They’re here, they’re fantastic, and I’m obsessed with them. You see all of cute little variations and think, “Hey! You make cake, roll it, dip it, and voila”! Kind of like patty cake. Roll it and pat it, etc. But no, no, NO. It is NOT that easy. At least for me it wasn’t. It all started with Abby’s fourth birthday. The bumble bees (photo credit Bakerella). Mine did not turn out like Bakerella’s bumble bees. In fact, mine were grounded. Yes, they had wings, but they were stuck in a sad little pan.
The smiles on their faces were literally painted on. They were sad, trust me. However, cake pops are everywhere and my new goal in life was to make them. So I did my research. I scoured the internet. Food blogs. Dessert blogs. Google. The science of melted chocolate. And finally there was a good reason to make them. I was making dinner for a friend and all good dinners for friends need dessert. Here is what she got :)
There are few secrets to success. Master these and you’ll go far. Now I realize these are plain jane cake pops, but let me celebrate my small step for mommy-kind, ok? Making buses, basketballs, and bumble bees will no doubt take more practice and a fine tuning of skills, but a good foundation is always crucial.
Make your cake. Let it cool. I made this a two day job. There’s a lot of steps and with two small kids that means a lot of steps spread over a few days. OK, back to the steps. Make the cake. Let it cool. Enlist the help of your four year old to crumble up the cake. Take a deep breath, walk away if you must, but let the kid(s) play in the cake. Give them a big bowl and room to make a mess. Nice, small crumbled cake. Now most how-tos I’ve read say to add a half can of frosting–I’ve found this to be way too much. You don’t want a sticky mixture and most box cakes nowadays are super moist, so I added two heaping spoonfuls of icing and that’s all I needed. The mixture should be moldable, but not sticky. Get rolling! Roll the cake mixture into any shape you’re needing. You can even use small cookie cutters and smush the mix into them to get your desired shape. It gets tedious. Press on. Now, let them cool. I cover mine with plastic wrap and let them hang out overnight. I have a big mess to clean up from kiddo helping and need lots of time to regroup for the next phase.
*overnight chill period*
I half my cake balls so I can work in batches. Start melting your candy melts (ps, I did NOT like the Wilton brand). I do mine on the stove with a pot of simmering water and a glass bowl. I just dont trust the microwave and the stovetop method keeps it nice and melty the whole time. Here is the super secret step that made the world of difference for me: add solid shortening to the chocolate. I was scared. I didn’t want it to taste like shortening, but don’t be scared. I started with a Tbsp and then one more. Your chocolate needs to be fairly runny. Ok, chocolate melted. Get your sticks ready! Dip the tip of the stick into the chocolate (still in a bowl on the stove) and then into the cake ball. Don’t get crazy, just dip it enough to secure the cake ball (soon becoming a cake POP!) onto the stick. It should look like this afterward.
I finished a batch and stuck this batch back in the fridge while I worked on the other batch. Switcheroo back to the first batch. Super secret tip number 2: pour the runny chocolate into a deep reservoir (I used a cup)! It makes it tres easy to dip and pull out without incident. Dip the cake pop (good job! its a pop now!) straight down and pull it straight back up. I ended with a little DQ-like swirl on top. If that won’t suit your pop, do a very gentle tap tap tap. I hope you have your styrofoam block ready! Super secret number tip 3: cover your styrofoam with plastic wrap! :) That way you can reuse it if there are any drips! Or jumpers :(
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat, ad nauseum. Then celebrate. Take pictures. Show your friends. And enjoy :)
ps–flavor wise, go crazy. these were lemon cake and lemon icing. i <3 citrus. so so much.
Here’s a video:
My favorite cake pop links:
Bakerella –Easter bunnies, yes!
Bakerella –baby shower idea
Love and Butter –footballs
Love and Butter –funfetti pop rocks (DEFINITELY making these!)
Love and Butter –apple pops (for your favorite teacher maybe?!)
Three Kids and Us –conversation hearts