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Welcome to my Sweets Blog!

Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
I've been looking for a way to share my sweet creations with everyone, and I think I have found it--here is my sweets blog! As I experiment with delicious desserts & sweet treats, I will post pictures, recipes, and how-to tips & tricks. Hope you enjoy reading about my sweets as much I enjoy eating them!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baby Shower Cake Pops!

Baby Bonnet Cake Pops

Check out the cake pops at Bakerella.com
and her book on Amazon.com! Her work is unreal!
These cake pops were made for my sister-in-law Janet's baby shower, to go along with my Baby Bonnet Cookie favors. It was only fitting to make these cake pops for the occasion, since Janet is the one who first introduced the family to Bakerella's Cake Balls and Cake Pops
  
And since they are pretty much the most delicious sweet treat in existence. 

One of the amazing things about cake balls and cake pops is that you can use any flavor cake mix, and any flavor icing, and you can decorate them as simply or as lavishly as you like! To keep the Baby Bonnets pure and sweet, I used yellow cake, vanilla icing, and vanilla flavored candy melts. The bonnets are made from cupcake liners tied with ribbon, and the faces & pacifiers are piped on with royal icing. 


To make the Baby Bonnet Cake Pops, you will need:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • plus all necessary ingredients to make a 9x13" cake (following the box directions!)
  • large serrated knife
  • 1 can vanilla icing
  • mixing bowls & spoons
  • small ice cream scoop (optional)
  • mini-muffin tin (optional)  
  • 1 lb white candy wafers
  • small microwavable bowls or mugs for melting the chocolate or candy coating
  • lollipop sticks
  • pink & yellow food coloring (non-water based)  
  • styrofoam block (with pre-made holes approximately 2-3" apart)
  • white cupcake liners
  • ribbon
  • black or brown & pink royal icing

Start by preparing the boxed cake in a 9x13" cake pan according to package directions. Once the cake has cooled completely, use a serrated knife to scrape off the outer layers on the top, sides, and then flip it over and do the same on the bottom.  

This step only applies when making cake pops from yellow or white cake,
and is not necessary when making chocolate cake. And the reason for it is
purely aesthetics. If you leave the golden brown layer on at this stage, once
you get to the later steps, the cake pops will have a grayish tint instead of
the yellow or white color of the cake.
Next, break the cake into large chunks into a large bowl. Crumble into small pieces. Add the icing and stir until blended. 

You can also do this part in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Just
break the cake into large chunks in the mixer bowl, add the icing, and turn
 on low speed until well blended.

Form the mixture into little balls, about 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter. I used a small ice cream scoop, similar to a melon baller or a cookie dough scoop. 

Place the balls into a non-stick mini-muffin tin
to keep them from rolling around!
Once they are all scooped into balls, use your hands
to roll them into more smooth spheres.
I had a few extra that didn't fit in the muffin tin,
so I lined a glass container with parchment paper.

Then, cover the pops and freeze for about 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to a few hours. It helps a lot to have the cake balls as cold as possible so that when you dip them in the melted chocolate or candy coating, they hold their shape!

OK now for the tricky part, turning these delicious balls of cake and icing into cake pops! Working with melted chocolate  or melted candy coatings is not always easy. Follow package instructions for melting, whenever possible. And these tips may help...

  • First rule of thumb is DON'T let any water or steam get into the chocolate/candy during the melting process. It will "seize up" and become unusable. 
  • Next thing to remember is not to overheat the chocolate/candy. Heat in the microwave in a small microwave-safe bowl or mug, starting with 30 second intervals, stirring between each. Once the chocolate/candy starts to melt and look shiny, decrease to 10 second intervals to be sure it doesn't overheat. 
  • If you notice the chocolate/candy start to thicken as you are coating the cake pops, you can reheat the chocolate for 10 seconds at a time to get back to your desired consistency. You can also add 1/4 tsp of shortening at this stage to help thin it out. 
  • To color the white candy wafers, once they are melted use and oil-based food coloring that contains no water. These are not always easy to find in grocery stores, but craft stores have them in the candy making departments. Read the ingredients and make sure there's no water! For the baby bonnets, I wanted a peach skin color, so I used a small amount of pink and yellow food coloring.
Dip the end of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate/candy and insert into one end of the cake ball and let it set. They can go back into the refrigerator or freezer once the stick is in. 
I like to use the mini-muffin tin at this stage as well, to rest the cake pops
in each compartment while the chocolate/candy sets around the stick.
At this point it's important to work in small batches, taking only 5-10 cake pops out of the fridge or freezer to coat. This way, they will stay cold when you dip them into the hot melted candy. If the cake pops are too close to room temperature, they will not hold their shape when they make contact with the melted candy. Also, cake crumbs may end up in the candy, which will make it look grainy, which you don't want! 
  
Dip the pop into the melted candy, making sure the whole thing is coated. Rotate it for a few seconds to get the surface as smooth as possible, and gently tap off excess candy coating (not too hard or the whole thing will fall off). Place in the styrofoam block to set. 
As you can see, mine are far from perfect. Some of them are perfectly
smooth and others are really bumpy. The baby bonnets will be
covering about two thirds of the surface, so as long as there is one
side that you can make a presentable face on, it will look great!


Once the candy coating has dried, find the smoothest side that will be the baby's face. Place a cupcake liner around the cake ball. Gather the bottom around the stick and tie in place with ribbon.
   
There are some really cute patterned cupcake liners
available in stores these days which would look really
cute for the bonnet. I went green & economically friendly
by using the white separators that come with the foil cupcake
 liners that I needed for another recipe for the shower.
If I didn't have all these white liners laying around,
I probably would have used purple polka dots or pink stripes! 

The finishing detail is the baby's face and pacifier! Use a size 1 decorator tip to pipe on the details. Draw closed eyes with eyelashes using black or brown. Then pipe a small pink dot where the mouth should be, and add a circle overlapping the bottom of the dot to make the pacifier.  Or draw little smiles for a happy napping baby!

I would say these are too cute to eat, but knowing how delicious
 these cake pops are, biting into these cuties is well worth it!!

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