A House of Cake

Public schools in Oregon have a rule of no outside food unless it comes from a grocery store in a plastic container.  <Insert major groan and a rant about the crap ingredients found in those plastic containers.>  This school year my beautiful children complimented me by asking if I could make something for their classes.

My daughter asked her teacher if we could bring in cakepops for their holiday party.  The teacher told her while she wouldn’t allow most parents, since she’d eaten of my stuff before, she would allow it.  I’m not sure if it was the fact she survived past sweets or the fact my bribes had worked well, but either way, I was in!

I told my darling seven-year old daughter she could pick out any design in the Cakepop Holiday book she bought with her own money at the book fair.  After she picked out the hardest design in the book, I told her she had to help me every step of the way.  Here is a pictorial showing you how to make gingerbread house cakepops.  If you want to know about the cake mix, check here.

The lovely model shows how easy it is to scoop.
The lovely model shows how easy it is to scoop.
cakepop shape
She scooped out the right amount and I shaped them into little triangle houses.
building houses
Here’s where the magic happens. Get out all the sprinkles and start adding. You need to use a toothpick to dip in chocolate to place where you want stuff to stick. I piped the edges and roof with melted chocolate wafers in a ziplock bag.
The finished product — a masterpiece with each house being different.

What you will notice in this pictorial is my daughter wearing a different shirt in each of the photos.  This is important because this shows you don’t have to do it all in one day.  Piecing out each part helps with not becoming overwhelmed at making thirty-five individual houses.  It also helps with including kids who have attention span maximums around an hour.

This cakepop fun allowed my daughter and I to spend several hours over several days together and make something she was proud of.  Anytime I got a little OCD about how something looked, I saw her beaming face with pride and realized this was more her cakepop than mine.  It made them taste even sweeter when her classmates chowed down on gingerbread house shaped goodies..


A Cakepop Without the Stick

I know Bakerella is queen of the cakepop, but I thought it might be nice to see a step by step tutorial of a cakepop that doesn’t involve the difficulty of making it stay on the stick.  This is the way you make cakepop cupcakes.

First thing, you need to start with a cake.  Bakerella will tell you to take the easy way out–bake a boxed cake mix and pair it with canned frosting.  This is where I beg you to reconsider.  The store made combination will make cute cakepops, but they are too sweet to eat.  Go ahead and take the time to make it from scratch.  It really isn’t that hard and makes a big difference.

Once you have a cake made, you need to break it apart.  (Tragic I know after you spent that time making it from scratch.  But trust me, it will be worth it.)  Taking two pieces and rubbing them together lightly will give a fine texture to the crumble. 

I used a red velvet cake so the frosting is a no brainer.  Again, I implore you to use a homemade recipe.  For this, I went traditional with a cream cheese frosting.  If you have a whole cake worth, use a can’s worth of frosting.  You’ll be fine eye-balling it.

Once you’ve mixed, I’ve learned the trick to wait about fifteen minutes before forming.  This gives the cake time to absorb the frosting.   Take some cake, about a small cookie scoop’s worth, and shape into an oval.  Then put the cake in the fridge to chill for a couple hours.  Before you bring them out to put into the cupcake molds, melt the brown chocolate and put a dollop in each of the mold cups.  The mold is something similar to what you would make Reese’s mini knock offs.  You can get these at any cake store or Michael’s.  Before it sets, push the cake into the mold and refrigerate again.  Once the chocolate is hard, push down the tops to give them the cupcake shape.

They will come out pretty easily.  This is when you get to pick the top color.  You hold it by the chocolate bottom aka the “wrapper” part and dip them down into the melted chocolate.  Let it hang upside down over the chocolate bowl for a second so the excess chocolate can drip off.  I would have taken pictures, but I don’t have that many hands.  After setting it down on a cookie sheet, sprinkle on some traditional cupcake sprinkles and top with a M&M before the chocolate hardens.

Voila!  You’ve made a cupcake cakepop!  Congratulations.


Angry Birds Cake Pops

My kids and nephews LOVE angry birds.  I’m not quite sure the allure of this game, but it must be something great.  Or at least have great marketing.  Have you seen the line of gear?  They’re even selling pillows in Costco now.  When I asked my sister what my nephews would like made out of cake, she came back quickly with “Angry Birds.”

Even though I only did four out of the entire collection, I was pleased with how they turned out.  They are a traditional cake pop with homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting.  (This makes all the difference, in my opinion.)  It’s the regular technique of shaping and dipping.  If you want to know how, I suggest watching a Bakerella video.  The beaks are chocolate covered sunflower seeds and the eyes are made from left over royal icing.  (You can also buy them at Michaels or Walmart in the cake decorating section.)  The tops on the black and red ones are licorice and the pigs features are M&Ms.  See?  Easy.