Monday, December 19, 2011

Next time I'm sticking with cupcakes

In which our heroine forays into the realm of cake pops.

A blue angry bird after taking a nose dive into the red candy melts.
 My first mistake was in thinking that I could attempt cake pops, without a dry run, starting at 10pm the night before the birthday, after a day spent assembling furniture for Baby Girl's room (so many of my fiascos seem to center around furniture purchases) and trying to find her floor again in time for the party the next day.

The Eldest is turning 11, and having heard me mention the Angry Bird cake pops I'd seen online, asked me to bring those in to school for his birthday.  I looked at the recipe - cake crumbs and a tub of frosting dipped in candy melts, how hard could it be?  Never mind that the only dipping I've ever done is into a chocolate fountain... I had confidence and to spare.

Maybe I should have suspected things were headed south when I tasted the unholy mix.  I had a very moist white cake... and it tasted like raw cake batter.  Which might be ok if you're a cake batter person.  I am not.

Then there was trying to get these balls of dough to stick to the lollipop sticks (tip:  dip the end of the stick in candy melts and let harden before sticking it into the dough ball and freezing it.  Don't know why it helps, but it does).  Maybe I got too generous with the pops - they were a good 1.5" across, and kept falling off the sticks.

No matter, I got the hang of it, and had a half dozen blue birds cooling in a block of styrofoam when they toppled over into the red candy coating.  It was about 1am by then, I was running out of steam and starting to panic.
White chocolate chip eyes, trimmed candy corn beak, black frosting details, feathers from melted candy piped onto waxed paper and cooled. And a skull fracture.

Made more red birds ... then looked over at the blues to notice their heads had all cracked.  Did the candy coating shrink when it cooled, or did the dough expand as it warmed?  I didn't know and didn't care to find out.  It would have to do.

To add insult to injury, though, the dough started extruding out of little holes in the candy coating (think of toothpaste in a tube), looking for all the world like the birds were pooping tapeworms on each other.  Yeah, you really needed that simile.

Well, I am used to cleaning up messes, so I pulled off the tapeworms and called it good.  And then went to deal with my other task of the evening, editing a 16-page computer vision grant proposal due in the morning.  While Baby Girl had a croup attack.  At about 5am I thought seriously of taking her to the ER (no, it was not epiglottitis, but I was convinced it was - I am not my rational best at that hour) but was fortunately too tired to actually follow through on that.  (She's fine, thanks).

The kids actually like the way the pops taste (they got to eat all the outtakes) so it's not a total failure:  I made a treat they want to eat but which I am not even tempted to touch.  And they are kinda cute, if you don't look too closely.


  1. I think you did a great job! I did laugh during your entry though because your descriptions along with the pictures was hilarious. I tried making cake pops once, and never will again for similar reasons.

  2. From that last picture I never would have known about all the mistakes! Now we know you really do write a truthful blog :)