~14~ Who Wants Cake?

I will openly admit that I couldn't care less about the Superbowl.  I just can't for the life of me get into football, and I've honestly tried. (Though my husband, Jake, would beg to differ)  I didn't grow up watching football, never attended a single football game in high school (I always had swim practice and couldn't go, but from what I recall-I really wasn't missing much), and my college's team was a joke.  However, I did end up marrying a man who lives and breathes football.  Jake's HS football team were district champs, he was an All-State offensive lineman, and had he been just 3-4" taller, he most likely would have received several college scholarship offers to play.  Every fall, my Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays consist of football and I am frequently inundated with Fantasy Football talk.  You'd think with all of this exposure, I'd now be a football expert-but alas, this is not the case.

While watching and talking about football isn't exactly my favorite activity, I do enjoy tailgating and the food that comes with football, because let's face it-I like food. A.LOT.  Of course, the Superbowl just wouldn't be the Superbowl without lots of great food.  This past Christmas, my in-laws got me a Cake Pop book to feed my love for baking and I was very excited to have a reason to make my very 1st batch of cake pops.  These weren't just going to be any cake pops, but FOOTBALL cake pops!  I also figured that it's about time I have a baking-related post since that's what 1/2 my blog is supposed to be about, so here's a chronicle of my adventures in cake pop making.

*Boxed cake mix (I chose funfetti)
*Canned Frosting (I usually make my own, but for the purpose of these decided to use canned)
*candy pop sticks
*Wilton Melts (You can also use chocolate or almond bark)
*12"x4" styrofoam block
*Green cardstock
*White out tape (or a pen will do)
*White Crayon
*White Sharpie paint pen

I started by making the cake the day before assembling my cake pops as recommended by the book and a friend.  The next day, I cut off the brown layers of cake (top/bottom/edges) with a bread knife.  Then, in a large mixing bowl, I crumbled the cake into very fine crumbs.  Once there are no large pieces of cake left, I added the frosting, mixing it in with a metal spoon.  I used about 3/4 of the jar like the instructions stated, but I think it ended up being a little too much frosting.  The next time I do it, I will use just a little bit less.  After all of the frosting was mixed in, I started to form my footballs.  I started by rolling a ball that was a bit smaller than a golf ball.  Then, I rolled it into a cylinder shape and pinched in the ends to make it look like a football.  Once each one was formed, I laid it on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  I also made any adjustments to the shape then. After all of my dough was used up, I covered the tray with seran wrap and placed it in the freezer to set.

While my footballs were in the freezer, I made my base to hold the pops in when they were done.  Altogether, I had 23 pops, so I decided to put them into 3 rows-2 rows of 8 and 1 row of 7.  To go along with the football theme, I wanted my base to look like a football field.  I used a 12"x12" piece of green cardstock, which fit perfectly.  To hold it around the styrofoam, I just taped it (step 1).  I didn't want to glue the paper on so that I can reuse my styrofoam block for a different project. I had originally planned on using my white paint pen to draw in the field lines, however I quickly learned that they don't work on paper since they are water-based; the ink seeps into the paper and the pigment doesn't show up.  Luckily we had some whiteout tape which worked perfectly for drawing the lines.  I started the 50 yard line right in the center of the block at 6" and then marked off each of the other lines 1" apart.  (step 2)

To do the numbers, I knew that I couldn't use the whiteout tape, so I came up with an idea that would allow me to use the paint pens after all.  Since the paint pens were seeping into the paper, I knew I needed something to hold the paint up above the paper.  To fix that problem, I used a white crayon to write the numbers, in the hopes that the paint would sit on top of the wax.  Worked perfectly! (step 3)

The last thing I needed to do to get the base ready was mark where the sticks for the pops would go.  I didn't want them to be too close to each other, so in between each yard line I made a mark at 3/4" from either side  and at the 2" mark. Then, I used a pen to poke through the paper and into the styrofoam at each mark.  This made it easier to poke each stick into the block. (step 4)

By the time I finished my pop base, the cake molds were ready to dip.  Before I took them out of the freezer, I got my coating ready by melting it in the microwave on the "defrost setting" stirring every 30 second until completely melted.  On the counter where I was dipping I also had my sticks ready along with a bunch of toothpicks.  While dipping, I only had about 5 cake molds out at a time to prevent the rest from getting too soft while sitting out.  The dipping process was a little harder than I anticipated because my pops were so large and hard to coat completely in one sweep.  I ended up having to use a spoon to pour the coating over the cake to ensure that it got covered completely. I used the toothpicks to help smooth out the coating, pull off any excess, and help make sure that there was coating connecting the stick to the cake.  (Note: before dipping, put the tip of the stick in the candy coating and then push it into the cake piece not quite half way through).  The coating dries VERY, VERY quickly, so I didn't have to worry about it dripping onto my base and ruining my football field, but I had laid wax paper over it anyway. Once they were all dried, I took out all of the pops and put them on a plate to decorate.

To do the laces on the footballs, I used the left over canned frosting and added a little bit of milk to get it to a consistency that's good for piping and filled a disposable piping bag using Wilton Tip #3.  While the final product doesn't look as polished as I had hoped, I think that for my first attempt they turned out pretty well.  And holy-cow did they taste good!
Now that I've gotten my feet wet-I am very excited to try new designs and 
work to perfect my cake pop techniques!  
There are so many possibilities out there-what do you think I should do next?

Until next time, 

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