Make Your Dessert Table Sing With This Cardinal Cake Pop Tutorial

Cardinal Cake Pop

There’s nothing more picturesque during the holiday season than a red cardinal perched on a branch atop fresh white snow. So bring the beauty of these song birds indoors with a cardinal cake pop! The addition of these beautiful red birds to your gathering will surely make your holiday table sing.

Cardinal Cake Pops

Level: Intermediate

What You Need

  • Cake pop dough, ready for shaping
  • Red and black candy wafers
  • Paramount crystals
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Orange triangle sprinkles or orange Starbursts
  • Candy eyes
  • Angled tweezers (optional)
  • Toothpicks
  • Wax paper
  • Ziplock bag
  • Cake pop stand or styrofoam block
  • Cookie scoop
  • Scissors
  • Instructions

    1. Shape the Cardinals


    Before you get overwhelmed shaping the birds, don’t — when you break them down to their most basic shapes, it gets so much easier.

    Use a cookie scoop to portion out the cake pop dough and roll each scoop into a smooth ball. Droplet

    Then form the ball into a teardrop shape, as shown above.


    Lay the droplet on its side and gently press it flat against your work surface so one side of the droplet is flat and squared off. It should resemble the shape of a whistle. This will be the body and tail.

    Shaping heads

    Scoop another portion of cake pop dough and cut it into quarters. Roll each quarter in the same fashion as the body — into a droplet and then into a whistle shape. Each portions will be a bird’s head.

    Repeat this process for each cake pop. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

    2. Melt the Candies

    Red Candy Coating

    Remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. As the dough sits, melt the red candy wafers. Use paramount crystals to thin the coating if necessary.

    Pro Tip: Red candy coating can be difficult to work with. Try adding a few white wafers (which has a more elastic-like consistency) to the bowl of red. The depth of the color will not be compromised and it will help the overall texture.

    3. Form the Bird

    Shaped Body with stick

    Dip ⅓” of a cake pop stick into candy coating and push it into the bottom of the body piece at an angle, until it’s about halfway through. Do this for all body pieces.

    Adhering head to body

    Use the candy coating to secure the heads onto each bird body. Be liberal with the amount of coating you use to insure the head sticks properly. Do this for all the birds, and let them sit for a couple of minutes until the candy has set and hardened.

    4. Dip the Head

    Dip 1: head

    Partially dip the cake pop, submerging the head up to the neck portion where the two cake pieces meet. The goal is to fill that neck space and fatten up the head a bit. Place on the cake pop stand and let dry. Do this for all the birds.

    Good to Know: If at anytime you find that the candy coating is hardening, microwave the bag for 5-10 seconds at 50 percent power to soften again. Do this as needed.

    5. Dip Again

    Dipped Red

    Now dip the entire cake pop in the coating. Gently shake off the excess and let it dry on your cake pop stand or styrofoam block.

    6. Decorate

    Use a sharp knife to cut each orange Starburst into quarters and then cutting the quarters diagonally in half to make triangular pieces.

    Melt the black candy wafers and place the coating into a ziplock bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag to create a DIY piping bag.

    Pipe the black face of the cardinal, using a toothpick to help spread the coating as needed. Immediately attach the beak by pressing it into the black icing while it’s still wet.

    Quickly place eyes on the sides along the edge of the black. Repeat for all the birds.

    Cardinal Cake Pop

    Use the remaining red coating to add texture along the back of the cardinal to suggest wings. Place on your stand and let dry completely.

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