RECIPE #322, DAY #516
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Starlight Yellow Cake” and “Vanilla Buttercream Frosting” from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, as well as experience with cake pops*
TIMING: 2-3 hours, but much of it waiting
DIFFICULTY: Fairly advanced
TOOLS: A double boiler, plastic forks, a baking pan, a stand mixer, etc.
COOK TYPE: Oven and stovetop (candy melting)
HEALTH: No way, Jose. These are not only balls of traditional birthday cake, but ball of traditional birthday cake dipped in manufactured candy melts. I homemake everything up until the coating, but I already used way too much sugar and white flour, then I bought a standard product with colors, flavors, and Lord knows what else. These are a special-occasion food for only once in a long while.
EXPERIENCE: Even though I do not have much of a sweet tooth, I have a weak spot for cake pops. However, I have not mastered melting candy melts. I know, it seems so simple, but I just can never get the melts thin enough to coat things easily and smoothly (while leaving the composition in tact so that it solidifies properly). Thus, the wavy bumps which actually work well with this particular cake pop. (I am planning on buying a candy melter before the next time I attempt to melt candy.)
Candy pops are labor intensive and take some patience and experience. But they’re fun.
NOTES: I can never bring myself to buy a cake mix or a pre-made frosting at the store. The issue is, I hate paying for things that were never very hard to do in the first place. Putting together the dry part of a cake mix takes almost no work, while whipping up a frosting involves–what?–like 3 ingredients? In this instance, the hard part is not what they sell you in a box.
You could skimp on the greasing and flouring of the cake pan, just this once. Ultimately, the cake will be crumbled, so if it sticks, it does not really matter.
Yes, I used red because I was thinking of Ariel’s hair, but in hindsight, I would have used blue like the ocean.
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease, insert parchment, grease, and flour a baking pan which will hold your cake. Shape does not matter.
- In your stand mixer, combine 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups milk, 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 eggs. Beat on low for 30 seconds then on high for 3 minutes.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 30-plus minutes, checking with a toothpick for doneness. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, back in your newly-cleaned stand mixer, combine 3 cups powdered sugar with 1/3 cup softened unsalted butter. Turn the machine on low and add in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and milk by the tablespoon until frosting is correct consistency. Set aside.
- When cake has completely cooled, crumble the whole thing into a large mixing bowl. There can be some larger pieces, but that depends on how smooth you want your cake pop balls. Add in about 1/2 the frosting and combine (preferably with your hands). Add more frosting until you can make a ball with the mash and it stays together. (I used about 2/3rds of mine.)
- Form the mash into balls, between the size of a ping pong and golf ball. (You can really do whatever size you want.) Place them on a sheet pan lined with wax paper and stab each one with a gold or silver plastic fork so that it stands more or less up. When all done, slide those balls into the freezer and give them 1/2 hour to chill.
- When ready to go, melt 1 1/2 packages blue Candy Melts in a double boiler over very gentle heat, stirring calmly. Working quickly, dip the balls one at a time into the melted candy. Use a teaspoon to smooth out and take off excess. Place each pop back on the wax paper as you finish and sprinkle with fish jimmies. Remember to work quickly.
- Allow to set. Serve.
Serve with a party, of course. A glass of milk wouldn’t hurt.
*Recipe changed from the original.