Boston Cream Pie Cake Pops

General procedure adapted from Bakerella
Makes 45 to 50 lollipops

XIAOLU'S NOTES:
Honestly it's fastest and easiest to use your hands to work with the cake mixture, so wash 'em up and dig in! =D Though I was hoping to achieve a more cake-like texture to these pops, I eventually realized that a certain amount of "mushing" is required to make the pop adhere to the stick and itself. If you've never tried cake pops before, please be prepared for a creamy, truffle-like consistency inside. Do NOT use water-based liquid or gel coloring as this will cause the chocolate to clump up.

Moist Yellow Cake (Recipe below or use your favorite)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, as needed
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted and as needed

Pastry Cream Filling (Recipe below)
1 lb. white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp trans fat-free shortening (such as Earth Balance)
1 tsp canola or vegetable oil
Cream/brown/yellow oil-based or powder food coloring (optional)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp light corn syrup

About 45 to 50 lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block, to hold cake pops upright while drying

Transfer pastry cream to freezer.

After cake has cooled completely, crumble it into a large bowl, removing any overcooked/crusty pieces. Try to roll the mixture into a quarter-size ball. If the ball isn't moist enough to hold together, you'll need to add some buttercream. Make the buttercream by beating the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix in thoroughly. Now add buttercream 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to the cake mixture, incorporating it into the crumbs completely between each addition, until the mixture is moist enough to hold together in a ball.

Line 2 large baking pans with parchment paper, and take the pastry cream out of the freezer. Make round "bowls" out of about 1 tablespoon of the cake mixture (make the middle hole with your fingertip) and fill the middle with a scant teaspoon of cold pastry cream. Press another 1/2 tablespoon of cake mixture to make a "lid" for the "bowl." Cover the cream-filled cake ball with the cake piece, press edges together, and roll/press the cake ball to make an approximately 1 1/2-inch diameter cake ball. Repeat until the remaining cake mixture has been used up.

Place white chocolate chips and shortening into a heatproof bowl and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until it's completely melted. Add cream/brown and yellow food coloring a little at a time, mixing thoroughly between each, until you have a light yellowish-tan cake color. Mix in the vegetable oil. Dip the tip of your lollipop sticks in a little melted chocolate and insert into the cake balls (about halfway in). Place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up so they won't melt when dipped in the hot chocolate.

Once firm, carefully hold a cake pop sideways (but angled slightly upward) just above the melted chocolate, and quickly pour 3 large spoonfuls of melted chocolate over the ball, then rotate the ball to the opposite side and do the same. Now check if any spots are still uncoated and pour large spoons of chocolate over them. Once covered, softly tap the stick against the edge of the bowl for about 10 to 15 seconds until the excess chocolate drips off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too! And do NOT rotate the stick or the coating won't be as smooth anymore.Stick cake pops straight down into a styrofoam block to dry or place down onto a parchment-lined pan with the sticks pointing straight up. Do NOT refrigerate as this will lead to condensation on the coating (freezing is fine).

Meanwhile, place heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place chopped semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling cream over the chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Stir the mixture until smooth and shiny. Add butter and corn syrup and mix well. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Dip the cake pops diagonally into the chocolate, then hold over the bowl for a few seconds to allow excess to drip off. Place cake pops back in styrofoam block or on parchment-lined pan. Let cake pops cool completely or freeze, then enjoy at cool room temperature with friends!

Moist Yellow Cake
Makes a 2-layer 9-inch cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup PLUS 1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of two 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans. Grease the pans lightly with oil or cooking spray, then place the paper in the pans and grease the paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, vinegar, oil, butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat with on medium to medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and yolks and continue beating an additional 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake for 22 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center. Cool cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.

Pastry Cream Filling
Adapted from Bakewise
Makes about 1 cup

2/3 cup milk [not skim]
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp PLUS 1 tsp cornstarch
2 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Add milk and cream to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the liquid starts to produce steam. In medium heatproof bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and cornstarch and stir until evenly combined. Drizzle the hot liquid mixture into the sugar mixture, whisking immediately and continuously. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly.

In a medium bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the yolks, then add the yolks to the saucepan. Bring everything to a boil, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom, until the custard thickens and becomes smooth. Make sure to bring the entire mixture to a good boil; otherwise, the enzymes in the egg yolks will break apart the starch and the custard will become soupy instead of thick.

Pour the custard into a bowl and cover. Stir in vanilla and butter, mixing until butter is completely melted and mixed in. Once it has cooled to room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.