Olympic Cake Pops

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Hello!

So confession: the last thing that I wanted to do while avidly gluing my eyes to the television screen during Olympic season (conveniently timed during the last vestiges of summer break) was to slave over the oven (and more importantly, the super loud KitchenAid). So this week (and probably next week too), we’re erring on the side of delicious but straight forward, extra basic recipes.

(5 minutes of angry whirring noises or less, I promise!)

So to keep with the theme of the international festivities on everybody’s minds, this week we have gold medal cake pops – because everyone’s a winner when they have a cake pop (or 3) to munch on while cheering for their favorite team(s)!

(Plural, because the Olympics are extra exciting when you’re born in one country, a citizen of a second, and living in a third. Makes things a little more complicated, but three times the teams means three times the fun! Or something like that.)

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For the cake, I went with a super basic plain pound cake, which I honestly never even use a recipe to bake. The name “pound cake” comes from the fact that the original recipe contains a pound each of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter – to scale up or down, just use an equal mass of each ingredient. In other words, on a practical level, I usually just weigh out my eggs in a bowl, stick an equal mass of butter and sugar into the stand mixer, and sift out an equal mass of flour into a third bowl to add at the end. Easy peasy, no recipe needed – just super basic ratios!

For an extra Brazilian kick, the binding agent for these festive little pops is thinned guava paste (aka the filling in traditional bolo de rolo, which frankly had way too many layers to attempt with my Olympic-addled brain), which is quite a step up from ordinary humdrum skim milk or whatever it is that the rest of the world uses when they need to recycle cake scraps. And while it’s wonderfully fruity and tropical, because it’s also super sweet, I broke gently, 100% not-blasphemously bent the cardinal rule of pound cake (shh) and cut the sugar by just a tad to compensate.

Just one quick tip for glazing – because I didn’t have any candy melts on hand while I was glazing, I improvised a modified version of the poured fondant that I used in my petit fours to make a very thick, nearly opaque glaze. When you follow the recipe, it will probably seem too thick to coat, but I promise that if you go thinner, you’ll just end up with a runny coating that never quite dries, so don’t do that. And when you reheat and thin the glaze between layers, be sure not to add water until after the glaze fully melts to prevent over-thinning. Trust me, drippy glaze is no fun for anyone. (Especially not you, when you’re trying to watch the swimmers do their thing.)

At any rate, for the perfect viewing snack of champions, whip up a quick batch of these super cute and super easy cake pops. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Olympics,
Anne

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Olympic Cake Pops

Makes 12 cake pops

Ingredients:

Pound Cake:
150 g unsalted butter, softened
120 g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
150 g all purpose flour, sifted

Guava Filler:
50 g guava paste
2 tbs water

Glaze:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbs corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 oz white chocolate
1/2 tbs coconut oil or shortening
A few drops of yellow food coloring (or not – I actually think they might look better without!)

Assembly:
12 white chocolate chips
Yellow food coloring
Small block of guava paste (at least 1″ in one dimension)

Directions:

Pound Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition, until fully incorporated.
    Tip: Especially if your eggs are straight out of the refrigerator, don’t worry if the butter doesn’t emulsify quite right and your mixture starts to break. Just whip it as well as you can, then quickly add in the flour immediately afterward to minimize separation.
  4. Add in the sifted flour all at once, then fold the mixture with a silicone spatula just until fully combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ cake pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the center of the cake feels firm and springs back when gently pressed with a finger.
  6. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then crumble well with your hands. Pour the crumbs into a large bowl and set aside for cake popping!

Guava Filler:

  1. Using the microwave, warm the guava paste with the water in 20 second intervals until the paste begins to soften, then gently mash the paste until the water is fully incorporated and the consistency resembles strawberry jam. Set aside for assembly!

Assembly, part 1:

  1. Mix together the guava filler and crumbled pound cake, reserving about 1 tsp of thinned guava paste for later. Form the cake mixture into 12 balls about 1 1/2″ in diameter.
    Tip: Compress, compress, compress! Squish together your cake ball as hard as you possibly can, or it will crumble off of the stick when you dip it into the glaze.
  2. Skewer each cake pop with a paper straw, then stick each cake pop upright into a large block of styrofoam.
    Tip: For easier sticking, use a small, sharp knife to cut a small + shape into the styrofoam before poking in the paper straw. If you don’t have paper straws, popsicle sticks or plastic forks will do the trick, but I wouldn’t necessarily go any thinner – kebab skewers and such tend to be difficult to twirl in the thick glaze without dropping the cake ball.
  3. Set aside for dipping!

Glaze:

  1. Dissolve the sugar into the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, then bring the mixture to a low simmer.
  2. Melt in the white chocolate, stirring until fully incorporated without bringing the mixture to a boil. Stir in the coconut oil (and food coloring, if desired) and allow to cool slightly until the consistency of the mixture is slightly thicker than honey, adjusting with water or extra white chocolate as needed to thin or thicken.

Assembly, part 2:

  1. Prepare a large bowl filled with water and 3-4 cubes of ice.
  2. Dip each cake pop into the glaze, swirling to coat and allowing any excess to drip back into the saucepan. Immediately immerse the cake pop into the ice bath to set the glaze, then quickly remove and dry off the straw with a paper napkin. Place the cake pop back into the styrofoam block to dry completely.
  3. Using a sharp knive, make thin slices (about 1/16″ thick) of guava paste such that they are at least 1″ long. Cut each slice into 1″ x 1/8″ x 1/16″ matchsticks until you have 24 matchsticks (2 for each cake pop).
  4. Lay 2 matchsticks in a V formation on each cake pop, allowing the point of the V to rest somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down the cake pop.
  5. Tint the bottom of each white chocolate chip with yellow food coloring (I used a toothpick and food coloring gel!), allow to dry slightly, dab the top with the reserved thinned guava paste, then gently press the chocolate chip into the center of the cake pop just under the guava paste V. Enjoy!
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