Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake
This recipe will yield 25 pops with the addition of ¾ cup of frosting and 18 ounces of candy coating for dipping.
8 inch round cake pan
a block of Styrofoam
1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tspn vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Sift together flour, cocoa, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and mix with a hand-held mixer at low speed until just combined. Increase speed to high and mix for 2 minutes. The mixture will lighten and become thick.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Rich buttercream frosting made with cocoa instead of baking chocolate means no messy melting and easy one-bowl mixing. This frosting is perfect for icing cupcakes, decorating cookies, and adding to cake pop mixtures.
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
¼ cup milk
1 tspn vanilla extract
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients at low speed. Increase mixer to high speed and continue mixing for 3 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.
Also known as confectionery coating, candy melts, or candy wafers, this is a chocolate substitute with a low cocoa-butter content, making it more stable and easier to use than regular chocolate. Candy coating also sets faster and harder than regular chocolate, which makes it perfect for dipping pops. There is a wide variety of brands, in a range of colors and qualities. Some popular brands include Wilton Candy Melts, Make ‘n’ Mold, and Merckens Confectionary Coating. We used Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates. You can find candy coating at specialty cake- and chocolate-making stores, craft stores, and many online stores including Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
Assembling the Cake Pops
Once you have your cake and frosting, you’re ready to begin the cake pop creativity. Crumble the cake into very fine pieces with your hands into a large wide shallow pan. Rake your fingers through to find any large pieces left and crumble them up as well. Show the kids how to do this and then let them finish the job.
Add the suggested amount of frosting. Scrunch the frosting in with your hands until the mixture is evenly distributed and holds together easily when you press it together. If the mixture is too dry, it will not hold together properly and crumble; if it is too wet, then the balls will not be able to hold their shape.
Shaping the Pops
Once you have the mixture at the correct consistency, it’s time to shape the cake balls. There are two different methods: hand rolling and pressing the mixture into small cookie or fondant cutters. Before beginning either method, line a tray with parchment paper to hold the shaped cake balls.
To hand-roll the mixture, measure out 4 teaspoons , which should make a round of around 1 1/2 inch diameter. Scrunch the mixture together lightly in your hand and then roll it between your palms to make the ball as smooth as you can. The rolled ball should be firmly packed so it will hold its shape. Using light pressure when rolling will be sufficient; you will not need to press your hands together very hard.
The ball is a good starting point for making other shapes. If you need an oval, just manipulate the shape by rolling your palms back and forth a little. A teardrop shape can be made by pinching one end and lightly flattening the sides. Once the cake ball is shaped the way you want it, place it on the tray lined with parchment paper.
To make the cake ball shapes using the pressing method, place the shaped cutter on the tray lined with parchment paper and press about 2 tablespoons of mixture into the shape. Turn the cutter over to see if the underneath is smooth, with no holes or gaps. If there are holes, turn the shape over again and press the mixture down firmer.
Once you are happy that the underneath is smooth, use your thumb and lightly press out the mixture onto the parchment lined tray, being careful not to break the shape. Once you have released the mixture, turn it over so the smooth side is on top and then gently press down on the shaped cookie mixture. This should help to flatten the other side.
When all of the mixture is shaped to your satisfaction, pop the tray into the refrigerator and chill for around an hour.
Dipping in Candy and Attaching Lollipop Sticks
Once you’ve made the cake balls, it’s time to dip them in candy coating and attach the lollipop stick.
Melt your candy coating in the microwave on medium low at short bursts of 60 to 90 seconds. This might seem like a lot of work, but the coating can be very delicate and overheating will ruin a whole batch. If you prefer, you can use a double boiler on the stove top, but that involves a lot of extra cleaning up and is not so safe for the kiddies. If using the stove top, always use a double boiler; never use a saucepan directly on the heat.
If you’re using a block of coating, cut or break it into small pieces before melting. Candy melts or buttons are good to go as they are. Use a clean, dry, microwave-safe dish for melting and a clean, dry, metal spoon for stirring. Wooden spoons may have a little moisture in them, and you really don’t want to get any water in with your candy coating. Water will seize the coating, making it unusable for dipping.
Candy Coating Consistency
One of the most important things about dipping pops and other sweets on a stick is the consistency of the melted candy coating. Most brands, when melted, will be just a little too thick for a really smooth finish. Add some paramount crystals or vegetable shortening (like Crisco) when you melt the candy coating. The amount required will vary depending on the brand of candy coating you use. Start off with around 1 ounce of crystals per 14 ounces of candy coating during the melting process and add more as required until the mixture is fluid enough for dipping.
Securing the Stick
Is there anything worse than dipping a treat and losing the whole thing in the bowl of melted candy coating? Well, maybe, but with this simple trick the chances of it happening will be minimal. Here’s the secret: Make sure you dip the end of the lollipop stick in a little melted candy coating before you insert it into the cake pops, marshmallows, cupcakes, or other treats. Then pop them into the refrigerator to set for 10 minutes before continuing with the coating. How easy is that? It’s like yummy glue.
Dipping and Getting a Smooth Finish
Okay, you have your coating at the right consistency, the sticks are secured….time to start dipping. Make sure your dipping bowl is deep enough for the candy coating to cover the whole pop. Dip the pop and then lift it out of the melted candy. Holding the pop over the bowl to catch drips, gently tap the stick against your hand or the side of the bowl to remove excess candy coating. Remove as much excess as possible before you put the pop into the Styrofoam block to set.
Cake Pop Storage
Once decorated and set, cake pops should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Undecorated cake ball mixture can be frozen wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in an airtight container for 4 weeks. When ready to use, completely defrost in the fridge still in the airtight container.
Recipes courtesy of Sweets on a Stick by Linda Vandermeer
United States [ print this recipe for Chocolate Cake Pops]