<b>For the Cake:</b> - 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/2 cup boiling water - 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened - 1 cup granulated sugar - 1 tsp. vanilla extract - 2 large eggs - 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour - 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder - 1/4 tsp. baking soda - 1/2 tsp. salt Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9-inch (23-cm) cake pan with waxed paper. Combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl. Set aside to cool slightly. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Sift the dry ingredients into a small bowl, then add to the batter. Mix until just blended. Stir in the cooled cocoa mixture until the batter is uniformly brown. Spoon the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 33–35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pan. The cake can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered with plastic wrap, and stored on the kitchen counter.
<b>For the frosting</b> - 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar - 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened - 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled - 1 tbsp. whole milk Mix all ingredients together until smooth and thick. Cover and refrigerate, unless you’re using it soon. The frosting can be made 2 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.
<b>Making the Pop Base</b> Crumble the cooled cake into fine crumbs into a bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Add the frosting and blend by hand or pulse in the food processor until the mixture forms a mass and you can pinch off a piece and roll it into a ball without cracking. If necessary, add a few drops of water to moisten. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days) before using. Then remove and let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before using. (It’s easier to form the mixture into balls when it’s slightly chilled, not cold.)
<b>To Make the Dinosaur Pops</b> Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons Chocolate Cake Pop Base. Form into a dinosaur head. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining cake pop base. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Melt the candy coating wafers in a bowl over simmering water or in the microwave on the defrost setting. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the cake pops from the refrigerator and let rest for 5 minutes. Dip each lollipop stick about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in the melted candy coating, then insert it in the bottom of each cake pop. Place each cake pop, stick up, on the baking sheet. Let set for 15 minutes at room temperature. Keep the candy coating warm.
Once the candy coating has secured the stick, dip and swirl each cake pop in the warm candy coating. Insert the lollipop sticks in a block of Styrofoam. Set aside in a cool place, not the refrigerator, for about 30 minutes.
Roll out the purple gum paste and cut out 3 elongated pentagon shapes for each cake pop for the spines. With the white gum paste, roll out a horn for each pop. Attach them all to the dinosaur heads with edible glue or melted candy coating. Glue on white sugar pearls for eyes. With the melted cocoa butter mixed with black edible dusting powder, paint on the pupils of the eyes, eyebrows, and nostrils. Place pops upright in the Styrofoam block. Will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature.
These recipes were reprinted with permission from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764165577/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=craftfocom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0764165577">Super Pops</a> by Tamsin Aston and published by Barron's Educational Series.