Rose Quartz Cake Pops

What when I was doing R&D at Milkbar, I fell in love with embedding desserts with Turkish delight to give them a gemstone aesthetic. So these cake pops were a slight homage to that(and also they were for a baby shower, so I wanted to go with something more pastel-pink to reflect that). For those unfamiliar with them/who have not watched or read anything Narnia-related, Turkish delight, also called lokum, are these soft, jelly-like candies that are rose-flavored and tinted a gorgeous pink color. I personally love making mine from scratch, since the process is very therapeutic. It’s like making risotto, but using cornstarch and sugar, and the end result is this soft-textured candy! I am using them to both garnish and fill my cake pops, just so that the rose flavor is represented, but not too overwhelming. The pops themselves are made with a super airy olive oil cake that is mixed with a rose water soak, glazed in a rose water mirror glaze, and garnished with homemade Turkish delight, just to give them an earthy, but pretty aesthetic. I naturally dyed the entire dessert using just the tiniest bit of red beet powder, but you can use food coloring as well if you want. I would recommend doing pink, since red food coloring, even in small quantities, can turn anything the color of blood depending on the brand you use.

For the cake itself, I tend to use an American-style cake batter for my pops, since cake pops are American, although I use sparkling water, milk powder, and cider vinegar in my batter. The sparkling water gives the final cake this fluffy, light texture as a result of it being carbonated. The milk powder and cider vinegar form essentially a buttermilk, which lightens the cake’s texture even more. Since I am mixing the cake with a soak, I want it to be as light and airy as possible, just so that the cake is easier to work with. The rose flavor is in the soak, but this particular cake is olive oil-infused, since the flavors of olive oil and rose work really nicely together. That and I love the idea of using Middle Eastern flavors, since the cake is being soaked, and a lot of Middle Eastern desserts feature a soaking component of some kind(baklava and knafeh to name two). The mirror glaze was my way of coating the cake balls, since a hard chocolate shell, while durable, is just a pain in the butt to glaze onto a cake ball, and I wanted my cake pops to have a more melt-in-the-mouth experience to them! All in all, these cake pops were an interesting challenge to tackle, but I had some fun doing it.

For the Turkish delight:
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp gelatin powder + 1 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
1 cup water, in two parts
1/4 tsp rose water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp red beet powder

In a pot, mix together the cornstarch and sugar first. Add to that the gelatin, salt, and one part of the water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Begin whisking and add in the remaining part of water. Continue whisking over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens and is translucent. Add more water and continue to whisk as necessary if the mixture thickens before it becomes clear. Take the mixture off heat once it is clear, and mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour onto a nonstick surface and freeze for 1 hour. Cut into 1/4-inch cubes, and dice up a few of the cubes even finer for the topping. Keep refrigerated.

For the vanilla-olive oil cake:
1/2 cup sparkling water
2 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

In a cup, mix together the sparkling water, milk powder, and vinegar first to create a carbonated buttermilk. Mix into that the vanilla and olive oil. In another bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then whisk in the sugar and salt. Pour into that the buttermilk-oil mixture to form your batter. Pour the batter onto a lined sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool before attempting to use.

For the rosewater soak:
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp rose water
a pinch of salt

Mix everything together to form your soak.

For the pink rose mirror glaze:
1 1/2 tsp gelatin powder + 2 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup heavy cream
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp red beet powder
2.5oz white chocolate chips
1/4 tsp rose water

In a pot, heat up the gelatin, heavy cream, and salt. Once the gelatin is dissolved into the cream, add in the red beet powder and white chocolate chips. Allow the chocolate to sit in the heated cream for 1 minute before stirring until combined. Add to that the rose water. While the glaze is still warm, pass it through a sieve to remove any lumps or air bubbles. Keep the glaze at around 90 degrees F for optimal results.

To assemble:
Combine the cake with the soak to form your cake pop mixture. Using a purple handle ice cream scoop, scoop balls of the cake mixture, and wrap those around the Turkish delights. Press sticks into each cake ball and freeze solid, at least 2 hours. Dip the frozen cake pops into the glaze, allowing the excess to drip off for 1-2 minutes and for the glaze to set, and garnish with smaller, chopped up pieces of Turkish delight to finish.

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