Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cake pops! (In which I practice Extreme Procrastination and then overachieve.)

As you probably know, I am a self-professed slacker mom and I am also a non-baker/cook.  I really suck at baking.  I can screw up basically any "simple" recipe.  So much that I look for the words "simple" in titles and then scan the recipes to see just how simple they are before making the final decision to make them. 

These past few years I have realized that my life is probably half over and if I want to ever bake stuff, I better get busy.  Against my better judgment, this has led to me experimenting with all kinds of baking.  Some of them were successful.  Some of them, not so much.  Mostly, my family has not suffered.  I have written much about my successes and my screw-ups.  I have perfected: biscuits, homemade brownies, and some cookies including plain sugar cookies.  I still struggle with:  frosting a cake, cookie decorating that doesn't look like it was done by a first grader (and some first grader skills are way above mine), and some kinds of cookies (the kinds that burn easily).

My slackerish mom ways and my often misguided attempts at baking collided somewhat when Girl 2 announced about a year ago that she would like me to make cake pops for her eighth birthday.  She was forward thinking in giving me nearly a year to step up to the challenge.  Naturally, I waited eight months to get off my slackerish a$$ and research the making of cake pops.  Then, I waited another month for the cheapest cake pop maker to go on sale.  Then, I waited until the day before Girl 2's birthday to get the cake pop maker out of the box and make the damn things.

And, THEN guess what.  God cut me a break.  Or, He felt sorry for me because I am such a last minute slacker.  No matter what the divine intervention:  THEY WERE EDIBLE and FESTIVE!

I know.  I can't believe it either.  I actually was successful despite my extreme procrastination.

And, because I love you - just in case you ever want to make cake pops - I am going to show you what I did so that you can make festive ones too (with the least amount of effort)!

Here are the steps I followed (adjust as you see fit).  (I feel my list is much more real and entertaining than the gazillion YouTube videos I watched while doing my research.  You're welcome.)

1.  Buy a Bella cake pop maker and lollipop sticks when they go on sale at Target.
2.  Keep it nicely stored in your closet until the day before you need to have your pops ready.
3.  Wait until late afternoon that day and start to panic.
4.  Get the cake pop maker out and browse through the 100 pages of directions, warnings, and warranties (violence to the cake pop maker - and you *might* feel violent at this point - is not covered under warranty).
5.  See if you have any of the ingredients to make the chocolate pop recipe that came with the damn maker because you don't have time to go to the store before your baby wakes up and your other three kids get off the bus.
6.  Eat a yummy snack because you HAVE all the ingredients for the chocolate pop recipe in the book!  (And, also you will need to feel better when all your kids get home and the kitchen is a filthy mess and you are still not done.)
7.  Make the cake pops.   Here is the recipe I used and it was yummy.  You should really double it because you will probably need about 20 for any type of small children and after a few beers you are going to want another 20.  Trust me on that one.

EZ Scratch Chocolate Cake Pops or Donut Holes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cream butter and sugar.  Add all other ingredients.  Follow directions that come with the your cake pop maker.
These are the cooked pops before decorating.  Yeah.  See why you should double the recipe?  They are bite-sized for Pete's sake.

8.  Desperately search for the lollipop sticks you swear you bought.  Curse loudly and slam another beer because YOU CANNOT FIND THEM ANYWHERE.  Text hubby and ask him to get you some sticks at Hobby Lobby.  Delete text because hubby has no idea what lollipop sticks are and it's doubtful he can find Hobby Lobby.
9.  FIND the sticks!  Praise yourself and then quickly curse yourself for not having meltable chocolate for decorating.  Damn it.
10.  Drag four kids to Hobby Lobby for meltable chocolate and more sprinkles.
11.  Get home and drink a beer because you are half way through!  Melt your chocolate, pop the sticks into the balls (dipping the stick in chocolate before inserting it into the ball helps it all stick together better), and cover each cake pop with chocolate (shaking them slightly to spread the chocolate, but not so much that the stick pops out or the damn pop breaks).  Immediately after covering them with chocolate (while the chocolate is still gooey) sprinkle sprinkles all over your chocolate ball.
12.  Pop them into some Styrofoam (I am obviously not a planner, so I used the Styrofoam that came with the cake pop maker.)
Maybe that's why they wrap the cake pop maker in Styrofoam?  Because you're gonna need it later?  I'd like to think so.

13.  Refrigerate your pops a few hours to make them harden.
14.  Make dinner for six now starving people and drink another beer.
15.  Put all your pops into little clear plastic bags and tie them with a cute ribbon.

16.  Fall into bed at around midnight having drank (drunk?) a six-pack of beer and made adorable pops!
17.  Wake up clear headed (mostly) and have the foresight to put all the fancy cake pops into a basket so that no kid destroys them before they are popped in their little mouths.
Girl 2 kinda looked like Little Red Riding Hood.

So, that's my Cake Pop tutorial for dummies (no offense).  I hope you will try them.  Happy Birthday, Girl 2!  Momma loves you enough to make you cake pops (and that's a whole lotta love)! 

I would like to try to make some eyeballs or other things that are round and ballish.  But that will have to wait.  I have clearly overachieved and I am thankful to God.  (And I don't want to piss Him off just yet.)


jamiew said...

those are AWESOME!
(i would have put sticks in donut holes and called it a day)

Gretchen said...

They are adorable!!! I want some, but not enough to make some. Will you make me some? My birthday is in August, that gives you 3 months.

Anonymous said...

You should totally write your own Cake Ball, I mean Pop, recipe book. It could be like Martha Stewart, but not. Martha with an Edge.

Monica said...

omg. @jamiew - i am going to try my hand at frosted chocolate donut holes (basically - exactly the same as shown, but with that clear frosting/pure sugar crap - and we'll eat them for breakfast, and it won't be anyone's birthday - anyone we know). @gretchen and whatimeant2say - this is funny because gretchen wrote today about martha and now i might BE martha (with an edge - which i would love to try and live up to). it seems all of these great minds have converged upon my blog comments and we are about to explode. so, basically let's just eat some more cake pops. (that's a "yes" for your birthday. thanks for the advance notice.)

Gretchen said...

I love the idea of donut pops for breakfast but you need to make them healthier. Like, could you roll them in jelly that way we could get in a serving of fruit?

WeezaFish said...

Such a funny read, and a cool recipe too. There's no need to plan, if you are as resourceful as you lady. High five!

Monica said...

@gretchen - how 'bout if we serve them with orange juice? could that count as our fruit? OR even better with mimosas??? ooo! i am seeing a match made in heaven. @weezafish - high five back 'atcha! yes, i *might* be called "resourceful". i kinda like that!

Gretchen said...

I am going to suggest donut pops and mimosas for the next faculty breafast

Leigh Powell Hines said...

I think they turned out quite well.

I don't think I would have attempted it at all.

Great job!! Glad you get a lot of beers in there.

Monica said...

@gretchen - ha! you crack me up. and, also - i want to apply at your school. i will be the activities coordinator (you know how every teacher absolutely hates to be THAT). @leigh - oh, thanks, friend. believe me i never would have done it had it not been for the special request.

Mind Margins said...

Wow. I'm impressed. I actually prefer baking to regular cooking, but I am so glad cake pops weren't around when my kids were little. Looks like a lot of work with potential for disaster. Yours look perfect!

Monica said...

@mind margins - thank you! yes, there is a huge margin for disaster. and, i am like a disaster magnet. but, i pulled this one out. small miracle. ;o)

Unknown said...

Me too! Great minds!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous! Only sad none of the yummo cake balls made it my house! You rock girl!

Monica said...

@jae - yes. i SUCK as a friend. it is a small wonder i HAVE friends. wait. DO i have friends??? i am so sorry, girl. maybe next time i will hook you and shannon s. up? i say "maybe" because i know my limitations.