There are approximately zero reasons not to love cake pops. Not only are they adorably bite-sized, but they're super easy to make. Here's how to whip up a batch without a hitch.
What You Need
- Cake (use your favorite recipe)
- Binder (try tacky frostings like Swiss meringue buttercream or cream cheese frosting )
- 12- to-16-ounce bag of candy wafers in any color (for beginners, dark brown is ideal)
- Paramount crystals
- Cookie scoop
- Wax-paper-lined cookie sheet
- Lollipop sticks
- Cake pop stand or Styrofoam block
- Gloves (optional)
- Sprinkles (optional)
Avoid cake recipes that call for oil, as it can cause cake pops to ooze and turn the sticks yellow. If you're using a box of cake mix, grab one that calls for three eggs, substitute the oil and water with 1 cup of milk and 1 stick (½ cup) of butter, melted.
1. Crumble the Cake
Crumble your cake in a bowl, either with your hands or a stand-up mixer. (Use the paddle attachment and a low speed setting.) Set aside about a cup of cake crumbs if you’re not used to this process; they'll come in handy later for troubleshooting if necessary.
2. Make the Dough
Add about 2-3 tablespoons of binder to your cake crumbs. This will “glue” the crumbs together to form a dough that’s pliable and easy to shape.
For best results, use a tacky frosting like honey buttercream, cream cheese frosting, Swiss meringue buttercream, creamy store-bought frosting or even straight cream cheese.
Mix the binder and cake crumbs with your hands, or use a stand mixer on low for about 3 to 5 minutes. It's tricky to specify an actual measurement of binder since every cake differs, as does each type of binder. Continue to add binder one tablespoon at a time until the dough has the consistency of Play-Doh. It shouldn’t be tacky, and it shouldn’t crumble if you form a ball or give it a squeeze between your fingers.
If the dough is too dry, add a little more binder. If it’s too wet or tacky, add the crumbs you set aside and incorporate into the dough.
Cover the dough in plastic wrap while doing the next step.
3. Form the Cake Pops
Use a cookie scoop to scoop your dough, then roll into balls using the palms of your hands. Keep the rest of the dough covered in plastic wrap as you take out a few scoops at a time. The balls should hold together well and not have cracks or crumbs.
Place cake balls on a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least five minutes. You can chill them longer if you want, just cover the top with paper towels if you do.
4. Melt the Candy Wafers
While the cake balls are setting in the fridge, melt your candy wafers to create a candy coating. Do so by placing the wafers in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for one minute at 50 percent power, then stir. Continue to heat the wafers in the microwave at 30-second intervals and 50 percent power. Make sure to stir between each interval until all the wafers have completely melted.
There are many brands of candy wafers; each color within those brands will melt into a different consistency. You'll probably see the Wilton brand everywhere, but higher-quality brands like Mercken’s and Clasen are usually only available in specialty-baking or candy-supply stores.
Once the wafers have melted, gauge the consistency and thin out using Paramount crystals if needed. (Paramount is the only product that won't affect the integrity of the coating; find it online or in specialty-baking or candy-supply stores.) Add 1 teaspoon of the crystals at a time while stirring to melt, incorporating completely.
5. Insert the Sticks
Remove the cake balls from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to take the chill off. If they've been in the fridge for over an hour, they’ll need to sit out a bit longer, about 10 minutes.
Dip about ⅓ of the lollipop stick into the candy coating, then insert the stick into a cake ball about halfway. This adheres the ball to the stick and prevents the ball from sliding down or shifting. Do this for each cake ball. The candy coating should harden and set after a few seconds.
6. Dip the Cake Balls
You’re ready to dip once your sticks are in place, your cake balls don’t feel chilly and your candy coating has cooled down. (Dunk a knuckle into the coating and if it doesn't feel hot, you’re good.)
Hold the cake pop upside down and dip it into the candy coating in one motion, then lift up and gently shake off the excess. Turn it right side up and add your decoration, like sprinkles or a drizzle of another candy melt color, while it's still wet. Place it on a cake pop stand or Styrofoam block to let dry completely. Repeat the process until all the cake pops have been coated.
And there you have it — homemade cake pops!
Find Your Next Project
Once you master the basic cake pop, dress it up and make these eye-catching desserts.