25 Aug
2013

The Great Cake Pop Catastrophe

Cake pops. Little balls of fun made from cake and melted chocolate.

The process is simple. You bake a cake, mash it into little balls, put sticks in each ball, dip them in melted chocolate, put them in the freezer, and—tada! Cake pops. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong.

About a week ago my friend Allie and I endeavored to make cake pops for our friend Ryan’s birthday. Neither of us had made cake pops before, but we’d certainly eaten them. We’d  also Googled how to make cake pops, so that definitely made us experts. The website even said we could make them in under an hour—perfect! What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, actually.

Allie came over around 5 o’clock and we assembled all our ingredients, cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, icing, but we still needed

Allie hard at work on our cake-pops

Allie hard at work on our cake-pops

chocolate. A quick trip to the Walgreens up the street provided us with 9 bars of Hershey’s and a weird look from the cashier when we checked out.

We mixed our cake mix and put it in the oven, and about a half an hour later; the cake was done. We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves. Neither of us had even made a cake before, but this had turned out surprisingly well.  We crumbled it up and made little balls. Now to dip them in chocolate.

Me with our fabulous soon-to-be-cake-pops

Me with our fabulous soon-to-be-cake-pops

Due to the lack of kabob skewers in my house we used plastic spoons for some of the cake pop skewers, spearing each little cake ball on the handle of each spoon.

We began to melt the chocolate. At first I put it in the microwave, but I noticed that that was heating up the chocolate way too fast, and I didn’t want it to scorch. So we moved it to the stove.  As we stirred the chocolate, we noticed it was not becoming a liquid but rather a big chunky mess of chocolate goop that was beginning to steam profusely and turn a blackish color. Oops. Before I could salvage it—3 bars of chocolate, completely scorched.

The acrid smell of burning chocolate filled the kitchen as testament to our failure. When my brother arrived home from soccer practice later, he walked into the kitchen and declared that “it smells like a struggle in here”.

And the struggle was real.

No matter how much we tried, we could not get this chocolate to melt.  Every time we got close, the chocolate would clump up and scorch. Our cake-pop making plans were limping along like a one-legged mule. It was really beginning to get pathetic. But that’s when I realized—

“Allie, we need to add milk to the chocolate.”

I splashed a bit of milk into the bottom of our pan, and the chocolate at last melted without scorching. Finally, we had our melted chocolate. Now, to dip the cake pops.

We filled a cup with all the chocolate and began dipping the cake-pops one by one. And that was when we realized we made the mistake.  Our cake-pops were too moist, we couldn’t pull them back out of the chocolate without them crumbling and falling apart.

With a declaration of “Everything I touch turns to failure!” from Allie, I acknowledged that our mission was not going well.  Most of our cake-pops had deteriorated into cake crumbs smothered in Hershey’s goop. We managed to salvage a few, but not many. The kitchen looked like a battle zone. Except chocolate coated the floor and counter instead of blood. Pots, pans, and chocolate wrappers were the only casualties. Soon another disaster befell.  We still had a full batch of cake-pops to bake, and no more chocolate left. We could have given up then. We could have scrapped the cake-pops and done something else for Ryan’s birthday. But we had set out to make cake-pops, and so cake-pops we would make.

Ryan's birthday present

Ryan’s birthday present

“C’mon, Allie, we’re getting more chocolate.”

“Back already?” The same cashier at Walgreens asked us as we placed 6 more Hershey’s bars on the counter. “What, did you lose the first batch you got?” The look on his face was priceless. I could tell he was doing a lot of judging at that moment. I can’t say I blame him.

“We’re making cake pops,” I explained. “And we really suck at it.”

Laying a five dollar bill on the counter, I swiped the cake pops and we drove back home, determined to finish our quest. We melted the chocolate and dipped the remaining cake-pops, to a slightly higher degree of success.

Our awesome, slightly more successful cake-pops

Our awesome, slightly more successful cake-pops

But finally, after fifteen candy bars, 3 hours, and a lot of struggling, we made cake pops. They looked crappy. The kitchen was a mess but we had done it.

Ryan was sincerely flattered by his chocolaty albeit lumpy, misshapen, and crumbling birthday present. He promised to cherish the cake pops. That, in itself was worth it.

And though me and Allie may never know what went wrong—whether we used too much icing, didn’t cook the cake for long enough, are cursed by angry kitchen gods, or simply are too disaster-prone to ever try cooking—I made a solemn promise to myself as I walked out of school that day.

“Never. Again.”

Me eating some of our damaged cake-pops. Crumbly yet awesome.

Me eating some of our damaged cake-pops. Crumbly yet awesome.

 

 

Little Lady out 😉

5 Comments

  • Grace, This is ABSOLUTELY hysterical. I laughed out loud when your brother said that it smelled like a struggle. :) LOL I love that you had a finished product and you didn’t give up. I hope Ryan can only be as creative when it is time for your birthdays. . . He should get himself an account on Pinterest! :) LOL

  • OMG – that is awesome. My best friend and I had almost the same experience and we were 34 years old…cake pops are hard! good for you that you didn’t give up. No matter how ugly I’m sure they were sweet.

  • One word, Little Lady. Bakery! Specifically, Sarah’s Bake Shop in Ballwin for some of her Glitter Bites. Yumminess without the mess or the stick.

  • I guess they also sell cake pop pans at Target and Marshall’s according to one of my Facebook friends!

  • Awww…I’m not a baker, either, so I totally understand. I’ve never attempted to make cake pops, but I do enjoy eating them. And I am going to have to try Baby Boomer Lady’s suggestion. Glitter Bites sound magical.

So, what do you think?