This post is also available in（こちらの言語版もある）: Japanese
I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person that loves all of the creepy baking, DIY, and costuming fun of the Halloween season so much that I never want it to end and always spend a good part of November in a disappointed, uninspired funk. In fact, I couldn’t even get myself in the mood to bake or post any recipes for the entirety of November 2015. However, December is finally upon. Meaning it’s almost Christmas. Meaning it is once again seasonally appropriate to make The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed baked goods! These spooky little cake pops are filled with Christmas-y gingerbread cake festively spiked with spiced rum frosting and dressed up as Jack Skellington’s rendition of “Sandy Claus,” so if you too like a little Halloween in your Christmas, whip up a batch of these and get to “making Christmas” Halloween Town style★
As some of you may remember, I made these eggnog-flavored “drunken” snowman cake pops last Christmas. They were a big hit and I have been wondering ever since how I would ever manage to top them this year. By the time Halloween rolled around this year, I had pretty much resigned myself to not being able to come up with something to rival those snowmen in terms of cuteness and complexity, but then I happened across these “Sandy Claus” Jack Skellington cake pops while looking for Halloween baking ideas and knew that with some boozy, Christmas-y flavor tweaks these would be the perfect “Xiomara Entropy” Christmas treats and I just had to make them this Christmas season.
The Christmas Jack cake pop recipe I found on Pinterest utilizes plain vanilla cake and frosting, and that might be fine for Halloween, but I didn’t really feel like that would be Christmas-y enough. I got my flavor inspiration for last year’s snowmen from eggnog, a traditional Christmastime drink in the West, so I wanted to incorporate some of those alcohol spiked spicy flavors that invoke the warm, cheery holiday season again this year.
After eggnog, the first warm, spicy, winter-y drink that comes to mind is of course mulled wine, but I’ve made mulled wine-flavored cake balls before and really wanted to kick off this holiday season with something new, so I had to get a bit more creative.
I wound up going with gingerbread rum cake and spiced rum butter cream frosting. The cake had the perfect balance of sweet, warm, and spicy flavor of a good gingerbread cookie, but the frosting was where the spiced rum flavor really shone, so to up the spiced rum punch in the finished cake pops, I would up adding more frosting to the crumbled cake than I normally would. As a result, the cake balls were on the soft side, and I think this is what made it difficult to form uniform balls, resulting in slightly lumpy Jacks with a consistency a bit more like a truffle than cake. If I made these again I would try to work more rum flavor into the cake batter and not go so nuts with the frosting, but the slightly lumpy, truffle-y cake balls still tasted good and took to the coating process well enough so I didn’t see any reason to start over this time.
Lumps and slightly unexpected textures aside, these cake pops were infinitely easier to decorate than the snowmen. In fact: the process doesn’t differ much from making your standard cake pops–just stick in the stick, dip in white chocolate, set a Hershey’s Kiss on top, dip the Kiss in red chocolate, draw on the details, and that’s it! You definitely don’t have to be a cake pop pro to make these, so I definitely recommend giving these a try★
- For gingerbread rum cake:
- ¾ cup (96 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp + ⅓ tsp brown sugar
- 1½ Tbsp rum
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- For spiced rum butter cream frosting:
- ½ cup (113 g) butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups (192 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½-3/4 Tbsp rum
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- For coating and decorating:
- 9 oz (250 g) white candy melts or white chocolate bars
- 3.5 oz (100 g) red candy melts or red chocolate bars
- Canola oil for thinning chocolate as necessary
- 24 Hershey's Kisses
- Brown chocolate pens or decorator icing
- White chocolate pens or decorator icing
- 24 cake pop or lollipop sticks
- Make gingerbread rum cake: preheat oven to 325 F (165 C) and prepare a square or loaf pan.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and rum and mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.
- In the meantime, make the spiced rum butter cream frosting: in a large bowl cream butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and cinnamon and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Add rum and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.
- When the cake has cooled, break it into pieces and finely crumble it in the food processor (or by hand if you don't have a food processor).
- Put the finely crumbled cake and frosting in a bowl and incorporate it together with your hands.
- Roll the mixture into 1 tbsp sized balls and refrigerate 2 hours-overnight (if you don't have time you can freeze them for about 15 minutes instead).
- Melt white candy melts or white chocolate bars in the microwave. Add canola oil to thin it out if it's too thick.
- One at a time dip the end of the lollipop sticks in the chocolate and insert them halfway through the cake balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate dries.
- One at a time, dip the cake balls in white chocolate and coat them fully. Set a Hershey's Kiss on top like a hat and stand them upright in a box with holes or similar while they dry.
- Melt red candy melts or red chocolate bars in the microwave. Add canola oil to thin it out if it's too thick.
- Being careful not get the red chocolate on the white chocolate-coated cake balls, one at a time dip just the Hershey's Kiss "hat" of each cake pop in the red chocolate and coat them thoroughly. Stand the cake pops upright in the box with holes or similar while the red chocolate dries.
- Use brown chocolate pens or decorator icing to draw on faces and white chocolate pens or decorator icing to add details to the hats to your liking.
- Let dry completely and enjoy★
“Sandy Claus” Jack Skellington cake pops inspired by: http://family.disney.com/recipe/jack-skellington-cake-pops
Gingerbread rum cake recipe adapted from: http://bananarumbaking.blogspot.jp/2011/11/gingerbread-rum-mini-cupcakes-with.html