Did you guess what I made such a mess of last week? Sticky summer strawberries!
I had some red sponge cake left in the freezer from my union jack battenburg, saved especially for making cake pops.
The recipe – if you could call it that – for cake pops is just cake and buttercream. Super simple. Mix up enough to get a firm texture that can be rolled into balls. Simple!
I decided to add some strawberry jam to give them a real strawberry mixture, passing it through a sieve first so there weren’t any pips etc., as cake pops need a nice smooth mixture. But – I wouldn’t recommend adding jam. The flavour is so subtle that you can’t taste it in the end, and it makes the texture extra sticky and harder to work with.
A great tip if you are using frozen cake for your pops – as soon as you’ve taken it out the freezer, use a grater to crumble it up finely. Works perfectly every time! You have to work quickly though, the more it thaws, the less well it grates.
The buttercream, cake, and (not recommended) jam mixed up easily into a beautiful light pink colour. Into the fridge it went to chill for a little while, so it would firm up a bit to roll into balls.
Next step – and I was super excited to finally be using these – candy melts! I’d bought these from hobbycraft quite a while back, and honestly not quite sure why it’s taken me so long to use them! Basically they are big coloured chocolate buttons – but are engineered (for want of a better word) to melt quickly in a microwave, stay liquid for quite some time, and then set quick and hard once you use them on the pops, without melting again if it gets warm.
Hopefully that makes sense – basically they are perfect for bakers – although this probably means a lot of e numbers as well! If you over-heat them or need to reheat after they’ve set, they are easily liquified again by popping in the microwave with a little vegetable fat (I used trex).
The cake mixture came out of the freezer, and I rolled it into balls, pinching a little at the edges for strawberry shapes, before dipping the sticks in the candy melts and securing them in the ends. Then, as the mixture was still a little sticky (and wouldn’t hold a warm candy melt mixture), they went into the freezer to firm up.
Next step was candy melt dipping / coating. This is still a work in progress for me – I don’t know how those videos online manage to dip in and out and end up with a perfect even covering!
And on to the fun part – decorating! I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do at the outset, so kind of made this bit up as I went along 🙂
First – I wrapped some of the pops in red fondant, before pressing gently into shape, trimming the excess, and smoothing down the joins.
Some of the other pops I just edged in fondant – rolling it out before cutting strips and pressing them into place around the edge, and a third batch I put a very fine coating of golden syrup (corn syrup) around the edge, before dipping into bright pink sugar sprinkles.
At this point I felt they were missing something – strawberry seeds! A great opportunity to use more sugar sprinkles, which I carefully ‘glued’ into place, by putting small dots of golden syrup (corn syrup) onto the cake pop, and using a cocktail stick (or my fingers!) to put each one on place:
And the icing on the cake – green fondant leaves and stalks, shaped, carefully glued on with a little dab more syrup, and then imprinted with leaf lines simply using a serrated edge modelling tool.
And – several hours later (I’m still learning) – I was done!
Yes I have some way to come in terms of consistency of shape and size, but I was so impressed! After a little while in the fridge, to completely set, they came out tasting brilliant as well – a crisp crunchy shell, with smooth creamy (not strawberry flavoured at all, silly jam!) inside.
Perfect treats for a warm summer evening. With a glass of Pimm’s, you say? Well, why not!