One of the questions I get asked most often, is “What is your ratio of Cake to Icing in your Cake Pops?! Well… When I started baking cake pops I would use a whole can of frosting to one box of cake. Then after doing this for a while, I realized they were on the gooey side. They had to be refrigerated longer (or frozen) to hold their shape and stay on the stick when dipping, and then after all that work they usually cracked or slid down the stick! I would have to double dip them and the “sliders” if I couldn’t quickly turn them to save them, well, they went to my kiddos sampling pile;)!!
Ouch!! A whole can of frosting and then a double dose of chocolate! I’d say it was a tiny bit of overload;)! So I started playing around with the whole ratio thing! I was mixing my cake by hand and I was down to using about 1/3 of the can of frosting to one cake mix. They were far less gooey, but I was still having to refrigerate them too long… they were still cracking! I did like the taste much better though! They were not overly sweet and they didn’t slide down the stick too often, maybe only 2 per batch would slide down (which if you have make them that’s not too bad)!
I thought let’s give it one more try! Instead of adding the frosting to the cake then mashing it up by hand I decided I would try mashing and kneading the cake by hand first, then add the frosting. Guess what?! My cake would pretty much hold together with just about a heaping TBS of frosting!! Wow! I was so excited!! I still loved the taste, it tasted pretty much the same (maybe even better), I had cut the fridge time to about 20 minutes which stopped the cracking and with the limited amount of frosting it also stopped them from sliding down the stick! Now the sliding is few and far in-between:)!! Maybe one will slide every 10 batches! So what I found is that most of the Cake Pop frustrations all started and ended with the FROSTING!! Dang Frosting!!
The frustration continued though because after a while I got sick of mashing the cake up by hand! I pulled out my hand-me-down 3 cup food processor and put in a 1/4 of the cake and turned it on. I reached for the frosting and before I could open up the food processor to mix the frosting with the cake, it was dough!! It happened in SECONDS!! What used to take me 10-15 minutes to hand knead was done in SECONDS!! I immediately went to Wal-Mart and bought the biggest cheapest Food Processor I could find! I found a 14 cup food processor for under $60, with tax! It fit an entire baked box cake. (I think they are a little more now, it was one of those special Christmas Appliance purchases, but that price shouldn’t be to far off the shelf price now, even if its only a 12cup which should still do the trick. Next to the Easy Roller, the Food processor has been the biggest time saver and completely worth every penny!!)
So back to the icing ratio…! After I realized the food processor turned my cooked box cake into dough in just 60-90 seconds without needing to add the frustration of the frosting mixture, I eliminated the frosting in my recipe. Taste wise…try it and see if you can tell the difference!! I travel quite a bit demonstrating the Easy Roller to bakers and cake enthusiasts and most of the time I can bring samples with me! Believe it or not, I have to tell people there is no frosting in the cake pop. You cannot tell the difference as they are already sweet without the icing, some people enjoy them more as it eliminates the sweetness overload they would experience when spatulas of frosting are added. Also for me, it was a great cost saving measure as profit margins increase when eliminating the extra unneeded ingredient which in cost more than the cake itself.
That being said, there are some cakes that I still put frosting in, like red Velvet, which in my opinion is what makes Red Velvet good 🙂 Then there are just some cakes that just turn out dryer then others, like when my husband bakes for me thinking he is helping;)!! So, never be scared to add frosting (or pudding, jam, water, Nutella, etc.) if you like the taste of a little extra sweetness or the cake simply needs it to bind but I always knead the cake first, and you will find you will need far less of it than you are probably used to. I would start with a TBS at a time. What I am looking for is a consistency similar to Play-Doh!
The one drawback to eliminating frosting is that the cake balls will dry out more quickly, so you really have to be conscious of covering them with plastic wrap, foil or wax paper after rolling them out. A small drawback to the cost savings and ease in making them in my opinion.
If you have the Easy Roller and are wondering if I give different advice for the ratio of cake and icing, I don’t! It’s all the same! My only advice when using the Easy Roller is to spend a little more time kneading the cake up front. Most people when kneading and rolling by hand don’t realize that even after mixing and kneading their cake batch, they still individually compact and knead each ball on an individual basis as they roll. The Easy Roller does not do that, to make up for that and to get the perfect consistency you only need to spend a little more time up front kneading the cake into the perfect consistency.
One common theme I hear from the traditional cake baker is: “GROSS…you are destroying a perfectly good cake, kneading it down to an “already chewed” consistency… Are you kidding me!! I would never eat that!!” Then they try it… and yep as your orders probably speak for themselves, 9 out of 10 will be amazed! In all the conventions I have gone to since creating the Easy Roller, out of 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of attendees I have served, I can count on one hand how many folks really didn’t like it and that includes only two kids who did not finish theirs. Of course that is perfectly fine as anyone who knows me can attest that I am probably one of the pickiest eaters out there, so I reserve no judgment in the preferences of others and I am never offended if someone doesn’t like what I have made, it happens, just ask my husband!! In reality if you are a baker, it’s not even about if YOU are going to like it, as much as whether the masses will enjoy what you have created. I can tell you there is a demand for cake pops and they are LOVED by more than enough people that if you are a bakery and don’t offer them you are missing out on a pretty good amount of market share;)! And if you are referring your customers to another baker that makes cake pops, because they are just not on your menu, I am guessing that the next time they need a baker, you just gave them a new number to call first…. :/