This was my pre-Christmas
A cake-pop machine. I spotted them in Lakeland at the end of November and could not resist.
It's a bit like a sandwich toaster only instead of flat plates it has six little holes. You get a recipe booklet with the machine, my favourite is the chocolate flavour but we've also tried the vanilla.
You just put a heaped teaspoon of mix in each hole, close the lid, and four minutes later you have little spheres of cake.
I like the wipe-clean surface and the fact that they only take four minutes to cook.
The downside is that mine tend to come out with a slight ridge, although this can be shaved off with a sharp knife. I think I need to gauge how much mixture I am putting in a bit more accurately to try and prevent this.
I think the machine is very reasonable at twenty pounds but Lakeland lolly sticks are not such good value in my opinion. We don't have a Hobbycraft locally so I sourced sticks on Ebay. I ended up buying a 'pop pack' which included cellophane bags and twist ties as well as the sticks, £5 for fifty of each.
My chocolate melting kit was from a Cadbury's outlet shop, I think it was about £13. So much easier than using a double-boiler on the stove or melting the chocolate in the microwave which can be hit and miss. Just plug it in, no water needed. Also in the kit you get tools and molds and bits.
I didn't use cooking chocolate but some kind of melty stuff, again from Lakeland, it seems to set so much quicker than normal chocolate and has a nice smooth finish. I found last year when I made chocolate truffles etc that normal chocolate had to be kept in the fridge or it soon melted at room temperature. The Lakeland melt seems more stable.
I've never made these before so wasn't too sure the best way to decorate them, hopefully I will get better with practice!
I couldn't find a stand anywhere so use the packaging polystyrene from the machine to stand the pops in while the coating dried. The lolly sticks look a bit messy here but I wiped them clean before bagging them up.
The sprinkles were from Morrison's.
I've seen cake-pops on Pinterest and also on a few blogs but they all seem to be the kind where you have to crumble cooked cake and mix it with frosting, roll it into balls, then decorate.
I have a sweet tooth but did not fancy the idea of cake crumbs + frosting + coating + decoration. It sounds messy and time consuming to me!
I gave away some cake-pops before Christmas and have only had positive reviews (obviously people could just be being polite) and everyone asks how they are made.
Have to say I prefer them to cup-cakes as they are not as sickly and they are easier to eat than a large cake as you can literally just pop one
Would be a good rainy day activity for children especially with the pops only taking four minutes to cook.
We don't have children here but my mum and I really enjoyed ourselves :)