Ladybird Cake Pops
Cake pops, lolly cakes, cakes on sticks, cakesickles. Call them what you will but they are one of the ‘in’ things at the moment. I call them a nightmare. I have attempted making cake pops on several occasions. The first time I made them they turned out great, they looked reasonable, they tasted fine and the whole process was fairly straightforward. I was so proud my photographs became the icons for this blog and my social media feed. It all went steadily down hill from there on, regardless of how many books, articles and videos I looked at. Literature all points towards them being really easy to make…providing you have patience (which at times I will admit I forget what this word even means, let alone being able to practice it). They are meant to be ideal if you have small children interested in baking and yet I’m 26 and I struggled immensely. They are great to use up left over cake, providing it didn’t get munched during the carving. And they are meant to be beautifully moulded into any shape imaginable and decorated to match; ladybirds i.e. not spherical was the best I could manage when it came to moulding.
It’s officially been a whole year since my last cake pop incident. Time for another go. The last time Mr. Egg and I literally spat them out; they tasted of lard. How you can achieve this without adding any lard is beyond me. I mean, I can bake a reasonably good tasting cake and if it doesn’t taste great it would probably still get eaten. It’s cake. ‘Nuff said. This post is about my attempt at ladybird cake pops. I say ‘attempt’ as the reaction to the ‘finished’ product from Mr. Egg was “What are they meant to be? [long pause] Oh. Ladybirds. [long pause] Well…what do they taste like?”. Not exactly what I was going for, but an improvement on the year before. Seen as I didn’t have any spare cake bits casually lying around my kitchen (undoubtedly the reason I can’t shift these last few pounds; kitchen pickers wear big knickers etc. etc.) I resorted to baking one. Lemon, my favourite. Given past issues with the popping of cakes I used a recipe from a cake pop book, and followed it all 100%, definitely no substitutions going on in my kitchen today. Once cooled you go against everything you think is right and crumble it up into teeny tiny pieces. You then add a small quantity of buttercream and smush it all together. I should point out that there are implements that you can buy that make the cakes ready popped. I don’t have one, but I imagine the person that invented it had a similar experience to me, and rather than giving up they persevered and made a few people’s lives that little bit easier. I refrigerated when instructed, and when told to ball I got out my meatball scissors (exactly what they sound like; two halves of a sphere on the end of scissors, bought specifically for the cake popping process and only £3; bargain) and made what I thought would look like ladybirds once covered.
Cake pops can be coated in liquid fondant or melted chocolate. Sounds straightforward? Last year half my pops fell of their sticks, so I made sure the sticks were dipped in the melted chocolate before I stuck them into the cake balls. But to make them smooth it was advised to add a few drops of sunflower oil to make it a bit runnier. I also did this, got into my cake pop stance (similar to my fake tan stance, but that’s not really a story for today) and began with the dipping. Success! It wasn’t smooth, no where near, but it was covered. Brilliant. The next three fell off their sticks, and the rest of the batch was a long battle to stop them falling off the sticks and get them reasonably covered. Easy for children? Well technically I am still a child; I have parents.
The lesson for today: if something says it’s ‘easy’ it probably won’t be. If something says you need to be patient, you probably should. And if all else fails…make a loaf of bread.
Happy caking, One Egg xxx