A good friend of ours is pregnant and when I found out there was a surprise baby shower for her, a billion thoughts went running through my mind and started fighting with each other on what to make.
Thinking of trying my hand at fondant, I went out and bought some from a cake supply place near me and also grabbed some food colouring gel and powder to make it baby blue. Fast forward a month and who the hell has time? Well that’s not true. Its not that I didn’t have time, it’s that I was meant to do a ‘dry run’ prior to the event and kept putting it off due to, well, laziness. So about two weeks before the event I had narrowed it down to either the cake with fondant (risky without a dry run) or some simple cake pops.
Ding ding! We have a winner – yup, cake pops.
I wanted to mix it up a little so I did two different versions – chocolate cake with white chocolate coating and banana bread with milk and dark chocolate coating.
Its actually a longer process than expected and although reasonably easy, it just needs time to do its thang as you need to bake both cakes, let them cool in the fridge wrapped in foil so they don’t dry out, then crumb them, then mix up the butter cream and add it to the crumbs, then ball them, then leave them to go pretty hard in the fridge (in hindsight, freezer would have been a better option), then melt (make colourful) chocolate, then coat them in chocolate, then leave to set in the fridge (too hot in summer to leave on the bench to set – I even left it in front of the air-con, no cigar!).
Please don’t let this deter you from making them. Like I said, they are pretty simple, I just underestimated the timeframe. Oh and a word of warning, DO NOT go outside with these until they are completely set (or at all to be honest). Although they are very impressive and look extremely cute, they pretty much buckle under any kind of pressure. After I had an assembly line of girlfriends help me coat them all, we stuck them in florists foam to stand up and hopped straight in the car. The drive to the baby shower was about 15 minutes and by the end of the drive, 6 out of the 20 balls were left standing. In saying that though, once we got there we put them straight in the fridge and once firm, we just popped them off the stick and instead of ‘cake pops’ we had ‘cake balls’ and six ‘cake pop’. Admittedly not as impressive, but oh so tasty!
So here goes, I used a simple packet mix for the chocolate cake (Betty Crockers Moist Chocolate Cake) but you can really use any cake mix you like. Next on my list is red velvet (nom nom nom!). The other cake was a simple banana bread.
2 Tbs Margarine
2 Tbs Milk
3 mashed Bananas
1/3 Cup sugar
Teaspoon of Vanilla essence
1 and 1/2 Cups of SR Flour
Cream Butter and Sugar together then add egg and mashed Banana and mix.
Add vanilla, and milk mix well.
Stir in flour.
Line a cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Pour in cake mix and bake at 180 degrees for about 40 – 45 minutes.
Once you have both your cakes chilled, you are ready for a good forking! Well depending on your cake that is. I foudn it easy to fork the chocolate cake as it was quite crumbly however the banana bread was so dense that I had to use the blender. Basically you just want a good crumbed consistency so whatever gets you there, knock yourself out!
Buttercream ingredients (recipe doubled to use with both cakes)
500g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups icing sugar
Mix all ingredients together on low until well combined. I did this for about 3 minutes or so while I got on with preparing the kitchen.
When you are ready to shape into balls, remove mixture from the fridge and line two trays with baking paper. Now get to rolling!
Once rolled, place back in the fridge (freezer if you are on a time crunch) and start melting your chocolate to coat. I found the white chocolate very easy to melt however the weather and my fluster seemed to play havoc with the milk and dark chocolate so luckily Bel was there to assist and let me know that canola oil is great for thinning out chocolate (life saver!!) so once I had mixed my white chocolate with the blue powdered food colouring and melted both the milk and dark chocolate, we had a good assembly line going and were pumping them out in no time!
So yes, I will definitely make these again. Now I know how they behave, I will be more prepared as I know what I’m in for. I am already thinking of different variations for Christmas happy baking!!