So here it is, my very first tutorial on this blog. What have I chosen to make you ask? Well, partly because my daughter asked to make them yesterday, but also because they’re just such fun and anyone can make them, I decided to go with cake pops.
Never heard of cake pops? Neither had I until fairly recently. But the craze for them seems to have spread across the pond from America to the UK, just like cupcakes did a few years ago. How to describe a cake pop…. I would say a lolly made from cake crumbs and chocolate that is a little bite of delicious scrumminess. I can pretty much guarantee that, when you have tried one, you’ll want another. And then another.
There are a few different methods for making cake pops but the most common is to mix cake crumbs with buttercream before coating in chocolate and decorating. However, I’ve tried this a couple of times without any success. The little balls of mixture just kept cracking, the sticks didn’t stay in place and when I dipped them in chocolate, they’d crumble into pieces leaving a sticky, sloppy mess! Then I remembered seeing somewhere that an alternative method was to mix the cake crumbs with melted chocolate and this works so much better for me.
Now you know what they are, let me run through what you’ll need to make your own cake pops. I purposefully haven’t given you any specific measurements here as it really does depend on how many you want to make and how moist your cake crumbs are. Besides, any left over chocolate can easily be used up. And it’s not difficult to find a willing volunteer to lick out the bowl!
- Cake crumbs (see note at the end of the ingredients list). These can be any flavour you like. When I was making the cake pops for this post, I used chocolate orange flavour sponge.
- Dark chocolate. Or a combination of dark and milk chocolate. This really doesn’t need to be the expensive, high cocoa content stuff as it is simply going to be the glue that holds your crumbs together. I use Sainsbury’s cooking chocolate which comes in 200g bars.
- Lolly pop sticks. Not the wooden kind you get with ice lollies. You need the paper/cardboard ones. I tend to use Wilton ones, or similar, which you can buy in Hobbycraft, cake shops or on the internet.
- Candy melts. These will coat the outside of your cake pops. I prefer to use these as they set quickly and are available in lots of different colours. Plus they don’t ‘bloom’ like normal chocolate does (unless you have tempered it). Blooming is when little white spots or streaks appear on the surface of the chocolate. For this tutorial, I used pink and yellow candy melts.
- Sprinkles. Pick any you like. Match them to a theme or just go wild!
Cake crumbs note: I have loads (and I mean loads) of cake crumbs in my freezer. Whenever I bake a cake and trim the top off it or have to carve a cake, I keep all the off-cuts and crumble them up with my hands. Then I seal them in a food bag, label it and keep them in the freezer. When I want to make cake pops, I just grab some frozen crumbs, spread them onto a baking tray and leave them to defrost (which they do very quickly).
I realise that not everyone is as baking mad as I am so don’t worry, there are alternatives to having a mountain of cake crumbs in your freezer! You can bake a cake specifically to turn it into cake pops – once the cake is cooked and cooled, crumble it up using your hands. Alternatively, you can use a shop bought sponge cake and crumble this up.
- A baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- A mixing bowl and spoon.
- Something to stand your cake pops in. I tend to use florists oasis foam. But you can use a block of polystyrene, an upturned egg box, a small box with holes pierced in it or even just a glass.
Making the cake pops:
1) Place your cake crumbs in the mixing bowl. Make sure you have broken up any larger lumps.
2) Melt the dark (or mixed dark and milk) chocolate. You can do this in a microwave but ensure you melt it in short bursts and stir often so it doesn’t burn. I prefer to melt mine in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (this is often called a ‘double boiler’).
3) Once melted, put aside a small amount of the chocolate (you will use this later on). Gradually add some of the remaining chocolate to the cake crumbs and stir with a spoon.
If you were a fan of mud pies as a child, you will enjoy the next bit….
4) Keep adding melted chocolate until the cake crumbs start to stick together a bit. Now, put your hands into the mixture and see if you can squeeze some of them into a ball. If it still feels a bit dry and doesn’t easily stick together, add a bit more chocolate. Don’t add too much though as you do not want to have a wet mixture.
5) Now it is time to turn the crumb mixture into balls. Put some crumbs into the palm of your hand and squeeze them together quite hard so they are sticky and dense. Then shape it into a ball using your hands. You can make any size or shape you like.
My 5 year old had to take this photo as my hands were so messy!
6) Place the cake ball onto the lined baking tray. Continue to make up the balls until you have used up all of the cake mixture.
7) Now, get the melted chocolate that you set aside in step 3 above. If it has started to set, warm it up for 10 seconds in the microwave on the lowest setting. Dip the end of a lolly pop stick in the melted chocolate. Pick up one of your cake balls and hold it firmly in your hand. Carefully push the chocolate-dipped end of the stick into the cake ball. If any cracks appear, just squeeze the cake back together. Make sure you push the lolly stick over half way into the cake ball so it doesn’t fall out later.
8) Place the cake ball back onto the lined baking tray and continue to insert lolly sticks into all the cake pops.
9) Now you need to let your cake pops set so they become nice and firm. Either place the tray into the fridge for 20-30 minutes or leave them in a cool place (this will take longer).
10) While the cake pops are setting, you can get ready to dip and decorate them. Firstly, melt the candy melts according to the instructions on the back of the packet. I’ve microwaved them aswell as using the double boiler method (see step 2) and both work just fine.
Put the sprinkles you have chosen into bowls.
11) Next, take one of your set cake pops and dip this into the candy melts. Carefully swirl it around so the cake is fully covered. Try to work quickly to avoid the warmth melting the cake pop.
12) Dip the coated cake pop into the bowl(s) of sprinkles you prepared earlier.
13) Stand the finished cake pop in the florists oasis foam (or whatever alternative you have available from the equipment list).
14) Place your cake pops in the fridge where they will set very quickly (less than 10 minutes) or in a cool place until firm to touch.
Your cake pops are now complete and ready to eat!
Cake pops are great for kids parties and make lovely gifts when placed in a cellophane bag and tied with ribbon.
Children love to make cake pops as they really enjoy getting their hands dirty mixing the cake and chocolate together, choosing the colour of the candy melts and decorating them with sprinkles. My daughter has just turned 5 and she made her own mini batch of cake pops alongside me with only a little help (melting chocolate is really an adults job!). Here’s how hers looked.
Did you enjoy this post? I hope it has been helpful and that you have fun making your cake pops. Please share a photo of your cake pops – I love to see what you’ve been baking.
If you have any questions, just post them in a comment and I will reply back to you.