Extract: Cakepops for Christmas (+recipe)


BASIC CAKE BALLS


Cake balls are bite-sized balls made of crumbled cake mixed with frosting and covered in candy coating. They are easy to make and form the basis of endless variations of decorated cake pops, cupcake pops, and cake bites.

500g box cake mix

22x33cm cake pan

Large mixing bowl

One 450g container ready-made frosting

Large metal spoon

Wax paper

2 baking sheets

Plastic wrap

1kg candy coating

Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl

Toothpicks

Resealable plastic bag or squeeze bottle (optional)

Bake the cake as directed on the box, using the cake pan. Let cool completely.

Once the cake is cooled, get organised and set aside plenty of time (at least an hour) to crumble, roll, and dip 48 cake balls.

Crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. The texture of the cake causes it to crumble easily. Just cut a baked 9-by13-inch cake into 4 equal sections. Remove a section from the pan, break it in half, and rub the two pieces together over a large bowl, making sure to crumble any large pieces that fall off. You can also use a fork to break any larger pieces of cake apart. Repeat with each section until the entire cake is crumbled into a fine texture. If you have large pieces mixed in, the cake balls may turn out lumpy and bumpy. You should not see any large pieces of cake.

Add three-quarters of the container of frosting. (You will not need the remaining frosting.) Mix it into the crumbled cake, using the back of a large metal spoon, until thoroughly combined. If you use the entire container, the cake balls will be too moist.

The mixture should be moist enough to roll into 4cm balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on a wax paper-covered baking sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

RED-NOSED REINDEER


Mini pretzels for antlers and red candies for noses are perfect for everyone's favourite reindeer.

48 uncoated cake balls

1.4 kg chocolate candy coating

Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl

48 lollipop sticks

Styrofoam block

96 miniature alphabet-shaped pretzels or mini pretzel twists

Toothpicks

48 red peanut M&Ms; or red Lemonheads

96 miniature white confetti sprinkles

Black edible-ink pen

Have the cake balls chilled and in the refrigerator. Melt the chocolate candy coating in the microwave-safe bowl, following the instructions on the package. The coating should be about 7.5 cm deep for easier dipping.

When you are ready to dip, remove a few cake balls at a time from the refrigerator, keeping the rest chilled.

One at a time, dip about 12 mm of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating and insert the dipped end straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating. Gently lift the pop out of the coating and tap off any excess: Hold it over the bowl in your left hand, and tap your left wrist gently with your right hand. If you use the hand holding the cake pop to shake off excess coating, the force of the movement will be too strong and could cause the cake ball to loosen or fly off the lollipop stick.


Tapping the wrist holding the cake pop absorbs some of the impact. The excess coating will fall off, but you will need to rotate the lollipop stick so the coating doesn't build up on one side, making it too heavy on that side. If too much coating starts to build up at the base of the stick, simply use your finger to wipe it off, spinning the lollipop stick at the same time. This can happen if the coating is too thin or too hot. It's not as hard as it sounds; it just takes a little practice. Immediately attach one pretzel on each side of the reindeer head for antlers.


Hold them in place until the candy coating sets like glue. Stand the pop firmly in a hole in the Styrofoam block. Repeat with the remaining cake balls. Let the pops dry completely.

Using a toothpick, dot a small amount of the melted candy coating in position for the nose and attach a red candy. Hold the nose in place until the coating sets. Use a clean toothpick to dot a small amount of coating in position for the eyes and attach 2 white miniature confetti sprinkles. Return to the Styrofoam block. Repeat with the rest of your reindeer. Using the edible-ink pen, draw on mouths and dot the eyes.

Let the cake pops dry.

- Hamilton News

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