Seeing as I’m just a baby, I don’t exactly know when these became “the thing,” but I find them curious. They’re cake…but they look like lollipops. Not that I have any experience with lollipops, either, but I digress.
When Grandma and GeeGee were visiting, we went to a 4th of July party, and Mama thought it would be fun to give cake pops a try. My Aunt Karen is quite fond of making them, but Grandma’s never done them! Even Mama’s never made something quite like them, what with the cake mix and the canned frosting. She kept musing, out loud, that she should make the cake pops from scratch, including the lolli-stick. (What would you use?) I just wanted to get down and dirty.
So here’s what you do: Bake a 9″ x 13″ cake according to the package directions. Mama chose a white cake, but you can make whatever kind you like. Once it’s cooled, you break it up into a big bowl. Then stir in 1 cup of room temperature pre-made frosting. Again, Mama chose white, but you can choose vanilla or cream cheese or even chocolate. You wouldn’t think that 1 cup is enough, but trust me, it goes a long way.
Now comes the fun part: Reach into the bowl, smoosh your fingers in the cake, then put a big glob in your mouth before your mama can stop you. Repeat as often as necessary, but in the meantime, you scoop out a bit of cake-and-frosting, give it a few squeezes to bring it all together, roll it into a ball, and set the ball on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Note: Mama had only 24 lollipop sticks, so she and Grandma made the balls pretty big—perhaps too big. They were about the size of golf balls, and GeeGee thought they would’ve been better had they been a bit smaller. You’ll figure it out.
Once you’ve made all your balls and have your hands good and messy, go after the dog, paying special attention to smearing your cakey face on her back. That way, she smells like cake the rest of the day! Then, put the cookie sheet in the freezer for about half an hour, to give the balls a chance to firm up. When you’re ready to decorate the pops, put a couple bags of candy melts—those little pastel-colored discs—in a microwavable bowl and zap them in 15-second increments until they’re melted and very smooth. (You can also use chocolate, if you prefer, and skip the microwave in favor of a double boiler, if that method suits you.) Dip the end of a lolli-stick into the melted candy, then stick the candy-coated end about half-way into a ball. Set it back on the cookie sheet and proceed with the rest. When all your cake balls are stuck, go ahead and start dipping them. (But first you might want to test out where you’re going to set the balls to dry once they’ve been dipped. Mama used foam flotation from a floral arrangement, which was kind of messy. A tall glass or vase might put the pops too close to one another—or they could topple. Experiment with a few pops before you dip them.)
Be sure you keep your coating very melty. Return it to the microwave as often as necessary to keep it flowing. Mama bought only 1 bag of blue and 1 bag of red, and we found that having more melted candy than you need is really better than having what you think is going to be just the right amount. To achieve a smooth exterior, you want to be able to swirl your cake pop in one swift stroke and set it out to harden. We ended up having to do a lot of dipping just to get the big balls coated. Depending on what you want to decorate them with—sprinkles, jimmies, or the like—you’ll want to finish that step before setting them out to harden. If you’re just going with decorator’s icing, then allow the cake pops’ coating to set up before you do that. (Mama just grabbed any ol’ thing off the store shelf, and it was something that would work much better on cupcakes. It was too wet for the pops and never set up entirely. They sure were messy!)
So, were they good? Well, people at the party—both adults and kids—went wild over them. I didn’t eat a completely finished product, but I sure did stuff a lot of the mixture in my mouth. And I’m pretty sure I caught Mama eating one…or two. She and Grandma both said they wouldn’t make these again. I hope that isn’t so!