I had the great privilege to participate in a cake pops tutorial from my friend, Christine, who is the owner and chief baker at Megabites Bakery. She has made cake pops for baby showers, birthday parties, and even 300 wedding favors at once! I asked her if she’d like to guest post, and she turned that around and invited me over for a cake pop tutorial! I’ve never made cake pops, so I was super excited! 🙂 My co-workers can attest to this, since I told everyone who would listen that I’d be going to a cake pops tutorial that weekend.
Christine’s an excellent teacher, not to mention an excellent host (as is her husband, Will–thanks for letting us take over your apartment!). She went through the steps for making cake pops patiently, while we took our time learning the steps and making a mess decorating. It was a tasty mess though, since we got to eat the test tries and failures! Thank you so much, Christine for hosting and teaching us! It was a treat!
Here’s Christine’s take on cake pops, including all her tips of the trade:
Cake Pop Basics
I started cooking because it was a very un-subtle way to gift a moment of happiness to my family and friends. After many trials and errors, I found the most full proof way of bringing smiles, oohs, and ahhs: cake pops.
My dear friend Christina had been asking me to show her how to make cake pops for some time. To be honest, however, it was a bit of a logistical nightmare. Cake pops are great party favors because they pack a punch in terms of flavor and presentation. Each guest gets an adorable bite-sized serving of cake and chocolate. However, because they are quite flavorful and labor-intensive, it’s hard to bake up a batch of cake pops to share with just one or two other people. In short, they are a party project.
I’m a foodie in the best and worst possible ways. Let’s just talk about the good ways – I love homemade things. I love cooking. I love new recipes. And by extension, I love ogling pictures of homemade recipes. For those reasons, I made no secret of really, really admiring First Time Foods (and Mr. Smith’s boss food photography). I was ECSTATIC when they asked me to help with a blog post which focused on my little home bakery, Megabites Bakery.
Working with First Time Foods is a cause for celebration and cake pops are a party project, so why not have a cake pop party? I invited Mrs. Smith, Christina and Katharine over to learn to make cake pops (with Will and Mr. Smith taking on tasting duties). I gave them the very bare basics of how to make cake pops and let them loose. I purposefully did not give them any ideas about what shapes and characters to make to illustrate the numerous creative possibilities for cake balls on a stick. As you can see, the results were impressive. Can you believe they were first timers?
The recipe may seem long, but I’ve tried to inject some tips that represent lessons I’ve learned in tragic ways along my cake pop journey. Hopefully, the recipe and tips will have you cake popping in no time. And if you just don’t have time to spend the day sculpting miniature snowmen out of chocolate cake? Give Megabites a shout.
Cake Pop Basics
Definitely a party project! Learn cake pop basics with this recipe and you’ll be cake popping in no time.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Decorating Time: 5 minutes per cake pop (not joking that this is a party project)
Yield: 30-36 Cake Pops
- 1 cake, baked per instructions and cooled (totally ok to make from a box)
- 1 cup of frosting (again, ok for this to be store-bought)
- 2 bags (12 oz.) of candy melts
- 2 tablespoons of paramount crystals
- sprinkles, edible glitter, candy eyes, etc.
- Lollipop sticks
- Ice cream or cookie scoop
- Floral foam or cups to hold the pops upright while they dry
- optional: Clear cellophane treat bag and ribbon for gift-giving and transport
- Crumble the cake into a large bowl. Adding half a cup of icing at a time, mix well with fingers until well combined. Stop mixing when your cake mix has a homogenous, smooth look and holds together when you pinch off a piece. You do not need to use all the suggested icing. I tend to err on the side of less icing for the sake of flavor and texture.
- Using the ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop out even portions of cake and roll them into balls (or the desired shape). If you don’t have a scoop, aim for balls with about a 1.5 inch diameter. Place on a cookie sheet and pop them into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Heat the candy melts and paramount crystals together in the microwave, adding a tablespoon of paramount crystals per bag of candy melts. Be careful not to overheat the melts. I usually microwave in bursts of 15-30 seconds and always stir in between bursts. Do not get water into your melts – it will cause the melts to seize and not melt properly.
- Dip the lollipop sticks about half an inch into the chocolate and insert the sticks halfway into each cake ball. Place the cake pop into the floral foam or cups to set for 5-10 minutes. You can speed up this process by putting the pops into the refrigerator for a few minutes. If your cake balls crack when you insert the sticks, never fear. Gently pinch the ball back together and “sew up” the crack by painting on a thin layer of candy melt.
- Put the mended cake pop in the refrigerator until the melt has hardened.
- When the cake pops have set on the sticks, it’s time to start dipping! Taking one cake pop at a time, dunk the cake pop into the candy melts. Working quickly, move the stick to the left and right to cover the entire pop (especially the area around the stick) in candy melt if necessary. Whatever you do, do not twirl the pop! The viscosity of the melts + twirling motion will dislodge the pop from the stick and then you’re going to be left with headless pops and crumb-y candy melts. If you’re having trouble keeping the pops on the stick, use a spoon to spoon the melts over the pops rather than submerging the entire pop.
- Stir the melts between pops. If it is not streaming off the spoon, pop it back into the microwave for 15 seconds.
- Let the excess melts run off the pop. You can very gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl to help the excess come off. Brace your finger on the stick right below the pop when you are tapping the stick on the bowl. This will minimize vibration. Vibration, along with twirling in the melt, are the bane of cake pops. Vibration will cause a lumpy exterior or, worse, will knock the pop off the stick.
- If you are adding decoration, do it before the melt has set.
- Place the pop into the cup or floral foam to set.
- Cover in the clear treat bag and tie with a ribbon, if desired.
I tend to reduce the sugar content in any cake recipe by 25% to accommodate the sweetness you will add with the frosting and chocolate shell. The flavor is up to you! You can find the candy melts at a craft store like Michaels, or online at Amazon.
Paramount crystals have been clutch for me. The crystals are essentially flakes of shortening that help the chocolate come to the desired consistency and also dry smooth. You can find them on Amazon or at craft and baking stores.
Patience – the candy melt consistency is the key to your success when making pops.The melts will be the right consistency when they run off the back of a spoon (or for me, a chopstick) in a thin ribbon.
Cake pops can be stored at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. If storing them for that long, store in a single layer. They may be stacked for temporary transportation. Let the cake pops come to room temperature before serving.