This is the pareve sequel to my Chanukah cake pops (which were very dairy, with lots of butter and cream cheese). Instead of making pareve “cream cheese” frosting, I went with part ganache and part vanilla frosting.
Making cake pops is a multistage process:
(1) make cake
2) make frosting
(3) combine frosting with cake crumbs and shape into cake balls
(4) add lollipop sticks to cake balls and dip pops into melted chocolate
Here is the cake part:
Vegan Chocolate Cake for Cake Pops
Adapted from Laurie Colwin’s friend Karen Edward’s adaption of Marion Cunningham’s Buttermilk Chocolate Cake.
7.5 ounces flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 ounces Dutch process cocoa powder (3/4 cup)
7.5 ounces sugar (1 cup)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 ounces coffee (1 cup)
4 ounces vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, sugar) in a mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients well to evenly incorporate the cocoa powder (look out for and break up lumps).
Add the liquid ingredients (coffee, vanilla, and oil). Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until evenly combined.
Put batter into a greased 9″ round pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done (firm in the center and toothpick or cake tester stuck in center comes out clean). Cool before removing from pan.
Here is the pareve frosting part (which actually has two sub-parts):
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or semisweet)
2 ounces coconut milk (or another pareve cream or milk, but I like coconut)
Melt together the coconut milk and chocolate in a heat proof bowl (I used the microwave, but a double boiler works, too. You can also heat the coconut milk in a saucepan and pour it over finely chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl). Stir the milk and chocolate together until it is completely smooth, with no lumps of unmelted chocolate. Let this cool. It will thicken as it sits at room temperature.
This is just a generic vanilla frosting–the kind you get on birthday cakes. It will give the cake pops that frosting-mixed-with-cake taste. If you just want to use frosting and want to skip the ganache part, use 8 ounces powdered sugar, 3.5 ounces Crisco (or 4 ounces margarine) and 2 Tbl. coconut milk (same amount of vanilla).
5 ounces powdered sugar (1 1/4 cups)
2.5 ounces Crisco (or margarine)
1 Tbl. coconut milk (or other pareve milk)
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine the sugar, shortening and milk until you have a smooth frosting.
Making the cake balls for the cake pops:
First take a look at the Bakerella cake pop video.
Crumble the cake into fine crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the ganache and the frosting until the mixture is evenly combined and has a smooth mallable texture (like play-dough or hamburger meat). You should be able to mold the mixture into balls. If it is crumbly, you need more frosting. If is too mushy, you added to much frosting (avoid this by mixing in the ganache first and then adding the frosting in increments until you get the desired texture. The amount of frosting given above (8 ounces) should be exactly what you need to supplement the 5 ounces of ganache, but if you cake is extra-dry or extra-moist the amount of frosting you need might vary.
I refrigerated my mixture before shaping it into balls, but that isn’t necessary. Put the balls (or footballs shaped balls) on parchment lined sheets and chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator (or freeze for 15 minutes).
Note: Normally, this amount of mixture should give you about 48 balls, but I was able to get almost 60 by portioning them into small 15-20 g. (a little over 1/2 ounce) pieces. This was okay for the football shape, but you might want them larger for regular round pops.
Put the chocolate balls back in the refrigerator to chill before you dip them in chocolate. The cake balls are easier to dip if they are cold. They get soft at room temperature and can also get a bit greasy if they get too warm.
Dipping the cake pops:
Melt chocolate bark (12-16 ounces for coating the pops). Dip the lollipop stick into the chocolate about 1/2″ and then stick it in the cake ball. Dip the cake ball on a stick into the chocolate to coat it completely. You need to have something set up to hold the pop sticks in place while the chocolate coating on the cake pop hardens. Bakerella recommends putting the pop sticks into a Styrofoam block, but you can also put the the pop sticks in coffee mugs or short drinking glasses (about 6-7 pops per mug).
Let the chocolate coating harden and then check to see if any of the cake pops has cracked. If the coating is too thin, it cracks. The solution is to give the cracked cake pops a second dip in chocolate.
For making footballs, the final step is piping on the white lacing and the stripes on the ends of the balls. Theoretically, the right way to do this is with melted white chocolate. This wasn’t working for me because the chocolate kept hardening in the bag as I was piping. I switched to royal icing made from powdered sugar mixed with just enough hot water to make a thick, pipeable icing. You need to give the icing lots of time to dry. Melted white chocolate sets up right away, so, if you are adept at piping chocolate, do that.
Tip for holding the pops in place while doing the decorative piping: I raised up the height of an icing rack up so that it was 7″- 8″ off the counter (use cans or storage containers of the right height). Then I put the cake pops through the holes of the rack so that the pops were all lined up for easy decorating.