When I am around her and her friends, they inevitably ask if I got my cooking interests from my mother. It’s at this point, my mother doth protest too much. “I have no idea where she gets it from,” she exclaims, “I hate to cook. I never cook. I am a terrible cook. We go out to eat all of the time.”
Yes, my mother is perfectly happy eating a piece of toast for a meal, preferably a piece of toast drenched in cream of mushroom soup (it’s better than you think) and waxes poetic about McDonald’s breakfast menu (it’s the best breakfast in town for the best deal!), but it’s not the whole truth.
It does not hide the fact that she secretly enjoys cooking, is a fantastic cook, and I clearly learned both how to cook and how to love cooking from my mother.
This woman is so good that when she says Thanksgiving dinner will be served at 1:15, then not only is it served at 1:15, but all of the dishes came out of the oven at 1:13 so they are piping hot on the table, and she has no part of the dish splattered on her body or a hair out of place.
Anyone who has come to my house for a dinner party knows that I have not yet mastered these skills.
This past week I had the rare opportunity to head up North on my own for some quality time with Mom and Dad. As I was running around packing, I got this request from my mother. “Bring your cake pop pan, I want to make them for the pageant.”
For the last 5 years, my mom has volunteered with the Miss Wisconsin Rapids pageant. She has been a hostess mom for several area girls and this year, she was a “mom” for two girls. This means that she is at every rehearsal, driving the girls around, and essentially acting as a mother for them as they go through the pageant. Lots of hugs, lots of tough love, and tons of undivided attention. What teenage girl doesn’t need that?
You can say a lot about pageants, (and believe me, I have) but you can see a major change in the girls’ self confidence and poise from the beginning to the end of the pageant, and it’s always for the better.
So, my mother, the woman who “hates to cook”, was insistent that we make Halloween cake pops as a special treat for the night of the pageant. When most of the other host moms were out buying cheese trays or pre-made goodies, because this is the “hell week” of pageant, when rehearsals run to midnight and girls are having emotional breakdowns (they are teenagers after all), and my mom was the only “mom” with two girls, my mom wanted to fuss over cake pops.
I am my mother’s daughter.
More Tips for Making Cake Pops
I feel bad giving you a recipe for making cake pops, because quite honestly, I don’t have my own recipe. I buy a cake mix and then I follow the directions included in my cake pop pan box (replace the water with milk, halve the amount, and then add an extra egg). Here are some (more) tips that I have gathered in my cake pop making experiences (and to check out past tips, check this post)
- After trying different mixes, I prefer the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix. All of the ingredients are real food ingredients so I don’t feel as bad about using it and when you make it vegan (using flax eggs instead of real ones), it is super moist and packed with chocolatey flavor. This is just another reason why baking vegan is so much cooler than regular baking.
- After experimenting with different chocolate coatings, I hate to admit but those melting chocolate discs actually work pretty well. If the chemicals bother you, then try mixing vegetable oil with regular chocolate chips. I don’t have exact measurements because unfortunately it’s a lot of trial and error and totally dependent on the chocolate chips. This is why the melting chocolate discs are easier to use (and yes, I hate to admit that).
- After dipping the cake pops, don’t rush and put sprinkles on them right away. Let the chocolate drizzle off for 10 -15 seconds and then sprinkle. Otherwise, you will have a cascade of chocolate and sprinkles sliding down your pops.
- To conserve on sprinkles, set up a small bowl per type of sprinkles and then sprinkle over the bowl. This way you can re-use the sprinkles without mixing them together.
- Try not to touch the cake pops for a few hours after making them. Let them dry and get set, before you move them. If you need to make them ahead of time, store them in the fridge, lightly covered with plastic wrap.
- Have a drying vehicle available BEFORE you start making them. Trust me, there’s nothing like creating your first creation and then trying to assemble something to stick it in. Styrofoam works really well and they make discs with holes with them that work super nice (and are available at Walmart).
- Go for the large jimmies. Don’t waste your time with sanding sugars or anything small. You need something big that will actually show up.
- Candy corn is a little too big, unless you find a runt in the candy corn bag, or you’re just really lucky. Most of the time, they just slide off the pop and leave you with a big mess (but a good excuse to do some sampling).
- And most important, have fun with your cake pops. Anything on a stick is significantly cooler than anything else. Your guests will love them even if you don’t think they look perfect.
Have you ever made cake pops? Any tips you want to add?