Move over cupcakes, here come the cake pops!
I tasted my first moist bite of this confectionery craze at my dear friend C’s bachelorette party last year. Another friend of ours had commissioned naughty cake pops from Tracy’s Tiny Treats and “boy” were they tasty. Since then I’ve been dying to bake a batch myself.
Alisa Burke has a great tutorial here on Easter cake pops, too. Other delicious variations of this tasty treat are chocolate covered cake pops and Oreo pops from The Sweets Bar. And check out The Pioneer Woman’s technique for making her cake balls here.
Inspired, I baked these lovely springtime-themed pops last weekend:
Here’s how I made these fun treats and some helpful hints for your first shot at the cake pop:
- box or homemade cake mix
- box or homemade frosting
- candy melts
- colored sanding sugar (or other decorative candy elements, food markers, etc.)
- lollipop sticks
- styrofoam blocks (optional)
Tip: Choose the shorter lollipop sticks (or cut yours in half), otherwise you’ll have a tiny ball sitting at the end of a long stick, which doesn’t really work aesthetically or in terms of balancing the pops in whatever display container you choose. Also, if you want your sprinkles or candy decorations to really “pop,” choose white candy melts for a bright, clean background.
Step 1 Bake the cake as directed on the box or per your recipe.
- Tip: Choose any flavor and any mix. I tried lemon cake with buttercream frosting for something zingy and fresh for spring.
Step 2 After the cake has cooled, crumble it up and place it in a large mixing bowl.
- Tip: If a fork or spoon isn’t cutting it, you can use your clean hands.
Step 3 Mix in almost one can of frosting (or about 1.5 cups of your homemade recipe). Try my favorite buttercream frosting recipe if you want something really sweet!
- Tip: Make sure the cake crumbles are thoroughly coated with the frosting so the mixture is nice and moist. You don’t want the cake balls you make in Step 4 to come apart because they’re too dry and don’t hold together.
Step 4 Shape the cake/frosting mixture into balls. If you want to be precise, see here for a guide to measuring out the perfectly sized cake ball. Set the balls on a baking sheet covered with a sheet of wax or parchment paper.
- Tip: The smaller the ball, the easier it is to work with, but the bigger the ball, the more decorating space you’ll have – especially if you use food markers to draw on faces or other details.
Step 4 Melt a little bit of the candy melts in the microwave or a double boiler. Grab your lollipop sticks and dip one end of the sticks into the melted candy; then insert the dipped tips just under halfway into the cake balls and return the cake balls to the baking sheet.
- Tip: Make sure the tip of the lollipop stick is well-dipped so your ball doesn’t fall off the stick when it’s time to decorate.
Step 5 Refrigerate the cake balls until they’re nice and chilled (45 minutes – 1 hour). If you just can’t wait, throw them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Tip: Chilled cake balls are easier to work with and don’t fall apart as easily. A cooler ball will also help the melted candy dry faster.
Step 6 Dip the chilled cake pops in the melted candy. Use a rolling motion with your wrist to twist the cake ball into the candy melts instead of dragging it through.
- Tip: Don’t dip too forcefully or your pop will fall apart or fall into the candy melts. Also, if you can, use a double boiler instead of a microwave to get the candy melts as liquid-y as possible and keep the melted candy at an even temperature during the dipping process. This will help the cake pop glide more easily through the melted candy and will ensure that the candy coating is nice and smooth instead of thick and heavy (which is tasty, but not pretty).
Step 7 Sprinkle the sanding sugar over the not-yet-dried cake pops or press on any other decorative candies of your choosing. You can also paint your dry pops with corn syrup in patterns wherever you want the sugar or candy to stick or decorate them with food markers.
- Tip: Don’t roll the cake pops directly into the sanding sugar or you’ll get an opaque coating instead of a light, sprinkly effect.
Step 8 Set the cake pops to dry in a glass or vase or stick them into a styrofoam block.
- Tip: Keep in mind that if you let the pops dry on the baking sheet, they’ll suffer from a little “bed-head” and flatten on one side!