Red Velvet Robin Pops

Try these cheeky red velvet robin pops, made with gorgeous red velvet sponge and decorated with adorable expressions…

Robbin cake pops 458 Christmas is just two days away, so it's the perfect time to start making all sorts of festive treats before the family arrive. Try these cheeky red velvet robin pops, made with gorgeous red velvet sponge and decorated with adorable expressions… Makes 20 Preparation  2 hours, plus 25 minutes chilling Baking 30 minutes For the cake 60g unsalted butter, softened 150g caster sugar 1 egg 10g cocoa powder 20ml red food colouring ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 120ml buttermilk 150g plain flour ½ tsp salt ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 1½ tsp white wine vinegar For the frosting 150g icing sugar 25g unsalted butter, softened 65g cream cheese For the decoration 20 cake pop sticks 300g milk chocolate, broken into pieces 40 chocolate buttons 10g white regal icing 5g black regal icing 20g orange regal icing 30g red regal icing 1 To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4. Lightly grease and line the base of a 20cm square cake tin. 2 Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well mixed. 3 In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of  the bowl and mix in). Pour in half of the buttermilk and beat well, then add half of the flour and beat until everything is well combined. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula and beat again until the mixture is smooth and even. Add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and beat again. 4 Spoon the mixture into into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 30 mins or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cake to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely. 5 To make the cake pop dough, crumble the cake either by hand or using an electric mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs. 6 Prepare the frosting by beating the icing sugar and butter together until mixed, then add the cream cheese and beat together until it is light and fluffy. 7 Add 1 tablespoon of frosting to the cake crumbs and mix well. The mixture should feel like the consistency of play doh, holding together easily when pressed between your hands. If it feels too dry, add more frosting and ensure it is evenly distributed. 8 Take a small handful of dough and roll into a ball approx 3cm. The rolled ball should be firmly packed so it will hold its shape. Using light pressure rolling will be sufficient; you will not need to press your hands together hard. When you have made the cake ball, slightly flatten the sides and place on a baking tray. Repeat this process until you have used all the cake dough. Chill the cake balls in the freezer for 10-15 mins, until the balls are firm. 9 While the cake pops are chilling, start making the parts you will need for decoration. To make the eyes; take small pieces of white regal icing and roll into balls approximately 5mm. Take tiny pieces of black regal icing and roll into balls approx 2mm. Stick the black dots of icing onto the white balls using a drop of water. Make 20 pairs of eyes. To make the beaks; take a pea size ball of orange regal icing and roll it into a cone shape. Slightly flatten it, using a knife make indentations on either side. Make 20 beaks. For the red breasts; roll out some red regal icing fairly thinly, using a 2cm circle cutter, cut out 20 circles. 10 To construct the robin, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and also remove the cake pops from the freezer. Dip the tip of a cake pop stick into the chocolate and push into a cake ball approx 1cm. Place the stick into a block of floral oasis. Repeat using all the cake balls. 11 Dab a little melted chocolate on the flattened sides of the cake balls and attach a chocolate button to each side. Place them in the fridge for 10 mins. Place the bowl of chocolate back onto the pan of simmering water until it is completely melted. Take the cake pops from the fridge. Holding one above the bowl of chocolate, use a spoon to gently pour chocolate over the cake ball until it is completely coated. Allow excess chocolate to drip off. When the chocolate is starting to set, use your forefinger to gently dab the chocolate to make the robin look 'fluffy'. Position a red disc on the front of the robin to make the breast. Place the orange beak just above the red breast. Place the eyes on the robin. Repeat with all the remaining cake balls. TOP TIPS • Using an electric mixer makes it much easier to make this recipe, but it can be made by hand. • A tablespoon of lemon juice in 250ml milk and left for 10 mins is a good substitute for buttermilk, (still use 120ml for this recipe). • If you haven't got a block of floral oasis you can place them in a tall glass. • To ensure all your cake balls are all the same size you can use a measuring spoon. Fill a 15ml tablespoon measure with cake dough and compact with a spatula. • Instead of regal icing, piping icing can be used to create the robins eyes. • The robins can be made in any flavour cake. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting would be equally delicious. • A robin cake pop placed into a Yule log would be a lovely finishing touch.

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