I don’t consider myself a serious baker, but I enjoy baking. I also don’t consider myself a festive person, but I do enjoy getting in the spirit of things with the right people. And the right people are often kids. I will not go crazy decorating with friends, but I will with my little sister or with my friends’ children, a number rapidly growing with each passing year. I love crafting with kids, and Matt and Yelena were gracious enough to let me steal their two darling littles for some fun Halloween-themed cake decorating.
I love cake pops. Say what you will about them, but small portions of delicious cake that don’t require utensils are always a yes in my book. Plus, it got us in the mood for the upcoming holiday. Marou’s Heart of Darkness bar is an incredible option for chocolate cake pops.
In making cake pops, the actual cake matters, but the binder matters even more. Most cake pops use icing to keep the crumb together. Here, we’re using an easy ganache that’s a real knockout. As a refresher, ganache is the magical combination of chocolate and cream. Different ratios serve different purposes—from glazes and icings to truffle fillings and beyond. The high percentage of cacao in the Heart of Darkness bar make it rich and complex, while those intriguing tasting notes shine through any kind of decorating you succumb to. Sprinkles and icing are no match for the intense flavor of this bar. You’ll have no trouble sneaking these while the kids are out trick or treating or while fast asleep after their sugar high come down.
SPOOKY MAROU CAKE POPS
Makes about 20 cake pops
- 20-25 lollipop sticks, available at any craft store
- One 8-inch chocolate cake (I love using this recipe)
- 3 Marou Heart of Darkness bars, or about 9 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
- 3 ounces heavy cream
- 6 ounces white chocolate for icing, optional
- Immersion blender, optional, but so handy
In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cake between your fingers into fine crumbs. Set aside.
Simmer a small pot of water. Set a metal or glass bowl over it, making sure there is air between the bottom of the bowl and the simmering water. Pour cream into bowl and heat until it’s warm enough to melt the chocolate. Add 3 ounces of chocolate and stir to melt. Once the chocolate is melted, immerse your blender fully, making sure there is no air stuck in the top of your blender. Blend until your ganache is fully mixed and shimmering. If you don’t have a blender, continue stirring until the ganache comes together. Set aside to cool.
Once ganache has cooled, add small amounts to your cake crumb and mix with your hands. Continue adding ganache until the crumb holds together, but isn’t totally dense and weighed down. Scoop out portions for your cake balls. Roll each into a ball on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze 5-10 minutes.
While your cake balls are chilling, begin melting the remaining chocolate over simmering water to coat your cake balls. Poke a lollipop stick into each cake ball, spoon melted chocolate over each ball until fully coated. Coat all in dark chocolate or use another bowl to melt the white chocolate and use the same process to coat. You can set these on a plate to set and have a flat bottom, or stick the bottom of each stick into styrofoam to set in a more circular ball. Allow 30 minutes to set, then decorate to your heart’s desire. Or you can just eat them—that works too!