You’ve been putting it off, you’re afraid of the commitment, and you haven’t tried making cake pops yet. Well I’m here to tell you to get yourself to Michael’s for some candy melts, because YOU CAN DO IT!
Just look at how cute they are (it helps if you happened to pick up the Disney princess sprinkle pack because apparently no one stocks regular nonpareils anymore). And what’s more is, I have personally renamed them “crack pops” because they are SO yummy.
Are they a time commitment? Yes. But are the steps difficult? No – especially if you don’t try to fudge things. Kudos of course to Bakerella, the queen of cake pops, for this recipe.
You will need:
- 1 cake mix (Usually I make 1/2 a cake at a time)
- 1 can of frosting (1 cake will use 3/4 can of frosting. 1/2 cake will use half of that.)
- 1 bag of Wilton candy melts. You could also use almond bark, but I don’t know the amount. 1 bag of Wilton candy melts is about 2 cups of melted candy goodness.
- Lollipop sticks (get them at the craft store)
- Decorations for on top – if you do something besides sprinkles like chocolate chunks, make sure they are about the same size/weight as sprinkles, otherwise they will slide right down the semi-dry candy coating.
- Something to stick the pops in to set up, with holes 4 inches apart or so. I use a styrofoam block, but you could drill holes in part of a 2×4 for a more permanent piece of equipment). Styrofoam blocks can be found at the craft store in the floral department and cost a couple of bucks.
One day in advance of when you actually plan to do the pop construction, make your favorite cake in an 11×13 pan. You could also do it in the early AM if you’re going to make the pops that night. The important thing is, the cake has to be completely cool. Usually I make half a cake at a time, because that makes a dozen cake pops and change. It gives you room to mess up a couple. Another thing worth noting: while I generally prefer to make cakes from scratch, cake mixes have a little bit longer of a shelf life.
When the cake is cool, crumble it with your hands into fine crumbs – they need to be pretty smooth for a good pop consistency. Then mix in frosting. If you used a whole 11×13 cake, use about 3/4 of a can of frosting. If you used half, use a little less than half of the can of frosting. Use your fingers or a spatula to make sure that the crumbs are coated in frosting – they need to not be dry. Then scoop out into balls using a 1.5-inch cookie scoop. Use your fingers to pack it into the scoop to make sure the cake ball is dense, then drop onto a baking sheet with a silpat or some parchment paper. Once all of the balls are on the sheet, put it in the freezer for about a half hour. This is one of those things you can’t fudge. They need to be very near frozen.
At the end of the 30 minutes, melt your candy coating in a bowl that is at least 3-4 inches deep – depth is way more important than width. Microwave by 30-second intervals, stirring in between. And now it’s time to dip.
Take out two cake balls at a time. Dip a lollipop stick into the candy coating (it will act like a glue) and then stick it into a cake ball while you are holding it (to keep the shape). You’ll want to have it about halfway through the cake ball. Then let it rest for a couple of minutes so the candy coating gets mostly dry.
After the stick is dried in, dip the cake pop into the candy coating bowl. Don’t twist it – most of the time that will dislodge the stick and you will wind up with a lovely cake ball in a bowl of candy coating and an empty stick in your hand (disclosure: this happens to me at least once a batch, so don’t feel bad if it happens to you, too). Use a spoon to cover the full cake pop with coating.
Gently tap the cake pop on the edge of the bowl to get the excess candy coating off, and then turn right side up and plant one of the holes in the styrofoam block. Sprinkle on your decoration of choice, and then don’t touch for a few minutes. Repeat until you run out of cake balls.
These cake pops will be ready to consume minutes after you’re done covering them with candy coating, but if you aren’t eating them right away, you can store them in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Once they are hardened, they store pretty easily stacked in a tupperware-type container, but if I’m giving them away I like to package them individually in little upside-down treat bags tied with a ribbon.