I'm about 3 years behind on the Cake Pop trend. I don't have kids, and I don't really go to many festive events requiring fancy dessert stuffs. So, making cake pops was a nice idea, but not one that struck me as particularly necessary. That said, they are on my 2011 Baking Challenge list, so I thought there would be no better time to make them than today, when Greg, Gus, Lisa, and I will be enjoying corned beef sandwiches in honor of St. Patty's.
Knowing that I am not too artistically inclined (like these fine folks), I stuck with the basics for my first cake pop experiment (though, I did make a cake from scratch, not from a box mix). I chose a super fat bastardy Chocolate-Guinness cake recipe from King Arthur. Seriously? 3 sticks of butter. 3 eggs. 3 cups of both flour and sugar. 1 1/2 cups of Guinness. And more. That is disgusting in theory, but wonderful in practice.
Chocolate Guinness Cake Pops (from King Arthur Flour and Bakerella)
For the cake:
-1 1/2 cups Guinness
-1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
-1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-3 cups flour
-3 cups sugar
-2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-3 large eggs
-2/3 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13x9" pan. **Please note: This recipe makes far more than you'll need for the traditional cake pop recipe. This means, you should also prepare another 8 or 9" cake pan or a muffin tin.**
2. Place Guinness and diced butter in a large saucepan, heating until the butter melts. Remove pan from heat and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the Guinness-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined (the batter will be VERY thick).
5. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and cool completely before proceeding with the cake pop portion.
For the cake pops:
-1 can of dark chocolate frosting with about 1 teaspoon leftover Guinness whisked in for a little flavoring
-50 lollipop sticks
-2 packages melting candy wafers (**I only had one, and it was NOT enough for 50 of these balls.**)
-Green sugar crystals
1. Cut about 2/3-3/4 of your 13x9" cake into fourths and rub two pieces together to easily crumble the cake into a bowl. You can also use your fingers to further crumble. Do not use the entire pan of cake, because it will make too much!
2. Using a wooden spoon, mix in most of the frosting until everything is well combined. You may use your fingers at the end to make sure it's all combined. Roll out 50 cake balls and place on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Freeze for about 20 minutes to firm them up a bit.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the candy wafers, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip the first 1/2" or so of a lollipop stick in the melted candy. Take a cake ball and insert the stick about 3/4 of the way into the ball. Gently dip into the candy melt and tip the bowl around the ball so that it's coated--do NOT try to rotate the pop! Lift the cake pop out and, holding it at a 90-degree angle, gently tap the stick on your wrist over the candy melt bowl, while rotating the pop. This will expedite the excess candy melt dripping off into the bowl. When it stops dripping freely, sprinkle with the sugar crystals and stick into the styrofoam block to dry.
-Makes 50 pops.
Verdict: As previously mentioned, the cake is ridiculous--both in flavor and calorie count. The cake pops are a fun novelty with the hard candy coating (plus, we in the Midwest love food on sticks--it's genetic). Cake pops, as you might assume, are very time consuming, and I am short on patience. So, I made about 15 pops and then froze the remaining cake balls for another go-round in the future.