yeah, sure. they look sweet, don’t they. all beautifully nestled there just waiting for you to take a taste. a shimmer of glistening colored sugar taunting you, while those little sprinkles tease you with the promise of a crunch of chocolate shell and soft, gooey cake just beneath. so innocent, yet so seductive. so pretty, you could just eat them up, now, couldn’t you?
well don’t be fooled, my friends. go buy cakepops anywhere and everywhere you possibly can. give and eat them to your heart’s content this Valentine’s Day. but don’t — i repeat, do not — get sucked into thinking this is a cute little project for a rainy Sunday afternoon. don’t let your almost 5 year old convince you it will be a fun mommy/daughter thing to do. in short, don’t try this at home. let my story be a tale of caution, y’all. friends, don’t let friends make cakepops.
like i said, it all started innocently enough. that Pinterest board. that trip to Michael’s. wait, there weren’t even cakepops on that stupid board — they were Oreos. fuck. you come home and make a kick-ass wreath and are feeling all Martha Stewart-y and begin to have visions of yourself as an amazing DIY blogger. you cross that line of creating projects to do just so you can blog about them, because what the hell else are you gonna do to fill all the time while you’re a single mommy for the next 2 weeks? it seems fine. productive, even.
then, after a 658-step process, an entire roll of paper towels and over a day of your valuable time, you are glad that case of wine got delivered and overjoyed that your housekeepers are coming in the morning. you know how when you go to the beach and you just feel like you can never get the sand off of you until like a week after you’re back? yeah. i feel like i will be finding chocolate and sprinkles in random crevices of my kitchen and my person for at least another week. i hate every single thing about this stupid project.
step 1: gather your shit and bake a cake
this is when it all seems fun and simple. you take your cute product shots because this is gonna be the most epic blog post ever, and then have munchkins bake a cake from a box mix (like with mashed potatoes, if you need my instructions on this, you’ve failed before you’ve started). my munchkin chose strawberry everything, which well, whatever. this was her gig.
step 2: mix it if ya got it
munchkins love this part. take that cake outta the pan and tear it up into a bowl. at some point you’ll want to shred the cake even further. it should be like sand, basically, from what i read (no wonder i feel like i can’t get this stuff offa me.). enter your Cuisinart hand blender. in a moment, you’ll be wondering whether you need to stop the whole operation and actually drive to the ER for stitches because you’ve somehow been dumb enough to try and clean the cake goo out of the blades’ path while simultaneously accidentally hitting the “on” switch. at this point, you are already at least 2 hours into this mess and you’re realizing it’s going to be a long evening. you hate cakepops already. self administer first aid, then get back to it, trooper! you spoon about half your tub of frosting (don’t even think about looking at what’s in that stuff) into the cake crumbs and mush it all together. people with bleeding, half-attached appendages probably shouldn’t partake in this part.
step 3: know when to roll ’em, know when to fold ’em
duh. so you basically never fold ’em. it just made a good header. sorry. don’t these kind of look like meatballs? yeah, strawberry was wrong for so many reasons . . . but anyway, this was actually kind of a fun part. scoop out the dough with an ice cream scooper (just to ensure the size is pretty much the same), then roll them up like Play-Doh balls and stick them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. yeah, everyone fancy says to use parchment, but that’s so not how we roll around here and the point is just to make sure they don’t stick. because after this, they’re going in the freezer. i didn’t really get this part when i read about it, but totally makes sense. they’re pretty mushy at this point. spoiler alert: you’re about to dip them in hot, melted chocolate that you hope will harden one day soon. so starting with a cold, hard base is actually really key.
step 4: melt with you
i mean. i just can’t with these headers. too many opps. anyhoo, while you’re freezing your balls for like 15 minutes (ha!), it’s time to get your chocolate ready. if your balls aren’t perfect, it’s okay. nobody’s balls are perfect. you get 2 layers of chocolate to smooth things over. the chocolate part was supposed to be easy. but no, of all the kitchen accessories i own, a double boiler isn’t one of them. because i would use it like twice in 20 years. so i did the little pot in big pot thing. water got in the chocolate. chocolate got too hot. i don’t know. i ended up with a grainy mess that was definitely not worthy of my gorgeous frozen balls. that shit would not pour smooth to save its life. even after i added the prescribed Crisco. lawd. timestamp: at least 9:30. 4 hours in.
step 5: back it up
so this is the time to just admit failure. dough balls go in the freezer and you’re done for the evening. after a lot of explaining about how Mommy messed up the chocolate, that is. thankfully, Miss Girl seemed fairly unfazed. life seemed to return to normal for a blissful rest of the evening. i actually even almost forgot about the whole ordeal for the entire following workday. would Miss Girl possibly forget we were supposed to finish them? not a chance in hell.
step 6: call in the reinforcements
24 hours after this whole thing started, you’ll find yourself at the store getting like $100 worth of more chocolate and praying that everything you Googled today about melting chocolate was true because you have memories of childhood chocolate-melting escapades where plain old chocolate chips turned spotty white after re-hardening, not even remotely making for a photo finish. this dipping chocolate also seemed like a good plan. they were on the top shelf and the 3 were all i could reach. it would have to do, with regular old chocolate chips as back-up.
step 7: melt. stick. dip. twirl. lick. repeat.
omg. as if this whole thing isn’t already tedious enough in the first place, now comes the really annoying part. melt chocolate (30 seconds at a time in microwave, so as not to end up like last night). dip your stick in the chocolate, then stick it in a cake ball. dip the ball in the chocolate, twirl to coat and let the excess drip off. you will definitely never get a smooth complete coat on each one. and you’ll most certainly lose a couple balls in the process because somehow, the weight of the whole thing sends it sliding down the stick rather than staying perched neatly on top. you won’t give a damn. you are 28 hours in and you just want this to be over. let the munchkin lick the spoon whenever because she is completely bored and over
Satancakes cakepops at this point. everyone will be covered in chocolate pretty much as soon as you begin this part of the process, so just get over yourself and your pretty, white, clean kitchen and the work clothes you stupidly didn’t change out of beforehand. do have the forethought to get the styrofoam block everyone raves over to stand these things up in. i had to settle for a leftover Mark & Graham Christmas box. the good news was that stabbing holes in it with a shish-kabob skewer was super cathartic. these things get 2 coats of chocolate, i was told, so just when you think it’s over, you get to do it all again. yay!
step 8: make ’em pretty
so now you kind of finally get to the fun part — disguised as a messy, sticky annoying chore. after the second coat of chocolate, cover these bitches in sprinkles and sugar glitter, then stick them back in their stand to harden. munchkins will want to eat one immediately. let them. that gives you some breathing room to just get this shit done quickly and call it a day. this project has now consumed about 30 hours of your life that you will never get back. you’re bitter. and boy, does that
second third glass of Chardonnay taste really good right about now. the cakepops? god, they’re disgusting. only an almost 5 year old would eat strawberry cake covered in chocolate. you know immediately that you’ll take this shit to the office tomorrow and unload it on your co-workers, who will think you are super cute for trying, but will also think your Satancakes are disgusting.
step 9: go insane documenting your ordeal
you survived. now take a thousand pictures to prove it. find a perfect leftover vase and make an arrangement. holyshit. you are Martha Stewart. it’s cool. you’ll know you’re crazy while you’re tying that bow (it’s okay that you were out of satin ribbon, what you found works just great) and shifting everything in your kitchen so you can catch just the perfect lighting. but in this moment, the past 30 hours will be almost kind of worth it. almost. write about it all. warn your friends. vow to stick to store-bought everything for the rest of the Valentine season. then sneak just one more quick peek at Pinterest to see if there is maybe like a 2-step project with your name on it. i mean, what could possibly be the harm?