Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Cake-pops, child-minding and the inevitable messy chaos.

So, the other day I volunteered to look after my mum's friend's foster children whilst they went to look at a sewing machine they've had their eye on for a while. It seemed like a good opportunity to get my head around what it will be like to have younger children around and get into the 'big sister' role as my parents have for some months now been in the process of becoming foster parents themselves, and there could be children in the house as soon as October! All being said and done, I had promised a cake of sorts for my friend's birthday and involving young children in baking seemed a good idea at the time.  Unfortunately, I soon remembered my standards of hygiene and a young child's are very different i.e. licking the extra icing off biscuits "so they dried quicker"to quote on of them, and so decided to make cupcake shaped biscuits to keep them occupied whilst I got my head round cake pops for the first time. Things I learnt whilst multitasking? a) young children get bored very quickly, even if they do enjoy eating pure icing and cake decorations whilst they think I'm not looking! b) hide and seek is the best game invented by adults ever- say you'll count whilst they hide, quickly get done whatever you couldn't whilst they were around, say, carefully covering cake balls in chocolate, go and find them quickly, and send them off again for another minute.

Thinking of how to explain how I make my chocolate cake unfortunately involves a bit of maths and ratios, but I'll try and explain it as clearly as possible:

You will need:
Butter or Margarine (I use Flora which gives a lighter texture, but has less taste than butter, not that you notice with all the chocolate)
Self-Raising Flour
Cocoa Powder
High grade cocoa (I used 100% cocoa which you can buy from Waitrose in little cylinders)
1x 200g bar chocolate of choice per 12 cake pops
Cake Pop tray (available from John Lewis)

1) Weigh eggs and take note of that number! Also heat your oven to 180'C 
2) Weigh sugar to equal that of the eggs and the same for the butter, mix together 
3) Weigh out cocoa powder to a third of the weight of the eggs, make up the rest of the weight with the self-raising flour 
4) Add a good handful of finely grated dark chocolate (the darker the better the chocolately taste)
5) Add a small splash of milk, just enough to loosen the mixture but not enough to make it too runny. for a mixture weighed out to two medium eggs I probably added 15ml of milk to give an idea.
6) Grease cake pop tray and dust with flour too, then fill the tray without the holes to the top, place empty tray on top and lock (basically whatever the tray tells you to do on the instruction manual)
7) I've found that Flora cooks quicker than normal butter, so my cake pops probably only took around 11-12 minutes to cook.
8) Melt chocolate of choice and dip each chocolate cake ball in and coat well, place onto something that will fit in your fridge and cover with tin foil for easy removal after once the chocolate has set. Note: if you want to cover them in sprinkles, obviously do this when the chocolate is still melted...
9) Decorate! 

You can just about see the cake pop balls in the corner,
along with the cupcake biscuits.
In order to get the cake pops in one piece to my friend's,
I covered an old shoe box lid with greaseproof paper, made
small holes and put the cake pop sticks through so they
 didn't go every where. Thankfully it worked!

The happy welcoming of said cake pops
The first set of cake pops went down so well,
barely making it out of my house that I was
asked to make some more for pudding. My
sister in law helped me decorate these quickly
as it was getting a bit late.

It also turns out the cake pop sticks are quite
expensive, so these were served without!

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