How to Make Cake Pops

Posted by on Mar 3, 2013 in Cake Decorating | Comments


How To Make Cake Pops: Table Decorated with Lots of Cake PopsToday we are going to dive into the tiny little morsels of goodness called cake pops, also known as cake balls or cake truffles. In your time baking and cake decorating, surely 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! For a bit of inspiration and a visual guide, Craftsy instructor Joshua John Russell (who teaches the FREE mini-class, Modern Buttercream) gives a great video interview discussing tips on how to make cake pops.

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, and can be baked in any shape or size of pan. This Buttermilk Cake recipe is butter-based, and makes a cake that is a great consistency for creating cake pops.
    • (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.) This Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe works very well.
  • Ice-cream scoop
  • Gloves
  • Spatula
  • 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.

Baking the Cake

First things first, you’ll want to make the cake! Your standard white cake will work perfectly for cake pops. If you’re newer to cake baking and decorating, be sure to check out The Wilton Method beginner cake baking and decorating class series on Craftsy. Wilton’s Beth Somers walks through the fundamentals of baking, buttercream, piping and more.

Once you have everything gathered and your cake is made, we are ready to begin!

Step 1: Making cake crumbs

Take your cake out of the pan and dump it in a bowl. Yes, you heard me, dump the cake in a bowl! Next, and this is the fun part, using your gloved 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 making them too small and turning the cake gooey rather than delicious.

Step 2: Preparing the cake dough

Next, add a small amount of icing to your cake crumbs. You will want to add about a ½ cup of icing for 5 cups of crumbs. Again, using your hands, mix up the icing 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 icing until you get a good consistency. Please note, you don’t want to add too much icing or you may end up with cake mush, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Trust me!

Step 3: 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. Cakes Shaped into Smooth Balls, Ready to be Stored

Step 4: 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 one 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! Cake Balls with Sticks Inserted

Step 5: 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 a bit. 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 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.

Chopped White Chocolate Pieces

Step 6: Melting the chocolate

To melt the chocolate, follow the instructions on the packet. Warming up candy melts can be tricky, though! Read our blog post on how to melt white chocolate, and follow these tips to help you out:

  • 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 it 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, the candy melts are 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!

Cake Pops Next to Bowl of Melted Chocolate

Step 7: Dipping

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 the cake pop upright in the Styrofoam to dry. Cake Pop Dipped into Bowl of Melted Chocolate 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!

Cake Pops, All Dipped in Chocolate and Drying In the mood for chocolate and cookies? You may enjoy this delicious recipe for Oreo cake popsFor inspiration, be sure to check out all of these creative cake pops made by Craftsy members!

To learn more great cake decorating tips and tricks from professional cake artists, see a full list of online cake decorating classes, including beginner cake decorating classestoday!

Comments

  1. Nancy Noel says:

    Theses do not look that difficult. Thanks.

  2. Joanne Myles says:

    Thanks, ive always wanted to know how to make these and they dont look that difficult at all!!!

  3. carol reed says:

    dip your sticks in the chocolate BEFORE u dip into the cake ball….it will act as a glue

    1. Karla Posner says:

      I agree I wondering why she didn’t have that in the instructions! I made some today with funfetty cake mix and frosting and dipped them in pink chocolate! They turned out so cute! They were for my friends 5 years birthday party!

  4. Cayla Turner says:

    I made some last year, with an orange cake mix, a can of vanilla frosting. I didn’t have any candy melts, so I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips (with a bit of parowax) in a double boiler…the combination of chocolate and orange was fabulous. I dipped them in some multicolored sugar before the chocolate was still soft…very pretty!

    Now, though, I have a cake pop maker, which is a wonderful thing, as it cuts down on the sugar content!

    1. Diannah Carmichael says:

      Hi Cayla:

      The pop maker you have is it the small electric pan with half balls top and bottom?
      I have been reluctant to try it.

      thanks diannah

  5. Love this tutorial Thank U!!! I’ve always had problems with these little cakes on a stick! I’ve been making Cake Balls! And so much easier!! But will try your tips and see how it goes! My problem is the chocolate melting. Especially with the Wilton Chocolate……when I buy the bags some of them melt beautifully and then there is always a bag that doesn’t melt right! :-(
    Any tips in coloring chocolate?

    Yaneri

    1. Erica W says:

      You can add a little shortening to the candy melts to make a smoother consistency. Wilton makes precolored melts that you can combine to create other colors or use alone. To tint candy melts or chocolate use only oil based candy color or flavoring. You can also get candy coloring from Wilton.

  6. Tamara says:

    How long does cake pops last

  7. Elizabeth D. says:

    I am going to make cake pops for the Fourth of July and I’ve never made them before. I don’t have a cake pop maker so I didn’t know how I was going to make them. Thanks to you I now have a solution! It looks very easy. Thanks so much!

  8. Linh Nguyen says:

    thank you so much for that amazing tutorial it helped me a lot! I was planning to do something simple for 4th of July then cake pops just pop in my head and again this tutorial helped me and inspired me a lot :)

  9. Janice Suyao says:

    Hi, it’s nice to know that there’s a helpful site like this one. I tried making cake pops ( first attempt). I wasn’t able to cool down my cake. It was still a bit hot when i put the frosting. I mixed it and put it in the freezer for an hour. After that i put on the stick but it didnt stick. My cake became so watery. Tendency is the cake didnt hold on to the stick. Can someone help me what to do? I will really appreciate your help.

  10. Carol Winter says:

    Use a cake pop marker saves time as only takes 4 mins to cook a batch of 12. I wouldn’t be without it.