Sometimes I have moments when I realize how lucky I am to have my friends in my life. I mean, I always know that I’m fortunate, but every once in a while something happens and I think to myself, “What would I do without these fabulous ladies?” Well, last Friday night was one of those moments. My friend, Kerry, and I hadn’t seen each other in quite a while, so I invited her to my house to do a little baking for Share our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale. The task at hand would be a first ever attempt at cake pops.
Neither of us had made them before, but I thought I owned everything I needed to make it a painless process.
Well, I thought wrong.
Even with the help of my BabyCakes cake pop maker and cake pop mix, we still encountered many problems. At first, things started out smoothly. The cake mix was made and each batch of 12 was baked for 4 to 6 minutes creating perfect spheres of moist chocolatey deliciousness.
It wasn’t until we got to the chocolate glaze mix (which is included in the overpriced box mix) that we thought, “Something is not right.” The first surprise was that the glaze was a powdered mix. I’ve seen and eaten a lot of cake pops in my time and I was pretty sure that most are made with a chocolate or candy coating, not something that starts from a powdered mix. But, we carried on like good little bakers, following all the directions and mixing every ingredient with care.
Once all the ingredients were incorporated, we both agreed that it looked… strange. It didn’t look appetizing at all, and when we tested the glaze all I tasted was confectioners sugar. There wasn’t a hint of chocolate in sight. Despite that, we decided to proceed, hoping that the flavor would work better once it was combined with the cake.
This is where we ran into yet another problem. The glaze wouldn’t set up and we ended up with a dripping mess. So instead of cake pops, we decided they would be cake truffles. However, they didn’t look very appealing either.
Instead of a smooth chocolate shell, it looked waxy and gross. I decided right then and there that there was absolutely no way I could or would sell them at the bake sale looking (and tasting) like this. We had 16 un-dipped cake balls left and needed to figure out what we were going to do with them. After digging through my candy basket (any sweets lover should have a proper candy basket), I found enough chocolate bars to melt down to dip the remaining cake balls in.
After a short debate on microwave versus rigging up a double boiler, we decided to go with the later. The microwave is a little risky and easy to over cook the chocolate, and since we were running on a limited supply, I didn’t want to take the chance. The double boiler was super easy and ended up being the perfect solution. Finally we were doing something right!
We also decided to dip the sticks in the chocolate, then insert them into the cake balls so that they stuck to the stick and didn’t spin around (like they did in the first round with the nasty glaze).
This worked like a charm and before we knew it we had 16 beautifully decorated cake pops chilling in the refrigerator.
While we sat there with a glass of wine and waited for them to set up (we couldn’t have done all that hard work without sampling one before Kerry left), I thanked Kerry repeatedly for being there. If it hadn’t been for her I would have probably thrown all the cake pops against the wall in frustration, instead of laughing my way through all the ups and downs.
The next morning I proudly texted a photo of our accomplishment to Crusaders Jenn and Elisa. They both responded with praise, until Jenn asked how many I had… After finding out I only had 15, she asked if I could possibly make about 10 more. I explained that in order to do so, I would probably have to take some of the batter from the cupcakes I planned to make later that day. After a little back and forth, we both agreed that I should do just that. So I found myself making cake pops again.
You would think that after all the struggles of the night before, I would have had no problems the next day, and I did have fewer problems, however, the one I did have was a pretty big one. The cake batter for the cupcakes was not the same as the cake batter for the cake pops. Of course I didn’t realize this until I pulled the cake balls out of the cake pop maker and instead of having perfectly round spheres I had something that looked like these:
Misshapen, wrinkly, deflated looking cake balls. Just like the night before though, I didn’t let this stop me. I melted chocolate (which I had to purchase after depleting my supply the night before), stuck the sticks in, and let them set before dipping and decorating. My hope was that the chocolate and sprinkles would hide the imperfections of the cake balls, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened as I was decorating them.
If you aren’t sure what you are looking at, let me describe it to you. Apparently the cake was too soft to hold up all the chocolate and sprinkles, so it plummeted to the bottom of the stick, poking a hole clear through the entire cake ball. At this point I was screaming nasty four letter words in my head without my friend by my side to help me laugh it all off. Luckily it only happened with 2 cake pops so I was left with 10 new ones.
In the end I learned some valuable baking lessens: first, never use a glaze that comes in powdered form from a box. Second, I really need to figure out how to make a denser cake if I’m going to keep making these since I don’t want to spend $10 on a box mix. Last, the BabyCakes cake pop maker was the easiest part in the whole process and I will definitely be using it again.
Even with all the problems that came up, I still produced 25 quality cake pops that brought smiles to many kids’ faces during the bake sale, I made some great memories with a good friend, and I helped raise money for a great cause, so it was all totally worth it.
– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)
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