Now that I’m in Pastry School, I am the official go to person for any and all things dessert. I mentally agreed to making a few sweet treats for my step kids’ school event, (they raise money for the school by selling food at intermissions) and this time I chose Cake Pops.
If someone else volunteers to bring something it’s no big deal. If I volunteer to bring something—it better be good. It better look good or it better taste good—both would be best… I thought Cake Pops would go over well because they were easy on the eyes and portable.
I chose to make a Lemon cake by Ina Garten and a Chocolate Ganache – Fudge cake with Vanilla Frosting by Sara Campbell, (recipe links are provided below). I had all the ingredients, so I was ready to go with those. White and dark chocolate were also available, so I used both after a quick taste test with my cooled cakes. Both chocolates also served as good contrasts to my cake flavors. Finally, Cake Pop flavors were indicated with yellow sugar sprinkles for the lemon cake and chocolate jimmies/sprinkles for the chocolate fudge cake.
While Cake Pops seem like a no brainer, there are a few things that can go wrong. In my test batch, I didn’t equally portion out my cake by weight and some pops came out a little larger than the others. At the dipping stage, some of the larger pops could not take the weight of the dark chocolate (which was considerably heavier than the white chocolate), and split in half. After eating those, I decided to cover the smaller ones first, then the larger ones, so if they broke I wouldn’t have crumbs in my melted chocolate.
Another thing I noticed was for me, white chocolate was a bit easier to work with than dark chocolate. It melted well and stayed fluid longer than the dark. I used quality (Belgium) chocolate, so I don’t think the chocolate was old or had been damaged prior to my using it, so I’m unsure about why I had dark chocolate difficulties…
Because I donate my baked goods anonymously—I usually get someone else to bring them after I make them—I secretly eavesdrop on people making comments and/or see their honest reactions to my food (Yes, I do this all the time and yes, I know I need help). Wouldn’t cha know everything I heard was positive! People seemed excited to see something different at the baked goods table and thought they were delicious. One poor soul suffered a loss when she took a bite into an extra large Cake Pop and the remainder plummeted to the floor, but I’m gonna go ahead and claim success. Happy people were enough to make me happy.
This was my first time making Cake Pops, so now that I’ve done this once, I have a host of small changes I will make so that next time around it’ll be more successful. My changes are included in the method section. This was good practice since school doesn’t start for another week, but for now, I’m glad I’m done.
See my method and ingredients list for Cake Pops below:
Yields 28 – 32 Cake Pops.
- 1 standard (10”) Bundt Cake—any flavor will do. Recipes I used: Lemon Cake, Chocolate Ganache Fudge Cake & Frosting.
- 1 Batch of Vanilla Buttercream from the Chocolate Ganache – Fudge cake recipe above OR any flavor that compliments the cake being used.
- 13-14oz of Dark Chocolate or White Chocolate (For 2 cakes, I used 13oz of White + 13oz of Dark)
- 1-2 teaspoons of Lemon Zest / To Taste
- 35-40 Lollipop Sticks (includes extra—you may drop/destroy a few)
- 35-40 Biodegradable Lollipop Plastic Bags + Twist Ties
- 28” x 12” Styrofoam Block, covered in Wrapping Paper like a Gift.
- 1 Bamboo Skewer
Step 1. Bake and cool cake thoroughly. Once cooled, breakdown cake into fine crumbs by rubbing the cake between gloved hands over a large bowl.
Step 2. Add Buttercream or Cream Cheese Icing to the bowl of cake crumbs. With gloved hands, gently knead frosting into the cake crumbs after each tablespoon of frosting is introduced. Frosting amounts needed will vary depending on how moist or dry your cake crumbs are. When cake crumbs hold their shape after being squeezed in the palm of your hand, they are ready to be molded. Use the same method as if you were making meatballs. Portion out each Cake Pop to .70 – .75 oz. (trust me on this one), and place onto a lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Overnight would be best.
My Chocolate Ganache Fudge cake was mixed with Vanilla Frosting. The Lemon Zest was added to the remaining Vanilla Frosting and mixed with the Lemon Cake.
Step 3: Melt Chocolate in two separate vessels and pour into two separate heat proof bowls. Place any additions, i.e. Sanding Sugar/ Jimmies/Sprinkles/Coconut/Chocolate Chips/Nuts, etc. in separate bowls. Gather sticks. Create an assembly line so that you can move quickly with the Cake Pops once out of the refrigerator.
Step 4: Make the Reinforcements. Remove the Cake Pops from the refrigerator. Leaving them in the pan, dip sticks so that about ½” is covered in Chocolate, then pierce the Cake Pop. Sticks should be inserted halfway through the pop. Do not insert the stick all the way through the pop. It will fall apart immediately or after the dipping stage. Refrigerate uncovered pops with sticks for another 30 – 45 minutes. With a bamboo skewer and a ruler, make holes approximately 3” apart on the covered Styrofoam block.
Step 5: Dip. Remove Cake Pops from the refrigerator. Dip cake into melted chocolate. At a 45˚angle, twist the Cake Pop or use a spoon to completely enrobe Cake Pop. Lift the Cake Pop out of the chocolate at the same angle and continue to twist the Cake Pop until chocolate stops dripping. Sprinkle any wanted additions onto the dipped Cake Pop and insert into the holes of the covered Styrofoam block. If you do not have a Styrofoam block, Cake Pops can be set on a lined baking sheet. Allow Cake Pops to set for at least 45 minutes. 2 hours would be better. Overnight would be awesome. 20-30 minutes of refrigeration will speed up the process. After that, Cake Pops should be left to set out of the refrigerator in a cool environment.
Step 6. Wrap. Once Cake Pops are completely set, place into lollipop bags and fasten with twist ties.