Little miss is having a birthday this weekend. I can hardly believe that my baby is turning four. Man, time flies...
To help celebrate her birthday, I said that I would bring a treat in to her school class tomorrow. I originally thought that I would make cupcakes, but then thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to try something really cool that I have been wanting to try for a while now - cake pops. I first heard of these from a friend several months ago, and have since been amazed by the amazingly creative variations that I have seen around. And hey - what could be better for a pre-school treat - individual portions of cake with a handle!
The process of making cake pops is straightforward and deceptively simple, and I didn't think I would have too much trouble with it, and it was something that little miss could help me with quite a bit.
To start, make a cake. Any cake, any flavor, just make a 9"x13" cake. We made a chocolate cake from (*gasp*) a mix. I had a lot going on today... sorry... Anyway, I set out all of the ingredients, all pre-measured, and little miss made the cake mostly by herself, pouring everything in the bowl and mixing everything up.
The next step was probably little miss's favorite - once the cake has cooled completely, crumble it up. I cut the cake in half and we made a half batch, since there are only eight kids in her class, but that made no difference to the fun that ensues when mommy says "go wash your hands - we need to smoosh this cake up!"
Once the cake is good and crumbled, mix in some frosting. Again, busy day, we used pre-made. Again, sorry. Since we only used half of the cake, we also only used half of the frosting. Just scoop it right into the bowl of cake crumbles and mix it up. Once the whole thing is all incorporated, I put the bowl in the fridge, since it was a really hot day here and I didn't want the frosting to be too melty for the next step:
Rolling the cake and frosting into balls. This was little miss's second favorite part of the process. You may have noticed a pattern here - using hands = good thing to a kid. Mommy letting said kid use those hands in food preparation = awesome thing, even worth an extra trip to the sink for a wash. I only had to re-roll a couple of hers, too - she is pretty good at it! The tray of rolled balls is then cooled thoroughly - either in the fridge for a few hours or, if you are in a hurry, in the freezer.
While the balls of cake and frosting were chilling, I set some white chocolate to melt over a double boiler. I know I could melt the chocolate in the microwave, but I always opt to use the double boiler. I have no idea why. I took the balls out of the freezer and took out some lollipop sticks. Little miss SO wanted to help with this part, but I was worried about having her too close to hot, melty chocolate, so I had to take the lead. I dipped the ends of the lollipop sticks into the chocolate, then pushed them into the cooled cake balls. This is supposed to help the sticks stay in the balls. And for the most part, it worked. The stick can then be used as a handle, and the balls are then dipped and covered in the melted chocolate. Little miss then helped me sprinkle colored sprinkles onto the the still melty chocolate. The recommendation is to then let them cool upright by pushing the bottom of the lollipop stick into a block of styrofoam, but I didn't have one, so I just lined them up on the cookie sheet, so they will have flat tops. I am not too worried about that.
The only problem I had was that, for some reason, my chocolate, despite the fact that I kept it over the hot water in the double boiler, did not stay smooth and liquidy all that long, which made it a little difficult to coat the cake balls nicely and smoothly... but other than that, this was a lot of fun, and I think that they came out pretty cool! I am excited to bring them into little miss's class tomorrow.
And, believe it or note, we only had one casualty, with one cake ball falling right off of the stick as we were trying to put the sprinkles on it. The stick actually broke all the way through the cake ball, so it was well enough beyond repair that, well, we just had to taste it!
And in case you are wondering why this post said part 1, I promised to bring a treat in to little miss's ballet class this weekend, so we will be making more... so stay tuned!
2 weeks ago