Pumpkin Shaped Cake Pops
Inspired by Bakerella’s Cake Pops I tried my hand at making these tasty treats. I was hoping to get some cute little pumpkins on a stick, but mine turned out to be more like, ‘Great Pumpkins impaled by a stick.’ The directions seemed easy enough. Make some cake, mix in some frosting, roll cake into little balls, stick with a lollipop stick, dip in chocolate – ENJOY! In reality, it took me several times to actually get something I was happy with.
First off I went to the store to buy a box of red velvet cake mix (/gasp – something I pretty much never do) and some cream cheese frosting (/gasp a CAN). I wanted to be sure before I started making things my way, I try it the already tested way.
Once the batter was complete I poured it into a 13×9 baking dish and baked it per the directions. After a toothpick came out clean, I let it cool overnight. The next day, I cut the cake into large squares and emptied it into a large glass bowl. I nuked the cream cheese frosting in the microwave for about 8 seconds so it would be easier to pour and incorporate into the cake. At this point I put on some plastic gloves because the red velvet was staining everything. I added about 2/3 of the tub of frosting to the cake, but for whatever reason the mixture seemed very very VERY moist. I grabbed my medium sized cookie scoop (1 1/2Tbs) and started serving up balls of cakey goodness. I thought it would make things easier if I froze the balls just a little bit in the freezer before sticking them.
Chocolate Dipping Attempt #1
While the cake balls chilled in the freezer, I started a pot of water to make a double boiler for the chocolate. I placed my glass bowl over the boiling water and started to melt the chocolate. Now the day before I was working on some truffles using the Wilton Candy Melts and was frustrated I couldn’t get the chocolate to a thin consistency. I was pretty sure it wasn’t me, because I’ve melted chocolate before but never used the Candy Melts before.
Again, the chocolate was too thick, but seemed to work fine for the lollipop stick insertion step. I put sticks in all of the cake balls and was ready to start dipping. After yet another short trip in the freezer, the first one I dipped fell into the chocolate. Now granted these may have been a bit too large I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I read online to add some vegetable oil to thin it – no work and the chocolate didn’t look right at this point. I put all the cake balls back into the freezer to try again the next day when I could buy some more orange colored melts. At least we had 2 cake pops for dessert!
Chocolate Dipping Attempt #2
Determined to get these cake pops right I went to the grocery store to scour the aisles for more chocolate. I knew they sold white chocolate in small containers I could use for dipping, but I had no way to color it (only had liquid and gel coloring). I figured if the orange melts didn’t work again, I could turn these pops into ghosts instead! I bought some of the white chocolate, and then headed off to the craft store to buy a few bags of orange melts.
Later that afternoon, I decided to follow the directions on the back of the candy melts that suggests using the microwave to melt the chocolate. Are you MAD? Tempering chocolate….in a MICROWAVE? I’ve done it successfully in the past, but I was afraid to burn the melts and be out again. I gave it a shot, and was shocked by how much better the consistency was. (I did add small dabs of Crisco to smooth it a bit more, but I’m guessing it would have been fine with out it.) I happily began dipping the cake balls into the chocolate, tapping the excess off and sticking them in the styrofoam blocks I bought.
The first few pops came out quite well, but then I noticed something odd happening. I think the pops were too cold and the chocolate started to run a bit. It was more like the chocolate closest to the cake cooled, but the outside was still warm and ran.
I was hoping to keep the cake pops looking like pumpkins on a stick, but because the balls were too big and kept falling off I ended up just inverting them onto wax paper. My daughter called it, ‘the pumpkin patch!’ Using some green buttercream from a previous project, I fitted a bag with a #2 tip for some vines, and a #67 leaf tip to add some leaves. I had some markers ready to go to make some faces on the pumpkins, but the color wouldn’t stick.
The Pumpkin Patch
Bag n Tagged – Perfect for a few friends’ birthdays
- Small size cookie scoop vs. Medium size cookie scoop: The cake balls were a tad too big for their stick, but perfect if you wanted to invert them on a tray.
- Substitutions: I replaced half the oil in the recipe with strawberry yogurt, but while I was writing this I realized I should have substituted it with applesauce instead. I think this is why my cake was a too moist. The cake did have a hint of strawberry taste and I just like tweaking stuff out of the box!
- Candy Melts: Play well in the microwave