There’s something about cake pops that is so giddy and enticing, don’t you think? A cake. In a ball. Covered in chocolate. And Sprinkles. On a stick. Yum.
My mom’s sister is an amazing baker, but she lives a whole state away. Every Christmas she would unload armfuls of the yummiest treats, and cake balls were always one of my favorites. I would stand by the dessert table, feeling no shame whatsoever, as I devoured bite after bite of moist, decadent wonderfulness. I loved the whole cake on a stick idea from the very beginning, and had quite a time during my first few attempts. My pops just weren’t meeting the cake pop criteria necessary to stay on the stick and not look like lumpy globs. After a little Googling, and a little experimenting, and few texts to my talented aunt, I finally have it mastered. There’s nothing more that I would love than to share it with all of you! They are the PERFECT spring treat to make for a family get together, school Easter parties, or as a cheerful pick me up to someone in need of a smile.
Here’s the nifty printable. Detailed instructions are below. And lovies, I do mean detailed. Read at your own risk!
- 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
- 1 can icing (any flavor, but I like to match my cake's flavor)
- 2 bags candy melts any colors
- 6" Lollipop sticks
- 1 TBSP Crisco
- Sprinkles in various shapes and colors
- Styrofoam (that's not an ingredient, but you need it to dry your pops on)
- Cook your cake according to the box's directions and let cool for 15 minutes
- Warm icing in microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds and add to cooled cake (use 1 whole can for moist and dense balls or 1/4 of a can for fluffy cake like balls)
- Mix together with hands
- Form cake into balls eyeing amount or using ice cream scoop
- Freeze balls for 10-15 minutes
- Melt candy according to package directions
- Dip tip of lollipop stick into melted candy and then into cake ball (do this to all balls before moving on to next step)
- Starting with the first stick that you dipped, hold pop at an angle over melted candy bowl and spoon melt over ball while turning stick in your hand to cover all sides of the ball.
- Gently tap excess candy off of pop and decorate with sprinkles while still wet.
- Stick pop into Styrofoam to dry.
- Melt a few chips of alternate color candy and add a dab of Crisco. Pour into Ziploc bag and snip off the end. Move bag side to side over pop to "scribble" melted candy over pops.
- Let pops dry for up to an hour before bagging them.
- To display pops, purchase small tin can, Styrofoam block that fits into can (may have to cut in half), gift bag shredded paper or Easter grass, and 2 inch wired ribbon (I used printed burlap). I found everything but the ribbon at the Dollar Tree. You will also need small, clear, Cellophane party bags (I cut mine in half) and twine or something to tie baggies).
- Hot glue Styrofoam to inside bottom of tin can (make sure the top of the block is below the lip of the can) stick the cellophane covered and tied pops into Styrofoam by pushing down on the stick. Add shredded paper or Easter grass to the can to cover the Styrofoam. Add ribbon around the can, hot gluing it with a small dot of glue to the front and back of the can to secure.
Let’s get crack-a-lackin’, shall we darlin’?
Step 1: Bake yo cake. It’s nothing fancy. You buy a cake off of the shelf at the store, bake it just like it says on the back of the box, then let it cool for about 20 mins. or so. I like to take a soft spatula and slice my cake into 4 pieces and then scoop them into a large mixing bowl, stabbing them as I do to let off steam so that they cool quicker than they would in the heated pan. If you want to get crazy and make your cake from scratch, you can totally do that too……..are you waiting for a scratch cake recipe from me? Sister. Not today. But soon 🙂
Step 2: Scoop a whole container of icing into a microwavable bowl, and warm it for about 30 seconds (in the microwave, obviously). Pour it/scoop it over the cooled cake, and use your hands to incorporate it all together. Puh-lease take your jewelry off before you do this. Chocolate and diamonds are divine, just not so much mixed together. Now, this is going to make a super duper moist ball. I like mine like this. If you would rather your pop be fluffy and less dense, I would only use about 1/4 of the icing. Your call, not mine.
Step 3: Grab small scoops of cake and mold into a ball like shape. I can pretty much measure with my eyes when it comes to this, but if you REALLY don’t like subjectivity, then I’d suggest using about 1.5-2 TBS for every ball. Better yet, use your ice cream or cookie dough scoop. Perfect portions every time! One cake mix box should make nearly 3 dozen balls.
Step 4: Pop those babies into the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Now would be a great time to set up your decorating area!
Step 5. To decorate my cake balls I like to use the long (6″) sticks. Wilton carries two sizes, and I find that the shorter size sticks almost leave my pop a little too top heavy and awkward. I find it uber convenient to have Styrofoam on hand to stand my pops up in while they dry, I bought mine down the craft aisle at Wal-Mart.
I’ve used almond bark in the past, but I find that the candy melts work much better, plus the variety of colors to choose from means that I’m less likely to have to dye my own, YAY!!! 1.5 bags should be plenty to cover your pops, but I like to use a few candy melt chips in other colors to drizzle on top as an accent. If you are a crafter, its great to have these little beauties on hand for things like this. Wal-Mart carries these too, but they will be down the cake decorating aisle next to the scrapbook supplies, NOT with the groceries, so don’t panic when you don’t see them by the cake mixes. Hobby Lobby and Michael’s carry them as well.
Make sure that you have plenty of sprinkles to decorate with to your heart’s content.
Step 6: You will melt your chocolate by heating whatever amount you are using (a whole bag is a great start since you’ll be dipping all of those cake balls. If you want to use multiple colors as your base coat I would only warm up half a bag and then go from there with your other colors, etc.) for 1 minute. Stir wafers for a bit and then pop back into microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat in 30 second intervals until melted. One bag should only take 3 sessions in the microwave. Anything less should only take two sessions.
You will want to add Crisco to your melted candy. I would recommenced 1 TBSP for an entire bag of candy, 1 tsp for 1/2 of a bag, and 1/4 tsp for anything less. This will thin your candy to make it easier to pour evenly on your pop. It also adds a nice sheen! I wouldn’t use the off brand, Crisco is one of those items of which you just can’t get the same quality in the generic form, in my experience at least.
Stir this all around until it is mixed in perfectly!
Step 7: Dip your stick about 1/2 an inch into the melted candy and then stick it into the cake ball (that you’ve magically retrieved from the freezer since step 4). Push it into the cake ball until your stomach wants to turn because you’ve nearly gone too deep and you’re scared that you’re on your way to ruining your hard work-which is usually about 1 3/4 inches deep.
Step 8: Starting back at the first stick you set (so your candy has had a little time to harden around the stick) hold your pop at an angle over your bowl of melted candy and begin pouring the candy over the pop while simultaneously turning the pop so that the candy reaches every part. Once the edges and bottom are covered, turn it upward a bit and pour candy over the top. This step will become rhythmic after you find your pace, but for the first few pops, you will have to practice until it feels right for you. I can usually cover a pop in 3-4 spoonfuls of candy, but it wasn’t always this way! Tap your pop on the edge of the bowl and patiently let the excess candy drip off.
Having someone else on hand to decorate while the candy is still wet would be phenomenal, but if not, you will want to have an extra bowl set aside for you to sprinkle over to catch the excess. Now is the time to add whatever pretties you want to add to the pop. Once you are finished, secure the pop into the Styrofoam, and continue on your way!
a little dribbling down the stick may happen. If it is a lot, tap the pop again to remove it, but it’s just a tiny bit, like above, take a chill pill.
Step 8: If you want to drizzle another color candy melt on top, now would be a great time. I used pastry bags and tips a few times, but that was a headache to clean up. Just microwave 4 or 5 chips like previously, add Crisco (small tip of a spoon) and scoop into a small Ziploc. Cut a teensy bit of the tip off and squeeze the melt in a side to side direction over the pops. The candy will fall on the Styrofoam, and on the counter too, but you can clean it easily later.
Step 9: Once all of your pops are decorated, let them harden! An hour would be sensational, but last week, I was making a last minute batch for my little brother’s school fundraiser and literally bagged them 10 minutes after they were dipped! They had hardened enough, and were able to handle my swiftness, but every climate is different, just do what works for you!
Step 10: If you are wanting to bring the pops to an event, they will need to be individually wrapped. I think I mentioned before how I keep cellophane bags on hand ALWAYS. I didn’t like how long they were when I tried to put them over the pops, so I cut mine in half. Twine is also good to have on hand for things like this. I get mine at Michael’s (in the $1 section), at TJ Maxx at times, and the red colored string is actually from the yarn section at Wal-Mart. Tie the bag with the twine and your pop is secure!
Step 11: Now, I always struggled with how to display cake pops, because they’re long and larger on top, and just awkward, am I right? Some people lay them upside down in small cupcake liners and serve them that way, but I wanted them upright. This is where the good ole’ Dolla’ Tree comes in handy. I made a trip with my two amazing helpers for the day, Lauren and Andrea, (AKA Lolly, and Auntie Andie) to find something that would help me create what I had in mind. Now, if you want to make these for a school activity or gift soon, RUN to your local Dollar Tree and snatch up the supplies.
I bought: Small colored pails. Each one does a great job holding 1 dozen pops without looking too crowded.
Styrofoam block (in the floral area with the other Styrofoam, moss, things of this nature) I cut mine in half with a serrated knife. 1 block will serve 2 pails.
You will also need the cut paper filler that you find either with the Easter goodies, or with the gift bags. I used 1 bag for 2 pails.
You will need a decorative ribbon if you would like for the pail. My mother in law had some printed burlap on hand for me to use. 2 inch ribbon of any kind is what you will need. Wired ribbon holds its shape well, so if you can snag some, please do! If you like the look above you can get some of the burlap ribbon at both Wal-Mart or a craft store.
Now, to decorate:
Hot glue the Styrofoam to the bottom of the pail to keep it stable. This step is necessary!
Start adding the pops to the Styrofoam. Make sure that you push them in using the stick, not the top of the pop! If you do, the stick will come through the top of your beautiful covered candy top, and you will want to cry, so just push the stick, okay?
Once 12 pops are secure, take 1/2 of a bag of shredded paper and stuff it into the gaps between the Styrofoam and the edge of the pail and the pop sticks. I think it looks cute disheveled and popping up over the side here and there.
You will then tie your ribbon around your pail using whatever method you think looks best. Once it is tied, secure it in the front and the back with a drop of hot glue.
Now your pops are perfectly beautifully deliciously presentable and ready for ANY occasion!
If you can follow Andrea’s picture tutorial on how she tied her ribbon, kudos. It would be super complicated for me to explain, and I think the pictures speak well. In the last photo she is cutting the ribbon at an angle to make the ends have the “award ribbon” appearance as I like to call it. Just bend your ribbon in half, and cut at an angle downward from the center of your ribbon (starting about 1 inch upward from the bottom, towards the bottom).
Aren’t they pretty?
Big thanks to Aunt Lolly for introducing Hattie to sprinkles. She ate about 20, which is the equivalent of one M&M, so I was cool with it.
I tried to be sweet and let Hattie have a cake pop, since I think it’s one of life’s sweet treats, but Ben says she has an aversion to sweets since she hardly eats them. We practically force fed her the one bite she took before she was over it. But she looks cute anyways.
Top: Baby Gap (similar) obviously un-ironed was in style that day ey?
Leggings: Jennifer Ann’s spring line
Shoes: Freshly Picked
Headwrap: Jennifer Ann
Get to poppin’ ladies!
As always, I can answer any questions below, or through email!