When Pesach comes (it’s not so far away!), many of us can only start cooking from the time we turn over our kitchens. Purim, though—that we can plan. We can freeze things and be utterly organized. The most ambitious among us have already selected their mishloach manot baskets and have written up their seuda menus. Because there are both advance planners and last minute folk amongst you, Whisk brings you our Grand Purim Countdown—every week, up until Purim, you’ll enjoy new ideas, inspiration, and recipes that you can incorporate into your mishloach manot, seuda, and Purim parties.
We begin our Countdown with something that’s a little more labor intensive—but utterly worth it. This is not a week-before-Purim project (though we’ll be bringing you simple and quick ideas suitable for the last minute too…everything at the right time)! For those of you not inclined to fuss, you’ll still enjoy just gazing at these adorable creations from the innovative Bakerella.
And now…the fun begins!
Bake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9- x 13-inch cake pan. Let cool completely.
Once the cake is baked, get organized and set aside plenty of time (a couple of hours) to crumble, roll, and dip four dozen cake pops.
Crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. The texture of the cake causes it to crumble easily. Just cut the baked 9 x 13-inch cake into four equal sections. Remove a section from the pan, break it in half, and rub the two pieces together over a large bowl, making sure to crumble any large pieces that fall off. You can also use a fork to break any larger pieces of cake apart. Repeat with each section until the entire cake is crumbled into a fine texture. If you have large pieces mixed in, the cake balls may turn out lumpy and bumpy. You should not see any large pieces of cake.
Add three quarters of the container of frosting. (You will not need the remaining frosting.) Mix it into the crumbled cake, using the back of a large spoon, until thoroughly combined. If you use the entire container, the cake balls will be too moist.
The mixture should be moist enough to roll into one and a half inch balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on baking sheets lined with wax paper.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.
Place the candy coating in a deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl. These bowls make it easier to cover the cake balls completely with candy coating while holding the bowl without burning your fingers. (I usually work with about 16 ounces of coating at a time.)
Melt the candy coating, following the instructions on the package. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon in between. You can also use a double boiler. Either way, make sure you do not overheat the coating.
Now you’re ready to dip. Take a few cake balls at a time out of the refrigerator or freezer to work with. If they’re in the freezer, transfer the rest of the balls to the refrigerator at this point, so they stay firm but do not freeze.
One at a time, dip about a half an inch of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and then insert the lollipop stick straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through.
Holding the lollipop stick with the cake ball attached, dip the entire cake ball into the melted candy coating until it is completely covered, and remove it in one motion. Make sure the coating meets at the base of the lollipop stick. This helps secure the cake ball to the stick when the coating sets. The object is to completely cover the cake ball and remove it without submerging it in the coating more than once. A small, deep plastic bowl is very helpful during this step. If you do resubmerge the cake pop, the weight of the candy coating can pull on the cake ball and cause it to get stuck in the coating.
The thinner the consistency of your coating, the easier it will be to coat the cake pops. If you find that your coating is too thick, add some shortening or paramount crystals to help thin it and make the coating more fluid.
When you remove the cake pop from the candy coating, some excess coating may start to drip. Hold the cake pop in your left hand and use your right hand to gently tap your left wrist. Rotate the lollipop stick if necessary to allow the excess coating to fall off evenly, so one side doesn’t get heavier than the other. If you didn’t completely dunk the cake pop, this method of tapping and rotating generally takes care of that. The coating will slowly slide down the surface of the cake ball until it reaches the lollipop stick.
If too much coating surrounds the base of the lollipop stick, you can wipe the excess off with your finger. Simply place your finger on the stick right under the cake ball and rotate the pop, allowing any excess coating to fall off and back into the bowl of coating. When most of the excess coating has fallen off and it is no longer dripping, stick the cake pop into a prepared Styrofoam block (see the tips).
Repeat with the remaining cake balls and let dry completely.
Store the cake pops in an airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator for several days. You can also cover them in small treat bags, tied with a ribbon, and leave them in the Styrofoam block on the counter.
• Make the cake the day before and let it cool overnight.
• When using the cake pop method, you can also make them in different shapes. Just roll them into balls, place in the freezer or refrigerator to firm, and then mold into your desired shape.
• For fun, experiment with different colors of candy coating.
• Make sure the cake balls are chilled and firm when you dip them. If they are room temperature, they are likely to fall off the lollipop sticks into the melted candy coating. You can always place them back in the freezer for a few minutes to quickly firm them up again.
• Poke holes in the Styrofoam block before you start dipping. Just use one of the lollipop sticks to make holes about two inches apart.
• Use a toothpick to encourage the coating to cover any small exposed areas or to make sure it surrounds the lollipop stick.