Food, Guest Authors, Recipes

From the Chronicle Kitchen: Cake Pops Holidays

We’re thrilled to have the fabulous Bakerella and her latest book Cake Pops Holidays featured on our food blog this week. And check out the Cake Pops Holidays contest over on Chronicle’s Facebook page and enter for a chance to win signed copies of Bakerella’s books plus a KitchenAid mixer!

These are my favorite cake pops from my newest book, Cake Pops Holidays. I hope you enjoy recreating them as much as I loved coming up with their seriously cute design.

Gingerheads
These happy faces with sweet confetti sprinkle cheeks are sure to bring big smiles.

You’ll need
48 uncoated Basic Cake Balls (see below)
1 1/2-in (4-cm) round cookie cutter
3 lb (1.4 kg) chocolate or peanut butter candy coating
1 deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
48 lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block
6 oz (170 g) white candy coating
Small, microwave-safe plastic bowl
Toothpicks
White jimmies
96 miniature pastel confetti sprinkles
96 regular pastel confetti sprinkles

To decorate

1. Remove the cake balls from the refrigerator. One at a time, press them into the round cookie cutter to make nice flat, uniform shapes for the gingerbread heads. They should be about 1/2 in (12 mm) thick.

2. Put the shaped cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up again for dipping. Once they are firm, transfer them to the refrigerator.

3. Melt the chocolate candy coating in the deep microwave-safe bowl, following the instructions on the package. The coating should be about 3 in (7.5 cm) deep for easier dipping.

4. When you are ready to dip, remove a few shaped cake balls at a time from the refrigerator, keeping the rest chilled.

5. One at a time, dip about 1/2 in (12 mm) of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating and insert the dipped end straight into the bottom center of the circle shape pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating. Gently lift the pop out of the coating and tap off any excess. Stand the pop firmly in a hole in the Styrofoam block. Repeat with the remaining shapes and let dry.

6. Meanwhile, melt the white candy coating in the small microwave-safe bowl to use for decorating the faces.

7. When the cake pops are completely dry, using a toothpick, dot on the melted white candy coating for glue and attach white jimmies around the perimeter of a pop, leaving a small space in between each. Use the same technique to attach 2 miniature pastel confetti sprinkles in position for the eyes. Return to the Styrofoam block. Repeat for each cake pop and let dry.

8. For the mouths, again use the toothpick and white coating to draw on a cheerful smile. While the coating is still wet, attach 2 regular pastel confetti sprinkles in position for the cheeks.

9. Let dry completely in the Styrofoam block.

Tip: Choose either chocolate or peanut butter candy coating for the gingerheads depending on the shade of brown you would like to achieve. You can also mix the two candy coatings. The jimmies give a clean look to these smiley cake pops, but feel free to pipe on all the white details using a squeeze bottle and white candy coating.

Basic Cake Pops
Once you know how to make a basic cake pop, it’s easy to start making the projects in this book or create your own designs.

You’ll need
18.25-oz (520-g) box cake mix
9-by-13-in (23-by- 33-cm) cake pan
Two baking sheets
Wax paper
Large mixing bowl
16-oz (455-g) container ready-made frosting
Large metal spoon
Plastic wrap
48 oz (1.4 kg) candy coating
Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
48 lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block

Makes 48 cake pops

1. Bake the cake as directed on the box, using the 9-by-13-in (23-by-33-cm) cake pan. Let cool completely.

2. Once the cake has cooled, get organized and set aside plenty of time (a couple of hours) to crumble, roll, and dip 4 dozen cake pops. Line the baking sheets with wax paper.

3. Crumble the cooled cake into the large bowl. You should not see any big pieces of cake.

4. Add up to three-quarters of the container of frosting to the bowl. (You will not need the remaining frosting. Save it in the refrigerator for a later use.) Mix it into the crumbled cake, using the back of a large metal spoon, until thoroughly combined. If you use the entire container, the cake balls will be too moist.

5. The mixture should be moist enough to roll into 1 1⁄2 -in (4-cm) balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on the prepared baking sheets and let them rest for about 20 minutes before chilling.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

7. Place the candy coating in the deep microwave-safe bowl. These bowls make it easier to cover the cake balls completely with candy coating while holding the bowl and without burning your fingers. The coating should be about 3 in (7.5 cm) deep for easier dipping. I usually work with about 16 oz (455 g) of coating at a time.

8. Melt the candy coating, following the instructions on the package. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon between each interval. You can also use a double boiler. Either way, make sure you do not overheat the coating.

9. Now you’re ready to dip. Take a few cake balls out of the refrigerator or freezer to work with, keeping the rest chilled. If they’re in the freezer, transfer the rest of the balls to the refrigerator at this point so they stay firm but do not freeze.

10. One at a time, dip about 1⁄2 in (12 mm) of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and then insert the lollipop stick straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through.

11. Holding the lollipop stick with cake ball attached, dip the entire cake ball into the melted candy coating until it is completely covered, and remove it in one motion. Make sure the coating meets at the base of the lollipop stick. This helps secure the cake ball to the stick when the coating sets. The object is to completely cover the cake ball and remove it without submerging it in the coating more than once. A small, deep plastic bowl is very helpful during this step. If you do re-submerge the cake pop, the weight of the candy coating can pull on the cake ball and cause it to get stuck in the coating.

12. The thinner the consistency of your coating, the easier it will be to coat the cake pops. If you find that your coating is too thick, add some vegetable oil or paramount crystals to help thin it and make the coating more fluid.

13. When you remove the cake pop from the candy coating, some excess coating may start to drip. Hold the cake pop in one hand and use the other to gently tap the first wrist. Rotate the lollipop stick if necessary to allow the excess coating to fall off evenly, so one side doesn’t get heavier than the other. If you didn’t completely dunk the cake pop, this method of tapping and rotating generally takes care of that. The coating will slowly slide down the surface of the cake ball until it reaches the lollipop stick.

14. If too much coating surrounds the base of the lollipop stick, you can wipe the excess off with your finger. Simply place your finger on the stick right under the cake ball and rotate the pop, allowing any excess coating to fall off and back into the bowl of coating. When most of the excess coating has fallen off and it is no longer dripping, stick the cake pop into the Styrofoam block.

15. Repeat with the remaining cake balls and let the pops dry completely in the Styrofoam block.

16. Enjoy!

Tips
• Make the cake the day before, and let it cool overnight.
• Use a toothpick to encourage the coating to cover any small exposed areas or to make sure it surrounds the lollipop stick.
• Make sure the cake balls are chilled and firm when you dip them. If they are room temperature, they are likely to fall off the lollipop sticks into the melted candy coating. You can always return them to the freezer for a few minutes to quickly firm up again.
• Experiment with different colors of candy coating and sprinkles.
• You can also make cake pops into different shapes. Just roll them into balls, place in the freezer or refrigerator to firm and mold into your desired shape.
• Poke holes in the Styrofoam block before you start dipping. Just use one of the lollipop sticks to make holes about 2 in (5 cm) apart.

Purchase: Cake Pops Holidays.

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