Cake pops experiment: Why do they crack?

cake-pops

Hello everyone!

Here is the cake pops experiment I told you about. Now you will see my OCD (or just the fact that I’m doing a research right now and it obsesses me

;)
).
Cake pops

Problem
Some cake pops crack, others don’t, why?

Cracked cake pops

Hypothesis

Based on what I’ve read around the web, it seems that the temperature is an issue. I hypothesized that the cake balls just out of the fridge and hot chocolate should be the problem. This hypothesis was partially confirmed.

Methodology 
Normally the only things that changed between the trials were the cake and the chocolate temperature. I controlled for confounding variables (things that could explain the cracking other than what I’m controlling: the temperature):

  • Used the same chocolate (without any thinner, it was runny enough)
  • Used the same cake
  • Used the same technique to insert the stick (Dip the stick in chocolate then insert in the cake ball), didn’t wait before dipping the cake ball

Cake pops experiment


Trials

  1. Cake balls just out of the fridge + chocolate temperature: 120°F. Result: CRACKED
  2. Cake balls out of the fridge for 25 minutes + chocolate temperature: 114°F. Result: NO CRACK
  3. Cake balls just out of the fridge + chocolate temperature: 97°F. Result: CRACKED
  4. Cake balls out of the fridge for 32 minutes + chocolate temperature: 100°F. Result: NO CRACK
  5. Cake balls out of the fridge for 43 minutes + chocolate temperature: 95°F. Result: NO CRACK
  6. Cake balls just out of the fridge + chocolate temperature: 93°F. Result: CRACKED

Conclusions
It seems that when the cake balls are just out of the fridge, the cakes pops will crack, no matter the chocolate temperature. The experiment is not perfect; maybe at 95°F the chocolate is still too hot. I should also have checked the required time at room temperature. I began at 25 minutes, but maybe letting it sit for just 5 or 10 minutes would have been ok. I also read that cakes using oil could induce more cracking. Other experiments could be done to confirm the results

;)

So the only advice I can give you with this not-that-perfect experiment is that you should take your cake balls out of the fridge some time before dipping and decorating them. Hope that helps (I know, I know I’m such a nerd, and I’m a geek too *sigh*

;)
)!

Cake pops fail

Mini-bite size cakes

Happy weekend everyone!

I did promise you some Halloween treats for the weeks to come, but I’m sure you know that baking is not always about success stories. I think you get where I’m going with that (and I helped you with the title!)! I was all excited about doing cake pops for the first time, Halloween cake pops moreover! Here is the story of my failed attempt to cake pops!

Once upon a time (yesterday), a wannabe baker (yep that’s me!) wanted to try some nice cake pops she saw in a great book written by Bakerella, the cake pops fairy. Everything was going just fine, the cake, the crumbs, the cakes balls, but then there was the evil coating. Here is what went wrong for the wannabe baker:

- Bad melting. Very bad melting: if you want to be safe use a double boiler and not the microwave.

- Bad consistency: the candy coating was too thick so it was hard to dip the cake balls (Later I saw in the book that you can add some vegetable oil to the coating to liquefy it)

- At this point, I had no more orange candy coating to achieve great pumpkin cake pops

:(

- Cracked pops: After coating the cake balls, the chocolate cracked. There is 2 hypothesis here, either the cake balls were too cold and the coating too hot, or some expansion needed to be done and they had no space to do it. Poor thing.

So if you want to do cake pops, I really recommend you to go to bakerella’s website or buy her book, because I’m NOT going to tell you how to do cake pops, considering that, obviously, I can’t do them myself!

bite-size3

However I can tell you how to do those cute cake mini-bites. Strange enough, all the problems above didn’t apply for these (except for the microwave probleme, which was resolved by then).

Follow Bakerella’s directions to do cake balls and melt candy coating.

bite-size1

For the shape:  flatten a big cake ball to the height desired. Cut a circle with a round cookie cutter. Then, cut the circle into 8 pieces.

For the decoration: Dip into pink candy coating and put on waxed paper. Let it set. Drizzle a little ganache over the cake and add sprinkles.

bite-size2