Red Velvet Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180
degrees C) and place your oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray
with a non stick spray, a 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake
pan and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl
sift together the flour,
baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
In the bowl
of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy and
smooth. Add the sugar
and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until
incorporated. Scrape down the sides
and bottom of your bowl as needed.
In a measuring cup
carefully whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. Then,
with the mixer on low
speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions) and buttermilk (in
two additions) to the butter mixture,
beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup
combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then
quickly fold it into the cake batter. Working quickly, pour the batter into
the cake pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25
minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly
pressed, the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick
inserted in the center of the cake just comes out clean. Cool the cake, in the
pan, on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and
invert, lifting off the pan. Peel off the parchment paper, re-invert, and let
the cake cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand
mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter, on medium-low speed, until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat, on
medium-low speed, until fully
incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract.
a large bowl, crumble the cake into small crumbs. Using your hands or a large spoon, stir in just
enough frosting to hold the mixture
together. Add the
frosting gradually and really work it into the cake crumbs. (If you add too much frosting the cake balls will be soggy. Too little
frosting and the cake balls will fall apart, especially when dipped.)
Roll the mixture into golf ball sized rounds
(about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) or 1 ounce (25 grams)). I find this is a good cake-to-candy-coating
ratio. Place the cake balls on a parchment or wax paper- lined baking sheet.
After forming the cake balls, insert the lollipop sticks (don't insert the
sticks all the way through the cake balls or they will crack), cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until
they are firm (about 2 hours). At this point, you can store
the cake balls in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before dipping in the candy
melts or the unfrosted cake balls can be frozen for a couple of months (if
freezing do not insert the lollipop sticks). If
the cake balls in the refrigerator overnight before dipping in the candy melts, because if the cake balls are frozen
and you dip them in the warm candy melts, you may find that the candy
coating cracks after it dries. That is because as the frozen cake balls defrost,
they expand, causing the coating to crack.
Once the cake balls are cold, it is time to melt
the candy coating. You can do this in the microwave or in a heatproof
bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. If using the microwave, place
the candy melts in a microwaveable bowl and heat on medium for about 30 seconds.
Stir and continue to heat on medium, at 10-15 second intervals, until the candy
melts evenly. If the melted candy is too thick, gradually stir in 1/2-1 teaspoon shortening or 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon paramount crystals into the melted candy coating
until smooth and fluid. You want it to flow easily from your spoon. (This prevents the
candy coating from being too thick, which makes the cake balls hard to dip and
may cause cracking.) At this point transfer the melted candy
coating to a small deep bowl so when dipping the cake pops they can be
Before you start dipping the cake balls have a large thick block of
styrofoam (or florist's foam) on hand to stick the cake pops into for drying.
Remove the cake balls from the refrigerator and one by one, dip the cake pops straight
the melted candy coating. Dip the cake pops completely into the
coating. Then lift the cake pops out of the coating and let the excess coating run
off, turning the cake pop so you get an even coating of candy. You can also
gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl to help with this. If there are
bubbles, burst them gently with the end of a toothpick. At this point you can
sprinkle the still wet candy coating with candy sprinkles, sanding or sparkling
sugar, edible pearls or glitter, chocolate jimmies, finely chopped nuts, crushed
cookies, dried coconut, or even crushed candy. The cake pops need to dry
upright, so gently insert the end of the stick into the styrofoam and let dry.
If you find some of the candy coating has dripped down the lollipop sticks, use
your fingertips to wipe it off. (This can happen if you don't let the excess
coating run off the cake pop, if the candy coating was a little too hot for
dipping, or if it was a little too thin or too thick.) Once dry, the cake pops can be covered and stored, at room temperature or
in the refrigerator, for about 3-4 days.
Makes about 25 cake pops.
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