When I left work just before Joel was born, my very thoughtful colleagues (read: friends) bought me an amazing gift – a cookery book all about cake pops and a cake pop silicone mould. Now, I’d heard of cake pops, via a few blogs by other mums, but I’d not got round to figuring out how to make them myself. If you’re not sure what a cake pop is, as I wasn’t when I first saw the words mentioned on a blog, it’s basically a cross between a cake and a lollipop – a small piece of sponge cake on a stick. Traditionally (can an idea so new be called traditional?!) cake pops are balls, but you can be more creative and make various shapes – the key is that they are bite-size, so they look really cute. The book I was given is called Pop Party, and it tells you how to make some incredible looking cake pops that would be fantastic for kids’ (or adults’!) parties. For example there are various animal designs, balloons, mini hot-dogs, mini tiered cakes, to name but a few.
This present has inspired me to have a go at cake pops, though I thought I’d start with something simple rather than going for a fancy design from the book just yet. To make the fancy designs, or balls for that matter if you don’t have a mould to cheat with, you make cake pops by baking a big sponge cake, breaking it up and mixing it with cream cheese, and moulding the stiff mixture into whatever shape you want. Then you can decorate with various icings and colours to create the final design on a stick.
My main reason for having a go at pops this week was that Andrew is going with Daddy to a Christmas party tomorrow that requires him to take some food to share. I thought Christmassy decorated cake pops would be perfect for little mouths to munch on, and the kids would love holding the stick. The mould I was given came with reusable sticks, but since I knew I wouldn’t be likely to get them back in the chaos of a children’s party, I used disposable drinking straws instead for sticks. There were 2 designs: a plain sponge dipped in white chocolate and purple glitter sugar; a red-coloured sponge dipped in milk chocolate and snowflake sprinkles.
Here’s the recipe, for which you’ll need a silicone pop mould (rather than the method of remoulding sponge cake using cream cheese).
Ingredients – makes 28 cake pops (using pop mould)
- 120g sugar
- 120g margarine
- 120g self-raising flour
- 3 eggs
- red gel food colouring
- 75g milk chocolate, broken into pieces to melt
- 50g white chocolate, broken into pieces to melt
- decorations – snowflake sprinkles, glitter sugar
- drinking straws
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (fan).
- Start by making the sponge. Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg until smooth.
- Add the flour and mix until well combined.
- Fill half the balls on one side of the cake pop mould with mixture. Then add red gel food colouring to the rest of the mixture and stir until the colour is evenly distributed and the desired colour. Fill the other half of the balls on the one side of the mould. I found that this amount of mixture made 28, and my mould only does 20, so I saved some mixture for a small second batch once the first was cooked.
- Put the other half of the mould (its lid) on, and bake for 20 mins.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, then remove the balls from the mould.
- Melt 25g of milk chocolate in a bowl in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water.
- Dip about 1.5cm of the end of a drinking straw in the chocolate, and push it carefully into the centre of a sponge ball, being careful not to push it all the way through. Repeat with all the other balls and straws, then leave to cool in the fridge until the chocolate sets. This will keep the straw in the ball when you do the decorating.
- When the sticks are set, melt the remaining milk chocolate and white chocolate in separate bowls as before. Be especially careful with the white chocolate as it burns easily when melting if done with too high a heat.
- Dip the top of each ball into the chocolate – plain sponge in white and red sponge in milk chocolate.
- Then sprinkle glitter sugar over the white chocolate and snowflake sprinkles over the milk chocolate.
- Stick the straws into an upside down colander to leave the chocolate to set whilst the cake pops are upright.
- Finally your cake pops are ready to enjoy!