Cake Pop Tutorial

[I stumbled on a great blog that not only has great cake related posts, but an awesome tutorial on cake pops.  Kristen at http://decoratethis.blogspot.com graciously agreed to guest blog on the Sugar Turntable!  P.S.  When you're done here... you must go check out her 'Smores Cake Pops!]

Cake pops are one of my favorite miniature treats. A few bites of cake, coated in chocolate, on a stick – super cute, delicious, and fairly easy to make.

Materials:

  • Cake: any of your favorite recipes should work – though I will caution you, super oily cakes may be problematic – read, the oil may escape the chocolate/crack the chocolate, etc. I prefer using butter cakes for cake pops, or I'll cut down on the amount of oil in an oil-based recipe.
  • Buttercream (or cream cheese icing, chocolate ganache, etc): keep in mind that frostings with perishable ingredients will need to be refrigerated. I've never had problems refrigerating cake pops.
  • Chocolate: I love Chocoley chocolate. It tastes a million times better than candy melts. I use the dipping and enrobing formula for cake pops. Chocoley sells special candy coloring for chocolate as well, so you can get as fancy as you like with colors!
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Baking sheet, lined with parchment or a silicone mat
  • Styrofoam block, or anything with lollipop stick sized holes in it (my wonderful husband made me some wood boards for my cake pop ventures). Be careful not to poke ALL the way through your styrofoam block; you want the stick to be able to stand up right, but not be so deep that the cake is too close to the styrofoam (it'll be really hard to place without disturbing wet chocolate).
  • A small, deep, microwave-safe bowl. You need to be able to stick a cake pop into the chocolate straight and have it all be covered. Things turn into a mess quickly when you don't have enough chocolate in the bowl, and you need to tip it in order to cover your cake pop.

Steps:

  1. Crumble your cake into uniform crumbs. A food processor can be helpful here, but it's pretty easy to use your hands as well.
  2. Mix in enough frosting so that the cake holds together when squeezed. You should be able to roll a firm ball that holds its shape. I tend to add a different amount of frosting depending on what recipe I use; add slowly and test the consistency frequently.
  3. Refrigerate the cake balls until firm, or place in freezer. A word of caution – you do NOT want to dip frozen cake balls into chocolate! The cake will expand as it defrosts, and it will crack the chocolate coating. Firm is ok – frozen is not. If you are having problems with cracking cake pops – they are likely too cold and/or your chocolate too hot.
  4. Melt a small amount of chocolate, and dip a lollipop stick in about 1/2". Stick at least half-way into cake ball (make sure you don't poke all the way through!). Repeat with remaining cake balls.
  5. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm around the lollipop stick.
  6. Melt chocolate in your microwave safe bowl, according to package instructions. Make sure that you melt enough chocolate so that you can submerge the entire cake pop without tilting the bowl, and without hitting the bottom.
  7. Dip cake pop into chocolate, so that it is completely submerged (make sure to cover the chocolate around the lollipop stick!). It's really important that the entire cake ball is covered with chocolate – otherwise, the cake will escape from any and every tiny hole in the chocolate (trust me, it's not pretty).
  8. Once cake pop is completely covered, lift it out of the chocolate.
  9. Once removed from the chocolate, excess coating will start dripping off of the pop. Hold the cake pop in one hand, and gently tap your hand to help remove excess coating, turning the pop as you go so the excess will come off evenly.
  10. When you have no drips left, hold cake pop upside down for a few seconds to allow coating to dry a bit before inverting. If you are going to dip your pops twice, dip it again now. I do like to dip twice when using the Chocoley dipping and enrobing chocolate. If you are adding sprinkles, sanding sugar, or other decorations, wait until the cake pop is about halfway dry before you start. If the coating is still too wet, the weight of the sprinkles or other decorations may displace the chocolate.
  11. Invert cake pop, and place in your stand to dry completely. Enjoy!!

For some amazing design ideas, visit Bakerella's blog, and check out her fabulous book!

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Sugar Turntable occasionally has guest bloggers. If you are interested in contributing, contact me via email me.