Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gluten free Cake Pops

Apparently cake pops have been the rage for a while now. Our first encounter with them was at Starbucks. The bright pink ones with the sprinkles had the girls in a frenzy. I bought them each one and got my coffee and off we went. In the coming month that was all they wanted every time they saw a Sbux - talk about early brand recognition, ugh. They even went with the "We can have cake pops and you can get your special coffee." Convincing - until I tried a nibble of said cake pop. Blech is my usual reaction to most of the goodies at Starbucks. I like their coffee, but their baked goods in my opinion are barely edible.They contain the tang of highly refined and processed. Such a reaction usually leads to me finding a way to make it at home. A search on cake pops led to all kinds of posts, but the main one being from Bakerella. She has all kinds of neat designs. I bought her book for a reference and that book got stolen by my 4 year old. It became her lovey for 3 nights.
That aside, I had trouble with the original recipe for cake pops. A store bought cake mix made and the cake crumbled up with a can of store bought frosting. No wonder they had a sickly sweet taste. I wanted to do just a cake ball that could then be covered with the candy coating. That would have enough sugar on its own without needing to mix frosting in. Enter the Bake-Pop pan. The commercial showed up on Sprout one day. We all got mesmerized - the girls for the cake pops pictures, and me over the pan, enough that I bought one.

I've used it three times since getting it 2 weeks ago. The first attempt was Turkey Cake Pops, using store bought cake mix and Wilton Candy Melts for the coating:
This was more challenging than I thought it would be and my next attempt was a simpler dip in chocolate and sprinkles. My third try was for these cute little baby faces for a baby shower. The best part of these ones is that they were gluten free (not dairy free, still trying to work on that). They turned out tastier than the wheat containing ones.

Here is the recipe I used:

- Mix, until smooth, one (21 oz) package of Pamela's Classic Vanilla Cake Mix with 1 box of Kraft Instant Sugar Free and Fat Free Cheesecake Flavor Jello Pudding, 4 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and 1/3 cup of milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk). If the mixture is still grainy, add water or milk a tablespoon at a time until it smooths out. The batter needs to be fairly thick to get a dense consistency cake.
- I then put it in the Bake Pop pan and baked at 350 for 25 minutes. The cake balls are put in the fridge to cool. This make them a little easier to work with when dipping in the coating.
- Melt 1 block (20 oz) of almond bark in the microwave in 30 second increments and stir. When it is all melted and smooth, add 1 tablespoon of Crisco, nuke it for another 30 seconds and stir until combined. This thins the coating out and helps avoid big lumps. If you look at the photo, the back row of pops which have the big lumps at the back were done in almond bark without Crisco. Adding the shortening really helped with a smoother texture.
- Dip a lollipop stick in the coating, insert into cake ball about halfway. Then dip the cake ball and use a rubber spatula or spoon to help cover the whole ball in coating and to help lift the ball out so it doesn't slip off the stick.
- Let the excess coating drip off, then place the pop in a styrofoam (or floral) block to dry thoroughly. The almond bark dries much faster than melted chocolate or Wilton candy melts. Once dry, they can be decorated. Sprinkles should be added when the coating is still wet. I glued on the pacifiers etc by dipping a toothpick in the melted coating and dabbing it on the pop before affixing the little candy to it.

* Although Wilton Candy melts do not have ingredients with gluten, the melts are manufactured in a facility that processes other products with wheat.
* Loghouse Almond bark and MOST flavors of Kraft Instant Jello Pudding are gluten free, but contain dairy or dairy derivatives. Kraft Instant jello pudding also contains corn.

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