Lessons I learned from last Easter's cake-pop experiment

March 6, 2013 

For Easter dessert, I generally think about coconut or carrot cake but last year I decided to make red velvet cake pops. I don't remember why I didn't go with the more traditional options. I do remember those cake pops were tasty but messy and frustrating.

This year, I'm going to figure out how to best make and serve those gooey little treats. Here are the mistakes I made last year:

Mistake 1: I didn't do my research. I just used a basic red velvet sheet cake recipe and baked the cake in a 13-by-9-inch pan. After it was cooked, I took a fork and scraped it against the cake, creating a giant pile of crumbs. That's when I started getting nervous! Turning my beautiful cake into a mess of fine crumbs suddenly seemed insane. Solution: Let the cake cool completely! Then crumble with fingers, so "crumbs" are still fairly large and easy to handle.

Mistake 2: Didn't cool or chill the cake appropriately. I added my straight-from-the-mixer cream cheese icing to my giant pile of still-sort-of-warm crumbs. Then, I rolled the sticky mixture into balls. I did a taste test and the flavors were so good that completely lost my patience and didn't chill the cake balls. Solution: Chill cake balls for several HOURS before continuing. (The taste test is still a good idea, though. Just don't lose your patience.)

Mistake 3: In a hurry to plate -- and eat! -- my creation, I inserted plastic candy sticks into each cake ball. They refused to stay attached to the sticks. Chilling may have helped but I think plastic candy sticks are just too heavy. This year, I'll dip the CHILLED cake balls into melted chocolate and serve them like truffles.

A cute plating trick evolved from last year's adventure. I served the cake pops in a bunny-shaped deviled egg holder. It was cute and practical because it prevented the cake pops from clumping together.

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