• wearegoodatthis

Geeking Out Over Cake Pops - Part 1: Cake Ball Formation

Updated: Nov 17, 2019



See my previous post for more details on the set-up of this series of experiments.

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-intro---set-up-trying-to-minimize-calories-per-pop


Basically, I'm trying to decrease the # of calories per pop as much as possible & to learn how to make cake pops. :)

Friday, November 1, 2019, Attempt #1:


I did 2 sets of experiments: one with Pillsbury frosting and one with homemade buttercream.


For each type of frosting, I tested the ability to form cake balls / their binding capability with the recommended amount of frosting and 1/2 of the recommended amount. If the cake balls were able to be formed and bind with only 1/2 of the recommended amount, then this would lead to less calories per pop. :)


I followed the steps and best tips from the different websites.


I really smashed the cake into crumbs using my hands and hand-mixed the frosting with cake vigorously as recommended.


I formed them once, then put them in the fridge for 2 hours to chill before perfecting the molding of them into spheres (or trying to). :)


Pillsbury frosting


I used the Two Twenty One website as a basis for the experiment. For 1 whole cake mix box (two 9" rounds), she recommends 1/3 cup of frosting to make 18 cake pops.


- Two Twenty One: https:/www.https://www.twotwentyone.net/how-to-make-cake-pops/



For this first set of Pillsbury experiments, I did the recipe divided by 6, which is testing with ~1/3 of a 9" round cake.


Recommended amount of frosting

- 1/3 of a 9" round cake with about 0.9 or 1 tablespoon of frosting.


According to the recipe, this should yield 3 cake pops. I got 5. Less calories per pop. :)


450 calories (1/3 cake) + 70 calories (1 tablespoon of Pillsbury frosting; should be ~0.9)

= 520 cals for 5 cake pops or ~104 calories per pop (pre-dipping)


Half of the recommended amount of frosting

To decrease calories, I tried to use less frosting to mix with the cake and form the cake pops. I also tried 1/3 of a 9" round cake with ~0.5 tablespoon of frosting (vs. 0.9 or 1 tablespoon). This should yield 3 cake pops. I got 5. Less calories per pop. :)


450 calories (1/3 cake) + 35 calories (1/2 tablespoon)

= 485 calories for 5 pops or ~97 calories per pop (pre-dipping)







===


Homemade buttercream frosting


I used Sally's Baking Addiction website as a basis.

- Sally's Baking Addiction: https://https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-cake-pops/



She advocates for making homemade cake. I didn't do that. I used my Funfetti cake I had. Perhaps one day... :) That said, not doing her cake plus the homemade frosting may have impacted the cake pop formation experiments


I followed her recipe for buttercream and divided by 4 when making the full amount of recommended frosting, which should be enough for 10 cake pops. I tried to do the calculations very closely for 1/4 recipe of buttercream after my brain cake debacle.


https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/brain-cake---can-i-make-buttercream-frosting


[Side note: I think the reason for the debacle with the brain cake buttercream is because I got this commercial size butter at the store because it was cheap and the sticks are twice as wide as a normal stick of butter. ]


Since I was doing 1/4 of the recipe for each experiment, I estimated that this would be equivalent to mixing with ~1/4 cake that I made. She used 9" springboard; I made my cakes in a 9" round. Apparently, the baking pans are different. :) Apparently, 9" springboards are deeper than 9" rounds.


This means I used less cake than I should have to replicate the ratios, so it's not a true experiment.


Like with the pre-made frosting. I did one with the recommended amount and one with 1/2 the recommended amount to try to decrease calories and see if they still mixed together well.





Recommended amount of frosting

I used 1.75 tablespoons of butter, 0.4375 cups of powdered sugar, and a little less than 1 teaspoon of milk. For the full recommended amount of frosting, I was only able to get 7 cake pops (instead of 10) -- because I didn't grab enough cake thinking that 9" rounds were the same as 9" springboard pans.


337.5 calories (1/4 cake) + 375 calories (full amount of recommended buttercream)

= 102 calories per pop


But the calculation of calories per pop should probably be more because I didn't grab enough cake. On the other hand, 1/4 recipe should yield 10 pops, so maybe it comes out the same.



Half of the recommended amount of frosting

For 1/2 recommended amount of frosting, I was only able to get 6 cake pops instead of 10 -- because I didn't grab enough cake thinking that 9" rounds were the same as 9" springboard pans.


337.5 calories (1/4 cake) + 188 calories (1/2 amount of recommended buttercream)

= 88 calories per pop (but should be more because I didn't grab enough cake)


Similar as above, the calculation of calories per pop should probably be more because I didn't grab enough cake. On the other hand, 1/4 recipe should yield 10 pops, so maybe it comes out the same.


I hadn't thought about it before, but I was a little bit surprised that homemade buttercream frosting had a lot more calories than pre-made frosting. There was a bigger decrease in the # of calories for homemade buttercream frosting -- when going from full-recommended amount to half the recommended amount.


The cake balls made with homemade buttercream frosting did seem more moist and better formed though.


At this point, I did realize that the amount of frosting used did not really impact the calories per pop. But every little bit helps. :) And I kept going in the name of science. Haha. :)




See what happened when I tried to dip & assemble this first attempt at cake pops at:

- Geeking Out Over Cake Pops - Part 2: Dipping & Assembling: add link


Sunday, November 3, 2019, Attempt #2:


For my first attempt noted above, I think I left the cake balls into the fridge too long without being sealed before dipping & assembly. They were in there for ~36 hours. I think they were probably more dry & crumbly than they should have been from being in the fridge too long, so it wasn’t a good experiment. Also I didn’t take out the crusts from the bottom, top or sides of the cake before I formed the cake balls, which negatively impacted their binding. They had big crusty crumbs, making it easy for them to fall apart.


For my second attempt, I used cake that I had made for this black & white checkerboard cake I tried to make, which I will write about and post soon (Stay tuned!) Reusing ingredients for different projects / posts like I mentioned before.


https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/getting-the-most-bang-for-your-buck-planning-content


I did the experiments the same in Attempt #1, except that I:

- Took out the crusts from the bottom, top or sides of the cakes for both sets of experiments

- Homemade buttercream experiments: Used more cake to estimate ~1/4 cake from 9" springboard pan.


I did notice for both sets of experiments that taking out the crusts of the cake made a big difference and helped the consistency and formation of smooth cake balls.


Pillsbury frosting


For both the recommended amount of frosting (1 tablespoon) and half the recommended amount (1/2 tablespoon), I was able to from 6 cake balls.



Homemade buttercream frosting


For the recommended amount of frosting, I was able to form 10 cake balls (as expected.) For half the recommended amount of frosting, I was able to from 9 cake balls.


See what happened when I tried to dip & assemble this 2nd attempt at cake pops at:

- Geeking Out Over Cake Pops - Part 2: Dipping & Assembling:

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-part-2-dipping-assembling


Friday, November 8, 2019, Attempt #3 -- Healthy Cake Mix:


I had previously practiced on learning how to make cake pops with cake mix made with the original recipe (oil and 3 eggs). I was experimenting with a healthy ingredient substitute recommendation -- applesauce for oil (see post). It tasted good.


What I wanted to investigate here was whether or not you could make cake pops from healthy cake mix.


https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/healthy-cake-mix-experiment


At first, I was going to only form cake pops with only full amount of recommended frosting, but in the name of science :) , I decided to perform it the same way as with previous attempts. I formed 2 batches of cake pops:

- one w/ full recommended amount of frosting and

- one with w/ 1/2 recommended amount of frosting.


However, I did only use half as much cake for 1/2 amount of for the batch with 1/2 recommended amount of frosting. I did adjust the amount of frosting used for this smaller amount of cake.


This is why there were less cake pops made in 2nd batch.


For full amount of frosting (left), I made 12 cake pops and for 1/2 amount of frosting (right), I made 6 cake pops.




Finding: No difference in cake ball formation using healthy cake mix

In terms of cake ball formation, there did not seem to be any difference when using the healthy cake mix. They seemed to bind the same as cake made with the original recipe.


I put them in the fridge to chill for 2 hours as I did before.


See what happened when I tried to dip & assemble the healthy cake mix cake pops at:

- Geeking Out Over Cake Pops - Part 2: Dipping & Assembling:

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-part-2-dipping-assembling


Friday, November 8, 2019, Attempt #4:


In terms of cake ball formation, I used cake made with original recipe (oil and 3 eggs) that I had made for a Zebra cake attempt and full recommended amount of frosting.


https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/can-i-make-a-zebra-cake


What I was interested in seeing here more applied to dipping & assembly rather than cake ball formation. For consistency sake, I noted the cake ball formation part on this post. There were 2 things I was interested in investigating in Attempt #4:


- Whether or not you had to chill the cake balls for 2 hours before dipping & assembly

- I took some of the best tips I had read from different websites in I used steps/processes, so I had been chilling the cake balls after formation before assembly. One website I read just recommended that you make the cake balls and then you could add the stick. I wanted to see if this worked or if the cake ball would fall apart.


- If there was a minimum # of candy melts you could use to cover the whole cake ball and make a whole batch.

- This could decrease calories and amount of candy melts you need to use.

I made 8 cake balls and chilled them for 2 hours before dipping. I made 5 cake balls right before dipping, so they were at room temp with no time to set.







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