Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas pudding cakepops

It’s December so I can legitimately start pushing Christmas recipes at you. Here’s one that was featured in last week's Journal. If you’d like to read my life story and enjoy some photos that reduced my friends to tears of laughter, go to page 53 of this.   
Thanks to Iain Buist at Propix Photography for this image
To make 12 Christmas pudding cakepops you will need:

300g chocolate cake crumbs
about 60g chocolate buttercream (make this by beating together 20g butter, 40g icing sugar and 10g melted dark chocolate)
Chocolate for dipping e.g. Wilton candy melts, Silver Spoon chocolate buttons or Callebaut callets. If you’re using a normal off-the-shelf chocolate bar, grate it finely to help it melt. For Christmas puddings you will need about 150g of milk chocolate and 25g white chocolate.
Green and red florist paste and PME holly leaf cutter OR some ready made holly sprinkles
Cake board or other flat non-stick surface
Lollipop sticks

Start by making 24 little holly leaves and berries. Roll out the green florist paste finely and cut out a little leaf. Push the plunger to add veins on the leaf and leave this to dry. The PME holly leaf cutter is ideal and is sold in cake decorating shops. I got mine at Stangers Cookshop in Jesmond.

Roll the red florist paste into tiny little balls and leave these to dry. If you don’t have florist paste you can use marzipan or ready to roll icing and use food dye to colour it.

The other thing Stangers sell is ready-made holly sprinkles which are perfect and will save you the bother of the previous two paragraphs.

Now start making the cake pops. Mix the cake crumbs and the buttercream until the mixture forms a solid ball like pastry. Add the cake crumbs and buttercream together bit by bit so you can stop the mix from being too dry or too wet. 

Weigh out a 30g piece of the mix and roll it into a smooth ball, placing it onto the cake board. Repeat until all the mixture is used and you have a dozen little balls.

With a lollipop stick, make a hole no more than halfway into the ball. Don't push the stick right through the ball or you have hugely increased its chances of sliding off the stick.

Melt 20g of the milk chocolate. Dip the sticks into this and insert into the holes. This will help the cakepop to stay on the stick. Put the balls into the freezer for 20 minutes until firm but not frozen.

When the 20 minutes are nearly up, start melting the rest of the chocolate very gently in a small deep plastic bowl in the microwave (30% power for 30 secs at a time, stirring each time). Once the chocolate is all melted, it should be barely warm to the touch and pour in a sheet.

Remove the cakepops from the freezer. Take one and dip it into the chocolate. Turn it slowly, so that the chocolate covers a centimetre onto the stick, sealing the cake completely. The butter in the cake will fight to get out; by trapping it in completely, you will have it defeated. Tap the stick gently against the bowl so excess chocolate runs off, then leave to dry. 

Stand the cakepops to dry in a polystyrene block and don't allow them to touch each other. I find it helps to shout "NO KISSING"" at them. Try not to touch the chocolate or you'll get a big fat fingerprint on it. Instead, use a cocktail stick to burst any bubbles or cover a missed bit.

Once the milk chocolate has set, melt the white chocolate and dip the top of the cakepop into it. While the white chocolate is still tacky, carefully place two holly leaves and berries on it.

Hey, why not wrap yourself in Christmas ribbon and pose with your cakepops? Comedy gold.

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