Sunday, February 26, 2012

Strawberry Party Pops

In the course of friendship, you are called on to do a variety of tasks.   Fun, sad, ridiculous, embarrassing, awesome.   Last month my sister and I were called upon to help a friend who is getting married in September.    We didn't have to go shoe shopping.   We didn't have to write addresses.   We didn't have to look at color swatches. 

We had to go taste cake pops.

Possibly the best pre-wedding task ever!   We joined the lucky bride and groom to be to sample all the varieties of fillings and coatings for their wedding pops.   Of course, I took the opportunity to ask questions of the business owners since I love baking so much.    I didn't know that there are edible food markers you can use for decoration.  Now I do. 

Starbucks has been carrying cake pops for a while now and every once and a while our pastry shop at work does them for a particular event.   I looked at a few samples and recipes and determined that I too could make the jump to cutsey cake on a stick.     Seeing as this was my first attempt, I decided to go easy on myself and not make cake or frosting from scratch.  Especially since all you do with the cake is tear it apart. 

What You Need:
1 box of Pillsbury strawberry cake mix  (plus the oil, water, eggs required for the mix)
1 container of Pillsbury strawberry frosting
1 bag of Wilton lollipop sticks
White candy coating
Sprinkles or other decoration of your choice

What You Do:
Bake the cake according to the box directions for a 9x13 pan.  I used the high altitude instructions since I'm in Colorado.    Let the cake cool on a rack.     Once the cake is cooled, you destroy it.    Using your hands or the kitchen implement of your choice, break the cake apart and crumble into a large bowl.   

Add one cup of strawberry frosting and using your clean hands combine the frosting and cake crumbs together until it is completely mixed and packed down.    The goal is that you are able to roll it into balls so it needs to be a uniform consistency like cookie dough.   

Line a plastic/tupperware container with wax paper.   You are going to use this container to freeze the pops once they are assembled so they hold their shape.     You are now ready to start rolling some cake balls.   Mine were about the size of a quarter - nothing too crazy.    Roll the cake balls in your hand and then line them up in your wax paper lined tupperware.     It's ok if they're touching.   Once you've made all the cake balls, put a lollipop stick into each one.  You can go almost all the way through the cake ball.     Let them freeze for at least 2 hours. 

When you're ready to dip, grab an assistant.    Follow the instructions on the candy melts and melt them in a small deep bowl.   Do NOT overheat or they will burn, smell nasty or both.    Dip your pops one at a time covering all of the pink cake ball.    Because the pops are really cold, the candy coating hardens quickly, which is where your assistant comes in. You dip the pop, tap off the excess dripping candy and immediately your assistant, friend, child, etc drops the sprinkles over the pop. 

I used my wire rack for them to dry so that they weren't flat on the bottom.     Let the pop rest on the edge of your wire rack and in less than five minutes the candy shell is hard and you can set the pop on a plate or piece of wax paper. 

Store in an airtight container (mine are in the fridge right now) until you gift them to your friends and family.     They look impressive, taste great, and aren't that hard to make.   Enjoy!

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