Dessert Hack: Piña Colada "Cake" PopsDawn Meehan
Confession: I really love cake pops. I mean, what’s not to love, right? They’re bite sized, chocolate-covered pieces of cake! Delicious.
Although I love eating cake pops, I have to admit, I’m less fond of making them, mainly because they’re time-consuming, and it’s difficult to make them look pretty and smooth. Mine, more often than not, end up looking like Pinterest fails! So I thought: how can I make cake pops in less time, with less work? (I’m an expert at thinking of ways to get out of work!)
I decided to swap out cake for rice cereal treats! And these Piña Colada Pops eliminate the need for perfectly smooth chocolate, since the goal is to make them look like coconuts. So easy your kids can do it … so easy I can do it!
These tropical, summery treats are perfect for picnics, BBQs, birthday parties, and just because. Here’s how to make them:
Piña Colada “Cake” Pops
Rice Cereal Treats:
3 tablespoon butter
1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups rice cereal
Dark chocolate candy melts
Bright white candy melts
Small white sprinkles
Yellow candy melts
Large red sprinkles
Pull-n-peel red licorice
Special Equipment: lollipop stick, toothpick
1. First make the rice cereal treats. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and marshmallows.
2. Add vanilla and stir.
3. Remove from heat, mix in the rice cereal, and stir until completely coated.
4. Let the mixture cool several minutes before handling (but don’t wait too long or it will be too stiff to work with).
5. To make the balls, let the rice cereal treats cool, but not so much that it’s impossible to mold. There’s a narrow window of opportunity when the cereal is cool enough to work with, without being too sticky, and before it gets too hard to manipulate. If it’s a little sticky, coat your hands with non-stick cooking spray before rolling cereal into balls. Then insert a lollipop stick, and slightly flatten the top to give it the shape of a half-coconut.
6. Now starts the decorating. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Dip the rice cereal pop into the melted chocolate and wipe the excess off with a spoon.
7. After the chocolate coating has set slightly, give the pops a realistic coconut look by using a toothpick to scratch lines into the chocolate-covered pop.
8. Melt some white chocolate and dip the top in the melted chocolate, making sure the rice cereal is completely covered.
9. Pour white sprinkles in a shallow bowl and dip the freshly-coated pop into the sprinkles.
10. Cut yellow candy melts into fourths for the pineapple garnish on your piña coladas. For the cherry, “glue” a red sprinkle on each candy piece with melted white chocolate.
11. Use a little melted white chocolate to attach the pineapple slices and a small piece of pull-n-peel red licorice for the straw. Stick the finished pops in styrofoam to set.
If you’re an expert cake pop maker and want to use actual cake instead of rice cereal treats, I’ve included a recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake here. It’s the ideal base for these Hawaiian-inspired treats!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple
6 maraschino cherries, chopped
1 1/3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. First make the topping. In a 9-inch round cake pan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Add drained pineapple and chopped cherries. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add milk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Blend with an electric mixer on low until combined. Mix on medium for 2 minutes.
3. Pour batter evenly over pineapple mixture in cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes. Let cool.
4. Break cake into chunks and place in food processor. Process until crumbly. Form cake into balls, place on waxed paper, and chill for 30 minutes. Insert lollipop sticks. Now you’re ready to decorate them. Follow the steps above for creating adorable, tropical treats!