Watch out cupcakes, your days in the limelight may be on the wane… cake pops are quickly taking your place as the biggest trend in sweet treats. Popularized by the whimsical food blogger Bakerella, these bite-sized delights are infinitely versatile and easy to throw together. I’m nowhere near as talented a decorator as Bakerella, who transforms her cake pops into tiny animals, cupcakes, and faces, but I find that they look great even with the simplest of embellishments. Even if you have no decorating expertise, it’s almost impossible to make cake pops look anything but adorable. You can use any leftover or store-bought cake as the base; crumble it with your fingers and mix with cream cheese or jelly to form balls, insert a stick and decorate however you like! The traditional recipe uses candy melts as the outer coating, but they aren’t easy to find in Italy so I often use melted dark or white chocolate instead (you can order candy melts online from ebay). This is a great recipe to make with kids, who can be a part of the whole process and have a great time with the decorations.
1 unfrosted 9-inch round cake (any flavor and any kind of cake will work, you’ll need about 14 ounces)
4-6 tablespoons of cream cheese or fruit jelly (the amount depends on the moistness of the cake)
7 ounces dark chocolate (or any color candy melts)
7 ounces white chocolate (or any other color candy melts)
styrofoam block to keep the cake-pops upright while drying
1. Crumble the cake using your fingertips into a large bowl to obtain fine crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons of cream cheese or jelly. Mix with a spoon until well combined. The mixture should be just moist and sticky enough to easily form little balls, but not wet and soggy. Add another tablespoon or two of cream cheese or jelly if necessary.
2. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch (3-4 cm) balls and arrange on a parchment-lined tray. Transfer to freezer and chill for 20-30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt the two types of chocolates or candy melts in separate double-boilers until smooth.
4. Using the end of a lollypop stick, poke holes in the styrofoam block where you’ll stick your cake pops while drying. The holes should be far enough apart so the cake pops won’t touch eachother.
5. Dip the end of a lollypop stick into the melted chocolate and then stick into the middle of a chilled cake ball (about half way). If it feels pretty sturdy, proceed directly to the dipping step, otherwise return the cake pop to the freezer to firm up a bit longer.
6. Once firm, carefully dip the cake ball into the melted chocolate, holding the lollipop stick and rotating until well covered. Once coated, remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate drips away. Be gentle, you don’t want the cake ball to fall off the stick!
7. Once the chocolate stops dripping and begins to firm up, roll the cake pop in sprinkles, chopped nuts, or decorate however you like!
8. Stick the end of the lollypop stick in the styrofoam block so the cake pop can dry vertically.
9. Store in the refrigerator if not serving immediately.