How to make cake balls
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Once you have baked your cake and made your frosting, follow these steps to make your cake pop mixture, to shape the cake balls and to coat them. A great trick is that you don’t have to do all of this on the same day. The mixture stores well, so you can prepare it in advance and make your cake pop designs another day.
COMBINE THE CAKE WITH THE FROSTING
Once you have the baked cake and frosting ready you can proceed to the next step of the cake pop process.
Crumble your cake thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. I normally do this by hand as it gives a finer crumb, but you can also use your food processor. You may want to remove the crusts of the cake with a sharp kitchen knife first to avoid any lumps.
Once you have crumbled the cake as finely as possible, take your frosting, a heaping tablespoon at a time, and begin mixing it in with the crumbs. You may not require all of the frosting, depending on how moist your cake is, so just use a little at a time. Keep mixing until you have a fudge-like texture. To see if it’s ready, squeeze a little of the mixture in your palm—it shouldn’t crumble and it should be pliable. If you add too much frosting your mixture will be soggy, sticky and heavy and the cake pops will just fall off the stick when you try to dip them.
Wrap the mixture in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. When the mixture is firm but not too hard, it’s ready to work with.
ROLL THE CAKE BALLS
Break off a small piece of the mixture, about the size of a ping-pong ball, and roll into a ball with your palms. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Place each ball on a tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15–20 minutes, or until they are firm.
You can either go ahead and just dip them as they are to make simple cake balls, or shape them into a more adventurous design. In the Techniques chapter on page 132 I explain how to roll other shapes.
PREPARE THE CANDY MELTS
When using candy melts, it’s important to make sure that all of your equipment, such as bowls and spatulas, is completely dry.
To melt the candy, you will need:
1 (14-ounce) bag candy melts
Place the candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave on medium power for 1 minute. Take out the candy melts and stir thoroughly. They may have just started to melt. Place back in the microwave and melt for another 30 seconds. Stir again, making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Return to the microwave for another 30 seconds, then give a final stir. Melted candy doesn’t normally achieve the same silky, runny consistency of melted chocolate. To make it easier to work with, you can add 1–2 tablespoons of vegetable oil per 14-ounce bag of candy melts. Work enough oil into the candy with your spatula to create a silky consistency.
Candy will stay melted for about 20–30 minutes. If you stir your candy at regular intervals while working, it should keep from hardening. See page 137 for tips such as reheating candy melts.
INSERT LOLLIPOP STICKS
Take a lollipop stick and dip one end about ¾ inch deep into the melted candy. Immediately insert the stick into the top center of each cake ball, about halfway through. Don’t insert it too deep or too shallow. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper to set. It should take 1–2 minutes for the candy to set.
DIP THE CAKE POPS
Before you start it’s best to pierce the holes into the polystyrene block that will hold the cake pops. This will save time and prevent accidents. Simply use a lollipop stick to pierce holes about 2 inches apart.
To dip cake pops in the melted candy make sure the bowl is deep and quite full with candy so you don’t need to tilt it. Hold an undipped cake pop by the stick and dip fully into the candy. When dipping, be sure to cover right to the top of the stick to secure the pop in place.
Gently tap the cake pop over the bowl to remove any excess candy. Place securely in the polystyrene block and allow to dry. Candy should take only 1–2 minutes to set.
DECORATE THE CAK E POPS
You can decorate with sprinkles or sugar decorations before the candy has set or leave the cake pops to dry completely if you’re making one of the other more elaborate designs in the book.
To decorate with sprinkles, simply take a teaspoonful of sprinkles and scatter them over the cake pop with a soft shake of your wrist. To decorate with sugar decorations, just press the decoration in the position of your choice, then place the pop in the polystyrene block to set.