Weekend Dish: Cake pops

By October 16, 2011 Food, Weekend Dish

It seems like everyone’s making cake pops, those decadent balls of moist cake conveniently propped on a stick.

They’re everywhere — baby showers, weddings, birthday luaus. Even Starbucks is selling them.

So I figured, “How hard could it be?”

Uh, hard.

The thing is, everywhere you look online, cake pops seem like the easiest thing to make. It’s simple! You can use a box cake mix! My kids are making them!

But these sites don’t tell you how tedious the process is — and how much can go wrong along the way.

So here’s my real take on making cake pops. You may want to spring the $2 to buy one already made.

Here's what you need

Picture 1 of 22

Seems like a simple list, but when you throw in lollipop sticks, plastic bags and candy melts, which are about $3 to $4 a bag, it can add up.

Great video by Angie Dudley of Bakerella that shows you step-by-step how to make basic cake pops

Basic cake balls
Used to make cake pops


1 18 1/4-ounce box cake mix
1 16-ounce container prepared frosting
2 12-ounce bags of candy melts (I used Guittard’s Melt ‘N Mold)
Lollipop sticks
Candy sprinkles or edible glitter


Bake cake as directed on the box, using a 13x9x2-inch cake pan. Let cool completely.

Once cake is cooled, cut it into four large pieces. Rub two pieces together so it crumbles into a bowl. Make sure there are no large pieces; the entire cake should be crumbled into a fine texture. You can use a fork to break apart any larger pieces. (If large pieces are mixed in, the cake balls make turn out lumpy and bumpy.)

Add 3/4 of the container of frosting into cake crumbles, using the back of a metal spoon. DO NOT USE THE ENTIRE CONTAINER; your cake balls will be too moist.

Roll 1 1/2-inch balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap (optional) and chill for several hours in the refrigerator. You can also place them in the freezer for no longer than 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

Melt your chocolate melt, as directed.

Dip the tip of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert into cake ball not more than halfway in; this will serve as the “glue.” Then dip the cake ball into melted chocolate. DO NOT TWIRL as the cake ball may fall apart.

Once fully coated, remove the cake ball and allow for excess chocolate to drip off. Decorate with candy sprinkles or edible glitter. Place into Styrofoam and chill in refrigerator.

Makes 48

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Check out “Cheap Eats” on K5 The Home Team on Wednesday, Oct. 19 — between 8 and 9 a.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. — and Saturday, Oct. 22 — at 5 and 9 p.m. — for a peek inside one of my favorite eateries, Rainbow Drive-In. Oh, and Hawaii News Now weather/surf dude Guy Hagi and comedian Augie Tulba are in the episode, too. (smile)

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FUUD: The hot pot craze

By October 14, 2011 Food

It seems like every new restaurant popping up lately has something to do with boiling water.

Shabu Shabu King recently opened near Puck’s Alley. Hot Pot Heaven recently earned an Ilima Award. And Hanaki Japanese Restaurant in Manoa ditched the typical sit-down format and teishoku menu for hot pots only.

Let’s face, hot pots are hot.

The question is, why?

How did a thousand-year-old dish — usually served during cold months in climates hardly similar to Hawaii — get so popular so fast?

The thing is, hot pots and shabu shabu have been around for awhile. But lately — and I mean, since Sweet Home Cafe opened a few years ago — the concept has become all the rage.

Don’t believe me?

Try to get into Sweet Home Cafe for dinner without waiting longer than an hour.

So what is it? The healthy style of cooking meats and veggies? Is it the variety of dipping sauces? Is it the ambiance, the long lines, the feeling that you’re part of the cool kids who swish their beef tongues and chicken testicles in lightly flavored broths?

I know why I’ve loved hot pots — shabu shabu, huō guō, lāu, whatever — for a long time.

It’s simple. It’s fast. And it’s good.

You grab whatever ingredients you want, be it thinly sliced beef or baby bak choi or pork blood. And you cook them in the broth of your choice. In less than a minute, you’re dipping fully cooked beef slices into a rich ponzu sauce and eating it with a bowl a hot white rice.

What could be better than that?

Well, one thing: dessert. And this shave ice concoction at Sweet Home Cafe — with fruit jellies, mochi balls and coffee-flavored flan — is worth the 90-minute wait, sometimes in the rain.

So where’s your favorite hot pot restaurant? And what do you make of the craze?

Sweet Home Cafe, 2334 S. King St. Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. daily. Phone: (808) 947-3707

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