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Kitchen Adventures: Sharing a cake pop secret

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

I volunteer with teens at Severns Valley Baptist Church and they have an affinity for cake pops and cake balls. The last time I brought the treats to an event, they were gone in five minutes.

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Another volunteer in the student area once called cake pops “magic on a stick.”

The small, round, candy coated cakes are easy to make in a variety of ways and for a variety of occasions. They can be a cute and decorative treat you can give as gifts or have as a dessert for Easter dinner.

I’ve made them for my class for Valentine's Day and Christmas.

Cake pops can be made into a bouquet by placing floral foam in the bottom of a flower pot or container and arranging them like flowers.

Another cute idea I saw online made the cake pops look like multicolored Easter eggs, then put them in a planter with fake grass inside, like Eater eggs in grass.

Recently, at a March Madness party, I made some that had white candy coating on the outside and blue velvet cake in the middle. This required a lot of food coloring. A warning about food coloring — it gets everywhere. I found it on the counter, the floor and even on the dog. Don't ask how that happened.

Now, this is where I let you in on a little secret. After trying the traditional way of making cake balls, a multi-step process, I ditched the old way and found an easier way. I sort of cheat.

Previously you had to bake a cake, let it cool, mix it up with some icing, form balls of cake and refrigerate or freeze them before decorating.

Like many of you, I don’t have time for all that. So I bought a machine to simplify the process. The brand I purchased is called a Babycakes cake pop maker but there are other brands out there. The machine works similar to a waffle maker, baking on both sides.

Although I have not used one, there is a cake pop pan you can use to bake cake pops in the oven, but I can’t tell you if it works.

With the machine, this is all I do to make cake balls.

I take a cake mix or a cake recipe, mix it up per recipe instructions, pour it into the slots in the machine and after a few minutes they are done. It has cut my cake ball making time in half.

Some people have said they have problems getting regular recipes to work right in the machine, but there are many suggestions on the Internet and the manufacture’s websites if you can’t get the mix quite right. I’ve not had a problem with getting any recipe to work so far.

When the cake balls come out of the machine they usually are perfectly round on the bottom and slightly bumpy on the top as they raised to the top half of the machine. The misshapen balls are OK because you have to cover them in a chocolate or candy coating anyway, so you can’t tell they are not exactly round.

Then all you have to do is decorate them. That process can be as easy or as complicated as you like.

I usually buy melting candy at Michaels in a variety of colors to mix and match. Then I add sprinkles or drizzle with another color of candy coating.

How you decorate your cake pops is only limited by how creative you wish to be.

You can use any cake recipe for the cake pops but I included the one I used for blue velvet cake balls. 

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.

Recipe:
You can use any cake recipe for the cake pops but here is the one I used for the blue velvet cake balls.  

Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons royal blue paste food color
1 toothpick full violet paste food color (just dip the toothpick once,  nothing more or it will alter the color)

Frosting (not needed for the cake pops but included in case needed for the actual cake)
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

If you are just making the cake balls, beat cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds, then on medium speed two minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Put the mix in the cake ball machine per manufacture's recommendations.

To make the cake:
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans.

In large bowl, beat cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds, then on medium speed two minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake 22 to 27 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool 15 minutes.

Remove from pans; cool completely.

Spoon marshmallow creme into large microwavable bowl; microwave uncovered on high 15 to 20 seconds to soften. Add butter. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and salt until smooth.

If necessary, trim rounded tops of two cake layers to flatten before assembling. Place one cake layer, top side down, on serving plate; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer, top side down; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with untrimmed cake layer, top side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.
Store loosely covered.

www.bettycrocker.com