Monday, August 16, 2010

yummy goodness in a hard candy shell

What an education I had in baking this weekend! My mother-in-law was hosting a floating wedding shower for my brother-in-law and soon-to-be sister-in-law this weekend, and I volunteered to do a dessert. Since it would be a floating shower, I was thinking something "finger food-ish" like mini cupcakes, but then I remembered I had the cutest things at one of my baby showers for Jake- cake balls, or also known when put on a lollipop stick- cupcake pops.
I will never ever claim to be a baker or a chef, but I can usually follow directions pretty well. Unfortunately, as I got into this project and started reading up on how to make these, I found that there are so many different ways to do this- and some ways are more succesful than others. So, after some trial and error, and a few pictures snapped with the iPhone, I give you...
The Evolution Of Cupcake Pops (dum dum duuuuuuum)
First you need to bake a cake (any flavor) according to the box's directions.
After it cools for about 15 minutes, use a fork and "rake" the cake to make it the consistancy of dirt. You can also have a trusty assistant who uses a small bowl to collect the "larger chunks" where she can snack from later.
Sidenote: If you are on a diet, then make the cake according to Elizabeth's recipe here. I bet it will turn out the same and you can save a few calories.
Random note: If you use a light colored cake mix, like yellow seen above, I would only use the middle of the cake and avoid the darker parts. When mixed it makes it look brownish and just not as pretty. I also did a Devil's Food cake mix, and of course, that looked just fine being all dark brown.
Then you take your "dirt cake" and mix in a tub of any flavored icing. Some websites say a whole tub and some say 3/4 tub. I did a whole tub of white icing with my yellow cake and 3/4 tub of milk chocolate with the Devil's Food cake. I think I liked the consistancy of the ball better with only 3/4 tub. It was easier to work with later. Mix it all together and make one large ball on wax paper.
Then, allow the large ball to freeze for about 30 minutes. This is when I ran to the bank and back to the grocery store to get some things I forgot the first trip. Perfect timing.
Then, remove the large ball from the freezer and form into smaller balls (about the size of a ping pong ball...though towards the end I think mine were looking more like golf balls).

Then, place your balls back into the freezer and freeze for at least 6 hours. (I ended up doing overnight because the 6 hour mark would have been about 11pm, and Brooklyn would have had a fit if I did the "fun part" without her.)
Then, you are supposed to take any kind of chocolate melt and coat the balls. Easier said than done. I went to Michael's and bought the candy melts in brown and green (the shower colors) and started with the brown to coat the yellow cake. The bag says you can microwave it so I did. I got about 6 ghetto balls done when the chocolate just solidified and said "I'm done." I was not happy. And they were not pretty.

So, I thought that maybe I could do the saucepan on really low heat (as the bag directions also suggest). I used my green here.

I'll let the next picture speak for itself. Pure mess.

At this point I was not happy, and Brooklyn was more interested in trying to use the cookie cutter to cut the green chocolate blob. I took my unshowered, non-make-up self to the Teeter and bought Chocolate Bark (which another website recommended). I bought white chocolate and milk chocolate.

I actually attempted the microwave again, and this time it worked great. Brooklyn and I were cooking with gas now!

I saw a great technique online where you take plastic forks and break off the two inner tines. They were great to dip the cake balls without much mess. Once they were fully coated, I dropped them back into the chocolate and pushed a lollipop stick down the middle about halfway. (Gotta do this part quick because the chocolate hardens fairly quickly.)

So....Brooklyn and I did this about 40 times using one package of each color (worked out perfectly as far as the amount of chocolate verses cake).
Then, we got a sexy model to help display our creations.

All in all, once I got my technique down and bought the new chocolate, this project turned out to be quite easy and fairly inexpensive.
And it made a pretty cute addition to the wedding shower food table, if I do say so myself.

If you are interested in getting a more professional tutorial, then visit this website to get the best directions.


Chris Leun said...

So very funny, Jaclyn. I loved this post!

Em said...

Wow - very involved! I think it would be fun to make these sometime with Taylor Anne! Thanks for the tips and the tutorial!

Elizabeth LeConey said...

oh this made me giggle! and now i'm hungry..... THANKS!

Kate said...

What a great idea, I LOVE it. I'm totally going to have to try this one day. Another idea, instead of the chocolate, would be to get fondant from Michael's/Joann's and cover the balls with that. It would be a little less messy.


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