Nothing screams Halloween like something super sweet on a stick. I immediately thought about making cake pops for an office treat. The traditional cake pop recipe uses icing to keep the crumbled cake together in that little ball. That just sounds like too many calories for such a small sucker. Two bites and it is gone, to live forever on your hips. I scoured the internet for a better cake pop recipe.. and I found it. Mixing the cake crumbs with peanut butter will give the same sticky effect with a little less calories. It is still a little high in calorie, but the peanut butter makes up for it with health benefits. If you want, you could just as easily exchange the peanut butter with other nut butters. I want to try the fresh pressed variety sometime. But, for today’s treat, I just used Peter Pan’s whipped peanut butter, with low sugar. I prefer my peanut butter to taste like peanuts, not sugar.
First thing’s first. Bake a cake. I used a straight up cake mix. Why not? Any mix will do. I am going for a peanut butter cup flavor, so I chose chocolate. Pudding in the mix or no, that choice is up to you. The key is: DO NOT UNDERCOOK. Let the cake sit until nice and cool. Now, cut that bad boy in half. Unless you need to make a big number of pops, you will only need half of the cake, so wrap the rest up in wax paper, then aluminum foil, and put in the freezer for another time.
Now you get your hands dirty. Some people use gloves. I just take off my wedding ring and wash my hands. Crumble the cake up. I like to break the cake (in a big bowl, of course) into big pieces. Then I take a piece in each hand and rub them against each other. In effect, the cake crumbles itself. Break up any big pieces until you have just crumbs. The smaller the crumbs, the better the blend.
For half a cake, most recipes I read says you only need half a cup of peanut butter. Hogwash. I ended up using just shy of a whole cup, but please start with the half cup. It may depend on which type and thickness of peanut butter you use. Start with the half cup, dump it into the crumb bowl and stir stir stir. If you just can’t get all the crumbs to stick together into a big mash, then add more. The trick is to blend like crazy until you get an even mix that looks like cake again. This sounds weird until you actually do it, but it works.
To make the balls, use a tablespoon of mash per ball. You can definitely use smaller, but bigger balls tend to love crumbling and falling off the sticks, so I stick to the tablespoon. I made twenty balls this way. Remove these balls to the freezer when you are done with all of them, and leave them there for at least 10-20 minutes while you work on the decorations.
Melt a bag of white chocolate melting chips in the microwave. Start with 45 seconds, stir well, and continue in 20 second increments until you achieve a smooth consistency. You cannot stir too much, and breaking it up into small heats prevents burning of the chocolate. If your mix gets smooth and then starts to get chunky again, you have burnt the chocolate. Scrap it and start again. I have a tiny crock pot that is made to keep melted stuff warm, and I put my chocolate into that to keep it fluid. Melt the chocolate BEFORE you put it into these types of small pots, as they are not made to melt, but to keep melted.
I melted a handful of red chips in the microwave and drizzled on top of the white chocolate. You can mix with a toothpick if you want, but I decided not to. Take the cake balls out of the freezer now. Before sticking the stick into the cake ball, dip the tip of the stick into the chocolate. Let it set for about 30 seconds and stick halfway into the cake ball. Let the cake set onto this melted chocolate stick for at least 10 minutes.
Time to dunk, my favorite part! Take the cake pop and submerge halfway into the chocolate. DO NOT TWIST THE POP, as this will increase the likelihood of the cake falling off dramatically. Instead, use a spoon to cover the rest of the ball with chocolate. Remove and hold for about a minute before putting on a stand to dry. The red will be swirling around the white, creating my bloodshot effect for the eyeball. For the pupil, you can either pipe on chocolate, or use Wilton pre-made eyes and just stick one on there. I chose the latter. Let them sit out for at least and hour to thoroughly dry before putting into any packaging.
And now, a picture of my taste monkey, Brant, trying his first skewered eyeball.
Happy eating, and Happy haunting.