Cake on a stick! These cake pops are rich, chocolatey and minty…the perfect Christmas-time treat.
The countdown is on. T minus four days until presents will be wrapped and ribboned, stockings stuffed and only crumbs remain of Santa’s cookies. Four days until the stairs creak as the boys sneak down long before the sun comes up to get their first glimpse of the brightly wrapped boxes and bags tucked underneath the tree. Four days until Christmas!
Sometimes I feel like a kid around the holidays. I love the way the house glows when the tree and garland are lit in the evening. I love sitting up late wrapping presents after everyone is asleep and stashing them away in the closets. And I love baking piles of sweets to share with friends and family.
These chocolate peppermint cake pops are ridiculously festive and great for gifting or entertaining. There are always so many sweets to try at this time of year, who wants to commit to a big piece of cake? With these pops, two bites and you’re done. And you you still have room to sample the other sweets without (too much) guilt.
You can pretty much bank on me serving some type of dessert on a stick over the holidays. I love the ease in serving these bite-size treats and they make a fantastic presentation. Instead of the usual lollipop sticks, I used decorative paper straws in a variety of red and white patterns. I think they’re equally attractive ‘sticks up’ or ‘sticks down’, and I especially like mixing it up if I’m serving to a crowd.
These do take some time to prepare, so be sure to plan ahead. The only tool you really need is a small ice cream scoop. If you level it off each time and then roll into a ball, you’ll have a nice uniform look. If cake popping is your thing, you may want to invest in a cake pop baller or my favorite, the easy roller. The easy roller is definitely an investment, but after rolling out thousands of these suckers when I had a baking business, it paid off for me in spades. But never fear, if you’ve hand-rolled meatballs, you can do this!
A couple of tips:
– Don’t add too much frosting to the mix. The crumbled cake and frosting should mix together to form a play-doh-like consistency, not too wet or too dry.
– After forming the balls and chilling, let them warm up just a bit before dipping. They have a tendency to crack if the balls are too cold and the coating too warm.
– Don’t overheat the chocolate coating. My rule of thumb is to heat it in 30 second increments in the microwave and stir well each time. I also heat mine at 50-60% power….trust me…low and slow prevents a gloppy mess!
– If your melted coating is too thick, add a drop or two of canola oil and mix well.
– The biggest tip…don’t sweat it if they’re not perfect the first time you make them! It takes a little practice but soon you’ll find a rhythm.
If you’re planning to do any baking with your kids over the holidays, cake pops make for a great project. You can get in there, get your hands dirty and let your creativity shine with your decorations. And the chocolate peppermint combo is always a favorite at this time of year. So in between buying and wrapping, I hope you’ll manage to sneak in a little time to do some to cake-popping!
- Chocolate Peppermint Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- Cream Cheese Icing
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 4 oz unsalted butter softened
- 1 pound confectioners sugar 1 box
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-12 oz packages dark melting wafers I like Ghirardelli
- 50 lollipop sticks or paper straws
- crumbled candy canes for topping
- *small ice cream scoop
- **styrofoam block
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add buttermilk, eggs and oil and mix well until combined.
Stir in extract.
Pour into prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes on med/high speed with an electric mixer.
Gradually add in confectioners sugar, mixing well to combine.
Stir in vanilla extract until incorporated.
Cake pops: Crumble cooled cake by hand or in a food processor until fine crumbs.
In a mixing bowl, pour in crumbs and add 1 - 1 1/2 cups frosting (the rest can be refrigerated and stored for another use).
Mix with the paddle attachment of a mixer on low speed until mixture holds together and has the consistency of play-doh or wet sand.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment and using the small ice cream scoop, measure out level scoops.
Roll each scoop into a ball (alternatively you can use a cake pop baller or the easy roller to roll out the balls) and place on lined baking sheet.
Chill the balls for 2 hours in the refrigerator or freeze 20 minutes.
Remove about 10 balls at a time and allow to to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before dipping.
Melt coating according to package instructions.
Dip the end of each lollipop stick or straw into the coating, then stick in each ball and allow to harden before dipping.
Dip each ball and tap off extra coating, tapping on your hand holding the stick, not the stick directly.
Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and stick in the styrofoam block to dry.