Cake Pops - A Tutorial


Cake pops are one of my favorite miniature treats. A few bites of cake, coated in chocolate, on a stick - super cute, delicious, and fairly easy to make.

Materials:
  • Cake: any of your favorite recipes should work - though I will caution you, super oily cakes may be problematic - read, the oil may escape the chocolate/crack the chocolate, etc. I prefer using butter cakes for cake pops, or I'll cut down on the amount of oil in an oil-based recipe.

  • Buttercream (or cream cheese icing, chocolate ganache, etc): keep in mind that frostings with perishable ingredients will need to be refrigerated. I've never had problems refrigerating cake pops.

  • Chocolate: I love Chocoley chocolate. It tastes a million times better than candy melts. I use the dipping and enrobing formula for cake pops. Chocoley sells special candy coloring for chocolate as well, so you can get as fancy as you like with colors!

  • Lollipop sticks

  • Baking sheet, lined with parchment or a silicone mat

  • Styrofoam block, or anything with lollipop stick sized holes in it. Be careful not to poke ALL the way through your styrofoam block; you want the stick to be able to stand up right, but not be so deep that the cake is too close to the styrofoam (it'll be really hard to place without disturbing wet chocolate).

  • A small, deep, microwave-safe bowl. You need to be able to stick a cake pop into the chocolate straight and have it all be covered. Things turn into a mess quickly when you don't have enough chocolate in the bowl, and you need to tip it in order to cover your cake pop.
Steps:
  1. Crumble your cake into uniform crumbs. A food processor can be helpful here, but it's pretty easy to use your hands as well.

  2. Mix in enough frosting so that the cake holds together when squeezed. You should be able to roll a firm ball that holds its shape. I tend to add a different amount of frosting depending on what recipe I use; add slowly and test the consistency frequently.

  3. Refrigerate the cake balls until firm, or place in freezer. A word of caution - you do NOT want to dip frozen cake balls into chocolate! The cake will expand as it defrosts, and it will crack the chocolate coating. Firm is ok - frozen is not. If you are having problems with cracking cake pops - they are likely too cold and/or your chocolate too hot.

  4. Melt a small amount of chocolate, and dip a lollipop stick in about 1/2". Stick at least half-way into cake ball (make sure you don't poke all the way through!). Repeat with remaining cake balls.

  5. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm around the lollipop stick.

  6. Melt chocolate in your microwave safe bowl, according to package instructions. Make sure that you melt enough chocolate so that you can submerge the entire cake pop without tilting the bowl, and without hitting the bottom.

  7. Dip cake pop into chocolate, so that it is completely submerged (make sure to cover the chocolate around the lollipop stick!). It's really important that the entire cake ball is covered with chocolate - otherwise, the cake will escape from any and every tiny hole in the chocolate (trust me, it's not pretty).

  8. Once cake pop is completely covered, lift it out of the chocolate.

  9. Once removed from the chocolate, excess coating will start dripping off of the pop. Hold the cake pop in one hand, and gently tap your hand to help remove excess coating, turning the pop as you go so the excess will come off evenly.

  10. When you have no drips left, hold cake pop upside down for a few seconds to allow coating to dry a bit before inverting. If you are going to dip your pops twice, dip it again now. I do like to dip twice when using the Chocoley dipping and enrobing chocolate. If you are adding sprinkles, sanding sugar, or other decorations, wait until the cake pop is about halfway dry before you start. If the coating is still too wet, the weight of the sprinkles or other decorations may displace the chocolate.

  11. Invert cake pop, and place in your stand to dry completely. Enjoy!!
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46 comments:

Anonymous said...

You make this look so easy that I am going to try it this weekend. I'll let you know what happens. Wish me luck. :)

Kristen said...

Good luck!! I know you'll do great :) Post some pictures afterward!

Cara said...

This is a fabulous tutorial!

Michelle said...

Now I know why my cake pops sometimes crack...I need to switch up my cake recipe & also take heed when dipping them, too!

Thanks!

Try Me!! said...

This is my first time that I tried and very happy with the results!! Thank you!! But, I have a question. Can I put the cake pops in the fridge after I am done?

Kristen said...

Hi Try Me -

Yayy!! So glad you had great results!! :) I've never had trouble putting cake pops in the refrigerator once made; but you really don't need to do so, unless your home is very warm (chocolate would melt), or if they contain perishable ingredients.

Anonymous said...

how come when i melt the chocolate it came out a bit sticky not that of a liquid effect easy for dipping?

Kristen said...

Hi Anonymous -

What kind of chocolate did you use? I find that it is easiest to use chocolate specially formulated for dipping for cake pops. If you are using this type of chocolate - you may have overheated it. I've certainly overheated candy melts/dipping chocolate before, and the result is clumpy chocolate that doesn't work for dipping! If you're using regular chocolate, you can try thinning it out a bit with oil or shortening.

Jennifer said...

I use the Wilton melting pots (electric) because I do so many of them at a time and can't be reheating constantly. I notice that on my cake pops that are too cold they crack, of course, and if the chocolate gets too low the cake pops crack. I guess it is way too hot that low, or the ones that I use store bought icing in. Any suggestions as to why? I have to use store bought in one of mine to get the flavor right.

Anonymous said...

Just a bit confused... After crumbling my cake how much of the buttercream, creamcheese, or ganache icing should I add to help form the ball?

Anonymous said...

how do you get the decorative lines so straight? thanks!

Kristen said...

@Jennifer - I'd guess that the chocolate is too hot. Do you have a digital thermometer? Might help to take a quick temperature to see if that's your issue. I've also found that moving the cake pop too much in the chocolate (ie, other motions that just a dip!) have caused trouble for me in the past.

@Anonymous 1 - the amount of frosting that you'll add to the crumbled cake really depends on the cake. For instance, you'll add less to a very moist cake than you would to a drier one. I suggest adding a little bit at a time, mixing, and then trying to form a ball. You're going for a consistency that will allow the ball to hold its shape - not too soft.

@Anonymous #2 - I use either a disposable piping bag with a very small opening, or a small squeeze bottle to make the decorative lines. Even pressure and practice will help you to get the lines very straight!

Suzan said...

I added your instructions to my cake pop recipe at http://cosimasbakingblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/oreo-cookie-cake-pops-dabomb.html giving you credit.

Kristen said...

@Suzan - wonderful! Thank you for letting me know! :)

Anonymous said...

I made cakepops for the first time last night -- I made mummies for Halloween -- and I used your tutorial. It was great. I have pinned it to pinterest. Thanks for helping a beginner out.

Kristen said...

Anonymous - you are very welcome!! So glad you found this tutorial helpful :). Enjoy your cake pops!

Aimee said...

I've always wondered how these were made. Thanks for the tutorial! Stop by sometime and visit me over at homespun-threads.com Thanks! Oh, and I found this on Pinterest!

KC said...

I did these last yr. My second batch , 3rd , 4th, etc..LOL came out well. This yr? Not so much. Now I know it was the oil in the cake. Thanx for sharing that tidbit.

Anonymous said...

You say when using an oil based cake receipe you dont use as much oil...how much do you use?

Anonymous said...

If I make cake pops from start to finish then refrigerate...what happens to the chocolate coating when I take them out and comes to room temp...will it crack? I want to make some with a perishable frosting a day in advanced before my hubbies bday and I want to display them but I'm afraid to refrigerate.

Anonymous said...

Hi I would like to make cake pops for the first time, from my sons left over Birthday cake. But I don't need them for a few weeks. My question is should I make the cake pop completely and dip and all now and freeze them till the event. Or would it be better to freeze the cake and then defrost and make just prior to the event. or not use left over cake at all?

Stephanie Maurie said...

Wait, should I also add the water and eggs in with the cake mix and butter? I tried just the water (skipped the eggs) and almost a whole thing of buttercream frosting and it is not thick enough to roll into balls. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

@Stephanie
You bake your cake as directed on the box (with eggs and all). Then after your cake is done, you begin the process of making the cake balls. You may be doing this already, but from your post it doesn't sound like it. The cake mixes that call for butter rather than oil are the ones that work the best (from what this post says). Hope this helps!!!

Brittney said...

I made some of these tonight! I used red velvet cake & white almond bark.. Your tips helped tremendously! I would have never thought of dipping the stick in the chocolate before sticking it in the ball.. Amazing! :)

Lily Cupcakes said...

I just made my first cake pops and they are nowhere as beautiful as yours!!!! Amazing!!!

Maria E. said...

I love your tutorial. I've been making a lot of cake pops lately and experimenting with different chocolates. Recently I find that ghiradelli tastes pretty good for the price, however It still doesn't have that thin consistency. I've used coconut oil but I'm wondering if there's something better? I don't want to use shortening, so what do you recommend? I'm using the melting pot from Wilton.

Debby said...

I used this method for my sons birthday. They were AWESOME ! Thanks :)

Trish said...

I'm going to try that chocolate - The stuff I've used in the past either doesn't coat well or doesn't taste like I think it should. That's always a bummer!

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I've made cake pops once before, and most of them were a hit! Some were sicky sweet. I had bought different kinds of frosting, but they were all mixed up so i don't really know which frosting made them too sweet. What kind of frosting would you recommend and with what kind of cake? I am going to "attempt" to make football shaped cake pops for the Superbowl.

Anonymous said...

Using a bit of grapeseed oil will work without changing the flavor.

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Anonymous said...

When I melt chocolate or almond bark for dipping - I add just a little bit of parifin wax - it allows the chocolate to thin and when the chocolate is dry it is shiny

Anonymous said...

I am going to try these and was wondering if it is the chocolate as well that you use to pipe the designs on the pops? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Where do you find that special dippable chocolate? All I ever see are the blocks i.e. Bakers, chips, or candy melts.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
My cake pops keep falling off when I dip them in the chocolate, no matter how delicatetly I tap them. Any suggestions?

Kayla said...

So I have made 2 batches of cake pops now and my problem is getting the cakes pops covered smoothly? The 2nd batch was better than the first but I was just wondering how exactly do you get them looking so smooth? I use the Wilton Candy melts if that matters? Thanks!

Joseph said...

This is very tinny cake i can eat it in one bite but idea is good and innovative.
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Laura Perry said...

I love cake pops and this is a great tutorial. Thanks so much!

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Anonymous said...

After trying several frustrating items for standing up the pops to dry, I finally struck genius with a wide bowl filled with unpopped popcorn kernels. Just stand the sticks up them! I store them in a zipper bag and reuse the same ones over again.

Anonymous said...

Wiltons now makes a cake pop rack. Best 10.00 you will ever spend.

Anonymous said...

Try Almond Bark... it is perfect everytime. I don't like the wiltons candy melts myself. Melt always on defrost setting if using microwave. I have to finish 300 by tomorrow night. I love to do cake pops and balls. Email me u like roland31659@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

When should I put cake pops in the cellophane wrapper? I don't want them to sweat. Should they be room temp & then keep them room temp?

Kristen said...

@Anonymous #1 - thanks for letting me know about the Wilton stand! That's awesome news!

@Anonymous #2 - yes, the Almond Bark candy melt chocolate works well too (I can't find it out where I am, but used it for chocolate caramel apples when I was visiting my sister in CO). It's great, and certainly tastes better than the Wilton candy melts!

@Anonymous #3 - you can put your finished cake pops into wrappers as soon as they are completely dry. You shouldn't have to worry about condensation unless you're drastically changing the temperature on the cake pops (for instances, from the refrigerator to warm room). Personally, I like to make my cake pops with frosting that doesn't require refrigeration, so that I don't have to worry about things like condensation or cracking. Hope this helps!

De'on said...

Hi Kristen,

I am just wondering what you mean by "Inverting" the cake pop. Can you explain that step?

Kristen said...

@De'on - thanks for stopping by! By invert, I mean turning the cake pop right side up (pop side facing the ceiling).

You'll dip the cake pop straight into your melted chocolate, tap to remove excess, and then place the stick side into a stand to dry completely.

I hope this helps!