Cake pop tutorial (what not to do!)

Clown cake pops pre smudging

Anyone who has been reading my blog lately will know that I’ve been up to my eyeballs in party preparations – possibly to the detriment of all other rational thought, and a big element of my ‘home-made’ circus theme was to be my clown cake pops. I’d never made these before, or even tasted one in real life. In fact the closest I’d ever come to a real one was probably behind the glass counter at Starbucks.

Looking at Pinterest had given me the idea though – they are clearly something a bit different and unique for a beautifully crafted party theme – a bit of a show stopper if you will.

I watched a tutorial on You Tube and realised that you don’t actually need an electric Lakeland pop cake maker or even moulds to create them. However, in the process of of actually making a large batch (23) – despite having had a mini ‘test run’ earlier in the week – I came to the realisation that there is no substitute for trial and error (definitely error!).

So this is my tutorial, and these are my mistakes, so you don’t make them too! The actual process of making cake pops is quite easy.

  1. Bake a cake. I baked a two layer Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake (other box cake mixes are available 😉 ) – too easy – just add oil, eggs and water, stick in oven and wait for burning smell to alert you that they’re done.
  2. Wait for cake to cool down
  3. Crumble cake into a large bowl. Cake should already be fairly moist, so only add a small amount of ‘frosting’ – (I used Betty Crocker vanilla buttercream-style). I used 1 dessertspoon full.
  4. Mix together crumbs and frosting using your hands. It should come together into one big dough ball.
  5. Make the mixture into ball shapes. You should be able to judge the size – I began making them too big but a quick attempt at inserting the stick proved to me that it was far too top-heavy!
  6. I’m not sure if this makes a huge difference because I never tried to do it any other way, but melt some of your chocolate (I used white chocolate and melted it in the microwave) and dip your sticks (I used 6″ sticks because I think anything shorter is not workable) before inserting into cake balls.
  7. At this point I made my big mistake. The best thing to do is now put your cake pops into the freezer (or chill in the fridge until you want to decorate and then put in the freezer) for 20 mins to half an hour. Given the fact that I was doing this in a heatwave in late July I should have guessed, but when I dunked my first batch into melted white chocolate they were almost impossible to decorate. I was adding mini-smarties for clown’s nose and hair and they were slipping off, and the chocolate just would not dry and harden so that I could draw on the eyes, mouth and eyebrows. It took some time in the fridge for this to work! If you freeze first, the chocolate begins to set straight away, to the point where you actually have to work quite quickly if you’re sticking anything on!
  8. At this point my ambition got the better of me. I had set myself the task of adding clown hats made from the bottoms of ice cream cornets (if anyone’s got any suggestion for how to use 23 ice cream cornets with no bottoms, now’s the time!) and then painting on a little face using gel food colouring (the squeezy tube type). Unfortunately in making such a big batch several of the hats broke off, but worse, the gel food dye – particularly the black one which I used for the eyes – would not set, no matter what I did – fridge, freezer, hours of chilling – and in the end, the vast majority were smudged to the point of looking like something from one of those scary clown nightmares. Sigh.

un-iced cake pops

Cake pop operation

Smudgy cake pops

Lesson learnt. Now I know my limitations I will definitely make cake pops again – just no gel food dye next time! They would have been so much easier just sprinkled with hundreds and thousands or rolled in popping candy, etc.

Having said that, a lot of very kind party guests said they were impressive and everyone seemed to enjoy eating them (particularly the birthday boy who is quite partial to chocolate cake for breakfast 😉 ).

Tasty Tuesdays on

Word of the week…Birthday!

This week has seen the introduction of one of these:

New trampoline

As I might have mentioned before, there is something highly entertaining about a toddler on a trampoline! This is essentially a joint present for the boys who’s birthdays effectively bookend the summer holidays in late July and early September. I was slightly concerned that it might be a bit of an eyesore but actually, our garden is big enough to accommodate it without making it feel like the main feature and the green highlights on it blend nicely in with the leafy surroundings. I predict many happy summer days of bouncing in the foreseeable future!

I have become slightly obsessed with the preparation for EJ’s circus-themed birthday party this coming Sunday – I learnt my lesson from the mistakes I made with JJ, who’s first big party was all a bit of a last minute mad dash (we were baking a box cake an hour before the party started!!). I have tried to think of everything and assume nothing this year and I’ve even hand made a party game and some fun accessories, but I wanted to up the ante even more by turning my hand to something a little bit unique and special – some homemade clown cake pops!

On Tuesday I decided that it would be a very good idea to knock up a small ‘test batch’. I’ve never done anything like this before but it’s amazing how much inspiration is out there (on Pinterest) and how much guidance ‘You Tube’ etc.

Clown cake pops

I know these babies are not perfect (the one on the left looks very much like my father in law – minus the clown accessories!) but I’m still pretty impressed with my efforts and it was really very enjoyable to do. Now I’m starting to get a bit scared about the real thing – this was just a small batch of five but I’ve tasked myself with creating twenty for the actual party and there are a few stages of chilling and freezing involved! Not sure we have the space :-/

Yesterday was EJ’s actual birthday – I am now the proud owner of a two-year old! He was with our child minder during the day but in the afternoon we gave him his presents and a little Smarties cake to mark the occasion. I haven’t yet considered actual birthdays the cause for a day off work simply because I don’t think the children really get it yet at this age (JJ’s third and fourth birthdays fell on a Friday and a Saturday when I wasn’t working). I guess once school starts JJ will have to get used to having birthdays there for a few years (I never had to experience that as I’m an August baby!).

This time next week we are off Devon with my family which is exciting, and then the following Friday is my birthday. I had planned to arrange something fun way ahead of time this year and even invited friends to go and see the comedian Lee Mack with me on the day, right after New Year’s, before discovering that all the tickets were sold out by the second week of January! 😦 Now I have reverted to having nothing planned for myself at all (except a five hour drive back from Devon!). Sigh. Ah well, I have big plans for 2016!!

Happy Weekend WOTWers!


The Reading Residence