Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cake pops & bonbons; New Year Special!

Happy New Year to all my followers, readers and fellow bloggers! Hope 2015 will prove to be an even better year than 2014!

Holidays means kids are out of school, at home all day! That means they want interesting snacks all the time. Also it is only fair that we celebrate the holidays with sweet treats. Here is one of those treats that is easy to make ,perfect for a multitude of occasions and appeals to people of all ages. It is also a great way to use all the cake scraps that are left cut off after leveling a cake or after carving a cake into any particular shape. Often, these shavings and scraps end up in the garbage. Not in my home! I save them and make cake pops or bon bons out of them. I find that these disappear faster than the cake slices! Kids just love it! It also makes for perfect use of leftover frosting. You know how you have a little bit of this color and a little bit of that, not to mention the small amounts leftover in the piping bags! I use them all!

The first time I made them was for my daughter's 5 th birthday. I decided that since everyone seems to be making them and it sounds sooo easy to make, it must be a breeze! After all, all you have to do is crumple the cake crumbs, add some frosting into it, mix it together, make small balls, put it in the fridge for sometime, then take it out, insert a lollipop stick into it, dip it into molten chocolate, put it back in the fridge until you are ready to serve! How hard can that be??? Let me tell you something.... When I started out making the cake balls, it was all nice and dandy.. No problems! Put the cake balls in the fridge, no problem. Now came the part when I had to dip the lollipop stick into the molten chocolate and insert it into the cake balls! Hmmm what can I tell you! The cake balls groaned and rebelled and half of them just fell apart! I was happy that I had atleast 50 % success rate! I kept the balls with the lollipop sticks in them back in the fridge to set. After sometime, I took them out to dip it in chocolate. Sounds super simple: hold the stick, dip it in melted chocolate, swirl, shake off the excess and keep it upright in a cup/container. When I dipped my lollipop stick with the cake ball on top, into the chocolate, it fell apart!! I could have cried! With tenacity I kept going until I had dipped all of them in chocolate. I had lost another 1/4 of them. I dipped the surviving ones into the bowl containing sprinkles and stuck into the foam inside an ornamental container. A few of the balls groaned under the weight of the chocolate and sprinkles and fell right off the stick. Well, I still had a few that tenaciously held onto the stick and I was able to display them on the table. Throughout the event though, they kept dropping off and a little kid would come to me and tell me , " aunty , the cake Popsicle fell off!"All this happened inspite of me paying attention to all the tips that the nice lady in this blog wrote!

My first cake pops

Well, so why am I writing about cake pops if it was such a "huge" failure? Well, obviously since people make them all the time, and nobody complains about it , it must be definitely doable! As you see for yourself, I have now been able to successfully make cake pops & they have NOT fallen off the stick! Well.. just a couple! :( The first time I made them, I made them from eggless cakes and thought maybe that could have been the reason. Next time I made them for my friend's dauhhter's birthday, I made them both from eggless cakes and cakes with eggs. Some fell off and some held on. This time around, I had also increased the amount of frosting that I had added into the cake while mixing. I realized that the most difficult and crucial part was the dipping into the chocolate. That is when it tends to fall apart. It is also easier to dip it into ganache than melted chocolate. It holds better. Molten chocolate is highly temperamental and can seize and harden on you in no time! Ganache is more forgiving and can be heated and melted again, inspite of some added impurities( read cake crumbs) in it. I also realized that the size of the cake ball before dipping is essential . It cannot be too big or too small. If you make it too big, it is going to be too heavy for the stick and will fall right off once it is dipped into chocolate and wrapped in sprinkles. If it is too small, the stick might tear it apart upon insertion!;) So, what should the right size be? I use a melon scooper to scoop the dough and make sure they are all the same size.

Last , but not the least, if they still fall off the stick or you find the process too tedious, just make bonbons! Sounds fancy??? In lay man's terms it would be called "cake balls". I have my good friend Sonal to thank for introducing me to bonbons! What a nice exit route bonbons give desperate people like me!

Here is the recipe:

Servings: 40 medium sized cake pops/ bon bons


Leftover cake: 4 cups, (any kind crumbled)
( you can also use any 9 inch cake)
Buttercream frosting: 1/2 can( if using ready made).
Semi-sweet chocolate chips: 1 cup
Lollipop sticks or skewers :  one pack of 50
Sprinkles: 1 cup ( any kind will do).


Cake pops

Crumble the leftover cake  with your hand until all the cake has been crumbled. Add buttercream frosting to the cake crumbles and mix well using your hands until it is well-combined. 

Now using a melon-scooper make medium sized balls. Keep them in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside.

Melt the chocolate chips either using the double boiler method or in the microwave 1 minute initially and then 30 seconds at a time, stirring in-between. It is ok if you see a few chocolate chips. It will melt with the heat of the rest of the molten chocolate. Don't overheat the chocolate chips as it will harden. Most chocolate chip bags come with instructions regarding how to melt it.

Now dip the tip of each lollipop stick into the chocolate and insert it into each cake ball. This little bit of  chocolate on the stick will act as glue to keep the stick in the ball. Put it back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes so that the chocolate hardens.

Now take them out of the fridge. You might have to melt the chocolate a little too at this point in time as it would have hardened.

Keep the sprinkles ready in another cup/plate.

Dip each cake ball on the stick into the molten chocolate, swirling it slightly while bringing it out. If you have trouble doing that, just use a spoon to pour the chocolate over the cake ball while holding slightly above the cup.

Immediately dip it in sprinkles as required and then stick it upright in some styrofoam or keep it in a large mug/glass.

Put the cake pops in the fridge for 20-30 mins so that the chocolate can harden.

Delicious cake pops are ready!

Now you see why I persist in making them! They are sooo cute! Nobody can resist them.

So what are bon bons?

To make bon bons, skip the lollipop stick part and just dip the balls in molten chocolate, add a few sprinkles or nuts, place them on parchment paper lined baking sheet  in the fridge for 20-30 mins so that the chocolate can harden. Serve them prettily in mini-cupcake liners.


Cooking made easy:

Use a narrow cup to melt and dip the chocolate. It is much easier.
Also, for beginners I would strongly recommend using candy melts to dip the cake balls in. The chances of failure are much lower( even though it is a little more expensive than chocolate chips).

Tip for healthy living:

A little bit of dark chocolate daily has shown to have health benefits.

Food for thought:

Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity. Og Mandino

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