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Easy Cake Pop Tutorial

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I’m in the mood to share a Tutorial for how to make those awesome Cake Pops like you find at Starbucks. My son is a HUGE fan.  I don’t allow him to have real lollipops because I hate sticky, but these can easily be eaten in the car without making a sticky or crumbly mess.  They are full of sugar so be warned.

These really make lovely additions to any birthday or shower event.  You can even get creative with shapes (and dare I say, naughty) for your next event.  Be warned-  I did include blurred photos of my scandalous Cake Pops as well.

This tutorial is for the lazy pressed for time chef.  Feel free to substitute actual handmade cakes and icing for the box variety.

Supplies to buy:

  • 1 Box of Cake Mix (any flavor)
  • 1 Container of Icing (any flavor)
  • Lollipop Sticks (50 count bag)
  • 2-3 bags Candy Melts (any flavor)

Supplies you own:

  • Large Mixing Bowl (or 2 in case you don’t want to wash the batter bowl and reuse)
  • Spatula
  • 9×13 Baking Pan (like for sheet cakes)
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment/ Wax Paper
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape

Nice to have:

  • Cookie Dough Scoop
  • Sprinkles/ other decorations
  • Food Coloring (to tint the white chocolate)
  • Plastic Wrap or Lollipop Wraps/ Ties
  • Foam block (to stick Pops in after)

Before you start!

Very Important!
Make sure you have enough room in your freezer to place your cookie sheet inside with sticks pointing up.
You will also want to have an area for your chocolate covered Cake Pops to dry in an upright position.  I used the Cake Box with holes punched in the top.  Tape the box closed, punch holes on the top with enough room for pops to not touch.  They dry so quickly you really only need 5-6 holes.


Decide how much of the process you would like to do at one time.  You can do everything at once but there are waiting periods while you bake the cake, while the cake cools, and while the lollipop sticks set.  I found it easiest to bake the cake and let it cool, then make the balls and decorate when I knew I could dedicate an hour or so to the task.  Since you are working with melted chocolate you don’t want to stop and start in that phase.

Let’s Do This!

Step 1: Bake a cake. You could get all Martha Stewart and make one from scratch, or if you have preferences for Gluten Free or have other special dietary restrictions you might have to.  For me, a box is dandy and cuts down on the overall time of the project.  In 5 minutes I can have a cakes batter ready to pour in my 9×13 glass pan.

Follow the directions on the box- there are no alterations to the recipe for the pops.

Once your cake is done let it cool completely for 30-45 minutes.  Or go clean your house, forget you baked a cake, and magically you walk by the oven and a cool cake is sitting on top.  That works too.

Step 2: Crumble that cake. You can use your hands and grab pieces from the dish and crumble it into a large bowl.  Or, take a rubber or plastic spatula and break it up in the dish, then pour the crumbs into your bowl.  You want it to be very fine.

Step 3: Add icing. Start with about half of the container of icing and fold it in, then knead it.  Using hands is far more effective but I’ll admit to using a spatula.  It took longer.  You want the cake crumbs and icing to resemble dough in feel.  If you make a ball and it doesn’t stick together well, add more icing.  I used 3/4 of a container.

Step 4: Make naked pops. You’ll need your chocolate melts, lollipop sticks, parchment paper, cookie sheet, and optional scooper.

If you are going to form the pops and cover them in chocolate right after, go ahead and melt a full bowl of your chosen chocolates.  If you want to just use enough chocolate to put on the stick then melt a very small amount.

Melt Chocolate

If you are lazy pressed for time like I am, you want to buy the Candy Melts.  These can be found at Joanns or other craft store.  They melt in the microwave.  You can also use other chocolates and a double boiler if you’d like.

I used a half bag at a time.  Following the directions on the bag I set my microwave to half power (5) and cooked for 1 minute, then stirred.  Then another 30 seconds, stirred.  Repeat until smooth and liquidy.  For just sticks I used a few chips and it took 1.5 minutes total.  If you chocolate starts gumming up reheat for 30 secons on half power again or until smooth.  DO NOT set it and forget it.  Chocolate burns easily.

Now that you have the chocolate, start rolling balls.  My first batch came out huge once the chocolate was on so I really recommend a cookie dough scoop for size.  It doesn’t compact the balls enough though.  You still need to roll the balls in your hands until they are tight and round.

Cover the tip of your lollipop stick in chocolate and then insert into your ball.  Not too far, not too shallow.  Think of the depth of a regular lollipop and mimic that.  The reason you add chocolate to the tip is to prevent the ball from sliding off, so don’t skip that step.  Size does affect stability also- too big and they will fall of or break.

Scoop, roll, stick.  Scoop, roll, stick. Do this until you have a sheet of pops.  Stick those in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: Apply Chocolate and Decorate Pops. Think about what these Pops are for.  Special Occasion, Greedy Toddler, Just Because?  You can make them smooth, or not.  If you just want to make very nice, smooth Pops, find another tutorial.  Mine aren’t that “smooth” like the ones from Starbucks.  This probably has everything to do with the chocolate I used.  If you have a double boiler you can really get the chocolate nice and thin, very liquidy, and dip your Cake Pop in that.

With the Microwaved Chocolate it wasn’t super thin.  I dipped some but found it was best to cover the Pops with spooned on chocolate, then smooth it out.  Because we froze them they are relatively hard, but not solid.  But since they are cold the chocolate begins hardening almost instantly.  Keep that in mind.  My chocolate was tinted with fod coloring.

Decorate- Sprinkles, other colors of chocolate drizzled on, or adding cute little candies on top are all good ideas.  Or, get much more elaborate.

Bonus:

The cake dough can be molded or shaped also.  Craft stores sell candy molds (the fewer details the better considering what you are working with, basic shapes would work well) or you can hand form the shape you desire.

I decided to come up with a few shapes.  Some are NSFW so click the blurred image for the bigger, uncensored version.  I came up with the Boobs because after my first son was born I saw a Lactation Consultant until we had breastfeeding mastered.  In her honor I commissioned Booby Cookies.  I could have made these instead, I would be 40$ richer.

The Penis Pop would be an awesome Bachelorette party favor.

And the Preggo Belly Pop is good for the (hungry) mama to be for a Baby Shower!

These are by no means perfect but a more artistic person could do great things with these!  I actually used a knife to correct and smooth out the chocolate.  For the nipples, the points were made by just dripping the chocolate on after the initial round circle for the areola.  While half wet I pushed the end of each so they weren’t sharp, just a blunt point.

When your Pops are wet you will need to have them dry upright.  Use the ghetto cake pop stand I described in the post earlier.  Works like a charm.

Step 6: Wrap and Store. Want to know why I made these?  Because every frickin’ time I go to the Starbucks drive-thru my toddler demands a “Bali-Pop.”  In fact, he thinks all drive-thru’s are for lollipops.  The Cake Pops from Starbucks are 1.50 each.  This adds up quickly (please forget that I am also getting a Grande Soy Toffee Nut Latte.) From now on I will be grabbing a “Bali-Pop” from my freezer before heading the Starbucks so that I save some money.  I have about 25 in my freezer.  Forgetting the supplies to make them, that saves almost 40$!

I decided to put half in my fridge for a Playdate and I froze the other half of this batch.  For the fridge pops I stuck them in the foam brick I had laying around.  To freeze I wrapped each Pop in Saran Wrap then placed those inside of a TupperWare container.  Grab and let defrost as needed.

Step 7: Eat and Enjoy! These babies are RICH and super sweet.  You can experiment with different cake and icing flavors.  My first batch was yellow cake vanilla icing with milk chocolate and white chocolate on the outside.  My second batch were carrot cake pops with cream cheese icing and white chocolate shells.

Total Time (Including Baking and Waiting)- 2-3 hours.

Total Cost: 10.00$ for about 27-33 Pops (depending on Size)

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Kim Rosas began Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009 out of a desire to help more parents understand modern cloth diapers. She lives in Florida with her husband of 5 years and her two boys. Even though none of her boys wear diapers anymore she is still just as committed to promoting them. In her spare time Kim enjoys video editing, photography, and coffee.
  • kristen

    i like that you made dirty cake pops.  haha.  i made shapes too and i’m surprised my dirty mind didnt go there for once.  i made a seashell, a tiered cake, an ice cream cone and mini cupcakes.  i dried them upside down though…which means they will have flat tops.  i was going with what worked easiest, since i am brilliant and decided to do these at 11pm.  i used funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.  the grocery store had milk chocolate disks in a cup that you microwave and i used ghiradelli white chocolate chips and melted them down.  it was too thick so i read online and they suggested addin veggie oil to thin it.  i used a teeny amount and it helped but i could have used more. 

    came out very tasty but i really need to go brush my teeth!!!  super sugary!

  • Jenlcrum

    Thanks for the tutorial.  I tried to make cake balls (pops without the sticks) once before and failed miserably.  I think I’ll try it again your way!

  • http://twitter.com/chgdiapers Maria

    I made these in ’08 (cupcake pops) http://www.bakerella.com/chocolate-cupcake-pops/ after bakerella made them on the Martha Stewart show.  I had never heard of them before that and now they’re everywhere! :-)

    • Anonymous

      I never heard of them until Starbucks lol!

  • Erin

    these look great!  The only time I made cake pops, I took the uber-lazy route, and simply dipped donut holes and decorated them.  Not quite as sweet, but still cute and very fast!  :)

  • Samantha

    I love making cake balls/pops too! I just like to be boring and buy milk/white chocolate almond bark from the grocery store. Melt it down and add a spoonful of Crisco. It really thins out the chocolate and helps you get a thinner, smoother finish! I bought a styrofoam block and punched like 16 holes in it to use as my drying board. I’ve “decorated” with everything from sprinkles to coconut to Andes mint chips. The beauty of cake pops is that you can make them in ANY WAY that you want!! : )

  • Marie Johnson

    Food coloring contains water and makes chocolate/almond bark “freeze up” there is oil based food coloring especially for coloring candy that is made with oil instead of water. This way the chocolate coating will stay smooth and be easier to dip. :)
    You could also order them from me! Cake pops are shipable! :) http://www.scrumptiousbymarie.com


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