Balls of cake, on a stick - cake pops!
Ahh, cake pops, one of the best ways to use up leftover cake or frosting. It still amuses me how many people don't actually know what they are. As a baker, they're very common so when I mention them in conversation I forget that some people have never heard of them. My usual response is, "They're balls of cake mixed with frosting, covered in chocolate on a stick!"
Now if you had mentioned cake pops to me this time last year, I probably would have pulled a horrid face because I can't lie, I used to dread making them. Whenever I did, there would always be a pile of fallen cake balls by the end of it. Either that or the chocolate wasn't setting right, they would get condensed in the fridge, the mixture had too much frosting or too less and on and on. Even though I tried looking at different recipes and methods, I personally couldn't get the hang of them.
Two years later, I have finally figured them out my own way. The hard part is that I don't have set measurements with how I make them now, I sort of see what works best at the time when it comes to the dough and go from there but I've tried my best to make a rough guide for you guys! So please excuse the massive amount of little tips/notes I'll be adding but it's everything that has helped me. Just remember, these numbers are all approximates and everyone will be using difference cake recipes and frostings (I will be posting my buttercream recipes next) Little factors like chocolate or vanilla cake/frosting makes a difference too. For example, I add less chocolate frosting to chocolate cake than I would vanilla frosting to vanilla cake as the butter ratios work differently according to different recipes, so there is lots to bear in mind but once you get the hang of it, they're actually quite fun!
And don't worry if you don't have a whole cake. As I said, cake pops are the best way to use up leftover cake or scraps so as long as you have that and some frosting at hand, you're good to go.
Ingredients and equipment:
Please note: These are NOT accurate measurements but approximates
Makes 36 cake pops
6" cake (I made mine using 4 eggs) / 820g of cake
Food processor *optional
Cake pop baller *optional
Cake pop/lollipop sticks (I use 4" sticks)
Chocolate - milk, white or dark according to preference (I use Callebaut for better quality)
Powder food colouring *optional
Scribe tool/cocktail stick
1. Break up the cake into fine crumbs using a food processor, or you can use your hands.
2. Using your hands to combine the mixture together, add a tablespoon of frosting at a time. Keep adding small bits of frosting as required, kneading the mix until it comes together without breaking apart.
This is one of the key parts to making good cake pops, so make sure you add the frosting steadily and don't worry about following the measurements I have given! Add a little at a time and see when the dough starts coming together.
Tip: Test the mixture by forming a small ball in your hands - if the ball doesn't break apart then you've added enough frosting. (see step 4 for what the ball should look like) Also, use disposable gloves if you don't want your hands getting messy!
3. Using the cake pop baller (which is definitely optional but I find it quicker this way) form rough balls out of the dough, taking away the excess that gathers around the edge. I don't use this tool to form the final shape, but more of a guide for size. If you don't have a cake pop baller, you can use a scale to weigh out sizes (approx 30g per ball for a standard size) or a cookie scoop works too!
4. Once you have worked through all your dough, take one piece at a time and knead softly in your hand before rolling it between both palms to form a smooth ball.
5. Lay out each ball on to a tray covered in greaseproof paper and chill for about an hour so they hold their shape. Then melt a small amount of chocolate and have your lollipop sticks ready.
6. Dip the end of each stick into the chocolate before inserting about half way into the cake ball, repeat until each one has a stick in it.
7. Keep the tray in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight before decorating. I've found that the firmer the balls are, the less likely they are to fall off the sticks when covering them in chocolate so I prefer letting them sit overnight.
Tip: Never try dipping the cake pops into chocolate when they're warm/soft! You will no doubt end up with a pile of fallen balls so being patient will be worth it.
8. Once the balls are set, melt some of your preferred chocolate and pour into a tall glass/container - I find this makes it easier to dip the cake pops. To colour your chocolate, only use powdered colours, gel food colours will seize your chocolate!
Tip: I use Callebaut chocolate as it's high in quality and cheaper chocolate doesn't set as well so can melt easily.
You can use solid colours but if you would like to make marbled cake pops as shown here, colour some chocolate separately*
*To make the marbled effect, add some coloured chocolate into the regular chocolate and swirl together using a scribe tool or cocktail stick.
9. And now it's time to dip! The majority of things that I have read in the past said to let the cake pops come to room temperature before dipping, but I find that dipping them straight from the fridge works perfectly.
Holding each cake pop by the stick, dip the ball into the chocolate until it's completely covered, then slowly lift up and gently shake the excess chocolate off (add more coloured chocolate every few dips to keep the marbled effect)
Tip: Use the scribe tool/cocktail stick to pop any air bubbles.
And there you have your cake pop! Add any sprinkles or deco whilst the chocolate is still wet so that they can stick.
- There are two ways that you can display cake pops. Either with the stick facing up or with the ball facing up. If you would like them with the stick up, place each one on to greaseproof paper until set, then gently peel away. If you would like them with the ball up (like a lollipop) then use a cake pop stand or a make-shift one using polystyrene blocks so they can set without being touched. You can see an example below.
- I don't put my cake pops in the fridge once they've set as I find that they're more likely to get condensation on them but make sure you keep them in a cool place! If it's too hot then keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and use paper towels to soak up any moisture.
- Usually I seal my cake pops individually. So once the chocolate has set, I put each one into a cellophane bag (I use 3"x5" bags which I buy on eBay) and use a silver tie or ribbon to seal them shut. They can last up to a week like this or 2 if being kept in the fridge.
If your first try doesn't go quite as planned, don't be too disheartened because I find that especially with cake pops, practice really does make perfect. As always, if you have any questions or need some help, feel free to message me and if you try out any of my bakes or follow this tutorial, tag @sugarbase_ on Instagram so I can have a look!