Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Talk About A Mess..

As promised: sharing my messiest of messes with you..and that's not even the half of it. You should've seen the floor!
Now as for my explanation, I have a recent obsession with cake in the form of pops or balls.  They're tiny, bite size, and SO CUTE! I started out pretty simple the first few times, with sprinkles and drizzled chocolate.  I stepped my game up a bit for thanksgiving and I was pleasantly surprised with the way the Turkey balls came out {shown in my flashback post}.  This Christmas I decided to do some festive cake pops for work, and ended up getting a few orders from friends as well!

 I decided to go with reindeers and snowmen, and then some simple colored sugar, M&M and chocolate drizzle assortment.  These got easier once I got in the groove, but they definitely take time and patients. 

Now I am gonig to preface this post by saying that these aren't always easy, and some troubles will arise along the way, no matter how experienced you are. I will try to give you some tips that I have learned to try to avoid these problems as best you can.
  • Chocolate is too think and lumpy- you can add a little vegetable oil or shortening to the chocolate when melting to try and thin it out.  This should make it smooth and easier to dip. {I have also heard of using Paramount Crystals, but have yet to try them}
  • Cracking!!- Key Tip: The cake should be room temperature! This is a major issue I continue to see, even with the most experienced cake-poppers. I find the crack mainly occurs based on the temperature of both the chocolate and the cake.  There are many different methods to making the pops, depending on preference and what works for you.  Once I dip the sticks and insert them in the cake, I place them in the freezer to make sure they are secure and expedite the process a bit.  The problem I find with this is that once you take them out, you need to allow them to warm up to almost room temperate. IF the cake is too cold when dipped into the chocolate, it is likely that it will result in a crack as the shell hardens.
  • Falling off the stick- I've had this happen to me a few times. When I would dip the pop into the melted chocolate, I'd come out with just a stick in hand and a mess of cake in the chocolate.  That I believe also has to do with the temperate, as well as tightness of rolling.  If the chocolate is hot, and the cake is overly warm/mushy, it will cause the stick to loosen and fall off into the melted chocolate and ruin the whole bowl full!
These tips are just what I've experienced and believe is the cause, but if you have any other possible solutions feel free to share! :)

What you need :

Red Velvet cake {or whatever flavor you want to make}
1 Cup of Frosting { I used half of the buttercream recipe from the Funfetti post}
Lollipop sticks
Treat Bags
Dark chocolate Candy Melts
White Chocolate Candy melts
Red M&Ms
Candy Button Eyes
Red Sour Straws
Green Sour Straws
Orange Candy Nose {I used cut Jujubees}
Mini chocolate Chips
Mini Baking M&Ms {optional}
Colored Sugar and Fun Sprinkles

Crumble up the cake in a large mixing bowl and add in the frosting.  Mix the cake around until the frosting is evenly encorporated.  Begin to roll the cake into balls {about meatball size} and place in a tray.
Dip the end of the sticks in melted chocolate and insert into the cake. Allow the chocolate to harden fully, to secure them to the stick {you can place them in the fridge or freezer briefly to speed up the process}.  Take the cake pops and dip them in whichever color chocolate you would like to use, and decorate accordingly.

*You may want to purchase a piece of stryofoam or a cheap pop stand from your local craft store, to hold the pops up and steady while they harden.

Using the dark chocolate candy melts, M&M's, candy eyes, and pieces of pretzels{stick in before dipping} the Reindeer come out looking like this:
Adorable right?
Now the snowmen require two cake balls, the top one slightly smaller than the bottom.  Dip them in the white candy melts and using mini M&M's, sour straws, orange candy nose and mini chocolate chips, they'll come out just like this :

Ah, the sweet and beautiful simplicity of sugar and sprinkles <3 Okay so I might have a bit of a sprinkle buying obsession. But even just covered in sprinkles or mini M&M's, these treats are fun and adorable!
I even got the chance to make a few for Hanukkah this weekend! All in all, with a little practice, these pops are a great easy gift and delicious none-the-less. I will definitely try to out do myself with fun festive ideas each holiday!

Happy Holidays from Messy Little Baker! :)

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