Wednesday 19 December 2012

Salted Dulce de Leche & Mocha Cake Pops

Dear readers,

Firstly, I would like to apologise for my lack of posting last month. The recipe that I was working on had failed. However, I hope to perfect it and post it on the blog in the near future!

Now let's talk about these cake pops. It was my birthday recently and I decided to make some cake pops for my friends to make a change from a normal birthday cake. These aren't the most innovative of flavour combinations (salted mocha caramel cake pops already exist!) but I wanted to make something that all of my friends would like. Rather unsurprisingly, I couldn't resist using the decadent dulce de leche again - it's just so good!

I decided to use my chocolate tempering skills that I acquired from the Chocolate Confectionery Training Course at work (I have been working at Leatherhead Food Research since July 2012) to temper some chocolate for the pops, rather than go for a chocolate coating which seems to be a popular choice in many recipes. Tempering chocolate is quite a work out!

Salted Dulce de Leche & Mocha Cake Pops
To make ~15 cake pops
100g self raising flour
100g sugar
2 large eggs
100g butter
1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
1 tablespoon cocoa
200g dulce de leche
300g dark chocolate or chocolate coating
1 teaspoon sea salt
15 lollipop sticks

Cream the butter and sugar together then add the self raising flour, eggs, prepared coffee and cocoa and whisk until well incorporated. Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin and bake at 180°C for 25 minutes. Allow to cool.

Break the cake into chunks and place in the food processor to form fine crumbs. Add 90g of the dulce de leche to the crumbs in the food processor and mix for a few more seconds until a dough forms.

Make ~25g balls from the cake and dulce de leche 'dough' mixture. Using the lollipop sticks, prick half way into each ball to prepare for the 'gluing' of the sticks to the balls and place onto greaseproof paper with the lollipop stick holes facing upwards.

Melt 100g of the dark chocolate in a small narrow cup. Dip the lollipop sticks into the dark chocolate and then place into the holes in the balls. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove the cake pops from the freezer. Temper the remaining chocolate (or melt the chocolate coating) and cover the cake pops with the chocolate by submerging them until ~5mm of the stick is covered, then quickly and carefully turn them so that there is an even layer of chocolate on the surface. The chocolate will cool very quickly.
It takes a little bit of practice. Place the coated cake pop in styrofoam (or an unsliced loaf of bread, as I used!). Repeat until all pops have been coated and allow to cool and set.

Gently warm the remaining 110g of dulce de leche in the microwave 20 seconds at a time, stirring frequently until it has a smooth consistency. Be careful because it burns easily. Pour the warmed dulce de leche into a piping bag and drizzle over the top of the cake pops. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and serve!

If one wishes to prepare the uncoated cake pops the night before and store them in the freezer overnight, be sure to remove the pops from the freezer about 25 minutes before coating them to avoid cracking of the chocolate.

Be gentle when putting the sticks into the cake balls as they, also, are very susceptible to cracking!
Chocolate tempering is quite tedious. Temperature probes are essential. The seeding method is probably the easiest method to carry out at home. Please have a browse on the internet for different methods. I decided to use real chocolate because I wanted to test my tempering skills, so if you're feeling brave then please give it a try! If not, chocolate coating works perfectly and is much easier to use because it doesn't require tempering.

The cake pops went down well with my friends and colleagues. However, some people commented that the mocha flavour did not come through. This may be due to the powerful flavours of the dark chocolate, so one could use coffee frosting instead of dulce de leche to 'glue' the cake crumbs together to increase the mocha flavour.

Happy cake-popping!