Friday, 25 May 2012

What Bowling Balls and Aliens Have in Common

Cake Pops

Finally, it's time for my first try! Emily insisted she wanted these for her 7th birthday, and she was having a bowling party, so I thought- bowling balls should be easy! They should be..

As with all my first tries, it.. didn't glow with competency. But they were fun and delicious nonetheless. So I've put together a step by step guide. Take note- this is not a Sunday afternoon project, as most of my projects are. This is a solid 2 day project, as the pops need to be in the fridge for a significant amount of time (overnight is nice and doable). That's not strictly true- but the risks of using the freezer scared me too much.

We start by baking a cake. What I did was pretty much double my normal vanilla cupcake recipe, and make 2 cakes. The size doesn't really matter- just bake until they're golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Wait for them to cool. Crumble with your hands into small crumbs.

Make a small amount of butter icing- using maybe just 40 - 60 g of butter. What I do with butter icing is I just keep adding icing sugar until it becomes difficult to mix, then I add a bit of milk to make it easy to mix again. Careful not to make it too runny!

Now, add about 2 - 3 tablespoons icing into the cake crumbs- it should only be enough to make the cake crumbs stick to each other nicely so we can make balls.

Now, roll the dough into roughly 40 balls. They should be roughly 2-3 cm in diameter. Put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

This sheet should be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight. Then, melt some chocolate. I like to use white chocolate, because I can colour it. In this case part of what went wrong was that I couldn't make the colour bright enough. In the states, where the pops were invented, they use Candy Melts, which are brighter and easier with which to work. Here we've gotta stick to chocolate, which means we have to be a little more creative. I melted white chocolate, and coloured it with chocolate colour marked 'Lime Green'- but it just didn't come out that way!

This is important- pour the chocolate into a container that isn't too wide but very deep, you need to be able to dip the whole pop into the liquid chocolate. Also- give the chocolate a chance to cool down for about 5 minutes. I think this has something to do with tempering, and it makes it easier to coat the pops.

Here's the method for coating the pops. First take the lolly pop stick, and dip it in the chocolate. Stick it into a cake ball. Dip it straight down into the chocolate, pull it our and let it drain a bit, and twist it slowly until it stops dripping. Remember to have a polystyrene block to stick the pops into! I also got some advice on putting the pops into individual sweet plastic bags- and tying them with a bow? Next time definitely!

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