When I was looking at cake pop recipes for the girls’ birthday party it annoyed the crap out of me that there wasn’t one from scratch recipe. You know what also annoys me? That there is even a thing called baking from scratch.
Cakes are generally based on butter, flour, sugar, baking soda and eggs. This isn’t freaking rocket science people, all you need is a measuring cup. Buying a packet mix is not more convenient. It’s basically just the dry ingredients mixed up with a whole lot of other crap that you don’t need.
So I simply made the parts of the recipe that suggested packet mix from scratch. I based it on this recipe from Kidspot.
First: make the cake
I used this Devil’s Food Cake from Taste minus the red food colouring and espresso.
What you need
3/4 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
How you make it
1. Preheat your oven to 180 or 160 for fan forced
2. Grease and line a round cake tin with baking paper
3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy
4. Add eggs one at a time
5. Stir in flours, baking soda, cocoa, water and milk
6. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, but start checking after an hour.
Then crumble the cake.
I admit this feels perverse and wrong. To go to the trouble of baking a cake only to turn around and turn it into a fine crumb. Just use a fork and your fingers and try not to think about it too much.
Making chocolate cream cheese icing
Once you have cream cheese icing, you never go back, ever. And this is perfect for this recipe as it’s not as sweet as normal icing so it stops the pops from being too sweet.
What you’ll need
2 x 250gram packets of cream cheese. Full fat, if you even touch the light stuff I will end you.
2 x cups of icing mixture
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
I don’t mind tasting the cream cheese – in fact I love it! But if you want the icing to be sweeter or more chocolatey you can add more sugar and more cocoa powder.
how you make it
Beat the cream cheese and add in the icing and the cocoa. Easy as! You’ve been warned, you’ll be an addict for life. But that’s a small price to pay isn’t it.
Mix the cake and the icing
You will need some elbow grease for this one! But take your time – you’ll get there!
Roll the mixture into balls and place on baking paper
I used a tablespoon of the mixture for each ball but you could use more or less depending on what size you are going for.
freeze your cake balls!
I had my cake balls in the freezer for several days but you could just put them in there to harden up a bit before going on to the next stage.
More chocolate! And more decoration!
Now for the fun bit – coating them with chocolate and decorating!
What you’ll need
2 x 375g of white chocolate melts
1 x 375 g packet of smarties (or whatever else you want to use to decorate)
lollipop or cookie sticks (I got mine from Spotlight)
How to make it
1. Melt the chocolate by simmering water in a pot and placing the chocolate in a glass bowl on top. Even once it’s melted, take the pot off the element but keep the bowl on the pot to help the chocolate stay nice and melted because it hardens up quickly
2. Take your cake balls out of the freezer and let them soften up a bit. Insert the stick 1cm into the ball and then dip the ball into the melted chocolate to cover completely.
3. Working quickly, add your decorations.
I used a styrofoam sphere which I cut in half and covered in aluminium foil to display my beauties.
But isn’t it really all about the taste?
And yes it’s worth it. All of those steps. The perverseness of crumbling a freshly baked cake. Because it’s cute and delicious. And on the day of the party they were more highly prized than lolly bags. I can understand why. Four year olds are only human, after all.