I is for Ice Cream Cake Pops
This week's A-Z baking challenge saw me attempt to make Peggy Porschen's Ice Cream Cake Pops from her beautiful book, 'Boutique Baking'. Having never made cake pops before (I know, I know! I'm seriously lagging behind here!) I thought that these looked so cute & would make a fantastic treat for children's parties.
What do I think now that I've tried making them? Well, although I love the idea & the ones in Peggy's book look absolutely gorgeous, I have to say messing around with melting fondant, making sure it doesn't boil & ensuring it reaches a temperature of between 48-52C before coating the cake pops is a recipe for disaster (excuse that terrible pun, I couldn't help myself). I think there is a much simpler way of making these without any hassle, because we could all do with a lot less hassle in our lives! I will also say that because the ice cream cones are filled with chocolate ganache, they are quite a mouthful to eat & might be too sickly for some. Perhaps another option would be to just pipe a little ganache at the top of the ice cream cone to help stick the cake on. Either way, definitely opt for small & not large ice cream cones or else you will end up with monstrous ice cream cake pops!
Cake pops themselves are quite new to me & were always a bit of a mystery. For those of you who are strangers to cake pops like I was, they are made from crumbled up cake & bound together with icing to form balls. The options are endless for cake pops & I don't see why you couldn't make them out of just about any flavour of cake & icing. If you have some spare cake lying around or a few spare naked cupcakes - then you can give them a whole new lease on life & turn them into wonderful cake pop creations.
I had seen a photo of ice cream cone cupcakes in one of my (many!) cupcake recipe books, '500 cupcakes' by Fergal Connolly. These are such a simple but effective idea - they're the kind of idea that makes you wonder why you didn't come up with it yourself! These are just little ice cream cones, with a mini cupcake sitting on the top, finished with a swirl of buttercream & some sprinkles to make them look like actual ice creams. I very nearly made these, but my mini cupcake tins were a bit too mini for my mini cupcake cases so I decided to try Peggy Porschen's ice cream cone cake pops instead. I deviated from her recipe slightly & ended up making a different chocolate ganache recipe which didn't have glucose in it because my supermarket had sold out of glucose (don't you hate it when that happens).
|'500 Cupcakes' recipe|
|Peggy Porschen's ice cream cake pops|
Everything was simple enough until it came to coating each of the cake pop balls with liquid fondant. It just so happened that I had a bag of Squire's Kitchen fondant powder, so I followed the instructions on the pack & then proceeded to melt the fondant in the microwave. Here's where the trouble started. I divided the fondant into three bowls & coloured each one with blue, pink & green gel colourings. The biggest problem was getting the fondant to the correct consistency for dipping the cake balls into - it needed to be not so hot that it boiled & lost it's shine & yet hot enough for it to be the right consistency to easily & quickly coat the cake ball. It also needed to be hot enough not to cool too quickly part way through dipping & become too thick - because it wouldn't stick to the cake if that happened. Well...everything that could go wrong did.
I had problems with the fondant boiling for a couple of seconds in the microwave despite my efforts to avoid that happening. Then the fondant was either too thick or it kept cooling too quickly & it wouldn't stick to the cake when I dipped it in the bowl, which meant that I ended up with cake crumbs in the fondant. In the end, I gave up & coated the last two cake pops with melted chocolate instead which was A LOT easier!
I'll definitely be trying these again sometime & I would recommend for you to give them a go because if you have taken the time to read this blog, you'll be armed with some valuable knowledge to make the whole ice cream cake pop experience a whole lot easier. The biggest tip - don't waste time with fondant. Either pipe a cute little swirl of buttercream on the top of the mini cupcake ice cream OR dip the cake pop ball in melted chocolate before finishing with some sprinkles.
I'll give you the recipes & some basic instructions so that you'll have everything you need to make either the mini cupcake ice cream cones or the cake pop ice cream cones. Good luck!
How to make ice cream cone cake pops a la Peggy Porschen style
- The first thing you need is some cake. If you don't have any already (you can use cake that's a couple of days old for these) then make up some vanilla cupcakes. Once the cupcakes are cool (you can speed this along by waiting for them to cool down a bit from the oven before removing the paper cases & popping them in a bowl in the fridge) you'll need to either zap them in a food processor until they are reduced to crumbs or if you can't be bothered with the food processor, just crumble them up with your fingers.
- Next thing to do is make up some ganache to bind the cake crumbs with. For this I combined 300g of unsalted soft butter with 300g of sifted icing sugar. Beat these together in an electric free standing or hand held mixer until light & creamy. Then melt 300g of milk or dark chocolate (I used Nestle milk chocolate melts) & cool it slightly before slowly adding it to the butter & icing sugar mix - continue to beat the mixture on a low speed as you add the chocolate. Add in a teaspoon of vanilla essence & beat until everything is combined.
- To your cake crumbs, add enough of the chocolate ganache so that the crumbs stick together. Then take equal amounts of cake mixture & form into balls that are the right size to fit nicely on top of your ice cream cones. Place the cake balls onto a baking tray lined with non stick baking paper & chill until firmly set.
- Take the remaining ganache & spoon it into a plastic icing bag. Snip off the end of the bag a couple of cm from the end & then pipe the ganache into each ice cream cone until the ganache almost reaches the top (or, try just piping a smaller amount into the top of the cone so that the cake ball will stick when placed on top). I sat the cones in glasses at this stage - two to a glass so that when I placed the cake balls on top, they didn't touch each other.
- Remove the cake balls from the freezer & gently place each of them on top of the ice cream cones, gently pushing them to make sure they stick. Return the cones to the freezer (or fridge if you don't have room in the freezer) & let them set for a few more minutes.
- Now you need to get everything set up for decorating. Melt some chocolate & have it ready in a bowl for dipping the cake pops in. Also have some sprinkles at the ready.
- Remove the ice cream cake pops from the fridge & dip them upside down, one at a time in the chocolate. Make sure you dip them in enough chocolate so that it reaches the sides of the cone. Lift the cake pop out of the chocolate, spin it a little to get rid of any excess chocolate then quickly sprinkle the top with sugar sprinkles. Once you've finished all of the cake pops, put them back in the fridge to set.
To make mini cupcake ice cream cones a la '500 Cupcakes' style
- Make up some mini vanilla cupcakes by using mini cupcake or muffin tins & paper cases.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, remove the paper cases & place each cupcake inside the top of the ice cream cones. If you are worried that the cupcakes might fall out of the cones, then try piping some buttercream into the top of the cone first, so that it holds the cupcake in place.
- For the buttercream, I'll give you the recipe from the '500 Cupcakes' book (pg 228) as it looks like it will lovely & creamy - like ice cream itself!
- Pipe the buttercream in a swirl on the top of each cupcake & finish with some sugar sprinkles.
Buttercream for ice cream cone cupcakes
175g sifted icing sugar
115g softened unsalted butter
pinch of salt
115ml whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
- Beat the sugar, butter & salt with an electric free-standing or hand held mixer. Add the cream & vanilla & beat until smooth.