Easy to make and even more fun to decorate, my eerie looking eyeball ‘cake pops’ with their gruesome looking red velvet centre will be a guaranteed hit with all the kids this Halloween.
This recipe makes 35 – 40 cake pops:
For the sponge
120g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
300g (10½ oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g (¾ oz) cocoa powder
38ml (1½ fl oz) strong red food colouring (Dr Oetker is best)
1 tsp vanilla essence
300g (10½ oz) plain flour
1 tsp salt
240ml (8½ fl oz) buttermilk
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For The buttercream icing
110g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml whole milk
40 wooden scewers (approx 8”)
600g of white chocolate
Red and black icing pens
1 tube of smarties
½ a small pumpkin deseeded to stand the pops in
Preheat the oven to 190*C (375*F), or gas mark 5 and grease and line a 9” cake tin or larger.
Using a hand held electric whisk or food processor with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time making sure to beat thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate everything.
In a small separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla essence to form a paste. Add the paste to the batter and mix thoroughly until the batter is an even shade of red.
Sift together the flour and salt in a separate bowl, then add the flour to the batter in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Lastly, in another small bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda by hand and when it has stopped its initial fizzing, add it to the cake batter and mix until it’s fully incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare your buttercream by adding the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beating for approximately 5 minutes with an electric whisk until smooth. Pour the milk in gradually if you need to loosen the mixture.
When the sponge has cooled, break it into the bowl of a food processor and using the blade attachment whizz it till it resembles breadcrumbs. If you do not have a food processor you may do this by hand, breaking the cake into rough pieces and over a large bowl, rubbing the cake between your fingers to form small, even, crumbs.
Add the buttercream to the cake crumbs and mix well until evenly combined and all the crumbs are coated.
Next line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and taking 1 tablespoonful of the mixture squeeze it firmly together until it holds and then roll it into a 3cm ball. Place on the lined tray and repeat with the remaining mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until really firm.
To decorate the cakepops, break the white chocolate up into a medium sized heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until the chocolate melts.
Dip the end of a wooden skewer into the melted chocolate to coat about 2cm, then push into a cake ball and return to the lined tray. Repeat with the remaining sticks and cake balls before refrigerating for 10 minutes or until the sticks are secure.
Finally, dip the pops one at a time into the remaining chocolate and gently tap the wooden skewer on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, turning as you go to create an even coating (you may need to gently reheat the chocolate to if it becomes too thick for coating). Stand the cake pops in the pumpkin and gently press a smarty onto the surface while wet. Chill again until the chocolate has set. Before serving, use the icing pens to add a pupil to each Smartie and wiggly red veins to the eyeballs.
Once that’s all done, sit back and watch your little ones squeal with disgust and delight at these yummy and spooky Halloween treats.
About the Author
Educate’s own Verity O’Gorman is an Educate Private tutor as well as co-founder of the delicious new baking and preserve company, Unhampered. With expertise ranging from cupcakes of all flavours, shapes and sizes to jams, jellies, chutneys and cordials, Verity is a true culinary prodigy.