• wearegoodatthis

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

Updated: Nov 18, 2019


In the previous posts, I described the set-up for these cake pop experiments and my attempts/experiments with cake ball formation (Part 1); see links below. Basically, I'm trying to minizmize the calories per pop :) and learn how to make cake pops.


I'm also compiling a summary of the lessons learned & best tips I've learned and some I've come up with (3rd link in the list below).


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

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/home/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-part-1-cake-ball-formation

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


Sunday, November 3, 2019, Attempt #1:

I took the cake balls I made on Friday (~36 hours) before and tried to dip them and assemble them (add the lollipop stick).


I wanted to learn about how to make cake balls and I mostly wanted to see if the cake balls I made with less frosting (less calories) would hold together and work.


I did notice after reading some websites that I didn't form the cake balls in the best way. I didn't take out the crusts of the cake; this could leave big crumbs & make it easier for the cake balls to fall apart.


Adding the Lollipop Stick

I primarily followed some of the steps from the Two Twenty One website to add the lollipop stick to the cake balls.


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


She recommends melting (microwaving) 5 candy melts to use as glue for the lollipop sticks and cake balls.


You stick the lollipop stick into the candy melt, then into the cake ball


You put them freezer for 15 min. (or fridge for 30 min.), and then proceed with dipping.


When I tried to microwave them, I did it at 30-second intervals for 2 minutes or 2 min. 30 sec., they burned and didn't melt. I later learned from a website that it may be best to turn down the power on you microwave to 50% when you are microwaving. In my 2nd attempt (described below), I couldn't figure out how to do this. Haha. :)


Anyways, for this 1st attempt, I hacked together a double boiler to melt the candy melts. I don't have a proper double boiler.


For a double boiler, you have 2 pans/pots: the one on the bottom has boiling water and the pan/bowl on top is heated by the boiling water. You want the top part to be 1-2 inches above the boiling water.


I used a metal bowl (conducts heat) and kept it in place using this silicone brush I have (silicone has a much higher melting point than water, so it was fine.) I had to do this because the bottom of this bowl was too big and if I didn't hold it in place with the silicone brush, it would touch the water.




Thinning the Candy Melt Mixture - Add Shortening (not water or liquid)

On the websites, people can melt the candy melts alone and get a liquid consistency. I wasn't able to do this. You do not want to add water or a liquid to candy melts to try to make a thinner liquid consistency; it won't work. To get a thinner liquid consistency, add shortening.


I did not measure how much shortening I added to the 5 candy melts, but I did measure them in my next attempt. In the 5th picture above, you can see the shortening added. You just stir it together


Inserting the Lollipop Stick


Dip the lollipop stick in the candy melt mixture ~1cm, then insert into the cake pop about half-way.


I put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.


In the meantime, I melted more candy melts and shortening and prepared the cake box stand.


Making the Cake Pop Stand for Drying / Setting



I used a hack from Sally's Baking Addiction website. See photo from her website to the right.


https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-cake-pops/


She recommends using a cardboard box and punching in holes into it to make a stand. See photo. You want the holes spaced far enough apart that a cake pop (~1.5 inches in diameter) will fit with some room. You don't want to make the wholes too big or else the lollipop sticks will fall through.






Dipping

I wasn't trying to dip the cake pops all the way to make a perfect cake pop here, so I didn't use a lot of candy melts for the dipping portion. For this first attempt, I just wanted to learn the steps and to see if the cake balls would hold together.


To make a full batch, the websites recommend using a whole bag of candy melts to make a whole batch of 20 or 40 cake pops. You do want to use enough candy melts, so that the amount you have is 2 or 3 inches high in your cup and covers the whole cake pop.


For this experiment, I didn't count how many candy melts I used and how much shortening I added.


I also tried to add sprinkles. I re-used a plastic gum container I had and put some sprinkles in the bottom. After I dipped in the candy melt, I dipped them in the sprinkles.



Full Amount of Pillsbury Frosting

All the pops I tried held together and none fell apart during dipping.


1/2 Amount of Pillsbury Frosting



I was able to get some to work, but a few fell apart during the dipping process (see example photo).


As I noted above, this may be because I left the cake in the fridge too long before dipping and there were big crumbs/crusts in there. Also, it made me think that there is a minimum amount of frosting that is needed to hold the cake balls together.



Full Amount of Homemade Buttercream Frosting


Similar to the full amount of Pillsbury frosting, all the pops I tried held together and none fell apart during dipping.


1/2 Amount of Homemade Buttercream Frosting



Similar to 1/2 amount of Pillsbury frosting, I was able to get some to work, but a few fell apart during the dipping process.











Experiment Set-Up for Drying


I put the cake pops in different quadrants by what kind and how much frosting was mixed in, so I could see which ones fell apart.


Results after Setting for >1 hour


Unexpectedly, one of the cake pops with full amount of Pillsbury frosting fell apart. I attribute this to dry crumbly cake balls, not to the kind of frosting or the amount of frosting. One would expect the cake balls with less frosting to fall apart.


I thought it was a flawed experiment since I left the cake balls in the fridge for ~36 hours and used the crusts of the cake. I tried again.



Sunday, November 3, 2019, Attempt #2:


I did this experiment later in the day after Attempt #1, but I made the cake balls and dipped/assembled them all the same day.


As I noted in my Part 1 post, I made the cake balls in the same way as in Attempt #1, except:

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/home/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-part-1-cake-ball-formation


- I took out the crusts from the cake used in the cake balls.


The other difference here was that I dipped/assembled them after 2 hours in the fridge (not 36 hours). All the cake balls were much more moist than in the first experiment.


Adding the Lollipop Stick

I hacked together another double boiler.


I used 50 candy melts and added 1 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to get desired liquid consistency.




One tip I came up with was to:

- Stick the lollipop stick (w/o candy melt on it) into the cake ball first (to form a hole),

- Then dip in the candy melt

- Then dip the lollipop stick plus candy melt back into the lollipop.


I noticed during the first attempt that when I pushed the lollipop stick in that the candy melt was coming out and not going into the hole in the cake pop; this was minimizing the glue on the lollipop stick that got on the cake ball. With the tip I came up with, more of the candy melt got into the hole and between the lollipop stick / cake ball to act as glue.


The photo shows pushing a lollipop stick w/o candy melt in first (left) and then inserting a lollipop stick w/ candy melt on it (right).


I put all the cake pops in the freezer for at least 15 minutes as before.


Full Amount of Pillsbury Frosting

All the pops I tried held together and none fell apart during dipping.


1/2 Amount of Pillsbury Frosting

Differing from Attempt #1, all the pops I tried held together and none fell apart during dipping.


In the middle picture, I am demonstrating how sturdy the cake pops are with the combination of moist cake balls and my dipping hack.



Homemade Buttercream Frosting Experiments / Ruining the Candy Melt Mixture


When I was adding water to the double boiler a little bit of water (a few mLs) got into the candy melt/shortening mixture.


This ruined the mixture and made it so it wouldn't coat anything.


I put a photo here, so you could see. If you look closely, you can see how it fell apart, watery or separated the candy melts from the shortening.


I made some more candy melt mixture with 25 candy melts and 3/4 teaspoon of shortening (same concentration as for the Pillsbury frosting).






All the cake pops were very sturdy (photo). There were similar results as for the Pillsbury frosting.


Full Amount of Homemade Buttercream Frosting

All the pops I tried held together and none fell apart during dipping.


1/2 Amount of Homemade Buttercream Frosting

Differing from Attempt #1, all the pops I tried held together and none fell apart during dipping.





Experiment Set-Up for Drying


As before, I put the cake pops in different quadrants by what kind and how much frosting was mixed in, so I could see which ones fell apart.




Results after Setting for >1 hour


All of the cake pops stayed intact!


I tasted a little of each kind. There was a noticeable difference in the moistness between full amount of frosting and 1/2 of the amount frosting for both kinds of frosting (Pillsbury and homemade buttercream). I think full frosting tastes better. :)


Conclusions / Future Avenues of Research:

- Healthy Substitute: How the cake pops form w/ substitution of applesauce for oil

- Candy melts / Shortening Mixture:

- I'm going to work on my candy melts melting technique. I think maybe if I microwave more than 5 at a time it won't burn.

- Try to decrease shortening added to make a liquid mixture (decreasing calories)

- Minimum # of candy melts that you can use to make a batch.


Stay tuned! We are good at this!



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


After 2 hours in the fridge, I started dipping and assembly. I hacked a double boiler together again.



Tip: If you are using a double boiler, try to put the candy melts in 1 layer on the bowl. This maximizes the # of candy melts in contact with the heat (metal bowl) making it melt a little faster.


If you need more than this # of candy melts, I would still start with putting 1 layer of candy melts get it melted and then add additional melts once the first layer has started melting.


I'm still learning myself. I still have #candymeltstruggles. :) I gotta look up some tips on other people's websites.





As before, I stuck the clean lollipop stick into the cake pop to form a path, then dipped the lollipop stick into some melted candy melt and back into the cake pop. I then put them in the fridge for 15 min. to set before dipping. Left is full- frosting; right 1/2 frosting.




Dipping and Assembly using the Healthy Cake Mix was uneventful.


Finding: There was no difference using healthy cake mix (vs. original recipe) for the step of adding the lollipop and there was no difference between the 2 batches (full frosting vs. 1/2 frosting). Both were sturdy.





I set the cake pops in the cake pop stand as before to set for at least 1 hour.




After setting for >1 hour, all were still standing and none fell apart.


CONCLUSION: Using healthy cake mix does not impact cake pop formation, dipping or assembly.




Friday, November 15, 2019, Attempt #4:


I made all the cake balls here with original recipe (oil and 3 eggs) and full amount of frosting.


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 hacked together a double boiler again. This time I used 100 candy melts and 3 teaspoons of shortening. In previous attempts, I had only used 50 melts and 1 1/2 teaspoons of shortening. (I wasn't trying to cover the whole cake ball in those attempts.) Since I was melting candy melts, I actually had made Oreo balls at the same time which also can be dipped (stay tuned for that post; they are essentially cake balls, but made with Oreos and cream cheese instead of cake and frosting). So the count of how many cake pops you can fully dip with 100 candy melts also includes 3 Oreo balls (which were the same size).





I added the lollipop sticks in the same manner as noted before and then set them in the freezer to set for 15 min. They all seemed pretty sturdy.










I had thought that the cake balls that I did not chill would be less sturdy and may fall apart. Unexpectedly during dipping, one of the cake balls that I had chilled for 2 hours fell off the stick. I think I may have sloshed it around in the candy melt cup a little too hard. None of the cake pops that I did not chill fell apart during the dipping process.


When you are dipping, you want a cup that is wide enough to fit your cake pops, but not too wide because you want the liquid to be pretty tall, so that you can cover the whole cake ball when dipping.


I used 1 cup measuring cup as I had on previous attempts. I was able to fully dip about maybe 8 or 10 pops (includes 3 Oreo balls, which were the same size as the cake balls) with 100 candy melts + 3 teaspoons of shortening mix. Mind you, I need to work on my dipping technique too. :) #candymeltstruggles #dippingstruggles :) By the time I got to one of the ones that I did not chill, you can see it only covered about half.



I set them up on the cake pop stand and I actually fell asleep, so they were left there overnight before I checked.






Saturday, November 16, 2019 -- way more than 1 hour:


All were still standing and none fell apart. There was no difference between the cake pops where I had chilled them for 2 hours before dipping/assembly or between those that I made and then started dipping and assembly. You probably do not need to wait 2 hours for the cake balls to chill, so that can save you time in making cake pops. One things that one of the websites says that it does help with is that you can perfect the roundness of the sphere of your cake balls after chilling.


Regarding, the minimum # of candy melts to fully dip a cake ball. You probably need at least 2/3 or the full bag to really do a whole batch correctly.


Working on learning about candy melts, dipping and experiments to be continued...:)








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