Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cake Pops

I took advantage of a Crowdcut deal (kinda like Groupon) and signed up for a cooking class. I ended up choosing this one, Elegant Cake Pops and Truffles-

Dazzle your family and friends this holiday with a collection of elegant gourmet cake truffles. You will create a variety of cake pops and cake truffles covered in shimmering gold, silver, red, green and other festive colors. Our truffles will consist of cornmeal pound cake with rosemary infused cream, snickerdoodle cake with vanilla bean cream and gingerbread with a creamy orange infusion. We’ll top our truffles with snowflakes, sparkles, glitters and other lovely edible creations

It was great! I worried because my other experience was so-so, actually not great at all. This class was pretty basic but at least it was in an area that I didn't really have much experience. I've made cake pops before but it was a frustrating, endless effort. Here are a couple of things that I learned:

Don't do it all at once. Have the cakes and "moisturizer" (more on this below) ready a day or more in advance. Don't try and make the cake and moisturizer the same day as you're decorating. It's just too much. This was my mistake before! The instructor had all the cakes and creams ready for the class. We were given a chance to assemble the cake balls and we put them in the freezer to firm up while we worked on other things. You could even do this part ahead of time too, and then decorate on another day.

You don't need to use cake mixes and canned frosting. Bakerella (famous blogger, really THE cake pop queen) uses them because it's user friendly. You can use almost ANY crumbled cake for these cake pops. And you don't need to use frosting! Cake pops are good but using cake/frosting combos make them overly sweet. This instructor showed us that you can use any cake and infuse your own cream for the "moisturizer".

The moisturizer is just the liquid that you use to bind the cake crumbs so that you can roll them into balls. She said you can use 5-7 Tablespoons of liquid (cream, liquor, juice, etc) per 9x13 cake recipe. We did this in the class and it worked great.

Cake balls should be rolled in your cupped hand. It rolls into better formed balls that way. Just a tip.

The cake should be cooked, cooled, and then processed in the food processor. Fine crumbs. Fluffy moist cakes are not necessary, actually discouraged. If you really want to use a fluffy cake you should let the crumbs sit out for awhile so they dry out.

We used chocolate melting pots for the cake pop dipping. I learned that the chocolate I used in the past was NOT thin enough. It should be the consistency of hot fudge. We didn't really dip the cake balls into the melted chocolates, but spooned the chocolate to cover the cake ball.

If the chocolate is not thin enough you can add a Tablespoon of Crisco. This kind of grosses me out but it's necessary.

I also did not let enough of the melting chocolate drip off the cake ball in the past. The method today was to get as much of the chocolate off the cake ball as possible. This is done by tapping the stick on the side of the chocolate pot, very lightly, swirling the cake ball repeatedly as you do this.

You can decorate the cake balls immediately with sprinkles, sparking sugars, etc. They can then be placed in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up.

And last, I learned that you can all of this ahead of time. Decorated and all. They can be packaged and frozen!

We also went over how to make the cake balls as truffles (no sticks) and we made cake balls in the shapes of cupcakes. I was unofficially voted the Best Cupcake maker in the class. Everyone said mine was perfect looking :)

The cooking school was very interesting. I'm going to look into more classes but I think they are pricey at regular cost. We'll see! The cooking school is called Chefs Abode.

I think I'm done for tonight. I just want to sleep :)

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