I believe that cake pops, just as macarons, were a trend at some point when you could see them everywhere, from blogs to food sites and facebook or instagram. As usual, I’m late to the party and only dared (or took the time) to make them now. But boy, it was fun! So much fun that I will surely be making them again. To my surprise, they were incredibly easy to make and I learnt something – you can turn any sponge leftover into a cake pop by adding butter, cream cheese and flavorings, such as vanilla, rum, lemon zest, orange zest and the list can go on. I used a butter based sponge, flavored with vanilla and orange and then I added even more vanilla while making the cake pop dough. Together with the cream cheese and butter, the dough urned out creamy and rich, but not too heavy.
But the fun part was only about to begin as I took the occasion and tried a new chocolate tempering technique today and it was a huge success. The secret is cocoa butter! Pure cocoa butter is added to the melted and slightly cooled chocolate. Now, as you know, when melted, chocolate molecules go wild, but the cocoa butter makes things right once again and your chocolate hardens perfectly with a shiny coating and it breaks with a snap. So easy, but so effective and not at all expensive. Basically the rule is to add 1% cocoa butter so for every 100g of chocolate, you need 1g cocoa butter. However, you can go a little higher than 1%, about 2% in some cases, depending on the quality of the chocolate and the cocoa content. And this is all – it’s not messy, it doesn’t waste chocolate, it’s simple and even a novice can master it, perfect for households.
To temper chocolate with cocoa butter first of all you need to melt the chocolate. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt it over a hot water bath or in the microwave. I prefer the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, as water baths can sometimes create water drops and water is chocolate’s biggest enemy. Once the chocolate is melted, place it aside and let it cool just until slightly warm to the touch. Take your cocoa butter and using a fine grater, grate the needed amount into your melted chocolate. Mix well until melted and smooth and use as desired. The hardest part here is knowing when to add the butter. Wish I could give you specific temperatures but I don’t have any, it’s all done by touching and feeling the temperature in my kitchen. It has to be only slightly warm when touched, if it’s too hot, the chocolate won’t temper (been there, done that once when I was in a hurry and didn’t allow the chocolate to cool). Once you add the cocoa butter, mix well until melted and smooth – mixing well also helps good crystals form. This is not a tempering method used widely in pastry kitchens because it doesn’t offer consistent results every single time, especially for large quantities – nothing can beat a tempering machine, the tabling method or the seeding method, but it is easier for households and small batches of chocolate and I’ve been using it with great success lately.
Update: After doing more research, it seems that the recommended temperatures for adding the cocoa butter are as follows: 95F(35C) for dark chocolate and 93F(33,5C) for milk and white chocolate. Also, the cocoa butter you use needs to be pure, raw cocoa butter – if by any chance the butter went through a heating process, the good crystals in it might have been destroyed so your temper won’t succeed. Another important part is mixing well after adding the cocoa butter – the mixing helps good crystals develop in the melted chocolate so you get a nice shine and a good snap once the chocolate sets. And since I’m very critic with myself and my work, I can’t help but admit that my temper on the dark chocolate for these cake pops wasn’t one of the best – the snap is great, but you can see a few white streaks due to not mixing properly once I added the cocoa butter. Lesson learnt!
- 400g flour
- 300g sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 230g butter, softened
- 250ml milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 4 eggs
- The cake made following the recipe above
- 130g cream cheese
- 50g butter
- 30g powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250g white chocolate, chopped
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 4g cocoa butter
- Sprinkles as needed
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line a cake pan with parchment paper (24-26cm diameter).
- Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of your mixer.
- Add the softened butter and mix until the mixture looks grainy.
- Combine the milk, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest in a bowl.
- Gradually pour the eggs over the flour, in 3-4 additions. Once the eggs and milk are fully incorporated, turn your mixer on high speed and mix for 1 minute until light and fluffy.
- Pour the batter in your baking pan and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the cake passes the toothpick test.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before use. For cake pops, it is best done the night before.
- Trim off the brown parts of the cake and crumble it into a large bowl.
- Add the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar, as well as vanilla extract and mix until the dough is easy to work with and can be shaped into balls. I recommend adding the quantities above then adding more cream cheese is the dough doesn't come together or still looks somehow grainy.
- Shape the dough into small balls. I weighted mine as I wanted them to be even. Every ball had 30g, but you can make them smaller or large if you want.
- Place the dough balls on a platter and freeze them for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, melt 50g white chocolate and prepare your cake pop sticks - plastic cake pops sticks or wooden skewers.
- Remove the cake balls from the freezer then take one stick or skewer and dip it into the melted chocolate, making sure to cover the tip well. Insert the stick into a cake ball and place back on your platter. Repeat with the remaining cake balls.
- Place the cake pops back in the freezer for 30 additional minutes.
- Melt the white and dark chocolate in 2 different bowls - I recommend working with only one of the chocolates at once as by the time you're done coating you cake pops with white chocolate, the dark chocolate will begin to set already. Once the chocolate is melted, add half of the cocoa butter as stated above and mix until smooth and melted.
- Remove the cake pops from the freezer and dip them in the melted chocolate. Decorate with sprinkles and place the cake pops in a glass or small vase - I improvised here by filling a vase with rice for more support and it worked great.
- Once you're done coating the cake pops, place them in the fridge to set properly and you're done.
Prima mea icnercare de a face cake pop – nu gasesc niciun termen in romana care sa inlocuiasca cu success denumirea lor englezeasca. Am avut ceva emotii caci nu mai facusem pana acum si nici nu mai lucrasem cu ciocolata in felul acesta, dar au iesti chiar foarte bine si un gand mi-s rasarit in minte – cake pops pot fi facut de fapt cu orice blat sau resturi de blat. Ca liant eu am folosit crema de branza, dar si gemul e un bun liant sau crema de unt – e o reteta foarte versatila si prajituricile finale sunt de mare efect, in special pentru copii. Piciul meu m-a numit cea mai buna mama din lume dupa ce si-a infipt coltisorii intr-un cake pop, deci succesul a fost total.
Insa ce vreau sa va aduc la cunostinta prin aceasta reteta e o noua metoda de a tempera ciocolata – folosind unt de cacao. Desi nu este folosita foarte des in bucatariile profesioniste/cofetarii pentru ca nu ofera rezultate consistente si nu poate concura cu alte metode de a tempera ciocolata, e perfecta pentru temperarea facuta acasa, unde folositi in mod cert cantitati mici de ciocolata si tablarea sau metoda seedingului sunt mai greu de realizat. Regula generala pentru a tempera ciocolata cu unt de cacao este urmatoarea: indiferent de cantitatea de ciocolata topita, aveti nevoie de 1% unt de cacao. Deci pentru fiecare 100g ciocolata, aveti nevoie de 1g unt de cacao. Este foarte important ca untul de cacao sa fie pur, neprelucrat termic, caci si el, ca si ciocolata, prin prelucrare termica la temperaturi necorespunzatoare, isi pierde cristalele bune, cele de care avem nevoie pentru a obtine o ciocolata lucioasa, care se rupe cu acel zgomot specific. Procesul incepe prin a topi ciocolata, fie pe baie de aburi, fie la microunde. Eu una prefer microundele caci pe baie de aburi adesea se formeaza picaturi de apa pe peretii vasului, iar apa e cel mai amre dusman al ciocolatei topite. Topiti ciocolata la microunde din aproape in aproape, amestecand dupa fiecare tura de topire in cuptor. Ideea e ca ciocolata se arde usor in microunde, insa acest risc este minim daca puneti ciocolata in cuptor cate 15-20 secunde o data. Cand ciocolata e topita complet, lasati-o sa se racoreasca – trebuie sa fie foarte putin calduta la atingere – temperaturile sunt 35C pentru ciocolata neagra si 33,5C pentru ciocolata cu lapte si alba – pentru cei care au termometru; ceilalti, ca si mine, se ghideaza dupa atingere. Cand ciocolata e abia calduta, adaugati untul de cacao dat pe razatoare. Apoi amestecati pana la topirea completa a untului de cacao. Folositi ciocolata astfel temperata pentru decoruri, e mult mai bine decat sa nu o temperati deloc.
- 400g faina
- 300g zahar
- 1 praf de sare
- 1 lingurite praf de copt
- 230g unt moale
- 250ml lapte
- 4 oua
- 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
- 1 lingurita coaja de portocala
- Blatul obtinut dupa reteta de mai sus
- 130g crema de branza
- 50g unt moale
- 30g zahar pudra
- 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
- 250g ciocolata alba, bucati
- 200g ciocolata neagra, bucati
- 4g unt de cacao pur
- Decoratiuni de zahar
Mod de preparare:
- Preincalziti cuptorul la 180C si tapetati o forma de copt cu hartie de copt.
- Combinati faina, sarea, zaharul si praful de copt intr-un bol.
- Adugati untul si mixati pana obtineti un amestec nisipos.
- Amestecati laptele cu ouale, vanilia si coaja de portocala. Turnati acest amestec peste faina si mixati pana la incorporare. Dati mixerul la viteza maxima si mixati 1 minut.
- Turnati blatul in tava de copt si coaceti pentru 40-50 minute sau pana trece testul scobitorii. Lasati blatul sa se raceasca complet inainte de folosire.
- Taiati partile maro ale blatului apoi rupeti-l bucati cat mai mici intr-un bol.
- Adugati crema de branza, untul, zaharul pudra si vanilia si amestecati pana obtineti un fel de aluat omogen, usor de lucrat. Daca e nevoie, mai adaugati 1-2 lnguri crema de branza.
- Formati bile mici – eu mi-am dorit cake pops uniformi si am cantarit fiecare bila de 30g – si puneti bilele intr-o tava. Dati la congelator 20 minute.
- Intre timp, topiti 50g ciocolata alba si pregatiti betele pentru cake pops – fie din plastic, fie din lemn. De asemenea, pregatiti un vas pentru a pune cake pops-urile dupa ce le acoperiti cu ciocolata. Eu am folosit o vaza pe care am umplut-o cu orez pentru mai multa sustinere.
- Scoateti prajiturile din congelator, apoi luati un bat de plastic sau lemn si inmuiati-i capatul in ciocolata topita apoi infingeti-l in cake pop. Ciocolata ajuta batul sa stea fix in prajitura. Dati cake pops-urile din nou la congelator pentru 30 minute.
- Topiti restul de ciocolata alba si neagra (pe rand, caci ciocolata tinde sa se intareasca pana terminati de lucrat cu cealalta ciocolata topita) si temperati-o cum am explicat mai sus. Decorati jumatate din prajituri cu ciocolata alba, jumatate cu ciocolata neagra si decoratiuni dupa preferinta.
- Puneti cake pops-urile decorate in vasul pregatit si dati la rece.