Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Samhain/Halloween Treats - Cake Pops and Balls

Part 2 of the baking done on my lovely 3 day weekend. I made cake pops and cake balls for Halloween night. Since the UL wind ensemble has a brass sectional on Halloween night, I will be attending in costume and bringing food. In this case, White Russian cake pops.
Last year, my brother's birthday fell on a night when we had orchestra rehearsal. I asked him what kind of cupcakes he wanted me to bring, and his smart posterior responded, "Oh, White Russian cupcakes would be wonderful." The smart alec didn't think I'd find a recipe. Proved him wrong. Doctored cake mix, here we go.

White Russian Cake
- 1 box of vanilla cake mix (or white if you can't find vanilla, just add a bit of vanilla extract in that instance)
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup Kahlua
- 1 small box vanilla pudding mix (if your cake has pudding in it, skip this)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

Other ingredients
- small cookie/ice cream scoop (optional)
- some kind of coating (chocolate, almond bark, candy melts)
- Crisco (for coating)
- things for decorating (chocolate for drizzling, sprinkles, etc)
- about 50 lollipop sticks
- something to stand them on (Styrofoam covered in plastic wrap and/or strainers on crab boiling trays)

- Mix it all cake ingredients up, then bake at 350* for about 40 minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean, it's done.
- Let it cool completely.
- Crumble the cake up and add enough vanilla frosting to make it stick together in balls - I didn't need much at all.
- Put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Take your handy dandy mini ice cream scoop and make balls of cake stuff. Smooth them in your hands and put them on a cookie sheet back in the fridge. No ice cream scoop? Use spoons or your hands.
- While that's chilling, melt whatever coating you're planning to use. I used white almond bark and Crisco, adding Crisco to the melted bark until it was smooth enough to pour kind of like body wash.

There are many easy to melt chocolate or candy coating or whatnot. 
The best thing I've found is my mini crock pot. 
Put the coating and Crisco (if using) in there on low for about 20-30 minutes.
If you do this, when your bark is ready, your cake balls will be chilled enough.

- Take the cake balls out of the fridge.
- Dip about 3/4" of a stick's tip in the bark and stick it in the ball.
- Place it on the tray and make cute rows, like little soldiers with bayonets.
- After they're all done, toss them back in the fridge. While they chill again, get your decorations together. Melt more bark if necessary.

There are many ways to let your cake pops dry.
If you want them with flat bottoms, just place them on a greased pan or something after they're dipped.
If you want them to be round all over, you'll need to stick them in something.
I used 2 Styrofoam blocks covered in plastic wrap until they had dried enough not to drip if turned sideways.
After that, I put them in the holes in strainers turned upside down on crab trays. 
This put them at an angle, but they were dry enough it didn't matter.

- Take your pops out 2 or 3 at a time. Dip in melted coating. Do not turn like candy apples. If you don't believe me, give a few turns to one you're working on and watch it fall into a mess. (I did this, not thinking, naturally.)
- Let them dry a bit, to where you can still put sprinkles or something on, but where your coating isn't making a huge mess and falling off everywhere.
- Decorate!

I used sprinkles and melted chocolate.
The ones I drizzled with chocolate sat out over night with no drizzles because I didn't feel like melting it at 10pm.
There were no ill effects.
The sprinkle ones were cute.
Note to self - black sprinkles taste like black icing - bitter.

-When the time comes to cover them (for me it was the next day) you can stick them in an airtight container or individually wrap them.
- Treat bags specifically for that purpose from a fancy craft store would work. I used Dollar Tree sandwich bags. Just cut them at an angle to get rid of the excess plastic, pop it over the pop and tie with curling ribbon. Then curl said ribbon.

Cake Balls

Since I had so much fun with the pops, I made cake balls for Mom and Dad to bring to Grammy and Poppy's (grandparents) on Halloween night.

I used a plain vanilla cake and subbed in unsweetened pear sauce I had canned a few years ago (you can use apple sauce) for the oil.

I wanted to make these cute brains. Sadly, after the first ice cube tray, I realized that my particular silicone trays were too small and angular and intricate and all kinds of other stuff. So Mom and Dad got cake balls with chocolate, pecans and coconut.

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