First of all, thank you all so much for the kind words when I indulged in some navel-gazing in my last post. It was really reassuring to hear that everyone wrestles with the same questions about writing for others versus writing for yourself, and it sounds like we’ve all come to similar conclusions. (Besides, who even wants popularity, and the acclaim, money, and opportunities that go with it? Sounds dreadful.)
With that being said, I’m here to follow up my “I’m soooo fancy” declaration with a decidedly un-fancy dessert. To quote Whitman, “I am large, I contain multitudes, I make both complicated and simple desserts.” That Walt was deep.
These Easter Cake Push Pops really are easy to make–they’re basically cake and frosting mixed together, to form a moist, dense “dirt.” (The method and ingredients are the same as if you were making cake balls.) I added some chocolate rocks to my dirt, first, because I’m obsessed with them and might try to work them into every dessert from now on, and secondly because I thought they added a cute bit of realism. If you took a cross-section of dirt, it would of COURSE have a few rocks in it, right? If you don’t have chocolate rock fever like I do, I think crushed pretzels or cookies would also add some nice texture and visual interest.
Let’s be honest, though, we’re all here for the cute Easter toppings. A few of the push pops got a pinch of chocolate rocks on them–I call this “The Underachiever’s Maneuver.” The rest got a variety of candy decorations, like bunny ears, carrots, and that time-honored classic, the bunny butt.
The ears and carrots are made with melted candy coating, and I just freestyled them on a piece of waxed paper. I think part of the charm is that each one is a little different, so there’s no need to knock yourself out trying to make perfect replicas. The bunny butt is made from the leftover cake ball, and the cute fuzzy tail is a mini marshmallow rolled in sprinkles. Since this recipe only makes a dozen, you’re not making very many of each thing, and the process goes pretty quickly–but definitely make a few extras in case of breakage!
And what if you don’t have push pop containers? Are you destined to have a sad, sorrowful Easter without dessert? Of course not! You can always make these in small clear glasses, or even mason jars. In fact, the glasses option is a little easier to display and serve. I think cake push pops are such a cute idea, but unless you have a specialty serving tray, you’re left with the awkwardness of trying to find a way to get them to stay upright. (My low-tech solution is green florist foam, but it’s maybe not the most aesthetically pleasing option.)
Happy Easter, friends! May all your eggs be filled with your favorite candy.
- 6 oz butter, at room temperature
- 4.75 oz (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 5 oz (2/3 cup packed) brown sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz (1 cup) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp water or brewed coffee
- 7.8 oz (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour
- 3 oz (1 cup) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¾ cups (about 10 oz) chocolate frosting
- ½ cup chocolate rocks or other mix-ins (pretzels, Oreo cookies, etc)
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- Green food coloring
- 4 oz white candy coating
- Miniature marshmallows
- White sprinkles
- 1-2 oz each orange, green, and pink candy coating
- Spray a 9x-13-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and water (or coffee, if using). In a different bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, add a quarter of the sifted flour mixture. When the flour streaks have almost all disappeared, add a third of the liquid to the mixing bowl. When that’s incorporated, continue to add the drys and wets in an alternating pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
- When the dry ingredients are nearly incorporated, stop the mixer. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and finish mixing the cake by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the cake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the cake completely before using. The cake can be made several days in advance and kept, well-wrapped and refrigerated, until ready to use.
- Crumble the baked and cooled cake into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of frosting and work it into the crumbs with your fingers. Add up to another ½ cup of frosting, a little at a time, until the cake has a moist texture that holds together when you roll it into a ball.
- Add ½ cup of chocolate rocks, or other mix-ins like crushed pretzels or Oreo cookies, to give the cake some texture. Fill the push-pop containers with the cake mixture, pressing down gently to compact it. Reserve a small amount of cake to make the bunny butts, if you want to use them as decorations.
- Place the shredded coconut in a plastic bag along with a drop of green food coloring. Rub them together through the bag to distribute the coloring on the coconut. Add more coloring if necessary until you get a green color you like.
- Spread a thin layer of the remaining chocolate frosting on top of the cake push pops, and press the green coconut on top. Top each pop with an Easter decoration or a pinch of chocolate rocks.
- Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment, and melt the candy coatings individually in small bowls in the microwave. To make the carrots, pour the orange and green colors into small plastic bags with a hole snipped into the corner, or into paper cones. Pipe leafy green carrot tops onto the baking sheet, then pipe an orange carrot slightly overlapping the bottom of the green. For a more textured look, go over the carrots twice to build up some volume.
- To make the rabbit ears, pipe a thin line of pink coating, then pipe a thicker oval of white coating around it, making two ears for each pop.
- To make the bunny butts, cut the miniature marshmallows in half. Skewer a half with a toothpick, the dip it in melted white candy coating and roll it in white sprinkles. Roll the reserved cake into small round truffle and chill them briefly to make them firm enough to dip. Dip the cake balls in melted white candy coating, then while the coating is still wet, top the cake ball with the bunny tail.
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