Thursday, 16 February 2012

Cake Pops: The Activity Plan

I mentioned back on Valentines Day that the cake pops would be an ideal activity for Guides or Brownies. I've since been asked if I can put it together as a proper recipe or activity plan so here is that. It would work equally well for a children's party (just ignore the repeated use of the word girls). 

Any leftover ingredients can be used to make more pops, or eaten! 

Guide logo
For reference, Guides are aged 10 – 14

Break the girls up into Patrols/ groups of 6-8

2 mixing bowls
Wooden (or mixing) spoons
Lolly sticks/ Coffee stirrers
Egg cartons/ Florists Oasis
Greaseproof paper
Facilities to wash hands
Aprons or uniform they don’t mind getting mucky
Microwave or Hob and saucepan or Plastic beakers, roasting tin and Kettle
Allow an hour for this activity, plus cooling time


Sponge cake – about 200g per patrol
Butter icing – about 60g per patrol
Chocolate for coating (I use 100g bars of Sainsbury’s Basics chocolate, milk, white and dark)
Decorations, sprinkles, etc
Sainsburys Basics do a Madeira cake for 79p, 265g
Tesco economy range do mini fairy cakes and a chocolate cake that would work for a similar price.
Neither of these is suitable for nut, dairy or wheat allergies.

I’ve attached my sponge cake recipe and buttercream recipe at the end of this plan. The sponge cake will need to be cooked the day before and allowed to dry out slightly

Put your cake in one of the mixing bowls, and use your hands to make it into crumbs. Just crumble it up. Put this bowl to one side.

Now  take your butter icing and mix a dessert spoonful at a time into the cake crumbs. You want to be able to squish the crumbs into a ball and them stay there. If you’re not sure – check it after each spoonful. You might not need all your buttercream

Lay out your sheet of greaseproof paper and put your egg carton/ florists oasis in the middle of it

When you can make a ball of the cake mix do that with the whole bowlful, each ball will probably use 2 teaspoons of mixture. If this doesn’t seem to be working, add some more buttercream, or try making your hands damp under clean water. You don’t want them too big or the lolly sticks wont support them

Now push a lolly stick into each cake pop. You don’t want it to go all the way through. If that happens though, don’t worry. Take the stick out, remake your cake pop (dampening your hands will make this easier) and try again.

Melt your chocolate. The easiest way to do this is by breaking it into squares, putting those in a microwaveable bowl and putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it’s melted

Take your cake pops and dip them in the chocolate so that they’re mainly covered, once done put them in an upside down egg carton so they stand up, or stick them in florists foam

If you’re using sprinkles/popping candy to decorate you can dip them in that before leaving them to dry.

If you’re going to drizzle with more chocolate(!) let them dry, then melt a different type of chocolate to what you used first and using a spoon, drizzle it over the top of your cake pops.

Leave somewhere cool to set – it normally takes a couple of hours on a windowsill, or is quicker in the fridge.

There you have it, cake pops,


Alternative ways to melt chocolate:

Put a saucepan of water on the hob, rest a bowl over the saucepan (don’t let it touch the water)
Break the chocolate into pieces and put these in the bowl
Allow to melt

This way is best for Brownies/ younger Guides

Boil the kettle
Stand mugs in a roasting tin
Divide the chocolate between the mugs and get the girls to stand by a mug
Get the girls to move away and pour boiling water into the roasting tin
Get the girls to stir their chocolate in it’s mug until it melts

You can stretch chocolate out further by using a spoonful of chocolate spread. Sainsburys do flavoured ones now – orange, coconut, peanut butter and popping candy

Buttercream – it’s a good idea to make this first and then divide it between patrols. Perhaps a job for Patrol Leaders?

125g butter, softened
500-750g icing sugar
75ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (this recipe of mine is so old that says essence!)

Put the butter in a mixing bowl, add about half the sugar and the milk and vanilla.
Using an electric mixer beat until smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes) If you don't want the worktop and you to get dusty from the icing sugar then cover the bowl with a slightly damp teatowel
Taste and add the remaining sugar until its of a spreadable consistency
Colour if you want and substitute some of the icing sugar for cocoa or melted chocolate/ chocolate spread for chocolate buttercream.

Sponge cake – if you’re making this it needs to be done a day in advance as it works slightly better if drier

225g self raising flour
2 tsps baking powder
225g butter
2 – 4 tblsps milk
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g caster sugar

I beat the softened butter and sugar together until pale and creamy then add the eggs and flours, and finally the milk until I get a soft batter. I whisk using a hand blender on low and remember to scrape my bowl down on a regular basis.

The cake gets baked for half an hour at 220° in two tins, or if like me you’ve lost one of your sandwich pans

This recipe works with gluten free flour (Dove’s farm do one) and Pure (or similar) dairy free spreads, and soya milk. If using Pure and Soya milk I would double the vanilla.

Working on the basis of 4 Patrols of 5 girls, this works out at £12.15 for the unit (prices correct as of 15th Feb 2012 using Sainsburys online shopping tool) , which is 61pence per head. Which in my mind is pretty good value, as just going by my yield I made 12 from 1 batch of this, which would mean 2 pops each with 8 spare just in case! 

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