Bake & Make: Cake Pops

20 Jan

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Fact: Having a party or gathering of any kind is a great excuse to bake, cook and be creative.  

Ever since Christmas I have been in a “baking & making mood,” but as I spent the Holiday’s recovering from a cold, I now felt like it was time to throw a party and get some baking going. After going back and forth between mini filo-dough cups with different fillings or mini brownies, I suddenly got my mind set on a whole different concept: Cake Pops.

I have eaten a Cake Pop once, and remember biting in to the chocolate covered lollipop expecting a light cake batter, but getting hit with a rich, moist filling, tasting more like a truffle than a cake. Needles to say, it was a positive surprise, and the thought of Cake Pops has stayed in the back of my mind ever since. So when planning a sweet bite-sized snack, easy to eat at a party, Cake Pops suddenly sounded like the perfect idea: Fun and playful, but with a rich, sophisticated taste.

Browsing the internet for inspiration I noticed that many people made their cake pops from box-cake batter or even doughnut-holes, but I had my mind set on baking, and for me this means starting from scratch. I decide to go with two flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter and Lemon Blueberry, and to make them vegan, knowing that two of our vegan friends would be coming over.

So for the past two days I spent a few hours in our kitchen, transforming it into a Cake Pop factory – pumping out over 50 cake-balls.

Yes, it was a messy and long process, and yes, my cakes turned out to give me way more pops than I had planned. But I am very happy with the outcome and for the most part, I had fun! Here is a quick overview of the process:

1. Make (or buy) any cake you want to make into pops. Let the cake cool and crumble it to a fine, even, crumble.

2. Mix in your glazing of choice, or anything really that makes the cake-crumble turn into a moist sticky dough (I used peanut butter and banana for the chocolate cake, and vegan cashew “sour-cream” for the lemon-blueberry cake).

3. Shape into small balls. The size of a regular lollipop is good. If you make the balls too big, it will be to heavy to stay on a stick.

4. Cover and refrigerate  for a few hours or overnight. You can also freeze them for one hour if you need to quicken the process. this stage is crucial as the balls must be cold and hard in order to stay on a stick when you coat them.

5. (Next day or a few hours later). Melt chocolate for the coating. I prefer making a double boiler by putting a metal bowl on top of a pot with a little bit of boiling water, but using the microwave works too. I also recommend adding some coconut oil into the chocolate to keep it smoother and give it a nice shine (and it tastes good too!).

6. Dip the tip of a stick in the melted chocolate (I used wooden sticks meant for BBQing…I’m sure you can find real lollipop sticks too if you want to go all out). Put a cake-ball on the stick and dip it in the chocolate. I used a spoon to help pouring chocolate over the ball. Let excess chocolate drip of (patience, patience…). Make sure the whole ball is covered. If you leave cracks, there is risk that the cake-dough starts leaking out of the coating.

7. Set your lollipop aside to dry standing in a glass, or make a “pop stand” out of any empty carton box, poking holes in it to keep your pops standing straight. I used an old cereal box.

8. Keep on dipping and dripping. You can melt different kinds of chocolate to do “paintings” on the pops, or decorate with sprinkles. Let your imagination go wild!

9. The coating will harden in room temperature, but quicker in the fridge. Then you can store your pops in the fridge in a plastic bag or box until ready to be eaten. Enjoy and take a deep breath – you are done! Or well, you are ready to tackle the chocolate-y mess in your kitchen…

Final Words:

Cake Pops – Well, mine turned out tastier and better looking that I had dared to hope for. When I “veganize” recipes they sometimes lack in flavor or texture, so in this situation cake-pops were great: The cake got smashed into a gooey dough, into which I could add more texture and sweetness (like banana to the chocolate cake). The result was moist, rich pops – tasting more like truffles – just like that first cake pop I had. Even my non-vegan friends (who can be skeptical towards anything vegan) seemed to like them.
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So yes, the baking and making was quite a tedious process, and maybe not something you want to do every day. But for a special occasion, or when your “bake crave” hits, Cake Pops can be a fun project. And when it comes to the crowd-pleaser-factor: who doesn’t like a truffle on a stick? 

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