I’m slightly obsessed with bringing these fun little treats to parties. There is something so whimsical about a little piece of chocolate-covered cake at the top of a stick. And they have some major advantages at dessert time…no cutting, no serving, no mess, and usually no left-overs! People can grab them and go without even having to sit down. So, why not learn how to make cake pops?
If you’re interested in making cake pops, the first thing to do is read Bakerella’s book called Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats. I’ve read it from cover to cover and I still refer to it often when making pops. But in this blog post, I’ll break down the basic steps and provide some helpful tips of my own.
The Main Steps When Making Cake Pops
First of all, making cake pops can be indeed time-consuming. However, by dividing the work into three main steps, you can make thongs easier for you.
You can even do each step on different days:
1. Baking the cake
2. Rolling the balls
3. Dipping the pops
Step 1: Baking the cake
For this step, prepare a 9 x 13 cake pan. Also, I like to spray mine with Wilton Bake Easy spray, as this ensures that my cake never sticks to the pan.
Here is my prepared cake pan.
Next, for the filling, you can either use your favorite box cake mix or make it from scratch. However, I used a white almond sour cream cake which works well for cake pop (Check out the full recipe here). Additionally, the recipe I used yields 7 cups of batter.
Once your cake is baked, allow it to cool completely. Then, score it into four equal parts with a knife.
A box mix yields 12 cake pops from each quarter cake or 48 pops from the full cake. However, my batter is a little higher yield, so each quarter yields about 15 pops or 60 pops for the entire cake.
Also, keep in mind to note the quantity that your favorite recipe yields the first time you make them. This will help you plan ahead in the future.
For this tutorial, I worked with one-quarter of my cake. I removed it from the pan and let it finish cooling.
In addition, if you are not using the entire cake, wrap the other quarters tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. So, you can store them in the freezer for the next time you make cake pops.
Step 2: Rolling The Balls
For this step you will need:
- Large bowl;
- Serving spoon;
- Creamy vanilla frosting (canned actually works best!);
- Cookie sheet that fits in your refrigerator;
- Parchment paper;
- Small scoop for consistent sizing.
One of the best tips for making consistent round cake pops is to find a small scoop. This one is a 3/4 tablespoon size and it works perfectly for cake pops.
First of all, cut the outer edges of your cake because they might turn into hard lumps inside your pops.
Then, cut your cake into four pieces. Pick up two of the pieces at a time and rub them together over a wide bowl to turn the cake into fine crumbs.
Continue the crumbling process with your hands or two forks until the pieces are very fine.
Adding The Icing
I always make homemade frosting for my cupcakes and cakes, but canned icing actually works the best for cake pops! This vanilla cake is very moist so I add less than a quarter can of the frosting. The amount you add will vary based on the moisture of your cake recipe.
You want your mixture just moist enough to roll into balls.
Tip: Be careful not to add too much icing or your mixture will be too moist. This can make for heavy cake pops with an unpleasant texture.
First of all, distribute the icing evenly over your cake crumbs then mix it in. Also, I use the back of my spoon for a smashing motion until the mixture binds together.
This is what the mixture looks like after mixing with the back of the spoon.
Now, use the scoop to get enough mixture for a well-rounded ball. Then, round out the top of the mixture into the ball shape with your fingers. This way you’ll ensure that your pops have a uniform shape.
Place the mixture into your clean hand.
Tip: Clean your hands frequently and keep them lightly moistened with water. This helps to get a smooth exterior of the cake balls.
Roll the ball in your cupped palms applying firm and then gentle pressure. Do this until you are pleased with the shape of the cake ball.
Continue until all the mixture is gone (scrap everything off the sides of the bowl). Then, place the cake balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet as you go.
The finished cake balls look like this.
Finally, cover them with plastic wrap and foil and leave them for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Tip: If this isn’t your first time making cake pops and you had problems with the cake balls falling off the sticks, they might not have been firm enough. Make more room in your schedule so they can properly refrigerate overnight. This will help them firm up before the dipping process.
Step 3: Dipping the pops
For this step you will need:
- Chilled cake balls;
- Microwave-safe bowl;
- Foil-covered foam block;
- Skewer for making guide holes;
- Lollipop sticks;
- Candy color;
- Candy melts (I use Chocoley Bada Bing Bada Boom dipping & enrobing formula).
Remove the foil from the cake balls and leave them in the refrigerator while you prepare the candy coating. I take them out one at a time from the refrigerator as I dip them.
Place enough candy melts in the bowl so you have room to fully submerge each pop straight down into the chocolate and be covered to the stick.
Follow the directions to melt your candy melts. Unfortunately, the brand of chocolate I use is only available for shipping in the U.S. and Canada. It is a very thin dipping white chocolate.
So, it melts to a silky smooth consistency for easy dipping. Properly chilling the cake balls and using this chocolate ensure that I never have a cake ball fall off its stick.
Dip a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate about one inch deep.
Push the chocolate-covered end of the stick into the middle of the cake ball.
Dip the cake pop straight down into the chocolate until it is completely submerged and the melted chocolate touches the stick. Hold the pop sideways over the bowl and rotate it slowly as it drips.
Tap the wrist that is holding the pop with the free hand to encourage the extra chocolate to drip off.
When it is done dripping, turn it upside down so that any excess chocolate stops dripping. Let it dry like this for a few moments.
Clean off the excess chocolate on the stick with your finger for a nicer look.
Pre-drill several guide holes with a skewer before placing each pop into a
styrofoam block to dry.
I added a tiny bit of candy color to the melted chocolate between dipping each cake pop to create an ombre-effect color palette from light to dark pink.
Tip: You must use candy colors for the chocolate melts because they are oil-based. If you use food colors, which are water-based, your chocolate will seize.
Finally, here are the finished cake pops. I displayed them in a low vase filled with decorative glass beads.
Tip for re-using the chocolate: The chocolate I recommended in this post is rather expensive because of its high quality. Save ant leftover chocolate for your next project.
Pour the liquid chocolate onto parchment paper or plastic wrap and let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Peel the solid chocolate piece off and break it into large pieces for storage.
Place the chocolate pieces in a zip lock bag and label it with the date. It will re-melt perfectly for your next project!
Cake Pops 101: Tips and Tricks
- If you’ve baked too much cake, you can freeze any extra and use it for more pops on another occasion;
- When using light-colored baked cake as filling, remove any burnt or darker portions of the cake to prevent unsightly specks in your cake pop mixture;
- When rolling the cake balls, do it with gentle motions so that the balls aren’t pressed too tightly since they usually increase in volume once coated and may crack the nice coating;
- You can dilute the cake coating if it is too thick with paramount crystals for candy melts or shortening;
- Don’t use whipped or creamy frosting when making cake pops because the mixture will lose firmness and the balls will not hold together as they should.
Final Sweet Thoughts
All in all, I hope you found some useful tips in this post and I welcome you to add your own cake pops tips in the comments section below! Also, before I go, I want to say that my way is not the only way.
On the other hand, some people like to use a cake pop maker and bake fresh cake balls, giving you, essentially, a ball of cake on a stick. While that’s all fine and dandy, I find my fan favorite (and personal favorite) method of how to make a cake pop is one that is almost a truffle texture on the inside. So, if it takes only a bit more practice, why not learn how to make cake balls from scratch?
However, I can understand why many of my readers will prefer easier and maybe faster methods, and that’s totally fine! Everybody has his own rhythm and time and I won’t judge. I know how busy can a cook be and their last problem would be preparing cake pops from scratch. So, just share your own experience with cake pops here, so everybody can find their own method. We are all here to inspire and be inspired!