the icing sugar and mix on low until combined. If you want a cake-like consistency, use about 2-3 tbsps of icing. For a more truffle-like consistency, use more, around 4-5 tbsps.

Once the desired consistency is achieved, form balls (1 1/2" mound) using a teaspoon of the mixture and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Once all the balls are formed, put the cookie sheets in the freezer for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, melt a little bit of chocolate according to the instructions on the packet and dip the tips of each stick into the chocolate then stick into the balls. The chocolate on the sticks helps them stay in the cake balls. Return the balls to the freezer for at least 30-60 minutes. The more icing you use, the longer the balls will need to be frozen.

When the balls are ready, melt your chocolate and prepare your toppings by putting them in bowls for easy dipping.

Crushed Candy Cane
Dip each ball into the chocolate and turn to allow the access to drop off. Immediately dip the tops into desired toppings. 
Dipping the balls straight down into the toppings
Stick the pops into floral foam to allow to dry. This prevents one of the sides from being flat.

Using different toppings adds to the overall look & feel
Once the pops are dry and set (about 30 minutes), they can be packaged or put in a covered container layered between parchment paper. They can be stored in a fridge for up to 1 week or in a freezer for 1 month.

When packaging for a gift, use a decorative tin or mug. Place a piece of floral foam in the bottom to hold the pops. Then wrap using a plastic gift bag and ribbon.

The finished hostess gift
Makes about 35 - 40 depending on the size of the balls.

Of course, these cake pops make a nice alternative to cookies too. Why not keep some for yourself and impress your own guests?

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Thanks Jennifer - and as a lucky recipient of these cake pops I can vouch for their deliciousness!


Sarah Jones said...

What a fantastic hostess gift! These look delish!

The Rural Route said...

Saw these in Starbucks and thought they'd make a fun Christmas baking project. Thanks for the recipe!

Ann Dye said...

I can testify to the fact that these cake pops are truly delicious and were a real big hit when we had our family pre Christmas dinner on Saturday. Thanks Jennifer for bringing them.