When life gives you failed cakepops, make some cupcake toppers!

10 Sep

A couple of weeks ago it was a coworker’s birthday. He happened to be a fan of golf, so I immediately thought to make golf ball cakepops! I’ve been making cake pops for years, and I’ve never had issues making them before until this little project rolled around! Normally, the last step in cakepops is to dip the cake ball in your melted chocolate/candy coating. However, to make accurate golf balls (as in to include the texture of a golf ball as opposed to a smooth surface of a normal cakepop) you need to use a mold. I had never made cakepops using a mold, so this was a bit of an adventure for me, one that didn’t end up quite the way I initially intended it to! But that’s the great thing about cooking, even when things don’t go perfectly, there is usually a positive way of salvaging your disaster : )!

In my case, my failed cake pops turned into cupcake toppers, so all was well in the end. I will eventually make a post dedicated solely to making cakepops the way I normally make them, but for now I’ll show you the process I used for this particular project.

Ok, let’s begin with the basics of cakepops!

For cakepops:

Lollipop sticks
Golf ball molds
Cake (I used the 1234 recipe)
Frosting (I used buttercream)
White chocolate
Blue Candy Melts
You’ll want to begin by making a cake of your choice.  I of course used my trusty 1234 cake (https://scienceandmacarons.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/an-oldie-but-a-goodie-1234-cake/), and replaced the vanilla extract with almond extract.  If you’re pressed for time, you can of course use a cake mix, no judgement here on not making something completely from scratch!  I like to bake my cake in a tall small pan, because the part of the cake you’re going to use is the fluffy inside, so you want as much of that as possible!  Once the cake is cooled, you’ll want to cut off all the edges, including the top and bottom.  The reason for this is that those crusty portions can create harsh lumps in your cakepops, and we want a nice smooth texture!

Next, crumble your cake carefully into a bowl.  Add to your crumbled cake some frosting.  For mine I used basic buttercream (https://scienceandmacarons.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/basic-buttercream/) flavored with almond extract.  You’ll want to add enough frosting to your crumbled cake such that your mixture creates almost a dough like texture.  You should be able to easily roll your mixture into little balls.

At this point, I placed all my little cake balls onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and placed them into my fridge to set.  In the mean time,  I went to work on my golf ball molds.  I bought these cute little molds from amazon, and really liked that they even included a little golf tee.  To begin the process, I started by taking some blue candy melts and melting them in the microwave.  Always remember to melt your candy/chocolate in small time increments (such as 15 seconds at a time) to avoid burning it.  Once the candy melts were ready, I used a clean (only used for cooking) brush to “paint” the molds with the candy melts.

After finishing up with that portion of the mold, I popped them into the fridge to set.  At this point I pulled out my cake balls which should be firm but still soft enough to mold if you need to fix them up.  Using the left over melted candymelts, take your lollipop stick and slightly dip one end into the candy.  Now stick the lollipop stick into a cake ball with the candy coated end.  Once you have inserted all of your lollipop sticks, place the cake balls into the fridge to set the candy coated lollipop sticks (when the candy hardens, it will act as a binding agent for your cake balls and lollipop sticks!).

This is when things started going… not so well for me.  So, originally I wanted to use almond bark to coat my little cake balls.  Unfortunately, both grocery stores I went too were completely out, and thus I grabbed some white chocolate.  Aaaaannndd…. unfortunately I accidentally grabbed regular white chocolate chips…  In case you aren’t aware, here’s an interesting fact: chocolate chips have more stabilizers than regular melting chocolate.  They are created this way because most people use them for cookies, and thus they want the chips to maintain their shape.  This means that they won’t always melt smoothly, and can at times (especially white chocolate chips) actually burn!

White chocolate is exceptionally annoying to melt. White chocolate is quite heat sensitive (this is due to the level of fat it has), so one has to be careful when trying to melt their white chocolate. So of course, the chocolate chips I purchased gave me quite some grief when it came to melting them! They were chunky, and at one point I was concerned that I had heated them too much.  When working with chocolate molds I don’t usually add anything to thin the chocolate, but in this case I added some shortening which helped, but for the first time, I actually had to strain my chocolate.  ::Sigh:: Chocolate can be so temperamental.  After all these years, white chocolate still occasionally will have temper tantrums and not work the way I want it to (at other times, it works out quite perfectly).  I should note that I never have this issue with dark chocolate, and perhaps that is because it has a more even distribution of fats vs white chocolate, and thus has an easier melting process.

Anyways…

I took what I could salvage of my melted white chocolate and placed it in my mold.  I placed enough chocolate to properly coat the mold, but not enough to fully fill it (since I still needed to place my cake ball inside).

Here’s where I ran into my next issue.  I placed my cake ball inside the mold… and well, I noticed my lollipop sticks were quite longer than the mold was supposed to hold.  I think I was too tired at the time to think of the consequences of this, and simply proceeded… Once all the molds were ready to go, I placed them into the fridge to firm up.

After about 10 minutes I removed the chocolates from the molds… they looked pretty good!  I went ahead and began repeating the same process for the other side… and well… that’s where problems began.  Unfortunately, do to my overly long lollipop stick… when trying to coat the other side of the mold within the chocolate mold… the over sized lollipop stick created a strange angle at which the edges would not properly align with one another

-_-…

At this point it was late, and I finally accepted that these cakepops would have to be a project for another day when I had more time.  So what to do?  The saying goes “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade“… well my saying goes…

When life gives you failed cakepops, make some cupcake toppers!

What I decided to do with the rest of the cake balls was to slice them in half, and remove the lollipop stick.  Note: in the picture below you can see my lone lollipop that sorta worked out lol

I then went through the same process of placing the cake ball in the chocolate mold (as I did with the full cake balls) but then covered the back with chocolate as well.  I used a metal scraper to scrape off any excess chocolate (this ensured a nice flat back panel).

I popped these into the fridge and in the mean time scrambled to make some cupcakes, using my 1234 cupcake recipe (again with almond extract).  I decided to make some green grass cupcakes on which I would place these cupcake toppers, so I also quickly made some almond buttercream and colored it green.  Thankfully I had a grass piping tip that I had bought for my “Iron Man having a BBQ” cake that I made for a friend a few years ago (yes… you read that right… Iron Man had a BBQ).  The tip was a Wilton tip #233.  I fastened the tip to my pastry bag, and quickly frosted my cupcakes with some grass.  The technique is pretty easy, just use quick strokes to achieve a piecey/grassy textured look.

Lastly, I pulled out my cake ball toppers out of the fridge and placed them onto the cupcakes!

And there you go!  In the end although this was not at all what I had anticipated making that night, I was quite glad with how the end product turned out.  My coworkers actually really liked them, and most them really liked that the cupcake golf ball topper had a secret surprise of almond cake on the inside, so in the end, it all worked out : ).  So next time you have a baking catastrophe, fear not, for there is always something you can do with your messed up cake.  As my friend Steve would say when I majorly messed up a cake, “parfait bowl anyone?”

So yea, long post was long, but I’ll leave you with this amusing picture of a cake I made few years ago.

Happy Baking : )

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