How to make cake pops

Master the art of making cake pops...
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  • From decorating to assembling, our step-by-step guide shows just how easy it is to make cake pops at home.

    Learn how to make cake pops like a professional with this handy guide. Cake pops are small round cake balls that are served on sticks. They are often coated in chocolate, candy melts, or fondant, and decorated.

    Cake pops started trending back in 2008 and remain popular to this day. Cake pops are often served for special occasions such as birthdays and given as homemade food gifts.

    Cake pops are a great way of using up leftover cake or cut-offs of cake that you may not need to use. For example, if you’re making a pinata cake you tend to cut out the middle of the sponge. If you’re making a tsunami cake, you may trim the edges and top to get a refined finish. All of this leftover cake sponge can be put to good use with cake pops.

    In our video, we help you through each step of the cake pop making process – and we’ve also outlined the ingredients and method below for your referral.

    In this feature we look at the following stages of making cake pops:

    How to prepare to make cake pops
    How to make cake pops
    Top tips for making cake pops
    How to decorate cake pops
    How to store cake pops

    How to prepare to make cake pops

    When it comes to making cake pops it’s best to have the sponge and frosting ready to use. Here we show you how to make cake pops from scratch. However, if you want to save time you can buy a ready-made sponge, or you can use up leftover cake or cupcakes (even if they’re a bit stale) that would otherwise go to waste.

    Follow the methods below to make both the vanilla cake and vanilla cream cheese frosting for your cake pops. Once these are both done you can move onto creating, coating and decorating cake pops.

    To make vanilla cake:

    Ingredients

    • 120g unsalted butter, softened
    • 150g unrefined caster sugar
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 free range eggs, at room temperature
    • 180g self-raising flour
    • 4tbsp milk, at room temperature

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180C, gas 4. Lightly grease and flour a 25cm round cake tin or a 20cm square cake tin.
    2. Cream the butter and sugar until it turns pale and fluffy – this takes about 5 minutes. Mix the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
    3. Add half the flour and then half the milk and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.
    4. Pour the mixture into the already prepared tin and bake for 35-45 mins, or until a cocktail stick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, leave the cake to cool on a wire rack.

    How to make cake pops

    How to make vanilla cream cheese frosting:

    Ingredients

    • 80g unsalted butter, softened
    • 40g cream cheese, softened
    • 200g icing sugar, sifted
    • 1tsp vanilla extract

    Method

    1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together.
    2. Gradually add the sugar, then continue to cream until light and fluffy.
    3. Finally, mix in the vanilla. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.

    How to make cake pops

    Once you’ve made your cake and cream cheese frosting it’s time to move onto assembling the cake pops. This recipe makes around 20 cake pops each a little smaller than a golf ball. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before handling the cake.

    You will need:

    • 400g (1 bag) of candy melts – we’ve used white chocolate
    • Vegetable oil
    • Lollipop sticks

    How to make cake pops: Step 1

    How to make cake pops step 2

    Crumble the cake thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. It’s best to do this by hand as it gives a finer crumb, but you can also use your food processor. You may want to remove the crusts of the cake with a sharp kitchen knife first to avoid any lumps.

    How to make cake pops: Step 2

    How to make cake pops step 3

    Once you have crumbled the cake as finely as possible, take your frosting, a heaped tablespoon at a time, and begin mixing it in with the crumbs. You may not require all of the frosting, depending on how moist your cake is, so just use it a little at a time.

    How to make cake pops: Step 3

    How to make cake pops step 4

    Keep mixing until you have a fudge-like texture. To see if it’s ready, squeeze a little of the mixture in your palm – it shouldn’t crumble and it should be pliable. If you add too much frosting, the mixture will be soggy, sticky and heavy and the cake pops will just fall off the stick when you try to dip them. Wrap the mixture in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.

    How to make cake pops: Step 4

    How to make cake pops step 5

    The mixture should be firm but not too hard when it’s ready to work with. Break off a small piece of the mixture about the size of a ping-pong ball and roll into a ball with your palms. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Place each ball on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, or until they are firm.

    How to make cake pops: Step 5

    How to make cake pops step 7

    Meanwhile, prepare your candy melts. Place the candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly. They may have just started to melt. Place back in the microwave and melt for a further 30 seconds.

    Stir again, making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Return to the microwave for a final 30 seconds, then give a final stir. Melted candy doesn’t normally achieve the same silky, runny consistency as melted chocolate. To make it easier to work with, you can add 1-2tbsp vegetable oil per 400g bag of candy melts. Work enough oil into the candy to create a silky consistency.

    How to make cake pops: Step 6

    How to make cake pops step 8

    Take a lollipop stick and dip one end about 20cm deep into the melted candy. Immediately insert the stick into the top center of each cake ball about halfway through. Don’t insert it too deep or too shallow. Place on a tray lined with baking paper to set. It should take 1-2 minutes for the candy to set.

    How to make cake pops: Step 7

    How to make cake pops step 9

    Hold an undipped cake pop by the stick and dip fully into the candy. When dipping, be sure to cover it right to the top of the stick to secure the pop in place. Gently tap the cake pop over the bowl to remove any excess candy.

    How to make cake pops: Step 8

    How to make cake pops step 10

    You can either decorate with sprinkles or sugar decorations before the candy has set or leave the cake pops to dry completely if you’re making a more elaborate design.

    Recipe from Cake Pops by Molly Bakes VIEW AT AMAZON | £15

    Top tips for making cake pops

    How do you stop cake pop dough from drying out?

    If the dough is too wet or too dry it will be difficult to mold. Be aware that if you’re using stale cake it may need more frosting to moisten it, and if it’s fresh cake it may need less frosting so it doesn’t go soggy.

    If you’d rather not use frosting or buttercream in the dough you can try putting a crumbled fresh cake in a mixer and use the paddle attachment to create a soft dough.

    How do you get perfect cake ball shapes?

    • Use an ice-cream scoop to get each cake dough pop the same size.
    • Cover the dough while shaping the cake into balls and only make a few at a time otherwise the cake may dry out.
    • It’s important to chill the dough before molding it into balls, then again before decorating.
    • Let the refrigerated cake balls warm up slightly. However, they should still be chilled before dipping. And allow the heated coating to cool slightly before decorating.

    How to decorate cake pops

    Pig cake pops

    Some people choose to decorate their cake pops with just thick icing or chocolate, but you can make yours exciting by adding sprinkles, piped icing, sweets, edible stickers, or edible gold or silver spray.

    Candy melts are ideal for coating and decorating cake pops. They’re often used in place of chocolate because they’re cheaper, often easier to work with and come in a range of colours.

    If you decide to coat your cake pops with chocolate instead, you can use fine baking chocolate such as Callebaut No 823 chocolate chips. To stop the chocolate setting while it’s in the bowl keep it warm, or whisk in a drop of vegetable oil as it’s melting.

    When you dip the pops, use a deep bowl and fill it up with the coating so you don’t need to tilt it.

    It really helps to know how you’re decorating your treats before you start. For example, if you’re adding sprinkles, pop them on before the coating sets or they won’t stick. If you’re piping icing on, make sure the coating has dried before you decorate.

    When you feel more confident molding the cake dough, you can begin to experiment with different shapes such as animals or characters.

    How to store cake pops

    The best way to store pops is in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s important to put paper towels between each layer of unpackaged cake pops to collect any condensation.

    Stored properly these treats should last up to a week, depending on whether you used any fresh ingredients such as cream.

    If you’d like to freeze the pops only freeze the cake balls and not the finished product, which may spoil when frozen. Defrost then decorate as normal.