Cake Pop Cake
May 7, 2016 7:46 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine requested a cake pop cake for her birthday. How can I make such a thing?

The full request: "Have you ever had a cake pop from Starbucks? I want something like that but in cake form."

My first thought is to make a giant cake-shaped cake pop, but it seems like it might be difficult to do the dipping/coating on something that big. Maybe individual bars? My backup plan is to make a cake pop croquembouche, but I'd like to do something more in the spirit of her request if possible. Help!
posted by bassooner to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The key to the consistency of a cake pop is that it's baked cake, broken up and mixed with frosting. The side benefit of this somewhat disgusting fact is it makes your creation very moldable. So if it were me, I'd bake a sheet cake, mix in the goop, form it into a sphere for the pop, use a thinner pourable frosting to cover, and stick a dowel in it. Good luck!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:00 AM on May 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

I've done this. You make cake, throw the cooled cake in a mixer bowl with frosting (start with about 1/2 a can and see if you need more) to mix together, mold or form it back into a cake* (one of the newer-style push-bottom silicone-seal cheesecake pans works really well, but so does springform), pour over ganache - which tastes tons better than that weird gross candymelt stuff anyway.

If you're fancy, you can make two layers (or tiers!) or cut one big layer into two through the middle, and "fill" with sprinkles or popping candy or honeycomb or more frosting or jam or whatever floats your boat.

Decorate as desired.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:00 AM on May 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Hmm. So a cake pop is just crumbled up cake, mixed with frosting, and then coated in candy coating. You could crumble up cake, mix it with frosting, and put it in some sort of full-sized mold. Do you think that fondant would be an acceptable substitute for the coating? I think they look kind of similar.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:01 AM on May 7, 2016

I like the ratio of dipping chocolate to cake goop in a cake pop. Maybe figure out some kind of shape that has a high surface-to-volume ratio so it can have a lot of chocolate, as too much soft cake goop might not be as satisfying without the "snap" of the coating.

For some reason I'm picturing a long squiggly shape molded of cake, in a cool pattern around the plate, like a flower or something, and then covered in chocolate, so when it's sliced, each slice is shaped roughly like a twinky (a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and a couple inches long).

I don't think you should use anything other than dipping chocolate for the coating- icing or fondant will be too soft and too sweet. Bittersweet chocolate gives a nice contrast in texture and isn't as sticky sweet- I think it'd be a better complement to the soft sweetness of the cake goop.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:02 AM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Go with Lyn Never's idea. Both candy coating and fondant are kind of gross, and ganache is delicious. And you don't need the candy coating to get the cakepop feel, I don't think.

(It is possible to get candy melts that are somewhat less gross than the Wilton ones that they sell at the craft store, but they're still not as good as ganache.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2016

I'd try forming two half spheres in two bowls and letting it set up in the fridge, then pour ganache over each, let it harden, and put the two halves together. More ganache in the seam.
posted by Huck500 at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Oh- what if you make some chocolate crackly pieces (melt chocolate, spread fairly thin on a sheet of parchment- like make a layer that's under 2mm thick, let harden, bust it up) and mix them into the cake pop mixture? Then you can have a little more of that nice "snap" from the dipping chocolate amidst all the soft goo, no matter what shape the overall cake is.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:47 AM on May 7, 2016

are you sure she's asking for one big pop, rather than a cluster of pops (in the vein of a "cupcake cake")? Because I think one big pop is going to be kind of gross. The proportions of cake pops are what make it work, in my opinion... I think it'd be too dense and squishy to be served in slices like a cake.

Anyway, one big pop, if you're determined to go that way, can be achieved with packing your cake+frosting mixture into two half sphere bowls (those bowls better be lined with plastic wrap) and then sticking them together with more frosting. Then coat. I actually don't find the Wilton candy melts to be too bad, but again, quantity matters here. Very possibly at this kind of volume that would be too nasty.

I personally would do a cluster of pops. Make a ton, with the sticks, and put them upright in something to hold them, either a test tube tray or that florist foam that keeps flowers upright. Once they are in the tray, write Happy Birthday Phyllis out with a letter on the top of each pop.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:51 AM on May 7, 2016 [14 favorites]

When I google for "cake pop cakes," all the results that come up look like stacks of dozens if not hundreds of actual cake-pop-balls, croquembouche-style like a Christmas tree, or else topping/surrounding a normal cake with a whole bunch of cake pop balls. I second fingersandtoes that you should check with your friend to see what she's actually thinking of.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:59 AM on May 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

Now that I think of it, it'd probably be cheaper to just bake another (tall, dense) cake to stick the pops into.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:46 PM on May 7, 2016

Re coatings: I think a ganache-covered cake pop sounds amazing, and I'd second this if the request was for "one of the cake pop things" but your friend requested a very specific kind of cake pop and I would strive to replicate that.

Starbucks lists the following ingredients in the cake pop coating: (white coating [sugar, palm kernel oil, whey powder {milk}, nonfat milk powder, soy lecithin, monoglycerides, titanium dioxide {color}, natural flavor, vanilla flavor], palm oil [with soy lecithin], vegetable juice [color], annatto extract [color]). If you or she really wants to avoid the melty candies maybe a firm royal icing would work.

Re shape/form: This is a critical decision and affects various options. Since this isn't a surprise I think you should ask your friend directly if she wants one whole cake or individual pops. Both are grand, but I bet she's envisioning one or the other.

Oh- what if you make some chocolate crackly pieces (melt chocolate, spread fairly thin on a sheet of parchment- like make a layer that's under 2mm thick, let harden, bust it up) and mix them into the cake pop mixture?

Re ratios: I agree this is important. I was going to suggest using chocolate crackly pieces in a layer cake, but this is better as long as the bits will stay crispy.

I'd also dig around Bakerella's site and see if she's done anything cake-like with cake pops. If you're really stumped about something she might be easy to contact on twitter or fb.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:20 PM on May 7, 2016

Pandora Kouti is right on. A giant cake pop might sound amazing but in reality it will be gross. I would compromise and make a spherical cake (sort of advanced technique, but it will get the desired effect) and decorate it to look just like a Starbucks cake pop (since that was her point of reference, it will be more dramatic if it looks like a big version of what she loves). Then, I would surround it with bouquets of actual (normal sized) cake pops.
posted by LKWorking at 8:09 AM on May 9, 2016

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