So as I promised Monday when I posted my allergy friendly chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes, today I am sharing Part Two of my SUGAR 6th Wedding Anniversary celebration treats – Chocolate Cake Pops that are free of the top 8 most common food allergens (gluten, dairy, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, fish and shellfish). These chocolaty miniature treats on a stick were loved by everyone who tried them (even those without food allergies)!
I was inspired to make these because despite the growing craze, I never had a chance to taste a cake pop before. It’s not that I haven’t come across them. They’re at every Starbucks I walk into and have been at every event that I’ve gone to over the past year. And it’s not that I haven’t wanted to try them either. The reason I never had a cake pop was because this cute, little dessert on a stick peaked in popularity after I learned that my infant daughter suffered from multiple food allergies. (As a nursing mom, my daughter’s dietary restrictions also are my restrictions.)
Just as I was inspired to make my first allergy friendly meal (baked macaroni and cheese with a rich and creamy white cheese sauce) because I was tired of missing out on tasty holiday foods, passing up too many delicious looking cake pops inspired me to make these YUMmy allergen free ones.
Today, I also have the wonderful honor to co-host It’s a Keeper Thursday with Christina, curator of the It’s a Keeper blog. Christina blogs about her search for tasty recipes worth keeping! It’s a Keeper Thursday is a popular weekly linky party where foodie (and craft) bloggers are invited to share their latest creations (scroll down to join the party). If you haven’t visited It’s a Keeper before, I encourage you to check it out! It’s a fun place to find some allergy friendly treats or inspiration from recipes that can be modified to allergen free versions.
And to all first-time visitors to Nom Yum & Free, welcome and thanks for stopping by. I hope you find something useful on this and future visits!!
(Makes about 50 cake balls)
The recipes for the cake and frosting are from Cybele Pascal’s The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. I simply halved the ingredients to make a one layer cake. To save you the trouble of division :), I’ve listed the halved ingredient amounts below.
Red Velvet Chocolate Cake:
- 1 ¼ cups plus 2 tbsp Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ plus ⅛ tsp xanthan gum
- ¾ tsp double-acting baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp sea salt ground fine
- ¾ cups vanilla rice milk
- ¾ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp dairy free, soy free vegetable shortening (like Spectrum Foods)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed
- with 3 tbsp vanilla rice milk
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp natural red food coloring** (like Seelect Food)
**As I mention below, the natural food coloring doesn’t add any color to your finished cake. So personally, I don’t think it’s worth adding.
- ½ cup dairy free, soy free vegetable shortening (like Spectrum Foods)
- pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp vanilla rice milk
- 1 ½ tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Cake Pop Assembly:
- 6 – 8 oz dairy free, soy free semi-sweet baking chocolate (like Scharffen Berger)
- (optional) remaining velvet frosting (with coloring) for decorating
Method (or Mistakes)
So ironically after making these chocolaty allergen free cake pops, my husband surprised me with my sugar anniversary gift – a baked cake pop kit! This recipe, however, doesn’t use the bake a cake in the shape of a ball approach but follows the method of Bakerella, the creator of the original cake pop. Bakerella’s method calls for hand rolling bits of crumbled cake that are mixed with icing. This creates cake pops that have a nice candied shell with a YUMmy creamy rich center.
Red Velvet Chocolate Cake:
Cybele Pascal’s The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook and website both have pictures of a beautiful looking allergen free red velvet cake. There’s just something about a rich red cake that is irresistible, but I’m not a huge fan of artificial dyes.
For those who want a “healthier” red velvet cake, Cybele recommends using Seelect Natural Food Coloring. So following her suggestion, I went online and ordered a large bottle (I figured I could use it in this and many recipes to come). I chose to ignore the label warnings that the color may not hold upon baking, because I figured it wouldn’t have been recommended it if it didn’t work, right? Wrong. The Seelect Natural Food Coloring did absolutely nothing for this cake. Even before baking, the batter already appeared brown. I thought maybe something would change upon baking – it did, the cake turned even browner.
To make the cake, simply follow this recipe. If your heart yearns for a natural RED velvet chocolate cake, I suggest trying one of the several vegan recipes online that use pureed beets. Next time I plan to try this recipe from the Bittersweet blog.
To make the frosting, simply follow this method.
Cake Pop Assembly:
Let cake cool completely, and then crumble with hands into a large bowl. (After baking a beautiful moist cake, I was a bit hesitant to crumble and destroy it – but trust me it’s totally worth it in the end!) Mix in frosting, using fingers (Note: you likely will not need to use all the frosting – so start with almost all then add more if necessary.) After combined, use a mini cookie scoop to roll cake mixture into little balls.
Cut about 2 – 4 ounces of baking chocolate into pieces (1 inch or smaller) then melt in microwave safe bowl at 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Once chocolate is smooth, dip tip of a lollipop stick in the melted chocolate and insert into cake ball (about ½ way).
Place cake pops in freezer or fridge to firm (your choice depends on how quickly you need your cake pops – I let mine sit overnight in the fridge).
Melt more of (or re-melt) your baking chocolate. (Melt only about 2 – 4 ounces at a time because chocolate hardens quickly and it avoids repeated reheating.) Remove firm cake pops from fridge. Holding onto lollipop stick, carefully insert a cake pop into melted chocolate and rotate stick until ball is covered with chocolate. (My 3-year old enjoyed helping me with this part.) Once covered, remove pop from chocolate and gently tap stick on the side of the bowl, while rotating, to remove excess chocolate. Repeat with all pops. (You may want to only take 1/3 of the pops out the fridge at a time to prevent them from softening too much before dipping.)
Return chocolate covered cake pops to refrigerator (or freezer) to dry and harden.
Keep cake pops refrigerated until ready to serve (this prevents the chocolate shell from melting and maintains its nice crunch). When ready to serve, let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes. Enjoy!
The hardest part about making these cake pops was maintaining their round shape while they were hardening. In hindsight, I probably should have only made about 10-15 cake balls at a time, and then put them immediately in the fridge before moving to the next set. I also could have let them sit in the fridge for a few minutes before pushing the sticks into them, which added to their flattened tops. (Bakerella recommends placing sticks in styrofoam.)
Everyone who tried these cake pops loved them! I had several folks without food allergies request the recipe even though they knew it was completely allergen free. Although The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook recipe didn’t create a natural red velvet cake, it did make a delicious, moist chocolate cake. And converting that cake into these cute chocolate candy covered individual allergen free treats was even YUMmier than I anticipated – I understand the cake pop craze!
A couple testers also commented on how they enjoyed the size of the cake pops. There’s something about a miniature dessert that makes it the perfect treat. Maybe it’s less guilt – especially, if you decide to eat it in the middle of the day (as many of us did)? And putting cake on a stick makes serving and clean up super easy (& kid-friendly) – no forks, plates, or messy fingers!
Another great thing about these allergen free cake pops is it makes your cake batter go farther. The cake recipe, even halved, was still able to serve over 50 people. Had I made the full recipe I could have had desserts for 100 people! (I will definitely keep this in mind for future potluck events.) Hats off to Bakerella and her cost-efficient dessert on a stick idea!!
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