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Cake Pops

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**Update 5/12/11: If you are here looking for answers to cake pop questions, please check my Cake Pops FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide before leaving a comment.  I also have a recipe for making cake pops or balls with leftover or broken cake here, a recipe for Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Pops, and a recipe for Cupcake Bites (cake balls that look like little cupcakes–the easier version of cake balls).  For my full pops index, click here.**

These pops are essentially cake truffles on a stick and are very simple to prepare: Bake a cake, mush it up with frosting, roll it into balls, insert a stick, and dip it in chocolate! These things really are a hit with kids because they are so fun, but adults seem to enjoy the delicious truffle-like confections equally well.

Want to make some? Here are step-by-step instructions, complete with videos.

Cake Pops
Makes 40-50 pops
Printable Recipe

What you will need:
1 (14.25 oz) box cake mix, any flavor
1 (16 oz) tub frosting, any flavor (you will not need all of it)
or 1/3-3/4 cup homemade frosting (I use my Cream Cheese Wedding Frosting)
1 (24 oz) package of almond bark/candy coating (white or chocolate)
Sprinkles
Lollipop sticks
3″x4″ cello bags
Curling ribbon

Bake the cake mix according to package directions. Once it’s cool, crumble the cake into a large bowl. I prefer to process mine in the food processor to fine crumbs. Place in a large bowl and stir in half of the frosting container or 1/3 cup of your homemade frosting. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined and thick like a truffle center. Mix in additional frosting if necessary.  You just want enough to get the crumbs to stick together when you roll them into balls.  Do not add so much that the mixture becomes soft and mushy!

Roll mixture into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. I usually do this step the day before and then dip them the following day.  Do not freeze them before dipping or it may cause the chocolate to crack after they are dipped.

Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the flat end of the cake balls. (Bakerella says to insert a little less than halfway, but I go more than halfway b/c I imagine they stay put a little better when dipping.)

The cake balls will have a flat bottom from resting on the cookie sheet. Insert the stick into this end so the top will be round.

Carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered, remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too. Immediately cover with sprinkles before the chocolate has a chance to set, then insert in a styrofoam block to harden.

You want the chocolate to come over the platform you created when inserting the chocolate-dipped stick, but you don't have to cover it all the way to the stick.

Tap off the excess chocolate.

Add sprinkles before the chocolate has a chance to set.

I wrap my styrofoam board in plastic wrap to keep it clean so I can reuse it.

See the two hiding in the corner?

I ran out of sticks so I just made these two into cake truffles. To do this, drop one ball at a time into the chocolate and lift out with a fork, tapping off the excess chocolate. Place on wax paper to set.

This video illustrates the dipping process. Forgive my PJ’s–I made these first thing in the morning. OK, it was afternoon. I’m lazy on Saturdays. And every other day. Once the chocolate has set, put a cello bag over the top and tie the neck with some curling string and tie into a bow or curl.

I found these at Wal-Mart in the cake decorating section near the wedding supplies

Recipe Source: based on Bakerella’s recipe & instructions

*Update 1/19/12: I have disabled comments on this post, since there are over 400 and many of them are the same questions asked and answered over and over again. If you have a question, please refer to the FAQ. Thank you!*

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

407 responses

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  3. where did you get your chocolate melting pot?

  4. hi im having my son”s 3rd bd party next weekend and would love to make these, but his colors for the bday party are blue, green and yellow can i make them these colors? if so what would i use thanks so much.

    • You can find colored candy melts at most craft stores or check at the cake/candy supply store in your area if you have one. You can usually find special oil-based colors for your coating, too, if you’d rather just color your white coating.

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  6. Can you pre-bake the cakes, freeze them, then make the pops later?

    • I have never done this…but I think you could. I always freeze my cakes in advance before I frost them for a party and they are the same texture as if freshly baked, so I bet it would work for pops too! Just make sure to leave them wrapped until defrosted (so that the plastic wrap sweats instead of the cake, b/c that might make a gummy mixture when you process it into crumbs). good luck!

  7. I made my first cake pops last night and cannot wait to make more! The mind reels with the possibilities of flavors and decorations. I just read the entire thread and wondered if anyone had tried using peanut butter instead of or along with frosting. I wanted to try making dark chocolate cake balls with peanut butter/frosting and coat with chocolate and roll in crushed peanut brittle or something like that. Have you heard of using something other than frosting to mix with the cake?

    Also, has anyone tried to make cake balls with different flavored centers?

    • I addressed this in my FAQ–YES, I have a coworker that thinks regular cake pops are too sweet so she uses peanut butter in her chocolate cake pops and she even used lemon pie filling to make lemon ones. You can use anything, really, to add enough moisture to get the crumbs to stick together: jelly, cream cheese, plain butter, maybe even marshmallow fluff (not sure on that one, though, maybe too sticky).

      As for making a center, I did make some wedding cake truffles (also pictured on the FAQ, but didn’t get a photo of the inside), which I filled with wedding cake frosting (I used a pastry bag and squirted into the middle, then covered the hole with more cake ball mixture and patted it back into a ball shape). This would not work for cake pops, as it would make them fall off the stick, but it is do-able with cake balls, though it is still kinda tricky since filling them makes them more prone to falling apart.

      You can see my FAQ here: http://veronicascornucopia.com/2011/05/12/cake-pops-balls-truffles-troubleshooting-faq/

      • Oh shoot! Sorry I missed that! I read and read and read so I wouldn’t repeat a question. Thank for your help. I’ll try them this weekend.

  8. Hi, All your information is very helpful!! I have been trying to get my chocolate melted properly, I suspect that I may have been overheating it from all the comments Iv been reading. But my problem isnt that I cant coat my cake pops (that actually works – and they dont look too bad) my problem is that when Im done dipping them and use the rest for decorating that it drys up too fast! Once I reheat it still doesnt work. I usually put them in the wilton bags and use a fine tip and before I can decorate anything the chocolate wont come out!!!! Help!!

    • My only guess is the same as yours-overheating. If you think you’re heating gently, be even more OCD about it and stir for like a minute after each 15-30 zap, helping the chocolate to melt as fully as possible with the residual heat of the bowl without returning it to the microwave. Even when I use a double boiler, I’ll remove it to stir it away from the heat and then return it. Let me know if this improves the situation!

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  10. i’m mhaving trouble perfecting the drizzle technique….is there a special “tool” for this?

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  12. I tried making them and i have had the pops cracking as well, i am going to try some of the tips and see if this helps, the other issue i have is the pop sweating .. how can i avoid the cake pop from sweating?

    • Store the pops in a container and let them come to room temperature while still in the container. The container will sweat, but the pops won’t. You can also package them individually and the packaging will keep the pop inside form sweating. If I’m going to refrigerate the finished pops, I do a double whammy and package them in clear cello bags, then put them in a container.

  13. Thank you! You explained this so well. I love making cake pops. I was curious of how well you melting pot you have your chocolate in works?

    • I don’t like it for actually melting the chocolate because it takes forever, but it is wonderful for dipping candy and cake pops if you put in on the “warm” setting. It’s nice not to have to stop to keep warming it back up once it starts to harden. I do turn it off from time to time, though, to make sure the chocolate doesn’t overheat and start getting thick.

  14. A couple things. I think your recipe is the absolute best one out there. I used a very small amount of frosting for the pops… Sometimes as little as a spoonful. Some of the moister favors, like butter pecan, need very little frosting to make them stick together well.
    I’ve used the Wilton candy coating and not only is it too thick, even after adding oil or shortening, but if it gets too warm, it changes colors. It does have superior flavor.
    I found a great website to order the baggies. They are pretty cheap, but you have to order by the thousand. I make a lot, so that’s not an issue for me. It’s http://www.uline.com. They are called cello bags. The standard Wilton bags are 3×4. I went to 4×4 because sometimes my pops were too big for the smaller bag.
    I love making all different favors, most of which start with a devils food base. Don’t be afraid the experiment in small batches and have fun!

  15. any dark chocolate coating you’d suggest? I plan to go shopping at my local IGA or walmart… thanks!

    • Well, you could just get your favorite dark chocolate and melt it and add a little oil or shortening to it. Wilton does have some dark chocolate candy melts but they might be hard to find. I got them at Walmart a long time ago but don’t know if they have them any more. I like to use Ghirardelli chips if I’m not using candy coating.

    • I just use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. The only issue is that the chocolate takes a very long time to harden. Generally, I dip them, then put them in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Sometimes, they remain a little sticky, but usually if I put them in the refrigerator, not as often. I do add a little oil to thin the chips down.

  16. How long did you wait before wrapping them in a bag? Also, have you ever used one of the machines like target to make them?

    • I just wait until the chocolate is hardened. Usually by the time I dip the last pop, the first ones I dipped are ready to be packaged. I’ve never used the Babycakes maker, but I think that sounds pretty neat! It would be a little lower in calories, too, since you wouldn’t have to add frosting to the cake.

  17. Hello! I have went through the tutorial and the FAQ but my question is a bit different and really has me pondering what I am doing wrong LOL…after rolling the cake balls I put in fridge to set…when I take them out they are a bit ‘greasy’ or oily on the outside before I dip in the chocolate…any ideas?? I follow a standard cake box instructions for the cake. THANKS!!!

    • How much frosting are you using? A little greasiness is normal, but there shouldn’t be a layer or anything. Using too much frosting (more than 1/2 a cup is probably overkill) is likely the cause.

  18. Thank you for taking the time to post this blog! I’ve scrolled through 99% and I cannot find the answer to my question. Approximately how many pops can you cover with one package of candy bark covering? I need to make 150 pops and am wondering how much of everything to buy and the bark is the only thing I’m unsure of and I dont want to run out in the middle of the project? Any idea of how many you can dip w/one package?
    Thanks for taking the time to write to everyone on here, that’s quite amazing as well as your delicious tips!! ; )

    • I always use a whole package for one batch, but always have some leftover. I get about 45 pops per batch, but some people make them bigger and get less, so the amount you would need depends on that as well. I would get a minimum of three packages, but you could get more to be safe and either return them or use them for other things, or just more cake pops later on (it keeps for a long time).

  19. Hello I just made my first cake pops with wilton candy melts that i bought in the US. In my country it is more difficult to find those candy melts. what is the difference between those and regular nestle bars used for baking? will adding shortening or butter make it work?

    • The difference is that partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil has been added to the candy coating so that it dries to a nice, dry, hard finish. I have not been able to duplicate this finish by mixing real chocolate with vegetable oil, with shortening, or with coconut oil. I need to experiment with parafin wax, as I believe that might be the only way to do it. If your country has candy coating, not the melts but the packages with big blocks of candy coating that are separated into rectangles, I would use that. You can find it in the US by the chocolate chips.

      ________________________________

  20. Hello, I made cake pops the other day and they came out really mushy and the texture was like very extremly soft…….what did I do wrong??

    • Sounds like you added too much frosting. Some cakes are more moist than others and might not need any added to be able to stick together. How much did you use?

  21. I’m about to try making my first cake pops for a party Friday, and although all the videos look easy, many of the comments on various sites indicate that they’re tougher to make than they look! I have a few questions that I hope you have time to answer in the holiday rush:
    1)How long should the pops be refrigerated after putting sticks in before dipping them? I’ve read from 10 minutes to overnight!
    2) I bought choc almond bark (24 oz) and want to know if I can melt it in a double boiler or is it better to microwave? It sounds from emails that it hardens or cools fast, so I’m wondering what is the best way to warm and keep warm? Do you always anticipate that you have to add veg oil or shortening to chocolate? Thanks so much!

    • 1) I don’t have to refrigerate mine after putting the sticks in, because they are already cold from refrigerating, by the time I’m done with the last stick. half of them are already set up! You can refrigerate, but if you do it right and refrigerate the balls beforehand, they should be cold enough you can skip this.

      2) I always melt my almond bark in the microwave as it seems easier, but a double boiler works too. Just be gentle and try not to heat it too fast, as this could make it too thick for dipping. You don’t have to add anything to almond bark, it has everything it needs to make a perfect coating, but if it gets too thick or seizes, you can add a little vegetable oil to thin it back out. You don’t have to add anything to real melted chocolate, but it does make a shinier finish if you do.

      • Wow! Thanks for the very quick reply. Your advice will be valuable in my first effort. I guess I was also a little confused, because I didn’t know how long the balls had to be refrigerated before the sticks are placed in them. What’s your recommendation? Thanks in advance; you’re the best!

        • Minimum two hours, though I usually do mine overnight.

          • Thanks again, Veronica. I’m taking your advice and have time to refrigerate overnight on Thursday and finish them on Friday. You’ve lowered my anxiety level a great deal. Now my biggest worry is a microwave bowl large enough to melt the almond bark! I guess I’ll have to do it in batches, as the 24-oz package is big and bulky.

            • You’d be surprised how small a bowl it will fit in! A 4-cup glass measuring cup should work perfectly.

              • I have only a plastic Dansk 4-cup measuring cup. Is that microwavable? I’m thinking not… Otherwise I’ll breadk the almond bark & do it in two batches in my 2-cup glass measuring cup. I refrigerated the cake balls overnight & am ready to go!

              • In the end I used a double boiler, as I didn’t want to take a chance with the plastic measuring cup. The almond bark melted perfectly, and about half of my pops (18, I think), turned out beautifully, sprinkled, wrapped in Wilton treat bags, & tied with ribbon. It’ll be plenty for the number of guests tomorrow. The other half fell apart or off stick when dipping. I’m thinking they were too heavy, though I used same 1 1/2-inch scoop for all of them, I tapped a little too much, or perhaps I didn’t use enough frosting??? I’d like to know what you think happened. At any rate, so many are beautiful! I’m happy, and I know my family will be impressed! I’ll definitely try these again. So many flavor and topping possibilities… Thanks again for all of your support and detailed instructions!

  22. Any recommendations on how to stop the pops from “sweating” once in the cello bags? I’m wrapping them days after they’ve been refrigerated and they are sweating the instant I wrap them!

    • There’s nothing you can do now, but for future reference, wrap them in the bags before refrigerating, that way when you take them out, if they sweat, it will be on the outside of the bag and not the inside. Sorry this happened! Also, if you’re serving them only 2-3 days after making them, you may not have to refrigerate them at all.

  23. hi, i read this and did my first cake pops today for my sons class and girls at work. it was a success! i love it. it is real easy and i will keep making them. your tutorial is by far the best and simple way to follow.

  24. Barbara, that has happened to me too, and it’s because the last half have been out of the fridge too long. I now take them from the fridge in batches so that they’re cold enough when dipping that they stay on the stick. I had to learn the hard way too. I wonder if I included that in my FAQ–I’ll have to check. I’ve had so many questions since then, there are probably a lot more questions I need to answer on it! And I’m glad that half of them turned out well for you! :)

  25. Excellent directions. Made these for New Year’s Eve and they turned out great!

  26. How do you make the pops the same size? Mine tasted great, but also didn’t look very round! I would like nice, round, uniform cake pops! Thanks!

  27. I want to make these for my sisters wedding for favors~how long in advance can I make them and how should I store them? I did by the little bags to put them in?

  28. After you roll the balls and place them in the fridge…. Do they have to be covered if in the fridge overnight?

  29. WOW! you are amazing with your comments. I am making cakepops for a birthday party this Saturday. I am also making the cake. So I was wondering how soon in advance can I make the cake pops? Then how should they be stored until the big day?

  30. When I make candy or candy coated pretzels I use my crock pot to heat the chocolate.(on low)

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