Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cake balls/ Cake pops

When you bake a cake, you usually get some parts that are higher than others.  To get a nice flat cake, you trim off the tops of the cake.  But, what do you do with the part you've trimmed off?  Who wants to waste good cake, right?

You can make them into these neat little cake balls or cake pops that I found on the internet.  Over on the website, Bakerella, there are the most adorably decorated cake balls and cake pops.  Take about time and patience!  Both are things that I usually don't have enough of.  She was kind enough to post her recipe for basic cake balls, so here it is, step by step.  These are great for kids to make since there is not heat involved, and you have to get messy.

First take the part of the cake that you've trimmed off (or you can use a whole cake if you want or even a store bought angel food or pound cake.)

This is the top of a round cake that I cut off to make it level.  Break it up into fine crumbs.

If you have leftover frosting, stir that into the mix, otherwise use some canned frosting, or make a little bit more frosting to get you through the next step.  You don't need much.  Only about a cup or so.

Now you have a nice sticky mess.  It should hold together when you form it into a ball.  If it doesn't, add more frosting until you get it sticky enough.  (Yes, this is an exact science.)

Now form them into balls.  You can have little hands roll them into balls, or use a cookie scoop like I did.  After using the scoop, I'd rather have someone who likes getting messy roll them because they give them a more even surface.

Now you have a bunch of cake balls.  Put them on some waxed paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pop them in the fridge or freezer.  You want them to harden decently so you can handle them for the next step.

Now you need CHOCOLATE!!!!  You can use all different kinds.  There is the almond bark that is sold in most every grocery store, chocolate chips, or if you want colored chocolate to match a theme, such as a child's birthday or school colors, you can buy pre-tinted chocolates in the baking section at most craft stores.  DO NOT ADD LIQUID FOOD COLORING TO CHOCOLATE!!!  You know the stuff I mean.  It's the kind you get in the grocery store in those little squeeze things and there are 4 colors in a box, or the bottles you find in the spice section.  They are mostly water and water destroys chocolate.  Use the pre-colored chocolate instead.

This is an example of what the colored chocolate looks like.  It comes in a one pound bag and it costs a couple of bucks.  There is just about every color in the rainbow, and even some that chocolate but flavored dark, mint or peanut butter, so you can get creative here.

Dump the chocolate into a plastic bowl and pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time.  Stir after each time because it may not change shape, but it very likely is melting anyway.  When you have a nice smooth consistency that you can pour or easily stir, you're ready for the next step.

There are a couple of ways you can do this.  You can set up a cooling rack on some waxed paper and place the balls on top of there and pour the chocolate over it.  Use the waxed paper to catch the chocolate that drips off and re-use it.  Or you can use dippers.  You can buy a fancy dipper in the craft store for a couple of bucks, or use a trusty fork.

Either one will get the job done.  Put the chilled balls into the chocolate and roll them around to cover them.  Then with the dipper or fork, scoop the ball up, and tap it (gently) on the side of the bowl to get any excess chocolate off.  Then place it on the cooling rack to dry.

Once the chocolate hardens, say about 10 minutes or so, they are ready to eat.  If you want to be really fancy, you can decorate them like Bakerella, or you can drizzle them with different colored chocolates to get some fancy effects.

Once they are finished, this is what you get.

Cake and frosting inside a chocolate shell.  Pop them in your mouth and go.  If you are worried about little fingers getting messy, you can insert a sucker stick into the balls before chilling (again, find these at the craft store) so they have a handle while eating their cake pop.

You can use any flavor cake, frosting and chocolate.  This can be a fun rainy day activity for kids, or for the kid at heart.

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