I'm not much of a cake pop person. I have issues, I know. ;)
Our little boy had a birthday recently and I brought home cupcakes from a local bakery because
I'm fail it was a chaotic and exhausting week with other stuff going on. The car trip wasn't that long, but the frosting softened and oozed off the cupcakes. It probably didn't help that I tipped the box a little bit when grabbing it out of the car. I've never had that problem with cupcakes from this bakery before, even in warm weather.
What do you do when you open a box of cupcakes and think, "oh, damnit"? Cake pops are an easy solution to cupcake messes, because you start by mashing the cake into the frosting. That's also good for my kids, because our little 5 year old (wait he's 5? where did the time go???) has a habit of only eating the frosting from cupcakes. He will eat the whole cake pop, though.
I wasn't overly fond of the idea of plain cake pops, though. Aside from the unnerving texture of densely mashed cake, there's the issue of overt sweetness that masks some of the finer nuances of the various cake flavors. Plus... these were for a birthday! Aren't birthdays supposed to include ice cream with the cake???
Using ice cream as a center for a cake pop adds a pleasant change in texture, as well as keeping the cake pop cold enough that the sweetness isn't as overwhelming (notice that melted ice cream usually tastes too sweet, while frozen ice cream is just fine).
paper sticks or some other kind of skewer
small ice cream scooper
fork and dish
Survey the damage. Separate the cupcakes by flavor. There were several of the fairycake kind because my kids like that sort of thing, even though this bakery uses some sort of cloying artificial flavoring, of which I am NOT A FAN. My fault for not baking them myself, though. *sigh* Don't ever become a food snob. It's not worth the extra work or the frustration and disappointment for the times when you just don't have the energy to make things yourself.
Scoop little balls of ice cream onto a piece of foil over a metal cookie sheet. Put them in the freezer to chill.
The cupcakes from this bakery tend to be on the moist side, so I didn't use all the frosting in the cake mixture. Scrape off some of the excess frosting if you're opting for that route (or leave it all on). Remove the paper cupcake liners and mash the cupcake with a fork.
Spread out a small piece of plastic wrap. Using two spoons, spread out about a tablespoon of cake mixture. I first tried using more than this, but it was way too much and made mammoth sized cake and ice cream pops. Wrapping the pop will be easier if you can spread out the cake mush into a four petaled flower shape (see pictures). Use another piece of plastic wrap to squish the cake mixture flat and smooth (then set the second piece of plastic aside). Remove one of the ice cream balls from the freezer and place it in the middle of the cake flower. Gather the edges of the plastic wrap and use it to squish the cake flower around the ice cream ball, covering it completely. Once the ice cream is all covered, you can twist the plastic wrap in order to form a tight cakey sphere. If the sphere is tight enough, you can unwrap the plastic and freeze it. It's fine to leave the plastic wrap in place, though, if your sphere isn't holding its shape very well. Let this cake and ice cream ball freeze for awhile. Get a clean piece of plastic wrap, make another cake mush flower, and repeat until you run out of cake, ice cream, or attention span.
Go get a drink and relax for awhile.
Once the cake balls are chilled and hard, they're ready to be skewered. Paper sticks are usually used for cake pops, but I suggest using something sharper (like a bamboo skewer) to gently ease open a hole before shoving in the blunt paper stick. (Insert joke about... nevermind)
If you're not ready to serve these yet, keep them in the freezer. Don't coat them yet!
When you're ready to serve, heat some sauce and serve in small dishes, possibly one for each guest so they can double dip - I recommend caramel or chocolate ganache. It should be warm. The contrast of the warm sauce with the cold cake and ice cream pop can make these seem a whole lot more divine. If your kid didn't eat the extra frosting you scraped off the cupcakes, you could warm that and serve it as a sauce. Extra sprinkles are optional if you happen to have some in your cupboard. They're mostly for aesthetics and perhaps a tiny bit of texture, though.
uncake and ice cream version
There was an unfortunate incident leaving me with only two cake pops for pictures. I decided I should make more, but I didn't want cake. I came up with this recipe for a pan-cooked cookie like crumble to use around the ice cream instead of cake.
Need to finish typing this quickly kids getting into stuff
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/4 C sugar
1 T turbinado sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 C corn or rice cereal (or some almond meal and flaxseed meal... but I didn't think of those until later)
splash of vanilla
Brown the butter in a pan. I've explained how in my flaming banana cookies instructable. Set browned butter aside to cool. Stir egg yolk with a fork. Add sugar and stir again until the mixture is lighter yellow and seems fluffier. Stir in turbinado sugar.
Stir in the cooled browned butter. Wipe out the pan and heat it up again over medium heat. Add salt and flour to the egg mixture. Stir in the vanilla. Add the crunched up cereal or ground nuts, ground rolled oats, or flaxseed meal. I should've tried those other things but I just thought of them now. I added the cereal after I started cooking the dough in the pan because I realized it needed some more substance to keep it from being too oily.
Using a heat safe utensil (like a silicone scraper, NOT YOUR HAND), press the dough onto the bottom of the hot pan. Stir every so often... flip the dough over if you can, or just stir it, making sure to expose new bits of dough to the bottom of the pan so you can get a nice brown color. It should start to smell slightly nutty, even if you didn't add nuts, when the flour and other stuff begins to gently brown. I think this took 5-10 minutes for me, but I have no concept of time.
Cool the cooked crumble mixture. Break up the larger pieces. Start with a small piece of plastic wrap just like with the cake and ice cream pops. Sprinkle a layer of the crumbs over the plastic. This stuff is less gluey than the mushed cake, so you'll have to rely on the ice cream to hold it together. Remove an ice cream ball from the freezer, place it on the layer of crumbs, and wrap the plastic around it, squishing the crumbs into place around the ice cream ball to cover it completely. Twist the plastic wrap to form a tight sphere, then freeze. Continue with the rest of the crumbs or until you have enough balls for pictures.
Skewer these carefully with something sharp before shoving in the paper stick; they're a bit more delicate than the cake and ice cream pops. Serve with a warm sauce.