Click here for the Magazine. Updated May 24, 2013
I have said many times before that desserts, like food, follow trends. And Montreal being the type of city that it is, people here are constantly looking to jump on the newest, hottest band wagon.
Since the explosion of the cupcake, many other individual-type desserts have tried to take over the mainstream and make it big; French-style macarons, gourmet marshmallows and whoopie pies all enjoyed massive waves of popularity, however brief, and after a few short months of utter frenzy, people forgot about one thing and moved onto the next.
The latest item to make its mark on the dessert scene is the cake pop.
What is a cake pop exactly? A cake pop is the cake equivalent of a lollipop; essentially it is a ball of cake that’s put onto a lollipop stick, then dipped in chocolate.
I like cake pops because they’re easily customizable and that is thanks to their chocolate coating. We all know that chocolate comes in at least three varieties: white, milk and dark, but there is also colored chocolate, and that’s where decorating cake pops gets rally fun.
Chocolate comes in just about every colour: red, pink, orange, blue, green, purple, yellow and I have even seen black. You can buy coloured chocolate by weight at Bulk Barn, for approximately 6.99 per pound, or pre-measures at Ares Kitchen Accessories stores for about $6 per pound.
One thing to be mindful of when working with coloured and white chocolate is that due to their low cocoa solids content and high fat content, the melting point for these chocolates are much lower than that of milk or dark chocolate. Melt these chocolates over a lower heat or you will scorch and ruin them.
When you’re making cake pops, whether you are using classic dark chocolate, or funky colored chocolate, it’s important that you use a good amount of it. Use a big deep bowl with lots of melted chocolate because if you use too little, your chocolate will cool too quickly and you’ll have great difficulty coating the cake balls.
I said that the chocolate is where cake pops start to get fun; well the next step is where things get crazy fun. Once you have coated the pops in chocolate and it sets, it’s time to really decorate them, and here’s where you can let your creativity go wild.
You can use another colour of chocolate to drizzle over top, which is classic and easy, or if you have a steady hand you could try piping more intricate details like swirls.
Coloured coarse grain sugars, also available at Bulk Barn, can be sprinkled on top. Different coloured luster dusts (made by Wilton; available at Ares, Bulk Barn, Omer de Serres, France Decor. Approximately 6$) can be lightly brushed on to create a very chic delicate, almost antique look. You can put on fondant flowers, coat them in ground nuts, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, grated coconut, crushed cookies or candy, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately there are two downsides to making cake pops; the amount of work and the cost. Between the chocolate, the lollipop sticks and the decoration items, cake pops will cost you a pretty penny to make which is why they retail for about $2.50 a piece. It is however a fun activity to do with kids that lets them use their hands and their creativity at the same time … and of course they are delicious.
To make cake pops you will need:
Lollipop sticks, a Styrofoam board with small holes punched in to fit the cake pops (this is for drying the cake pops right side up which is a good idea if you are planning on doing more elegant decorations. You could also dry them upside down on a parchment line baking sheet if you are planning on covering them with crushed nuts or candies), chocolate, a deep bowl, a small cupcake scoop, cake and icing.
One 9-inch cake will yield about 24 cake pops.
Once your cake has baked and cooled, break it up into a stand mixer or food processor to grind it into cake crumbs.
When it’s completely ground, start adding a little bit of icing at a time. Your goal is to have the mixture hold together without being too sticky or goopy. I found that 1/2 -3/4 cup of icing worked well.
Do add the icing gradually though, and make sure it’s well incorporated before adding more, because too much and it will not form proper balls.
Once you’ve achieved the proper consistency, scoop the mix into your hands and roll into smooth balls, then place on a parchment-lined sheet.
Refrigerate them for about an hour until they set.
Once firm, you can put in the sticks. You may want to dip the tip of the stick in a bit of chocolate as it helps to keep it in securely.
Melt your chocolate over a double boiler over medium heat, just until it’s melted.
Dip the cake pop into the chocolate, then turn to allow the excess to drip off. If you are using colored sugars or nuts or cookies, sprinkle them on right away so that they stick, otherwise allow the chocolate to set completely before doing any decorative work.
To present or package your cake pops, you can wrap them individually in cello bags and ribbon, or you can put them in any type of deep container i.e. flower pot, tin bucket or gift box that’s been fitted with a piece of Styrofoam in the bottom.
You can keep them in the fridge or outside as long as it’s not too hot.
Cake pops are a lot of fun to make and to eat. More and more places are serving them I hope that they stick around for a while.
CREDIT cake pops 2
Click here for the Magazine. Updated May 24, 2013
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