Yesterday, I decided it was time to use up the orange cake that I had in the freezer from my failed Disney castle cake. I’d taken the cake out of the freezer on Friday night and it was soft, moist and ready-to-go by mid-afternoon. As Christmas is fast approaching, I decided on a chocolate orange buttercream – adapting the chocolate buttercream in the “Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery” book by using orange zest, orange juice and a splash of orange essence rather than milk.
I followed the method described in Carolyn White’s Cake Pops book. Trying to make perfect spheres out of the sticky buttercream and cake crumb mixture isn’t that easy but I gave it a go! Having left them to firm on a tray in the fridge – they came out with rather flat bottoms! Not sure if this is avoidable without a mould.
I used two different coatings for my cake pops: Silver Spoon orange flavour buttons and Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts. I used the double-boiler method of melting these, adding a few drops of orange essence to the candy melts. It was necessary to add quite a bit of oil (I used sunflower oil rather than vegetable oil as that was what we had in the cupboard!) to make the chocolate runny enough to pour over the cake pops. The book suggested that you could dip the cake pops into the melted chocolate to coat – this just didn’t work for me so I decided that it was a much better idea to pour the melted chocolate over the cake pops using a spoon. I don’t think I got the melting/tempering quite right as the chocolate on the cake pops didn’t quite have the snap of correctly tempered chocolate.
Overall – I was really pleased with the flavour of these cake pops: the chocolate orange tasted delicious. I’m not completely sure about the texture – it all seemed a little soft and squidgy. I’ve not had cake pops before so I’m not sure if this is typical – as mentioned above, correctly tempered chocolate would have added more of a snap. I guess you could also add in some crunchy bits – maybe some chocolate drops, or honeycomb could be nice.
In all, I’m not really a convert to cake pops – it seems like quite a bit of effort for an end result that I’m not completely convinced by. I wouldn’t bother making cake specifically for this but may give them another go if I had some left-over cake crumbs again at some point.
For the orange cake:
- 225g golden castor sugar
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 25g cornflour
- 225g butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- Grated zest and juice of 2 orange
- Pre-heat oven to 175C. Grease and base-line two 20cm sandwich tins.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and smooth.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and stir in the orange zest.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
- Stir in one third of the dry ingredients, followed by one third of the juice and repeat until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour mixture gently into tins and spread evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes.
- Turn cakes out of tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the chocolate orange buttercream
- 90g good-quality dark chocolate
- 112g butter, at room temperature
- Grated zest of one orange
- 1-2 tablespoons orange juice
- 125g icing sugar
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.
- Stir occasionally until it has completely melted. Leave to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, juice, zest and icing sugar until smooth.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy.
- If it looks runny, keep beating – it will thicken.
To make the cake pops (makes about 30)
- 400g candy melts / chocolate
- Vegetable / sunflower oil
- Orange essence
- Sprinkles / decorations as required
- Crumble 600g of cake to a fine crumb (I did this by hand but you could use a food processor).
- Add 300g of the prepared buttercream to the cake crumbs and mix with a wooden spoon to produce a firm mixture.
- Use scales to weigh a 30g amount of mixture and roll to a smooth ball.
- Using a cake pop stick, make a hole in the ball for the stick to go into and then remove the stick.
- Place the ball down (hole facing downwards) on a tray covered with baking parchment.
- Once you have rolled 15, place the tray in the fridge and leave for an hour to firm up.
- Continue to make the rest of the cake pops and then place these in the fridge too.
- Melt two-thirds of the candy melts / chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.
- Stir occasionally until it has completely melted.
- Remove from heat and add the remaining candy melts/chocolate, stirring until they have also melted.
- Add orange essence to taste.
- Add enough oil to bring the chocolate to a pouring consistency.
- Place a few tablespoons into a piping bag.
- Once cake pops have firmed, remove from the fridge.
- Pipe chocolate into the hole of each cake pop and push in a cake pop stick.
- Leave to firm.
- When the stick is held firmly in place, hold the cake pop over the bowl of melted chocolate and use a spoon to pour chocolate over, until the whole cake pop is covered.
- Twist the cake pop carefully, allowing the extra chocolate to drip off.
- Add sprinkles, extra decorations if using.
- Leave to cool and set.
- Place remaining chocolate in a piping bag and use to decorate.