Never have I ever felt so thankful for a cake pop. This tiny little bite is one dessert that requires a "mistake" each time it's made - a task at which I am quite skilled nowadays, especially when it comes to baking.
So skilled, in fact, that I actually just slid a batch of cookies into the oven before realizing I added an extra 1/3 cup flour and forgot one of the eggs. My roommate, in the kitchen with me at the time, heard my frustration (I think the neighbors did, too) and tried to calm me down by agreeing with my guess that taking the par-baked cookies out of the oven to add an extra egg is totally fine. Am I the only one with a brain like this?
Ten minutes later, the timer summoned me over to check on the cookies and I pulled them out of the oven, glaring at them like I did my genetics textbook last quarter.
Cake pops, though - cake pops welcome in one of the biggest baking mistakes there is: an over-baked cake. This drier product, as opposed to the moist + soft + fluffy desired version, is more suitable for cake pops because it'll be mixed with frosting anyway. Oh, and don't worry about gently sliding the cake out of its baking pan because the first step tells you to crumble it like your older or younger sibling would have done to your best-ever sandcastle. So, the dreaded over-baked cake and the disappointing bruised or sometimes destroyed cake have nothing to worry about.
Of course, mistakes that can't exactly be covered up can still happen. Like, you certainly can mess up homemade vegan white chocolate by adding too much coconut oil. Bye bye, half the bag of slightly-more-than-I'd-like-to-spend cacao butter! You certainly can dip the carrot cake pop into the double-boiler of white chocolate before it's had enough time to cool and consequently watch your little carrot cake pop break into pieces. In the white chocolate. All of it. Lovely.
I'm still figuring this out. I'm still learning. I'm still failing. I'm still screaming at bowls of cookie dough wishing they'd transform into the consistency I'd hoped for. I'm still digging through cookbooks and Pinterest and blogs for something that sparks some mouth-watering creativity that comes with minimal chance of failure (even though I know that doesn't exist). I'm still asking God how in the world I'm going to do this full-time or even begin to support myself, for that matter.
I'm also still here, though. Sometimes I ask myself why, and other times I ask myself why I would ever do anything else. Sometimes I hate it and want nothing to do with it, and other times I count down the days until this takes up the majority of my to-do list. But no matter what type of day I'm having, I do thank God for both the frustrations and the celebrations because He orchestrates these into something better than I could've imagined.
Annnnnnyway, here are some cake pops. I hope you enjoy! Make the mistake, and be okay with potentially making more. Forgive yourself, here and elsewhere in life.
Peace, blessings, and cake pops. :)
Makes 6-8 pops
For the cake pops:
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. nut butter
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (coconut sugar will also work)
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped nuts, plus extra for sprinkling
3-4 large Medjool dates, roughly chopped*
1/3 cup Vanilla Coconut Frosting
Oil, for the pan
For the white chocolate**:
1 cup cacao butter, finely chopped (I used this)
1/3 cup cashews, soaked at least 4 hours
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a bread pan with coconut oil. Any size will work -
Stir together the flours, spices, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, nut butter, sugar, and almond milk until light and fluffy with a few bubbles throughout. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix in the shredded carrots and chopped dates.
Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and bake for 20 minutes - keep an eye on the cake while in the oven and continue to toothpick-test at 2-minute intervals after the 20-minute mark, depending on the size/width/depth of your baking pan. You'll want the cake a bit more dry than usual, as it will be mixed with the coconut frosting to ensure moisture.
Remove from the oven when done baking (golden brown and toothpick comes out clean) and cool completely.
When cooled, remove the cake from the pan and crumble with a fork into small pieces in a mixing bowl. Essentially, you're breaking the cake into crumbles here. Use a large spoon, spatula or your hands to mix in the frosting until well-combined and the cake crumbles are moist.
Next, roll into golf-ball size portions and freeze for at least an hour while you prepare the white chocolate.
Rinse and drain the cashews. Lightly pat them dry with a paper towel. In a high-speed blender or food-processor, pulse the cashews until smooth and creamy and set aside.
In a double-boiler, melt the cacao butter and coconut oil. Gently and carefully whisk in the maple syrup, blended cashews, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
Remove the cake pops from the freezer and use a fork, chopsticks, or other preferred method to dip the cake pops in the white chocolate, coat each completely and quickly, and place on a parchment-lined tray. Top with cinnamon and crushed nuts and freeze at least one hour before serving.
* The Medjool dates I used were very tender and caramelly, which contributed to the smooth texture and sweet taste of the batter. I recommend searching for similar ones to achieve the same outcome. If you choose to replace them with raisins like in traditional carrot cake, be aware of the texture and add additional moisture (nut butter or almond milk) if needed.
** When making the white chocolate, it will not appear white until it begins to cool, after the cake pops have been dipped and are solidifying in the freezer. Adapted from here.