I’m a big fan of Jennifer Reese’s cookbook, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. She does a great job of letting the reader know if an item is better to buy in a store or worth the time it takes to prepare it at home. It turns out that making things from scratch is often (but not always) cheaper, tastier and better for you, but making homemade stuff can also be a hassle.
I’ve been trying to put extra effort on things that I would typically buy in an effort to save money. My latest “Make It or Buy It” experiment was making cake pops. The bakery I would usually buy them from sells cake pops for $2 each. I needed 30 of them for a sorority event and there was no way I was going to spend $6o plus tax for balls of cake on a stick. Using coupons from Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics, I was able to get all of the ingredients and supplies for about $15.
At only 50 cents per cake pop, they’re a pretty good deal. The downside to making your own cake pops is that it felt like they took FOREVER to make. The verdict on this one is to “Make it.” From baking to wrapping them up, they took about three hours to make, but I think the effort was worth saving $45. Check out the recipe below if you’re interested in making your own cake pops.
Red Velvet Cake Pops (adapted from Bakerella)
- 1 box red velvet cake mix (about 18.25 ounces)
- 12 ounces ready-made cream cheese frosting
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 48 ounces chocolate candy coating
- Paper lollipop sticks
Bake 1 box red velvet cake mix in a 9″ x 13″ pan as directed. Let cool completely. Finely crumble the cake into a large bowl.
Add ready-made cream cheese frosting and vanilla to the cake crumbles and mix until thoroughly combined.
Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place them on waxed-paper-covered baking sheets. Cover balls with plastic wrap.
Place in the freezer 15 minutes. Place 16 ounces of chocolate candy coating, in a deep, microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. It’s best to make small batches and melt additional candy coating as you go along.
Place a block of Styrofoam (I found a ton for cheap at a dollar store) on waxed paper. Working in small batches (and leaving remaining cake balls in the refrigerator), cake balls on paper lollipop sticks, pushing in about halfway.
Dip the cake into the melted candy coating until it is completely covered, then remove in one motion. When coating stops dripping, top with sprinkles. Then prop the cake pop upright in the Styrofoam block to dry.
Repeat with the remaining cake balls. Let cake pops dry completely. Store in an airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator up to 3 days.