Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Popping out for Valentines: Easy chocolate cake pops

Or what to do with leftover cake. I know, I know, who actually has leftover cake at any point in their life? But (and I blame the new medication) for some reason the cakes I made for M for Valentine's day, produced lots of offcuts as it were, and I had no desire to cram them into my mouth. Odd.

In lieu of gluttony, I remembered speaking to Michelle and Sarah at Let's Make Christmas (I would like to insert a little dance at me actually networking. My CBT counsellor would be so proud) about making cake pops with the Guides. And I thought, well this is clearly a perfect opportunity to have a go. There was a brief flurry of Googling, at dismay at the amount of blogposts dedicated to using cake mixes when twitter stepped in to save the day. I only really wanted proportions of buttercream to cake crumbs as when I had that straight in my head I wouldn't need a recipe per se.

Thankfully Kate of Cake Poppins stepped in to save the day with a suggested ratio of 2/3 cake crumbs, to 1/3 buttercream.

The cake recipe I had leftovers from is here, but any sponge recipe would do, and similarly if you're looking for an activity to do with Brownies or Guides, they could quite happily crumb economy cake from any of the big supermarkets and this would reduce the cost per head (and the time) quite considerably. I should also mention that I halved the cake I had left and have made 12 cake pops, the rest of the cake crumbs are happily in tupperware in the freezer awaiting another day.

This is the buttercream recipe I normally use (you can scale quantities up or down as necessary). I actually used leftover buttercream from the Valentines cakes as I had some in the fridge still.

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 for chocolate buttercream.

Once your buttercream is made up, Mix it, spoon by spoon into the cake crumbs. you want a texture that binds together, not dissimilar to when you make truffles. Use about a teaspoon or two to make a ball shape, and once holding together nicely, insert a lolly stick (not all the way through). I asked my local Starbucks for some stirrers and they kindly let me take a handful. I know that in the Guide hut we have a stash of lolly sticks that we use for craft and these would work perfectly. Ours are donated from an ex Guiders boyfriend, but equally you could buy them from Hobbycraft or similar. I'm sure Baker Ross sell them.

Melt chocolate - anything you want, milk, white, dark, and dip the pops in so that they're coated nicely, leave to set. Sarah and Michelle gave me a fantastic tip here - use egg boxes, or florist's oasis to hold the pop sticks up nice and straight. Then you can either, roll in glitter, decorate with sprinkles, or drizzle on more chocolate.

Now the chocolate melting stage was where I hit an issue. I only had half a chocolate santa left in the house, I contemplated going out and getting some chocolate but I feel slightly odd today (odd in a precursor to a seizure way, rather than just usual oddness) so raided the cupboards to find half a jar of Sainsburys (not so) new Popping candy chocolate spread. Just the thing! I put two tablespoons in with the melted chocolate, let the heat from the bowl let it down so that it would coat the pops, and went ahead.

So easy, such wow potential. Cake Pops for Valentines. With leftover cake. What more could you ask for?


Seren said...

Although I tend to disapprove of such things as leftover cake, these sound absolutely brilliant. Lovely idea for a petit four to finish off a dinner party. Using the florist's oasis to hold them straight while they dry is sheer genuis.


Penelope said...

I know, prior to this I have *always* scoffed at the mere idea of leftover cake. Really, who has it? They would be lovely as petit fours, and for a more grown up audience I would add some amaretto or brandy into the buttercream.


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