Monday, 6 May 2013

Cake Pops, a Maiden Voyage: Jaffa Cake Pops


So. I made a lovely orange sponge for my mother’s upcoming birthday and after all the cutting and shaping and hacking, the cake took its shape and left me with piles of Chef’s Perks. So much cake, and a little left over icing, all as orangy as each other. As I put all the leftovers into a tin, I thought to myself “I’ve actually never made a cake pop before... maybe I should give it a go!”

Due to the ad hoc nature of this venture, it was done pretty much by eyeballing: I can’t give exact cake to icing ratios as I just mixed it up until it was about right. I also added a little fine shred marmalade just to make it all a little fresher and less rich, and it was a nice addition. I mixed the orange cake crumbs, orange buttercream and marmalade together to the consistency of un-chilled gingerbread dough: mouldable but sticky. I then took tablespoonfuls and rolled them into little balls, arranging them on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. I left them to chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

Languishing in my baking cupboard, I have had a packed of brightly coloured wooden lolly sticks. I bought them about three years ago to make Halloween toffee apples for a party when I was in college, and they have been living a neglected life ever since. I’m quite glad that the garish little things got another outing. I dipped the tips of the sticks into melted dark chocolate and pressed them into each of the cake balls, about half to three-quarters of the way in, and then returned them all to the fridge. I left them in for about an hour, but I’m sure one could get away with half an hour.

I melted some more dark chocolate in a tall, thin mug. I found it helps to melt the chocolate in a tall, narrow container just wide enough to dip a cake pop into, as this means you don’t need to melt gallons of chocolate to cover the balls. I dipped the pops into the chocolate, and tapped them gently on the side of the mug: due to the pops having been in the fridge, the chocolate set pretty quickly on the surface, which was great because it mean I didn’t have to spend forever tapping the chocolate off the sides. I then sprinkled a few multi-coloured sugar strands onto each pop.

Now, unfortunately I don’t have a fancy-pants Styrofoam cake pop holder for allowing them to set, so I improvised. For those who don’t have, or can’t afford, a fancy stand, just take a heavy duty cardboard box – like a fruit box – and use a paring knife to stab holes in the bottom, wide enough to stick a lolly stick into. Turn it upside-down, and stick the pops into the holes – stick-side in, of course – to dry. You could put the whole shebang into the fridge to speed things along.

Despite all the videos online saying what a delicate art cake pop manufacturing is, I found it really easy. There is a subtlety to tapping the excess chocolate off the pops, and that is simply to not be violent with them; I think using wide wooden sticks as opposed to little, thin paper ones put me at an advantage also, as they were more sturdy. My improvised recipe of orange cake and dark chocolate worked out surprisingly well: it was like eating a Jaffa Cake in pop form. I’ll definitely try to make more, in a few different flavours.

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