I’ve been making cake pops for baby showers and birthday parties for the past five years, and I’ve learned a few helpful tips and tricks along the way. Before I dive into them I should clarify – these tips are for hand-rolled cake pop truffles (the original kind) on a stick, although many of these tips can also apply to the newer kind of cake pops made with cake pop machines and baking pan molds.
10 Tips for Perfect Cake Pops
If you’re interested in kicking it old-school like me and prefer to roll your cake pops by hand, the first step is to bake a cake (9×13″), let it cool, and then crumble it up in a large bowl. The next step is to mix crumbled cake with a can of frosting – this makes your truffle-like filling.
Tip #1: Don’t use too much frosting! I actually start with about ¾ c. of frosting (or ½ a tub) and add more as needed. I don’t think I’ve ever needed more than 1 c. of frosting (or ¾ of a can) per 9×13″ cake. The more frosting you add the softer your batter/cake pop filling will be. You don’t want the balls to be too soft or they will slide around on the stick.
Tip #2: Refrigerate your bowl of batter at this point before forming it into balls. It will firm up your batter, making the balls easier to roll, and it will help keep the sticks more secure. You can refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight.
Next. roll your (refrigerated) batter into quarter sized balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Melt chocolate coating per package directions.
Tip #3: I recommend either using the candy melt circles (found at specialty baking stores or the baking section of JoAnns, Michael’s, etc.) or “CandiQuik” brand chocolate coating (in grocery stores near the chocolate chips) for your cake pop coating. It’s made to serve as the “shell” for a truffle or cake pop so it sets up much nicer than almond bark, chocolate chips, or other melted chocolate options. The finished product also won’t melt in your hands if you touch it like regular chocolate will.
Now it’s time to turn your cake ball into a pop by inserting a lollipop stick into one end, about halfway through.
Tip #4: Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating before inserting it into the cake balls. Return cake pops to wax paper lined cookie sheet.
Tip #4: Dip lollipop stick into melted candy coating before inserting into cake ball.
Tip #5: Wrap your cake pops on the cookie sheet up with cling wrap and place them in the freezer for at least an hour or two to firm them up. I recommend doing it overnight if you have time, just to break the overall cake pop process up.
Once firm or frozen, remove one cake pop from the pan at a time and carefully insert the ball end into the candy coating, holding it by the lollipop stick end. Cover cake ball in candy coating and softly tap and rotate cake pop until the excess chocolate drips off. (Be careful not to tap the cake pop too hard or the ball may fall off the stick.)
Tip #6: It is SUPER DUPER important not to get any water in your melted chocolate – water will turn your chocolate gross and clumpy.
Tip #7: I work with the chocolate candy coating in small batches, melting 3-4 squares of chocolate in a coffee mug at a time. I like to use a coffee mug because it’s narrow and tall, so a few squares of melted chocolate are deep enough to dip my cake pop into. I also use a spoon to help get the chocolate all around the cake pop (including slightly up onto the stick) and to smooth some of the excess chocolate off.
Tip #8: You can use the above tap and rotate method for your chocolate coating until it cools if you’d like a perfectly smooth cake-pop finish, but I like to coat my cake pops with sprinkles. Not only does it look cute, but it also hides any imperfections in your coating so you don’t need to worry about getting it perfectly smooth. If you’re opting to go the sprinkle route, you need to apply the sprinkles before the candy coating dries all the way. I tap and rotate my cake pop initially after dipping to get the excess chocolate off, and then I apply sprinkles when it’s close to hardening up, continuing to rotate the cake pop until the coating is done moving, so the sprinkles don’t shift around or glob up in one spot.
Sprinkles always gets the vote over plain in our family!
Tip #9: Poke cake pops into a rectangular piece of styrofoam (seen in the photo below) to dry completely. This will prevent them from having a flat side or the candy coating pooling up on one side.
Tip #10: Don’t wait until the last minute to make your cake pops – make them up ahead of time and freeze them! I’ve been freezing cake pops for years, and it’s such a lifesaver as it gets close to our party date to have one less thing to worry about. I’ve frozen cake pops for up to 3 months and they still taste (and look) as delicious as they day I made them. Thawing time is only a couple of minutes!
Although cake pops are time-consuming, they’re incredibly simple to make, so don’t let this deliciousness on a stick intimidate you. With these 10 tips you’ll be a pro in no time.
How could I forget? The most important tip: enjoy with a smile!