How to Make Cake Pops
Today we are going to dive into the tiny little morsels of goodness called Cake Pops, Cake Balls or Cake truffles. Many of you may have heard horror stories about cake pops, like cracking chocolate, cake pops falling off their sticks and the chocolate not melting properly, but with a few tips and tricks you can enjoy making cake pops that will wow your friends and family!
First, gather your ingredients and tools. Here is what you will need:
- A cake- any kind of cake will do. It can be a box mix or your favorite “from scratch” recipe. It can be baked in any shape or size of pan. (Note: if you use an oil based cake you may find that your sticks turn yellow and greasy after a few hours, so you may want to substitute butter in place of oil)
- Icing- for best results, use a buttercream that is made with only butter, no shortening (this will help your cake pops stay together better when they are dipped.
- Ice cream scoop
- A plate or extra cake pan lined with parchment paper
- Cake pop sticks or sucker sticks
- Candy Melts- at least 24 oz. This is also referred to as summer coating, chocolate coating or candy coating and can be found in craft stores and cake supply stores. During this tutorial we may refer to it as chocolate, do not be alarmed, we are still talking about Candy Melts!
- Styrofoam- to place your cake pops in once you are finished dipping.
Once you have everything gathered and your cake is made, we are ready to begin!
Making cake crumbs
Take your cake out of the pan and dump it in a bowl, you heard me, dump the cake in a bowl! Next, and this is the fun part, using your gloved hands or very clean hands mash up the cake into small crumbs…why your hands you ask? I have tried many ways of mashing the cake including, a food processor, a mixer, and a fork, and my hands have worked the best at getting the pieces small enough without them being too small and turning gooey rather than delicious.
Preparing the cake dough
Next add a small amount of frosting to your cake crumbs. You will want to add about a ½ cup of frosting for 5 cups of crumbs as Joshua John Russell states in his great video interview.
Again, using your hands mix up the frosting and cake until it is fully incorporated and the cake can form into balls and hold together. If you find your cake is not holding together well you can add small amounts of frosting until you get a good consistency. Please note, you don’t want to add too much frosting or you end up with cake mush and it isn’t as good as it sounds. Trust me!
Forming the cake pops
Now we are ready to form our cake pops. I like using an ice cream scoop to make sure my cake pops are a consistent size. Scoop out your cake pops, then using your hands roll the cake pops into tight balls. They should hold together well and not have cracks or crumbs. Remember to always make extras, just in case.
Inserting sticks and freezing
Place them on your plate and insert the sticks. I like to put the sticks in about half to three- quarters of the way into the cake pop.
Place them in the freezer for at least 1 hour. It is important not to skip this part! Your cake pops need to be frozen in order to dip them in the candy melts or they will fall apart in your candy which is never good!
Removing from the freezer
After an hour, pull your cake pops out of the freezer. They need a few minutes to warm up just a little. I know, you are wondering why I told you they had to be completely frozen and now I am telling you to let them warm up, well let’s go back to high school chemistry class for the answer. When something is frozen, it shrinks and when it warms up again it expands, so our cake pops have shrunk, just a little, so if we pull them out now and dip them, they will be beautiful for about 10 minutes and then you will start to see your chocolate cracking and cake pop insides escaping any way they can, we don’t want that! So leave your cake pops on the counter while you warm up you candy melts and that will be just about the right amount of time for your cake pops to expand and still be cold enough to not fall apart and to not crack your chocolate. If it takes longer than 15-20 minutes to melt your chocolate, place your cake pops in the refrigerator, then let them warm slightly before dipping. If you leave your cake pops in the freezer longer than 1 hour, they may need a little longer to warm up. They are ready to dip when they are still very cold, but just a little squishy on the outside.
Melting the chocolate
Melt your candy melts according the packaging instructions.
Warming up candy melts can be tricky, so here are a few tips that may help.
Remember the old commercials, chocolate melts in your mouth…you know the rest. The point is chocolate melts in your mouth! Which means chocolate melts at a very low temperature (below body temperature) do not try to boil your chocolate! When melted, chocolate should be a little warmer than room temperature.
All microwaves are different, but I heat my chocolate in the microwave at 50% power, never higher than that. You can even melt them at 20% power.
Make sure to melt more than you will need. The more candy melts you use the easier it will be to get them to work properly. I usually melt 24-32 ounces at once.
If you find that your candy melts are hot, but they are clumping together or forming “elephant skin” and will not drizzle, you got your candy melts too hot. Add a small amount of shortening and stir until melted. Stir until it is cool and you may be able to save your candy melts.
If you prefer using a double boiler to melt your candy melts make sure your water in the bottom pan does not exceed 130° F (or 50° C) and keep all water out of your chocolate, or your chocolate will seize up and you will have to start over with new chocolate. Not fun!
Now, your cake pops have expanded and your candy melts are ready to go. Gently dip your cake pops into the candy melts all the way to the stick, don’t twist them too much and don’t let them touch the sides or the bottom of the bowl. You can use the spatula to push the chocolate up to the stick as you turn the cake pop. Gently pull them out and shake them carefully. You can also tap them gently on the side of the bowl, but I prefer to just shake them. Once you have gotten most of the extra chocolate off the cake pops, twirl it just a little while shaking it gently to help even out the remaining chocolate then place it upright in the Styrofoam to dry.
Oh, they look beautiful! Dip the remaining cake pops and you are ready to wow your friends, family and customers, because everyone is going to want some of your sweet treats!
Check out all of these amazing cake pops made by Craftsy students! To learn more great cake decorating tips and tricks from professional cake artists sign up for an online cake decorating class today!