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How to Make and Decorate Cake Pops

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?

 

Cake pops. Photo by Meredith

Create a colorful variety of cake pops for your next party

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

     

    Mix frosting into cake crumbs. Photo by Meredith

    Mix frosting into cake crumbs a little at a time. Photo by Meredith

  4. 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.

     

    Scooping and rolling cake pops. Photo by Meredith

    Use a cookie scoop and moistened hands to roll a perfect ball. Photo by Meredith

  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Valentine's Cake Pops

 

Making Heart Cake Pops. Photo by 52 Kitchen Adventures

Making Heart Cake Pops. Photo by 52 Kitchen Adventures

 

Heart shaped cake pops. Photo by 52 Kitchen Adventures

Use a cookie cutter to make these sweet Valentines. Photo by 52 Kitchen Adventures


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.

 

Cake pop pan. Photo by Meredith

Some like to use cake-ball pans, like these -- but you can easily roll your balls by hand.

Some like to use cake-ball pans, like these -- but you can easily roll your balls by hand.

 

Cake pops out of pan. Photo by Meredith

Gently cut the seam off with a knife to make your cake pops perfectly round. Photo by Meredith

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.

Video: Using the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

 Get Creative with Decorating

When it comes to decorating these tasty little treats, the sky’s the limit.

 

Cake pops rolled in almonds and bacon. Photo by Meredith

Get creative when decorating your cake pops. These are rolled in almonds and bacon. Photo by Meredith

 

Holiday cake pops. Photo by Meredith

Use colorful sprinkles to create a fun assortment.

 

Halloween cake pops. Photo by Meredith

Go all-out with fondant for these adorable Halloween cake pops

Confetti Cake Pops

 

Confetti cake pops. Photo by Sprinkles for Breakfast

Add sprinkles to the crumbled cake base to create these cuties. Photo by Sprinkles for Breakfast

Baby Rattle Cake Pops

 

Baby rattle cake pops. Photo by Cakegirls for thecakeblog

Baby rattle cake pops. Photo by Cakegirls for TheCakeBlog.com

Mojito Cheesecake Pops

 

Mojito Cheesecake Pops. Photo by SprinkleBakes

Make Mojito Cheesecake Pops. with or without rum. Photo by SprinkleBakes

Rose Cake Pops

 

Rose cake pops. Image by Cakegirls for CakeJournal

These roses are actually cake pops in disguise. Image by Cakegirls for CakeJournal.com

Cake Pops with a Hidden Rainbow Heart

 

Cake pops with a hidden rainbow heart. Image by Eugenie Kitchen

For the advanced cake-popper, this adorable method produces a sweet surprise. Photo by Eugenie Kitchen

Maple Bacon Cake Pops

 

Maple bacon cake pops. Photo by CookieDoughandOvenMitt

Maple bacon cake pops. Photo by CookieDoughandOvenMitt.com

Cheesecake Pops

 

Cheesecake Pops. Photo by Sashja2413

Cheesecake Pops. Photo by Sashja2413

Make cheesecake balls by scooping and rolling the filling of a baked cheesecake. Photo by Sashja2413

Savory cake pops

 

Pizza bites. Photo by onegoodthingbyjllee

With the cake pop appliance, you can make savory cake pops, too!, like these pizza bites. Photo by onegoodthingbyjllee.com

 

See more decorating ideas in our cake-pop gallery.


Mini Pie Pops

Try the pie variation.

 

Mini pie pops. Photo by NellAP

Mini pie pops. Photo by NellAP


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