Monday, October 31, 2011

Baking for Halloween

I have to admit that I am a little bit grossed out (and also intimidated) by cake pops.  The whole mashed up cake mixed with is it frosting? cream cheese? whatever it is...gross to me.  I like the idea, though, of the cake-pop.  Sort of another cute spin on the cupcake concept. 
I came across another cake-pop rendition in the October edition of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine.  Quick word on the magazine: go grab one if you never have.  It's one of those little Reader's Digest-sized ones at the check-out counter of the grocery store and it's full of easy meal ideas.
Anyway, the magazine showed cake pops made using pound cake cut out with a cookie cutter and then dipped in chocolate.  Genius!  I decided to make them for my son's preschool Halloween party. 
Now, I'm not going to lie: these were not exactly easy...and I am pretty sure I over-cooked the pound cake.  But, I think if the opportunity presented itself, I might actually make them again, and I would certainly recommend them to anyone who is, like me, somewhat intimidated by the other kind of cake pop.  They were a hit with the preschool class and I ended up with a few extra ones to give away as cute gifts.  Here was my process:
1. Bake a pound cake in a rimmed cookie sheet instead of a bundt pan.  I used a Food Network recipe for Chocolate Pound Cake.  It tasted like a brownie, by the way.  Very good, even though slightly over-cooked - remember to adjust cooking time to account for the thin cake.
2. After it cools, cut out with cookie cutters (preferably those with smooth edges).
 3. Insert a stick into the cut cake.  If you have room in the freezer, at this point you might want to freeze them for a little while.  I did not have this luxury.
 4. Set up your infrastructure.  Get out a cookie sheet and set a couple pieces of styrofoam (I used that green florist foam stuff) to rest the dipped pops in while they dry.
5. Using a double boiler, or a tempered glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, gently and slowly melt the dipping chocolate.  I used a Trader Joe's brick of dark chocolate and a few smaller bars of their white chocolate.
Note about white chocolate: It's HARD to work with.  Melt it VERY slowly - heat at about half the temp of the chocolate.  Baby it.  The slower you melt it, the smoother it will stay.  If it gets too hot, it will curdle and separate.  When my white chocolate was melted, I added some food coloring to turn it orange and then some orange extract (I'm not a fan of plain white chocolate).
6. Using a small spatula, gently spoon and smooth the chocolate over the cake pop.  This takes a little bit of practice, but works better than just trying to dip the pop into the chocolate.
 7. While the chocolate is still wet, embellish with sprinkles or nuts or anything you might want to stick to them.
8. Let them dry in the open air overnight.
 9. Wrap with plastic (I used those little celophane bags found in the wedding aisle of a craft store).
See?  So cute!  It's definitely a project that takes a couple of hours, but totally worth it for the cute finished product.


  1. Very cute and much better than that mashed up cake mess. I expect you could actually use brownie mix and cut it with a cookie cutter also. Very nice!

  2. I think brownie mix would be too soft. Pound cake has a drier, spongier consistency.