**This post was originally published at egcakes.com on December 4, 2012. **
Cake pops. How can two such delicious little words instil so much terror in the hearts of bakers around the world? I’ll tell you how. Cake pops look deceivingly simple to make. Don’t be fooled. They’re not.
I mean sure, cake pops are the perfect bite-sized, portable, satisty-your-sweet-tooth kinda treat. But they can also be temperamental, time-consuming little buggers.
What’s so hard about making cake pops, you ask, feigning ignorance? You just roll, dip and decorate, right? Umm, no! And I’ll bet you dollars to
donuts cake pops that the majority of bakers, from the novice to the professional, will tell you the same thing. They drip, they slip, they lump and clump and crack. But they are so yummy that they keep us coming back.
So, yes, I’m back amidst some birthday and holiday orders for some friends. And it was today of all days, after two years of cake popping that I finally had a revelation. (This would be a good time to remind you all that baking is an evolving art, especially when you are self-taught. Also, Google is, to quote my friend, Jen, “geniuspants”!)
You see, my two biggest and most infuriating challenges when working with cake pops are the consistency of the melting wafers (I use Merckens because I can get them at my local Bulk Barn) and the cracking. Oh, the CRACKING! There are times when I quite literally hear the chocolate coating POP!
I’ve come to understand that these issues are somewhat directly correlated. I have Googled ‘Why are my cake pops cracking?’ and ‘How do I thin my Merckens candy melts?’ and ‘Why can’t I be like Bakerella?’ and any variation thereof about a kajillion times. Apparently I need some sort of space-age, hyperbaric-like, air-tight chamber with exact air temperature and humidity control where I can dip my perfectly-chilled-but-not-too-cold cake balls into the not-too-cold-not-too-hot perfectly-melted chocolate. See? Easy peasy.
Are. You. Freaking. Kidding. Me?
So today, as I prepared to battle it out with my nemesis: the WHITE Merckens wafers and after I was met with a big clump of nastiness instead of liquid white gold, I Googled ‘white Merckens won’t melt’ (no kidding). And guess what I discovered in a head-slapping AHA! moment that should have come a long time ago? That if the wafers are not fresh, they won’t melt well! Ding, ding, ding!
So much for my theory that candy or chocolate, if stored tightly in a dark, cool space will keep for ever and ever. Of course, this also means I have to throw away about $200 of white and dark chocolate melts. So my AHA! moment was quickly followed by an Oh, F***! moment.
Thus, I rounded up my posse and headed to Bulk Barn to replenish my supply and set to work dipping. Funny thing, with the fresh, perfectly-melted Merckens, the cracking, though not completely eliminated, was greatly reduced. That hyperbaric chamber idea is sounding better and better.