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This article was taken from our February 2017 Issue Buy this issue now

Ask the Expert: Tamsin Aston

Tamsin is a leading cake pop designer, author of Super Pops, teacher and runs her own cake pop company, Definitely Cake in North London, which started in 2011. Tamsin has handcrafted thousands of edible works of art for events, ranging from birthday parties and weddings to launch parties and corporate events. She always strives to make sure they not only look fantastic but taste delicious too.

Proportion

Q: How much icing should I mix with cake crumbs to make cake pops?

A: The amount of buttercream/frosting to add to your cake crumbs will depend on the size of your cake and how moist it is. Add a little at a time until mixed together it feels like Play-Doh and doesn’t crumble when you squeeze it in your hand.

Storage

Q: How long do cake pops last once made?

A: Store them sealed in a box or a bag in the fridge and they shall be fine for two weeks.

Shaping

Q: What are your tips for shaping cake pops?

A: It’s best to shape with cold cake pop mixture and for rolling balls, just roll in the palms of your hands. For other shaped cake pops, I would start with rolling a ball and slowly moulding it into the shape I desire.

 Coverage

Q: I can’t get an even coverage with the icing/chocolate – what am I doing wrong?

A: If you are using compound melting chocolates, there is no need to temper it to the right temperatures. But overheating this chocolate will cause it to seize up and affect the finish once dipped. Make sure the cake pops are not too cold and the chocolate is warm when you dip the balls to give the shinier finish.

Double Layered Cake Pops

Q: What are your tips for making double layered cake pops (two balls together)? Mine always fall apart!

A: Roll the two balls, then put the cake pop stick right through the first cake ball with a small amount of stick poking through the top (half the length of the second ball), using a little melted chocolate as glue. Let the chocolate set so it’s attached firmly on the stick and then push the second cake ball on with a little melted chocolate. Let it set in the fridge before dipping.

Falling

Q: My cake pops fall off the sticks when I dip them in the coating – how do I stop this?

A: Make sure your cake pop mixture is not too wet. If there is too much buttercream/frosting mixed in the cake pop balls, they will be too soft to stay on their sticks. Make sure the cake balls are not too warm; put them in the fridge for a few minutes once they are on their sticks to ensure the chocolate has ‘glued’ before dipping them. Also check the sticks are inserted into the cake ball so they are halfway in. Too far in and the cake balls could slide down their sticks, not far enough in and they will fall off. Also make sure the melted chocolate is not too thick, thin down with vegetable oil if needed.

Freezing

Q: Can you freeze cake pops?

A: -You can freeze the balls before you put them onto the sticks and they should last up to four months in the freezer. Freeze them in bags or Tupperware boxes. To thaw them out, remove them from the freezer and let them defrost in the fridge in their containers which takes a few hours.

Cracked Candy Coating

Q: My candy coating always cracks – what’s going wrong?

A: If the cake pops are too cold when they are dipped into the melted chocolate, the cold cake warms up as the chocolate coating cools and then the warmed up cake expands and cracks the set chocolate. So always make sure, once taken out of the fridge, you let the cake pop balls adjust to room temperature for about 10 mins before dipping.

Designing

Q: What do you consider when designing cake pops?

A: Surprisingly, a lot is possible in terms of the design for a cake pop. But when designing them, I always consider who they are for, whether they are going to be posted and how long I have to make them! If it’s a complicated design, I need to plan ahead how I’m are going to make them and if I need to make any parts beforehand so they set before putting it all together. I also need to consider the colours and if they are for a party, that I am aware of any colour scheme. Also I may have to think about how they are going to be displayed as this could affect the design.

Packaging and Transport

Q: How should I wrap and transport my cake pops to protect them? Especially when they are very detailed.

A: If the cake pops are very detailed, wrap each one in bubble wrap and place in a sturdy box. If very delicate, don’t stack them on top of each other. Or you could insert the cake pops into a block of polystyrene when transporting them so they don’t touch each other or wobble.