Mmmmmmm... cake pops... Delicious, portable, bite-sized treats on a stick
Find me one person who doesn't like cake pops! I made two batches of cake pops in two different flavors last week and even experimented a bit with the coating, swirling a few colors together for a cool tie-dye effect. I'm not quite there yet on what I was setting out to achieve, but my kids enjoyed swirling the colors together, so I call that mission accomplished!
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Let's take a step back to see how all these cake pops popped (lol) up in my kitchen last week. Now that I am unemployed temporarily, I get one question a lot from friends and family: what do you do all day?
When I was employed, I would daydream often about what not working would feel like - all the wonderful and productive things I would get done, all the naps I would take, the amazing physical shape I'd be in from all the working out I'd do, how organized my house would be, how close I'd be with my kids from spending so much more time with them, and just how generally un-hurried I'd be.
When I'm working, I always feel behind the clock - wake up, get everyone dressed and fed before the school bus comes, hurry up and get to work, hurry up and get to all the meetings, hurry up and get home to make dinner, hurry up to finish cleaning up for the night and prepare for the following day, hurry up and get to bed so I can wake up and do it all over again.
When I'd daydream about not working, it seemed like time would be endless and plentiful and, well, un-hurried.
Turns out, time really flies and there's still plenty of hurry! The days zip by and some days I don't even know where the time went or what I have done. No joke!
I wouldn't have believed it myself when I was working, but believe you me, I'm not exaggerating. This is said with all due respect to my (now) fellow SAHMs. I
am not playing into the mommy wars whatsoever - I have much respect for the amount of work and time it takes to keep a household running.
And now that I have some experience with being both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom, I can say with honesty and respect that neither is a luxury nor ideal.
I have found that keeping to a schedule, though, helps me structure my day and actually get things done. Sort of like, well, my calendar when in the office.
I get the kids to school, then I work out (most days), shower and eat, then I run my errands, check my email, apply for some jobs, and occasionally have lunch with my mom or a friend.
By the time I do all that, the kids are just about getting off the school bus again! So, to help build in more time for myself, I've learned to think ahead and plan and be efficient with my time - go figure!
I know, shouldn't have taken me that long to figure that out, but it did. Of course, just like when I am working, I find plenty of time to procrastinate doing the things I really just don't feel like doing.
And that's typically when I bake instead! And seeing how I bake A LOT, you now know how much I procrastinate...
On the procrastination / baking docket this past week was chocolate cake. A friend asked me to bake it for her friend's birthday dinner.
So what happened is this - I baked said chocolate cake. Then, I had a decent amount of cake crumbs leftover from leveling the two tiers, so what did I do? Like any good baker would do, I made cake pops!
Aha, now this story has come full circle. I patted myself on the back for not being wasteful and for using the leftovers to make something tasty.
When my kids came home that day, I was so excited to show them the cake pops I had made for them. My older daughter was thrilled! She's a chocoholic and devoured about 5 of them immediately.
My younger daughter, though, was less than thrilled... Apparently she no longer likes chocolate (hmmmm, but what about all those chocolate candy bars she seems to consume at an alarming rate?! "But those aren't CAKE, mommy, and it's chocolate cake I don't like!") and requested (read: whined and complained and perhaps shed a few tears for dramatic effect) that I make her the strawberry cheesecake cake pops just like at Starbucks.
So, just like any good mom would do, I told her to stop crying. And promptly whipped up a batch of vanilla cake and strawberry frosting (don't judge me).
I neglected to include the cheesecake part simply because that just seemed too complicated and time-consuming.. She loved them! Needless to say, I did a lot of procrastinating that day, but now we have many and varied flavors of cake pops for my wonderful children to enjoy 🙂
- 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup whole, fresh strawberries washed and hulled
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate candy melts
- Lollipop sticks
- Styrofoam block, cake pop stand, or cardboard box with holes cut into the top (see note below)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177ºC). Grease with butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside
Make the cake:
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk to the wet ingredients until combined. Manually whisk the batter to ensure there are no large lumps at the bottom of the bowl. Batter will be slightly thick. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top begins browning too quickly in the oven, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil on top. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
Make the strawberry puree for the frosting:
- Place strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth.Transfer strawberry puree to a small saucepan and place over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring frequently so strawberries don’t burn or stick to bottom of the pan; Cook until puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Prepare the Frosting:
- In a large bowl, beat butter with a handheld or stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat 1 cup powdered sugar into butter until just blended, scraping sides and bottom of bowl to make sure all the sugar is blended. Add 2 tablespoons strawberry puree and vanilla extract into butter mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended. Repeat with 1 cup powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons strawberry puree 2 more times, then beat last ½ cup powdered sugar into mixture until well blended.
Form the Cake Balls:
- Once the cake has cooled completely, crumble it into a large bowl, making sure there are no large lumps. Add about half of the frosting and mix on low gently until the cake crumbs and frosting come together, slowly adding in frosting a little bit at a time until the crumbs and frosting combine. Be careful not to add too much frosting, otherwise the cake balls will not hold together well. You may end up using only some of the frosting. Measure 1 tablespoon of the cake/frosting mixture and roll into a ball. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour.
Dip the Cake Pops:
- Melt chocolate coating in a 2-cup measuring cup in the microwave according to package directions. Remove only 2-3 cake balls from the refrigerator/freezer at a time. Re-roll the chilled balls to smooth out, if needed. Dip a lollipop stick about ¼ inch into the coating, then insert into the center of the cake ball, being careful not to push it all the way through the top. Dip the cake ball into the coating until it is completely covered. Make sure the coating covers the base of the cake ball where it meets the lollipop stick. Very gently tap the stick against the edge of the measuring cup to allow excess coating to drop off. Decorate the top with sprinkles and place upright into a styrofoam block, cake pop stand or cardboard box (see Recipe Note below). Repeat with remaining cake balls, only working with some out of the refrigerator at a time. The cake balls must be very cold when dipping or they will fall apart in the chocolate.
- Allow cake pops to set for 1 hour and enjoy!
- To enable your cake pops to set up properly, you need to place them upright but not touching each other. You can purchase a cake pop stand, use a Styrofoam block or take a cardboard box, turn it upside down, and poke small holes into it, leaving about 2 inches between each hole so the cake pops don’t touch and get stuck together. Voila!
- Cake pops may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for several weeks. I carefully place mine in a ziplock bag or store in a mason jar and covered with a ziplock bag
- Make ahead tip: Prepare the cake 1 day ahead of time. Cover and keep at room temperature then proceed with remaining instructions to prepare cake pops
- Undipped cake balls may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 6 weeks. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator then continue with coating the cake balls as instructed. Dipped cake pops may also be frozen for up to 6 weeks once the coating has fully set. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator
- Recipe adapted from and inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction
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