right now

right now

Dec 21, 2011

This mess brought to you by... Christmas!

Cake Pops!

I had a few people ask me how these are done, so here you go!  This is only my 2nd time doing them the "real" way, so this is very basic.  I know you can go wild with fillings, making shapes and animals and all that, but I definitely can't do that yet.

Before you begin, I'll be kind enough to give you my "lessons learned" from a prior headache and tear fest brought to you by my first attempt:  DO NOT buy one of those stupid cake pop "pans" or the cake pop "machine"!  They only make a dozen at a time then you have to clean up and start all over again 2 to 4 times to use up all your batter (a batch is approx 40 cake pops), they have you add "extra" ingredients to the batter, and then... they don't work!  They fall off the stick, just a headache in general.  The second tip is to save your sanity and just grab one of your 50% off coupons for one of the craft or fabric stores and buy the darn candy melting/warmer pot already!  The warmer works perfectly, every time, and is easily washed.  I can't stress this enough.  The first time I did the microwave AND a double boiler and both were epic failures.  You need to have the stuff melted to just the right consistency and kept there for a LONG time, and those methods will send you straight to the looney bin.  The last tip I have is to NOT use those perfectly round pareil sprinkles, they bounce all over the house and will have your dogs scrambling underfoot to get them all, you will trip on the dog and if you're a neat freak like me, once again, looney bin.

If you are really awesome, you will bake your cake from scratch, make your own frosting and all that jazz, but let's face it, I'm really not that awesome.

Here's a basic list of what you will need, adjust the decorations of course to what you want.

Ingredients: cake mix, creamy frosting, sprinkles or other decor, lollipop sticks, bags and twist ties if gifting, melting candy for coating the cake pop

1.  First you have to get "in the mood".  Put on your Yule Log DVD, light a tree scented candle, and get some holiday music going.  I prefer Tony Bennett, but if you are feeling especially brave you could opt for The Chipmunks.

2.  Bake cake mix according to directions, let cool, then crumble into fine bits into a large bowl.

3.  Add frosting (I use about 1/2 cup) and mix until you can feel the mixture "sticking together".  Think meatballs here.

4.  That's exactly what you are going to do now, roll into uniform balls exactly like you are making meatballs!

5.  Put your cake balls into the freezer for about 10 minutes or into the fridge for 1/2 hour so the mixture will set and not be as pliable.

6.  While your cake balls are chillin', get your stuff ready to put the lollipop sticks in.  You need to start your candy coating to melt and get a cookie sheet lined with parchment or foil, not important at this point what you use.  This is where you will rest your uncoated cake pops while the sticks set up.  This pan needs to fit in your fridge, so choose carefully :)

7.  Take your cake balls out of the fridge, and you are going to dip a stick and get some chocolate on the tip, about 1/2 inch or so, and insert the stick into the cake ball and place on cookie sheet to harden.  This is what really keeps the cake pop from falling apart and "glues" it on there.

8.  Once you have all your cake balls with sticks in them, place again in the fridge for about 1/2 hour or so.

9.  While that happens, lay out your stuff for decorating and get ready to make a real mess.  Your chocolate should be melted and turned to the warm setting, sprinkles out and foam block close by.

10.  Next part is usually the frustrating part.  You need to dip your cake ball in the melted coating, it helps to use a tiny spatula to cover the whole thing, since if you just start swirling away your cake ball is guaranteed to fall of the stick.  This whole process needs to be worked pretty quickly.  Pulling your cake pop out of the chocolate, use the spatula to lightly swirl around it to take care of any potential drips.  This is the part that most people get frustrated with.  I slowly rotate it for about 10-15 seconds until there are no drips, but it's still wet, and then sprinkle away!  I sprinkle over a bowl instead of a plate but it's still a huge mess :)

Note:  I'm a cook, not a baker - so I draw the line at frosting bags, tips and strange things like airbrushes and fondant - that stuff scares me!  I'm a "sprinkle" kind of girl.  If you are comfortable with all that other stuff, Google cake pops and the creations you will find are amazing.  Anyway, back to the sprinkles...

11. As you finish each one, rotate slowly again to make sure no heavy drips are going to mess it up, then stick it into the foam block to set up.  It sets up quickly and no refrigeration is needed after this point.

12.  Let them all set on the counter for at least an hour up to overnight.  These will stay fresh for several days now since they are sealed up in that hard candy coating.  You can leave them as they are or you can choose to put them into bags with twist ties if they are traveling or being gifted.  Mine are going to Loch's class party tomorrow so I will bag them.  Someday I will have hubby cut a nice piece of wood with holes drilled to serve these on, but they lay on a platter just fine since they aren't made into any cutesy animals or anything that would require special care. 

13.  You are done!  Well, except for cleaning up the bomb that went off in the kitchen...

*Here's another tip:  leftover chocolate candy can be poured into a lined container and in a couple hours you can just pop it out and place in a sealed baggie for next time.

 The cleanup crew!  It's handy to have a herding dog to round up all the rogue sprinkles...ahhhh, so this is what city herding dogs do!


You made it to the end of this post?  Congrats!  I agree, it's less messy to just read about it :)  By the way, if you actually make these and do not end up in the Looney Bin, you are absolutely entitled to eat a dozen or so in one sitting.  


  1. That's amazing, Erin! I've heard so many horror stories from friends who make tese professiknally, I've always been too intimidated to even try. But you make it sound like such a reasonable endeavour. My waistline and that of my beau's will not thank you for this lol

  2. Speaking as a NON-putzy kinda cooker/baker, just reading through this post will probably cause me nightmares tonight! ;o] Okay, I gotta admit they sure do look really festive and yummy but I seriously don't think I would survive through this procedure. (You know I have trouble frosting sugar cookies!)

    P.S. Excellent tutorial.

  3. Those look like lots of fun to make. I've seen them done where they just put the ball down on a piece of parchment paper instead of letting it dry with the stick in the foam. It sometimes makes the ball a bit flat on top but they still taste the same.
    We make peanut butter balls which is just peanut butter, margarine, and icing sugar. You roll into small balls and freeze. Then melt your chocolate and roll the balls in them. We don't mind if a bit of the chocolate pools around the cooling ball. They taste yummy.
    Thanks for the instructions cause now I've got to make some of these!

  4. reading momma peas comment sent coffee up the schnozzle--lol ya,they look beautiful and one day a while back [ say 30 years ] I might want to have tackled these. and I'm surprised school is letting you bring in home-made down there ,its a big silly NO-NO here .Is it our secret?,since they look store bought? hope you ,hubby and the boys have a wonderful Christmas

  5. I made these a while ago when they first came out. First time. LAST TIME. The mess was too much for me to deal with. But they are yummy. I'll stick with a cake in a pan. Much easier on my "german" nerves!!
    Merry Christmas , Erin!

  6. Kenneth, a "reasonable endeavor" - that made me laugh! They are truly a mess, but a mess that might actually be a lot more fun if you do it with another, probably less stressful than being alone!
    Mama Pea, that's me, I only do tutorials on ridiculous stuff LOL... and I would never do these "just because", only for a big occasion like a birthday or party! This is one of those things where I saw them for sale for $1.95 APIECE at Starbucks and thought to myself (I'm sick that way), "I can do that".... hahaha
    Sparkless, we are lucky that way, we are allowed to bring in homemade here. We get a list of allergies of kids at the beginning of the year, but most parents just be "smart" and not send in the usual suspects like nuts and such. I always label my stuff just in case too. I don't "do" gluten free though, I draw the line there and leave it up to the other parents to teach their kids what that means LOL.

  7. ooops sorry, that last comment was meant for Judy!
    Sparkless, I love those peanut butter balls, as well as love those rum balls done the same way, yum! These are just a novelty since they are on a stick LOL, although some of the creations I've seen would only work on a stick, there are some crazy creative, patient people out there - I'm not one of them!
    Sue, I'm into self-punishment LOL! I seriously have had so many people ask how these were done that's why I did this post, now I can just refer them to it instead of rehashing the gory details every time bahahahaha!

  8. Erin, that was a great tutorial! Since I've never attempted making these, I would have done all the wrong things and been seriously frustrated in the end. I bet they were a huge hit at the class party!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family! Hope your holidays are happy and filled with joy!

  9. You are a much braver woman than I. My shoulders started hunching with step 2. I would bet, however, that you are Loch & Finn's favorite person right now -- not to mention the entire class! Great tutorial (as usual). Aren't dogs such a big help??? Have a wonderful holiday!

  10. I am soooo excited you posted this! I have wondered how in the world people were making those cake pops. Also, thanks for the tip about the candy warmer. I never knew such a thing existed and after dipping 200 mounds candy balls and peanut butter balls this year I think I am going to invest in one of those.

  11. Anke, LOL that's why I figured I'd share my lessons learned, I definitely learned the hard way on these :)
    Susan, I was asked again today about 10 times at the school how to make them starting with the lady at the front desk, hence the need for the tutorial LOL!
    Melissa, that warmer is awesome! I got mine at either A.C. Moore or Michael's a couple weeks ago on sale for 19.95 and used a 50% off coupon so it was definitely worth the $10!

  12. Looks like a lot of fun! I'll have to come up with substitutes for the lollipop sticks and the form. Haven't seen either of those in Tanzania. However, by living in Tanzania, I can afford a housekeeper to clean up the mess afterwards :)

  13. OK. I totally loved this post. Baking cupcakes inside of icecream cones is very popular out here in Utah, but I've never seen anyone try "cake pops" before. Loved all the photos - and hey, we have a herding doggie, too! Thanks for visiting my blog today and commenting. Your blog is darling (even though it reminds me of how un-crafty, and un-home-makery a person I am). Keep in touch! - MoSop

  14. Alyssa, do you mean the styrofoam is hard to find? You could get away with laying them on waxed paper I'm sure, they would just have a few less sprinkles on that side LOL, I'm sure they would turn out great!
    MormonSoprano, hello! I have never heard of the cupcake/cone thing but it sounds very intriguing! As for the crafty stuff, I will admit I only know enough to be dangerous to myself, any truly crafty person would see right through me :) Hopefully one day I'll figure out one craft I like and just stick with it. What's amusing to me is that I never in a million years imagined myself ever owning knitting needles or a glue gun or sewing machine until about 2 years ago, then the sickness hit LOL!