Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cutest Little Pumpkins

Gabriel's MDO class is having a little Halloween party today, so I decided to make these cute little pumpkin cake ball lollipops.  Okay...Rebecca saw these on Bakerella's website, and begged me to make some too.  How could I say no? 

I've made cake ball lollipops before, but this is the first time I've posted the recipe.  A few of my friends have asked me to post them on my own blog.  These sweet treats take MIL would say they're "putzy," but they're not hard to make.  You can change 'em up, and make almost anything you want.  I've made them for a dessert social, Christina's birthday, and a back-to-school luncheon.  Maybe I'll make some that look like Christmas ornaments later on in December.

Okay, y'all asked for it, so here goes. 

Pumpkin Cake Ball Lollipops

I box chocolate cake mix (or your favorite)
Eggs, oil, and water called for on the cake mix box
1 can store-bought frosting (our fav is chocolate)
1 package (at least 50 count) lollipop sticks (available at craft stores)
2 bags orange Wilton candy melts
2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening (may or may not need it)
1 box green Tic Tacs (wintergreen flavor)
Black edible marker (available at craft stores)

 Make the cake according to the package directions.  Let cool completely. 

Dump the cake into a large bowl...

and use a fork to break up the cake into fine crumbs.  Make sure to take a must sample to make sure the cake turned out good, right? 

Add 3/4 of the frosting to the crumbled cake.  I just buy whatever happens to be on sale at the time.  Philsbury, Duncan Hines, or Betty Crocker all work the same. 

Some recipes I've seen call for the entire can.  I like the texture better by using only 3/4.  Stir gently until all the frosting is incorporated.  At this point, it will look like chocolate dough. 

The quickest and easiest way to make the balls is to use a small ice cream scoop.  This one is 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Scoop out the cake mixture and lay the balls out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. 

Repeat with the remaining cake mixture.  As you can see, one recipe makes quite a lot (57, including the three that didn't fit on the baking sheet). 

Now we have to shape the balls.  Take one ball and roll it in between your hands until it is nice and smooth. 

Your hands will get a bit messy...sometimes I wash my hands when I'm halfway through.  This is the most tedious part (at least, I think so).  Keep at it until you're all done ;-).   

Place the cake balls into the freezer for at least one hour.  You can make the balls a day or two in advance, and hold them in the freezer until you're ready to coat them with the candy melts.  

Have your lollipop sticks, tic-tacs, and a block of styrofoam laid out on your work surface. 

When you're ready, heat the candy melts in a double boiler.  If you're lacking a real double boiler (and I don't), a heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water works just fine. 

Empty one bag of the candy melts into the bowl and let it melt completely.  It won't take but a few minutes.  If it looks too thick, add one teaspoon of shortening.  

Meanwhile, take about 6 of the cake balls out of the freezer.  Dip a lollipop stick into the melting coating, and once the cake balls are thawed just enough, push the stick into it (there will be a slightly flat spot on the bottom where it rested on the baking sheet). 

This keeps the cake ball from falling off the stick while you're dipping.  (If that happens, fish it out, and let the kids have harm done!). 

For the dipping, you need a large, deep cup.  A large coffee mug works well.  I'm trying out my 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup this time (it worked nicely, BTW).  Spoon the melted candy melts into your vessel of choice. 

Here's where you need to try and work quickly.  Take the cake ball and in one motion, dip it completely into the candy melts.  You can move it a bit to cover the bottom. 

Now lift the cake ball back out and straight up.  Rotate it 360 degrees and tap the stick very gently to smooth out any imperfections.  There's always a bit of a peak at the top, but that's okay.  Immediately push a tic-tac into the top.  You won't have to push it in very far, the candy coating will hold it once it dries. 

Isn't that the cutest little pumpkin you ever did see? 

Now I'll be honest, the first couple of times I made these, I found it easier to swirl the cake balls in the coating.  So they came out looking more like these (not smooth like the one in the picture above). 

But you know...pumpkins aren't perfect in nature, so don't be like me and aim for perfection if this is your first time making cake ball lollipops.  You'll the hang of it...don't worry!  If your kids are like mine...they don't care anyway...they just wanna eat 'em! 

Continue with the rest of the cake balls until you have a whole crop of pretty pumpkins. 

Sometimes as the cake ball is thawing, it will expand too much and make the coating crack.  If this happens, use a toothpick and some of the melted coating to fill in the crack, (just like spackling a hole in a wall) and smooth over with your finger.  No problem!

Here's where I had a period of frustration. I tried using Wilton Edible Markers to draw faces on the pumpkins.  It didn't work.  Boo hoo! 

I went back to Bakerella's Halloween post, and she uses CK Candy Writers and Gourmet Writer Food Decorator Pens.  Well shoot.  None of the local craft stores sell them...they're only available on-line. 

I called my hubby in near tears.  He promptly looked online, found a baking supply store 30 minutes from his office, and drove there to get me a CK Candy Writer in green.  He actually bought one in every color they stocked (they were just 99 cents) and saw some Blue's Clues cupcake toppers and cupcake liners and bought those for Gabriel's birthday.  I truly don't deserve such a wonderful man. 

So my darling David gets a big THANK YOU from me! (BTW, he didn't find a black writing marker, which is what I really wanted, but I had to make do). 

Note to self...and anyone reading this...only the candy writers or the gourmet writer food decorator pens will work with the candy melts.  Make sure you have them on hand if you want to use them!

Anyway...back to the cake ball lollipops.  Using the green candy writer, I made little jack-o-lantern faces on all the pumpkins.  (You have to melt the candy writer tube in hot water first before using it).  Nothing scary...these are for Gabriel's MDO party...and they're just 2-year-olds after all.

I put about 2 dozen in a vase to take to the preschool.  This is just an inexpensive $2 wreath from Micheals, a vase (also $2) and some candy corn to hold the lollipops upright.

Well...there you have it.   A complete post on making cake ball lollipops.  I won't lie...I was up until just past 10 PM finished these up...and I'm tired.  Think I'll go grab a quick nap...but I'm going to eat a pumpkin first!

God bless your table tonight!

1 comment:

Katie said...

I'm making these for a neighborhood party tomorrow. They're in the freezer. I'm not doing the faces, and they were out of orange candy melts, so I have white candy melts and orange icing coloring. We'll see... I'll take a picture and show you at church on Sunday.