Vegan Cake Pops

Okay, so they’re not technically cake POPS because I was too lazy and cheap to buy lollipop sticks. Cake pops just sounds much more adorable than cake balls.

First things first. Today’s run: a really slow, easy 3 miles. No music, because one of the munchkins misplaced my Ipod. I made up for it, however, by rehearsing a Bach cantata this afternoon and then listening to part of the Met broadcast of Wagner. Good stuff. We really wanted to see the simulcast broadcast of this week’s opera, but we both had rehearsal so we couldn’t go. I highly recommend the Met’s simulcast project – bringing opera to the masses via local movie theatres and reasonably cheap tickets. We’ve been to a few and enjoyed every single one. They have cameras EVERYWHERE so you get close-ups of the orchestra (my favorite!), the singers, the set, etc. etc. plus they go and interview the singers backstage during intermission(s). It is fabulous. I’ve never been to the Met but I really don’t think I need to go, now that they are doing these simulcasts.

Now on to more important things: CAKE. I love cake. I love frosting. It is always an act of balance to get JUST the right amount of cake and frosting in your mouth for each bite…..and a layer cake presents a different challenge, since you’re contending with so many levels of cake and frosting. Drool.

I’ve been hearing (and seeing) all about cake pops recently, and I know I’m way behind the trend, but I finally just decided to try to make them today. Unlike most stuff I try to veganize, I have no idea what I’m trying to replicate here, as I’ve never actually had a cake pop. I wasn’t sure what the frosting-to-cake ratio should be, so I just experimented until it seemed right and stuck together well.

These are surprisingly easy, although they take some time because there’s several steps; however, a lot of that is resting time so you can get other stuff done.

I found them a little sweet, but my husband absolutely loved them. I think he may have actually swooned.

I prefer vanilla to chocolate, but making these chocolate just seemed easier so that’s what I made. I am working on a vanilla version.

You could go totally crazy decorating these, but it’s Saturday night after a busy day so I just made them sans decoration. Slack, I know. They’d look cute with coconut, sugar crystals, vegan fondant (I’ll post that recipe soon), candies, etc. etc. put on after rolling them in chocolate.

Cake layer: I just used the standard vegan chocolate cake recipe that every vegan and every vegan restaurant uses. It’s an old recipe that was used during times of rationing; it happens to be naturally vegan and it’s yummy and easy. I used slightly less sugar than usual, because the rest of the recipe is so sweet.

1 1/2 cups flour – I used 3/4 whole wheat and 3/4 cup white

3/4 cup sugar (original recipe calls for a cup, but 3/4 is plenty here)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1 teaspoon oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Mix all dry ingredients. Sift well so that there are no lumps. Add water, oil, and vanilla and mix until just mixed. Fold in the vinegar. (The vinegar forms a cool reaction with the soda and makes the cake rise).

Pour into  a 9 x 9 and bake at 350 until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. For this recipe, don’t worry about overcooking it; since you’re just going to crumble the cake anyways, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit dry. You also don’t need to worry about making it come out of the pan, since it’s all going to be smushed up.

Frosting:

1 stick vegan margarine

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste

1 tablespoon soy milk

Let margarine soften. Cream it, then add 1 cup of the sugar. When it is well mixed, add other ingredients, alternating between the remaining sugar and the vanilla/soy milk. Mix until smooth. You don’t want this frosting as liquidy/spreadable as you would for a normal cake, since you’re going to use it to keep the crumbs together.

Coating:

1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips, melted (I use Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s brand, usually)

Procedure:

After the cake has cooled, pull it out of the pan and crumble it in a bowl. You want it basically to be crumbs, but some bigger pieces are okay.

Add frosting and stir until the crumbs stick together.

NOTE: I did NOT use all of the cake and frosting. I used about 4 cups of cake crumbs (which left about 1/3 of the cake as regular cake) and a generous cup of frosting. I think the 4:1 proportion is a good estimate; use more cake crumbs if the dough seems too wet, and more frosting if the crumbs aren’t sticking together.

Using your hands, grab pieces of the cake-frosting mixture and roll into balls. Place on a cookie sheet and put the sheet in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Using the 4 cups of crumbs and 1 cup of frosting, I got about 2 dozen good-sized cake pops.

Melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring often and watching carefully to be sure they don’t burn.

Gently roll each cake pop into the melted chips. It’s okay if not every inch of cake gets covered. Place back on the cookie sheet. Wait 15 minutes or so until the chocolate has hardened, then eat and enjoy!
If you want to decorate, sprinkle coconut, nuts, sugar sprinkes, candy, etc. on the chocolate after you take each pop out.

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