We never met a cake — any cake —we didn't love. But cake pops hold a special place in our hearts. From the kids' parties to fancy weddings, these little cuties are always the bite-size life of the party. And besides looking adorable, they're practical too, since they're so easy to display, serve and eat. Plus, with a sturdy candy coating, they're totally foolproof for making ahead and transporting.
Candy coating 101
Candy coating is similar to tempered chocolate but it melts at a higher temperature. Shopping for it can seem a little confusing since candy coating has a bunch of nicknames including "candy melts," "chocolate bark," or even just “chocolate." But it's actually pretty easy to recognize in the store; look for bags of bright-colored discs in a rainbow of hues, and you're on the right track.
Melting candy wafers
Here's what you need:
- Candy melts
- Microwave-safe bowl
Now melt away
Fill the bowl with candy wafers. Microwave for 1 minute at 50 percent power, then stir. Even if it doesn't look like anything has happened, stir to move the wafers around to avoid scorching them. Microwave again for 30 seconds at 50 percent power, and stir. Repeat at 30 second intervals at 50 percent power until the wafers have completely melted. Add more wafers to fill the bowl, if you wish, but don’t forget to stir at every 30 second interval.
Thin the coating if needed
If the candy coating seems too thick, you can fix that by stirring in some paramount crystals, which are made from the same oils contained in candy wafers. Add a tablespoon of paramount crystals at a time to the warm candy coating and stir until the crystals melt completely. You're going for a loose, fluid consistency, kind of like a can of paint. Since different colors and brands of candy wafers behave differently, this may take a bit of experimenting. Just keep fiddling until it feels right!
Take a pause
To avoid cracks in your finished pops, it's usually best to let the candy coating rest for about 5 minutes after heating and before dipping. The closer to room temperature the coating is, the better.
Time to dip!
Here's what you need:
- Lollipop sticks
- Cake balls
- Melted candy coating
- Cake pop stand or styrofoam block
Chill the cake balls
Before adding sticks to the cake balls, make sure the balls are slightly chilled. It's best to let them chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes after you've rolled and shaped them.
Insert the stick
Dip about ⅓-inch of the lollipop stick in the melted candy coating, then insert the stick into a cake ball until it’s about halfway into the ball. Dipping the stick in candy coating first helps "glue" the cake ball and the stick together, and also helps prevent the ball from sliding down the stick later.
Insert sticks in all the cake balls before moving onto the next step. If it's warm in your kitchen, pop the "naked" cake pops in the fridge for a few minutes before proceeding.
OK, this is the legit fun part. Hold the cake pop upside down. In one motion, dunk it into the candy coating until you see the coating cover the entire ball and meet the stick. Then lift up the pop and encourage the excess coating to flow back into the bowl by making an up-and-down motion with your arm. Now turn the pop right-side-up and give it a little twist, rotating the pop at an angle to help the coating settle evenly around the cake ball.
Use a toothpick to help guide any excess coating off the cake pop near the stick if needed. You can also use a toothpick to puncture any noticeable air bubbles in the coating.
Let 'em dry
Stick your finished pop in a cake pop stand or styrofoam block, then repeat the process until all of your pops are coated. Now stand back and admire those beauties until the coating is completely dry and hard. This timing will vary depending on the brand of candy melts you use, but is usually between 10 and 30 minutes. You can always pop the pops in the fridge if you're in a hurry.