It’s common knowledge that everything tastes better on a stick—cake is no exception. Cake pops are all the rage for all the right reasons: They’re adorable and adaptable; they don’t require serving utensils and plates; and they’re just the right size for tiny hands (or anyone trying to keep themselves from eating a whole cake, ahem). Why, then, are people nervous to make them?
As it turns out, cake pops are a fairly easy project—somewhere in between cake-mix cupcakes and a fondant-covered wedding cake in terms of time and baking expertise. Here are simple step-by-step instructions and a video to get you started, and plenty of inspiration for creating these cake cuties.
How to Make Cake Pops, Method #1: Pre-Baked Cake
This is the most popular way to make cake pop, because it doesn't require special equipment. You start by making a regular ol’ baked cake.
- Make a cake, using a mix or from scratch—whichever you prefer. You don't have to stick with chocolate and vanilla. Any cake recipe can be used here: red velvet, cookies and cream, strawberry shortcake.
- When the cake cools, crumble it into fine crumbs with your fingers, or throw it in the food processor. Looking to save time? Bake ahead and freeze your cake, just defrost and crumble when you’re ready to assemble.
- Add the frosting of your choice. This acts as a "binder" so the cake crumbs can hold a ball shape, and to give the cake pop that deliciously moist texture. Use your favorite recipe—buttercream, cream cheese frosting, fudgey ganache, or peanut butter all work well, but have fun combining the cake and frosting flavors. Try chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Blend red velvet with vanilla frosting for a pretty rose-colored result. Add spoonfuls of frosting to the bowl of cake crumbs a little at a time and mix thoroughly—it’s best to use your hands!—until you can pinch the mixture and see that it stays together. Roll a sample ball and see if it holds. You don’t want to add too much frosting; that will make for a soggy cake pop.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop a ball of dough and roll it around in your (lightly moistened) hands to make tightly packed, uniformly round balls. Place the balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Keep rolling until you’ve used all the mixture. Now, refrigerate the cake balls for a couple of hours—or freeze for about 20 minutes—until they are firm, though not frozen all the way through.
- To make the coating, place chocolate chips or colored candy melts in a small deep bowl in the microwave. Cook in short bursts of time until completely melted.
- Insert a stick into each ball, no more than halfway. Holding the stick, dip the ball into the melted chocolate or candy and swirl to coat completely in one movement. Make sure it touches the base, where the stick was inserted. Roll in sprinkles, cookie crumbs, mini chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, or any other topping you can imagine!Allow the cake pops to dry by inserting them upright into a block of Styrofoam, or use a colander if the holes are the right size. Refrigerate to set faster, or simply leave out in a cool place.
We have so many cake recipes to try.
Video: How to make cake balls
How to Make Cake Pops, Method #2: Using a Baking Dish
Instead of rolling your cake-and-frosting mixture, press it into a baking dish and use a cookie cutter to create shapes, like these hearts for Valentine's Day.
Watch this sweet video to see how to use cookie cutters to make cake pops.
How to Make Cake Pops, Method #3: Using a Cake-Pop Pan
To use a cake-pop pan, first spray the pan with cooking spray. Make a cake batter and spoon it into the bottom pan (no frosting "binder" needed), filling to the top. Secure top half of pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove. When completely cool, use a sharp knife to gently cut off the raised edge around the middle so balls are perfectly round.
Some like to use cake-ball pans, like these -- but you can easily roll your balls by hand.
How to Make Cake Pops, Method #4: Using a Cake-Pop Appliance
If you’re into gadgets, check out this video on how to use a special cake-pop appliance, the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker, which works much like a waffle maker.
Get Creative with Decorating
When it comes to decorating these tasty little treats, the sky’s the limit.
Make cheesecake balls by scooping and rolling the filling of a baked cheesecake. Photo by Sashja2413
See more decorating ideas in our cake-pop gallery.
Try the pie variation.
Follow me to more great cooking how-to's on Allrecipes Dish, our blog packed with ideas and inspiration for home cooks.