It seems as though I always say I’m busy but I realise (guiltily) that this is something that doesn’t seem to change month on month from the beginning to the end of the year. My google calendar is packed with multicolour madness, which is why I took a very deep breath when kid#2 finally and suddenly decided to add to the schedule by asking for an 18th birthday party. It was particularly challenging because the only date we could fit in a party was actually immediately after I was supposed to be speaking at a medical conference.
Thank goodness for helper D; the party is actually being pulled off because kid#2 has very simple tastes.
Me: “What do you want for your party – is there a theme you are thinking of? Mexican? Classic American? Japanese? Asian? Or some food that you are craving for?”
(pause of a few days)
Kid#2: “Cauliflower mash!”
This of course elicited a very long suffering sigh from me. Truth is that I love to experiment with new stuff and kid#2 only wanted to eat what I always cook at home anyway. But in some ways it was not a bad thing because since I had be at the conference, helper D could do the bulk of the cooking without supervision and even make the birthday cake for her.
So since I ended up having to do very little to contribute to the dinner (besides stirring together a crab dip and cutting fruits for a fruit salad) I decided to try to make cake pops to add a festive touch to the dinner.
I actually had planned to make cake pops a long time ago. Deeply embedded in my over-packed baking accessory cupboard is a lovely Nordic Ware Cake Pop pan. And some time ago I had also acquired a very neat plexiglass cake pop stand. In my pre-low carb days I used to make lots of cake pops for my kids and my friend’s kids as well; the fun was in decorating and it was pretty fool proof as there are lots of candy melts in many pretty colours available. But since 5 years ago I threw out the candy melts and gave away all the decorative glitter, sprinkles and coloured sugar crystals to my baker friends as I thought I would never bake that way again as all these decorative elements are completely made of sugar.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that low carb baking can actually be even more flavourful and texturally interesting than regular baking with flour and sugar. The tricky bit however is that the “pretty elements” have to be made by hand as what is available commercially is not low carb-friendly. Since I was a little short of time, I used salted caramel sauce from my favourite All Day I Dream About Food blog to do simple decorative streaks over the chocolate frosting.
This bake was slightly frustrating because getting the chocolate to coat the cake pops was not as easy as you would think. The challenge was the chocolate melting – simply melting chocolate alone didn’t seem to give a very smooth finish to the cake pops and dipping was also not very easy. In the end I thinned out the frosting with heavy cream; it was a more messy exercise but actually looked better after refrigeration. So we actually ended up with a lot of clumpy chocolate which became chocolate truffles…no food is ever wasted in the home!
The cake part of the cake pops were matcha infused – for some reason kid#2 loves matcha and lived on matcha blendy sticks in our holidays in Japan, so the use of matcha was a nod to one of her favourite things. We also decided that the happiest marriage is matcha and chocolate flavours which is why we chose to have a chocolate frosting for the cake pops.
In the end helper D was the most successful in dipping and coating the cake pops. I swear her fine motor skills and patience outstrip mine anytime. This was literally a group bake. And the cake pops got the mark of approval from kid#2.
Low Carb Matcha Cake Pops
- 2 1/2 cups of almond flour
- 1 tbsp matcha (green tea) powder
- 1/2 cup sugar substitute
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Oil spray
- 100g sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp sugar substitute
- Salted caramel sauce (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C
- Mix the almond flour, sugar substitute, matcha powder, baking powder together.
- In another bowl, beat 3 eggs together with the coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla essence. Mix together with the dry ingredients.
- Using a neutral-flavour oil spray, grease the cake pop pan (I used an avocado oil spray).
- Fill the cake pan with the batter to the brim, then cover and secure the pans.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Unmould the cake pops with a thin spatula. If the cake pop has a rim over the center, use a sharp knife to trim carefully. Set aside.
- Using a bain marie, heat up the heavy cream till the simmering stage. Add the sugar substitute and stir well till dissolved. When the cream is simmering, take off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips.
- Poke the cake ball with a long lollipop stick, then coat with the chocolate frosting. Work quickly as the chocolate solidifies quite quickly. Prop the coated cake pops in a stand or a styrofoam base.
- Place the cake pops in the refrigerator to allow the frosting to harden. When chilled, take the cake pops our and fill a piping bag with salted caramel sauce and cut a tiny hole at the tip. Pipe streaks of salted caramel over the dome of the cake pops. Put the cake pops back to the fridge until ready to serve.