A few years ago, I started experimenting with cake pops and posted a method for making a vegan substitute for candy melts. It’s one of my most-viewed posts to date, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. Well, I’m pleased to say that I’ve now perfected the concept, just in time to make wonderfully colourful, all-vegan cake pops for halloween!
I’ve provided more detailed instructions below, but essentially, the secret to getting vegan white chocolate buttons to make a smooth coating that hardens and holds together is to add extra cocoa butter. My theory is that, because vegan white chocolates use rice or corn powder to create a ‘dairy’ chocolate texture, they don’t contain enough fat to create an effective and glossy coating. NOTE: I used Tesco Free From White Chocolate Buttons for this recipe. I’m not sure how well it would work with other brands. I’m planning to experiment with these Plamil chocolate drops soon, though, as they work out much cheaper in bulk. They contain far fewer ingredients though, so I assume they would act rather differently!
For food colouring, you definitely need to use a paste or powder, as liquid will make the coating seize up and you may as well chuck the whole project in the bin right now. I like to use Sugarflair pastes, but there are a fair few brands out there.
I used the leftover chocolate coating to make some halloween chocolate bark, which worked surprisingly well. In the past, melting down vegan white chocolate buttons always resulted in a crumbly mess after being re-moulded, but the addition of the cocoa butter seems to make all the difference. The sprinkles are from Aldi, but they taste absolutely horrendous, so I wouldn’t recommend using them on your actual edibles… a mistake I won’t be repeating. However, they’re really cute and make excellent food styling props.
- 1 8-inch cake, baked and cooled
- 1 quantity frosting
- Lollipop sticks
- 200g vegan white chocolate buttons
- 20g cocoa butter
- Orange food colouring (I used Sugarflair Melon and Christmas Red)
- Crumble up your cake and mix with the frosting. Shape into balls by the teaspoon - I got around 20 pops from one 8-inch round cake. Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- When your cake balls are chilled, boil a kettle of hot water. Place a small bowl within a large bowl (or use a double-boiler if you have one). Place your chocolate buttons and chopped up cocoa butter into the small bowl, along with your desired amount of food colouring, and fill the outer bowl with hot water from the kettle. DO NOT get any water into your chocolate. It will ruin everything, I promise.
- When your chocolate has melted fully, take your cake balls out of the fridge. Insert a lollipop stick into the first one and promptly take it back out. Dip the stick into the melted chocolate and place back into the hole you created in the cake pop. This will help the sticks stay put and prevent your cake pops from falling apart. If this is a bit unclear, you can find lots of tutorials for this step on the web! Repeat for all your cake pops.
- Once all your cake pops are prepared, cover them with the coloured chocolate. Many cake pop instructions will tell you to simply submerge the pop into the coating, but I find that this always runs the risk of your cake disintegrating in the chocolate and ruining the recipe. Instead, I like to hold each pop above the bowl of chocolate and pour the coating over it with a spoon until it is completely covered. One coat should do.
- Place each coated pop on a sheet of waxed paper, decorate with your sprinkles and let dry for around six hours, or overnight. Avoid placing them in the fridge to avoid discolouration. If you prefer a completely round cake pop to the ones with 'feet' in the pictures, you'll need to let them dry the other way around, which you can do by sticking them in polystyrene or the holes of an upside-down colander.
- Paste food colouring is quite intense, so I would recommend adding only a little bit to start with and increasing the amount if necessary.