First cupcakes. Then whoopies pies. Then macaroons. Now pop cakes apparently. In an attempt to keep up with the ever-changing baking trends, I decided to attempt to bake some cake pops. They're not difficult to make but compared with your standard sponge or cupcakes, a little more time-consuming and fiddly.
First off, you need to bake a basic cake. I chose a vanilla cake as I had planned to coat my cake balls with chocolate. I've seen cake pops recipes using chocolate sponge and even a red velvet sponge. (Though I suppose in theory you could bake whatever flavour of sponge takes your fancy.) After baking the cake I reduced it to crumbs. The recipe suggested using a food processor for this but I used elbow grease and it was no effort at all.
To the crumbs I added my cream cheese icing (cream cheese, butter and icing sugar) and chilled for 30 minutes. Once chilled I made little balls about the size of a ping pong ball-which were chilled for a further 30 minutes, (there is a lot of hanging around the fridge when making cake pops) .
After the final chilling the fun can really begin.
We melted white chocolate and milk chocolate to 'dip' the cake balls in and set up plates of purple sprinkles and mixed chopped nuts to decorate the chocolate balls. I didn't get a chance to buy lolly sticks but reasoned some wooden kebab skewers could convincingly fill the vacancy. Pronging the cake balls is easy enough but, for me, getting the damn things to stay on the sticks was difficult. I browsed the internet to troubleshoot and learnt that the reason my cake balls kept trying to escape was probably because they weren't cold enough or because I'd used too much of the cream cheese mixture. I guess you can only learn from mistakes. A small number stayed on the sticks and for those that refused, we set them flat on a plate where they still looked edible and attractive.
I utilised an unemployed wide-necked vase to chill and display them in.
The final result. Well, the cream cheese mixture combined with the sponge makes them very moist and rich, albeit rather tasty. The consistency is quite unusual. The closest comparison I could come up with is fudgelike.
My friend asked what the point of them is and it's a perfectly valid question. I think they are a gimmick myself. Perhaps invented by people trying to find a point-of-difference in the saturated cupcake market. Every new idea is the Next Big Thing. Cupcakes with icing are far easier and less time consuming to make. That's not to say that I wouldn't attempt cake pops again (in fact, I think I must because I really want to make some balls which will damn well stay on the sticks!), but if I wanted to whip up some cakes or a dessert I'd probably eschew the cake pops and make a few pretty cupcakes instead.