Pumpkin Cake Pops

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Cake pops. They seem to be the new cupcakes.

Cute, trendy, and oh so tasty.

This past Friday I had a few Halloween parties that I knew these little guys would be perfect for. It was my first attempt at making them,  and while they turned out pretty well in the end, I learned several tricks and tips that will make the next round much easier…and quicker.

These are perfect for parties, gifts, or just a special treat for the family. And for those of you not getting hammered by hurricane Sandy, you still have time before Halloween to grab some supplies from the store and whip up a batch.

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Cake Pops

To make homemade cake pops, you will need: a baked cake, icing, candy melts (2 14oz bags), sprinkles or icing decorators of your choice, lollipop sticks, vegetable oil (1/4 – 1/2 cup), and styrofoam or something to hold your cake pops.

First you’re going to take your baked, completely cooled cake (I used pumpkin), crumbled it up, and throw into a large bowl.

 Start with about 1/2 cup of icing and with clean hands, work it into your cake (I used cream cheese icing). Based on the consistency of your cake mixture, you may need to add more icing. If it feels like your cake is too dry and will not hold together in balls, add in more icing, about a tablespoon or so at a time. Be cautious of adding too much icing and making the cake mixture too wet – if this happens, it will cause the cake balls to easily slide right off the stick.

 

Once your cake mixture feels just right, begin shaping it into balls, like you would with homemade cookie dough. I used a 1 inch cookie dough scooper, but if you don’t have one, a spoon would work just fine. Roll them into a nice shape with your hands and place them on a cookie sheet, or in a large container.

Next, melt a small amount of your candy melts in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time until completely melted, using a microwavable safe mug or liquid measurer. (This size works best because you’ll want your melted candy in a dish that is deep enough to completely submerge the cake pops without having to swirl the pop all around the bowl). Taking one lollipop stick at a time, dip one end in the melted chocolate and then halfway into a cake pop. Repeat with each cake pop.

Then you’ll want to freeze (preferably) or refrigerate your cake pops for 1-3 hours (some people suggest freezing over night, but 1 hour worked fine for me). This is an important step because it allows your cake pops to set, harden, and attach to the lollipop stick. I tried dipping a few in my melted chocolate without freezing/refrigerating and they slide right off the sticks and into the chocolate.

 After your cake pops have sat at least 1 hour in the freezer/fridge, melt half of your candy melts in the same mug or liquid measurer, and add a few tablespoons – 1/4 cups vegetable oil or melted Crisco. This will thin out the melted chocolate, allowing for smoother, easier dipping. **I tried dipping mine without adding vegetable oil and the weight of the thicker chocolate pulled the cake pop off the stick.

Dip in the chocolate once or twice, then gently tap the stick against the rim of the mug/measurer/bowl to get rid of the extra chocolate. If you don’t do this, the extra chocolate will drip and harden down the side of the stick. Melt the rest of your chocolate when your first batch gets low, and repeat steps until all cake pops are covered.

If decorating with sprinkles, immediately shake over cake pop before the chocolate hardens. Then stick your cake pop into the styrofoam to hold it and allow it to dry.

I covered my styrofoam with orange tissue paper to make it more festive. You can decorate however your heart chooses.

I left a handful of cake pops sprinkle free (except for adding green on top to make a stem), and once the chocolate was completely dry, I used decorating icing to make little pumpkin faces. I’m not very artistic, but I think everyone could tell what these were meant to be ;).

These little pops are a bit time consuming, but if you’re into baking they are definitely worth it! Mixing the icing in with the cake makes for a very moist and delicious cake  – I prefer this method to using doughnut holes or using a cake pop baker, for that very reason. But whatever floats your boat will work just fine!

I made lots of mistakes, a big old mess, and had to call my mother, consult Google, and text a friend for help. But in the end they turned out alright and were a hit at my parties… totally worth it.

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

My pumpkin cake recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 beaten eggs

16 oz can pumpkin

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup cooking oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil; beat till combined. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture; beat till well blended. Pour batter into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool completely.

Yields about 60 cake pops.

I used Pillsbury cream cheese icing to save time. When I make my own, I use the following:

Cream Cheese Icing 

3oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla till light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.