We were both quite busy and didn't get much of a chance to do research. And I decided to buy a ready made sponge cake, rather than bake one first. As it turned out, this was mistake number 1. We made quite a few ones on the way and I must say, neither of us expected that it would be such hard work.
First things first - shopping. Never having purchased such an item as a sponge cake, we had to search through several of the food shops and venture to isles we had not been to before. The choice was underwhelming - one shop didn't have any sponge cakes, the other one had 3 types, two of which were basic sponge of different brands and one was gingersnap flavoured. So we purchased two of the lightest regular sponges we could find and two gingersnap ones. The idea was to dip the light pops in dark chocolate and the dark gingersnap pops into white chocolate or something like that.
We bought some food colouring - Bip wanted to do bumblebees and piggies. We bought white ready to roll icing. Then on the off chance, we wandered in to the craft shop and found that they have increased their assortment to include coloured fondant and in suitable colours too. The only thing we didn't get was black icing - after the recent Halloween, they were fresh out. But they did have lolly pop sticks.
I was also not familiar with the concept of frosting in tins, which seems to be the binding substance of choice in many of the American recipes and videos. A UK recipe called for Philadelphia cheese, but Bip wrinkled her nose at that, so I suggested mascarpone. Only one of the shops had that, puh, lucky. We also picked up some white and dark chocolate for cooking - I had a vague idea of using food colouring on the white chocolate.
Thus here are our
2 x 220 g regular white sponge cake
2 x 230 g gingersnap sponge cake
250 g mascarpone
200 g white chocolate
200 g dark chocolate (46% cocoa solids)
liquid yellow food colouring
pink ready to roll icing
leftover decorating icing in tubes from last year
big box of sprinkles (found in a cupboard)
daim sprinkles (also in the cupboard)
lolly pop sticks made of wood
- Crumble up the sponge cake - light one in one bowl, dark in another bowl.
- Divide the mascarpone equally between the two bowls and stir together until the crumbles come together and form a sort of dough.
- Scoop out walnut sized chunks and roll to round balls, then place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
- Place in the fridge for 15 - 30 minutes to firm up.
- In the mean time, prepare the pop sticks - a piece of polystyrene is good here, we didn't have any, so resorted to using shots glasses.
It sort of worked, once there were two pops in a glass to balance each other out.
- Melt some of the chocolate, preferably of the same/similar colour to the one that will be used for the pop dipping. Take the tray with the cake balls out, dip a pop stick into the chocolate, about a cm. Then push into a cake ball, about half way in.
- Once they are all done, place in the freezer for an hour.
- Prepare the decorations - piggy noses and ears took time to make.
Then melt the chocolate. White chocolate can be coloured a bit - a drop of red food colouring made it pink, but thickened it as well. Yellow food colouring was not as strong and by the time we had the right saturation, the whole thing had seized up, as chocolate does when it comes in contact with water. So careful.
- Then out with the frozen cake pops, quick and careful dip into the melted chocolate and then on with the decorations.
- Finally back in the fridge to make things set.
The treasure and wonderful surprise was the Swedish meatball maker - this is an item that has been in one of the kitchen drawers in Sweden since as long as I can remember, a whim purchase from a second hand shop, I suspect. I also can not remember that this item has ever been used and so, I had started campaigning to get rid of it. The shame, oh the shame!
As it turned out, it was perfect for scooping a good amount of cake mixture and getting it ready shaped into a ball. OK, so I rolled each as well, but more out of principle, than anything else.
We chilled them and I melted chocolate in the microwave for the very first time - it's actually not at all bad, I always feared that I'd burn it. Cool.
We dipped the pop sticks and pushed them in. Bip pushed one all the way through a cake ball and I think I pushed most sticks in too far too. Anyway, we put them in the freezer for only 15 minutes and that was a mistake too. Should have let them freeze completely.
Some of the other mistakes we made were to push the piggy ears into the cake pops - this further weakened the pop, so that it sort of collapsed off the stick. And they were way too big and made the cake pop top heavy, another reason for falling off the stick.
And as the yellow food colouring caused the white chocolate to seize up, I mixed up some icing sugar with water and yellow food colouring, to a fairly thick paste and used that as coating for the bumble bees. It took longer to set of course, but worked pretty well on the whole. We weren't able to find white chocolate chips to use as wings, so I used a small flower shaped cookie cutter to cut out flowers from a thin wafer. I then cut the flower in two halves, which we pushed into the cake pop as wings for the bumble bees.
We used the daim sprinkles for eyes and once we ran out of chocolate, we used up some of the other colourful icing from the tubes to decorate straight on, that was the easiest and most fun I think, but it fell off very easily too, once it had set.
So to conclude - these need definitely to be made once more, but with home baked cake, careful on the chocolate, make sure there is polystyrene for the cake pops to set and not to push any of the decorations into the cake pops, but just glue them on. And let them freeze fully before dipping.