Cake Pops, destroyer of kitchens…
If you follow these instructions, you too can make a perfect cake pop.
The Result: Partial Success
Before we start, I’m going to bring out a huge caveat: I didn’t follow the instructions. And this is because I am both cheap and lazy. Because I am cheap, I didn’t buy a special unitasking cake pop former, and because I am lazy, I didn’t get any styrofoam to hold the pops while they dried. I’d apologize, but I’m of the opinion that you should only apologize if you’re also going to take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and I assure you I am fairly unremorseful.
Did my own actions impact my final product? Yes, which is why I’m absolutely taking the blame for the pops being… less than professional-looking. (Also I’m going to blame my four-year-old assistant for the haphazard placement of the sprinkles. COME ON KID THIS IS GOING ON MY BLOG STEP IT UP.)
I started off with the kind of bold optimism typical of the early stages of my endeavors, deciding to make three kinds of cake pops. In time for dinner at a friend’s house. In four hours. Basically creating my own self-imposed version of one of those baking shows where they give the contestants exactly twenty minutes less than the actual time it takes to make a product so the audience can laugh at them flopping about in a panic. My only audience was my cat but I think he enjoyed the spectacle.
TO MY CREDIT, I failed not because I ran out of time, exactly, but by the time I made two kinds of pops, my motivation flagged. “Why should I take the time to jam these peanut butter balls inside a brownie ball when I can just frost the brownies with the peanut butter icing?” I asked myself, thereby calling into question the central tenet of cake pops: Why should I do all this extra work when I can just eat the cake?
In addition to the vanilla pops, I also grabbed a box of lemon cake to make lemon pops. When I mixed the lemon pops, I added lemon curd and poppyseeds to the vanilla icing. The lemon poppyseed pops were more moist than the vanilla ones, but also seemed to crack more easily when I pushed in the sticks, and fell off the stick more easily when I dipped them into the chocolate. I only lost one vanilla pop, but half of my lemon pops were decapitated by the weight of the chocolate coating.
Most of the tips in the Simply Home Cooked post are actually great – dipping the sticks in the chocolate before pushing them into the pop helps the sticks remain embedded, the addition of the crisco thins the dipping chocolate, and tapping the wrist to shake off the excess chocolate, once I figured out what that meant, worked very well. My product certainly would have benefitted from the cake pop former. This device not only creates a smooth and circular finish, but it also compresses the cake so that it is more apt to stay on the stick. However, I just couldn’t see purchasing what is in the end an optional device that I would use maybe once a year, if that.
And it would have been nice to have a styrofoam block instead of thinking, “I’ll figure something out”, and then running around the kitchen in a panic, holding a drying cake pop, having completely failed to figure something out. My wonky pops were still a hit at my friend’s dinner. They’re pretty cute, lumps and all.
How did they taste? Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to actually tasting these. After all, they’re made of boxed cake mix, canned frosting, and chocolate whose quality is dubious even before sitting for months on the shelf at Big Box Craft Store. And in the end, this cake is basically performative. The appearance is the point, not the taste. These tasted like they were made from boxed cake mix, canned frosting, and bad chocolate, and the crisco didn’t help the chocolate taste any better.
But at some point, I’d like to try making these from scratch. Because I bet these could be fantastic – cute and delicious.
And for that, I might even buy a cake pop former.