How To Make & Coat Cake Pops


When I first heard about cake pops, I thought the whole idea was weird. Cake and fillings mushed together, molded into a ball on a stick? That just sounded so unappetising. Then I saw adorable and even gorgeous cake pops, and the decorator in me was intrigued.

I have since tasted many cake pops, and created many myself; and I must admit that cake pops are fun - a cake on a stick, wow, what an idea. Cake pops have certainly grown on me. I like the versatility in the almost limitless cake/filling combination and the fun and challenge in decorating little cake balls. A great excuse to go wild!

It's not difficult to make cake pops, but they do require some practice. The dough consistency must be just right so it doesn't crack and fall apart; you'll need to make sure the stick stays in and the cake pop doesn't fall out; you need to cover the cake pop neatly with properly melted chocolate or candy melts so there are no unsightly "tails" dripping from the chocolate/candy melts.

Making Cake Pops

Step 1) Trim off cake crust and cut into large pieces. I'm using the butter cake that I have leftover from my previous post. I froze them for future enjoyment, and they came in very handy for this cake pop post. Taking one piece at a time, put into a large bowl and crumble cake into pieces using your hands. You may also use a fork. Cake must be completely crumbled. Ensure there are no large pieces. Repeat with the other pieces until the entire cake has been crumbled. You should spend some time doing this to ensure that the entire cake is crumbled to crumbs and no large pieces remain.

Step 2: Add spoonfuls of your choice of creamy icing to the bowl of crumbled cake and combine and mash with your fingers. It is best to do this with your fingers so that you can feel the texture and you know when to stop adding icing. Be careful not to add too much icing so that would make the texture of the cake ball very unpleasant when bitten into. The mixture should still be a little crumbly, but once you squeeze and compress it into a ball, it should hold its shape.

Scoop up a quantity of the mixture to compress and shape into a ball. I'd recommend using a cookie or ice cream scoop to do this so all your cake pops are the same size. Lay them on a parchment lined tray, then put in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. This will help to ensure that the ball stays in shape and doesn't crack or break up when you push the stick into it.

Step 3: Put white compound chocolate or candy melts/buttons into a microwaveable bowl or cup. Microwave on low for about 30 seconds each time, taking it out after every 30 seconds to stir. Repeat until the chocolate or candy melts/buttons are fully melted. Be careful not to overheat the coating as that will render it unusable.Your coating should have a texture of condensed milk. If your coating is thicker than that, you can add a small amount of vegetable oil to thin it. Always work on the cake balls one at a time, and leave the remainder in the refrigerator so they stay chilled.

The bowl or cup you use should ideally by tall and narrow for ease of coating. I use a glass jam jar.

Tip: Most glassware is microwaveble. If you are unsure, fill the glass with water, then pop it into the microwave to about 20 to 30 seconds. If the water is hotter than the glass, you're good to go. If the glass is hotter than the water, don't use it in the microwave.

Step 4: Dip the pop stick into the melted coating, then gently push the stick halfway or three quarters way into each cake ball. Immediately refrigerate the cake pop, and repeat for all.

Coating Cake Pops

Take out the chilled cake pop and let it thaw a little (maybe around 3 minutes), then dip into the melted coating, completely covering it. Make sure that the chocolate / candy melt is not too warm. Do not move it around the coating too much as it may fall off the pop stick.

The chocolate / candy melt hardens quickly, so once it stops dripping, you can stick the cake pop into styrofoam or a cake pop stand.

Beautifully coated cake pops look very pretty even without additional decorations. If you wish to decorate with sprinkles, you need to add them onto the cake pop before the coating dries. You can also pipe royal icing or stick on fondant decorations after coating dries.

What can go wrong?

Like I said, cake pops are not too difficult to make, but it needs practice. When I first started making cake pops, strange things happened with my pops and left me scratching my head. I did the no-brainer thing - check the net and see how other people fixed their problematic pops. Here's what I experienced, what I found out, and what has worked for me since.

Cracked coating

I am in good company here. Seems like lots of people have this problem. You dip a nicely chilled cake pop into a container with chocolate / candy melt, lift it up, twirl it to get rid of the excess coating, stick it into a cake display stand or styrofoam, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done - the cake pop looks so pretty with its smooth coating......but wait, (gasp) there's a long crack along the coating. Wait what?!

The crack is caused when the cake pop expands under the coating. This happens when the cake pop is too cold and the chocolate / candy melt is too warm. To avoid this, take the cake pop out of the refrigerator a few minutes before you coat it and check that your chocolate / candy melt is not too warm. After you do this a few times, you'll get the hang of it. And cheer up - if despite all your precautions, you still get a cracked cake pop or two, cover it with pretty decorations and no one will be the wiser.

Cake pop falls off the stick

This is also a common problem. A full proof way to ensure this doesn't happen is to dip your stick into melted chocolate / candy melts, then push it into the cake pop. The chocolate / candy melt will harden quickly and is a extremely good adherent. In fact, I use melted chocolate to stick fondant decorations onto cake pops and they stick well.

Oil seeps out of cake pop

Sometimes you see a small drop of oil that seems to ooze out of your cake pop. Looks gross, but it's again quite common. There are a few possible reasons for this. Your cake may be too oily, you may have used too much icing or frosting, or there may be a small hole in the coating where the cake is leaking out. If you find the hole, just plug it with some coating. One way of doing this is to coat the entire cake pop again - give it a second coat.

Bubbles in the coating

After you coat your cake pop, you see small bubbles on the surface of the coating. What happened and how do you prevent this? Bubbles are usually caused when you stir the coating too vigorously. You may also want to gently tap the coating container a few times after you stir it to bring the bubbles to the surface. If you see a bubble, you can give your cake pop a second coating and that should do the trick.

Storing remaining chocolate / candy melt

Don't throw away left over chocolate / candy . Just pour them on clingfilm, then wrap them carefully and put in a ziplog bag. When you need to use them again, just take them out of the clingfilm wrap, break into pieces and microwave them again.

PRINT RECIPE

Making Cake Pops

You will need

Cake (any fairly dense cake will do – butter cake, sponge cake)

Icing (most creamy icings works – buttercream,. ganache, cream cheese icing)

Small knife

Large bowl

Fork

Cookie scoop

Cookie trays or any large flat trays

Parchment paper

Pop sticks

White compound chocolate or candy melts/buttons

Microwave

Microwaveable bowls or cup (should be deep, and about 1 ½ times the width of the cake pop)

Method

  1. Line tray with parchment paper.

  2. Trim off cake crust and cut into large pieces

  3. Taking one piece at a time, put into a large bowl and crumble cake into pieces using your hands. You may also use a fork. Cake must be completely crumbled. Ensure there are no large pieces. Repeat with the other pieces until the entire cake has been crumbled.

  4. Add spoonfuls of your choice of creamy icing to the bowl of crumbled cake and combine and mash with your fingers. It is best to do this with your fingers so that you can feel the texture and you know when to stop adding icing. Be careful not to add too much icing so that would make the texture of the cake ball very unpleasant when bitten into.

  5. The mixture is ready when you are able to take a handful and make into a rough ball without pieces of it crumbling away (too dry) or without it feeling too wet (too much icing)

  6. Using a cookie scoop to ensure uniformity, scoop out the mixture and roll with your hands until they form a ball.

  7. If you wish to use white chocolate instead of candy melts/buttons as coating, please make sure that you purchase compound chocolate. Check the list of ingredients and make sure that there is no cocoa butter in it. Compound chocolate melts thinner than couverture chocolate (with cocoa butter), and that makes it a better coating for cake pops.

  8. Put white compound chocolate or candy melts/buttons into a microwaveable bowl or cup. Microwave on low for about 30 seconds each time, taking it out after every 30 seconds to stir. Repeat until the chocolate or candy melts/buttons are fully melted. Be careful not to overheat the coating as that will render it unusable.

  9. Your coating should have a texture of condensed milk. If your coating is thicker than that, you can add a small amount of vegetable oil to thin it.

  10. Dip the pop stick into the melted coating, then gently push the stick halfway or three quarters way into each cake ball. Immediately refrigerate the cake pop, and repeat for all.

PRINT RECIPE

Coating Cake Pops

You will need

Chilled cake balls on stick

Styrofoam

1 small spatula

Powder or oil-based icing colours (do not use gel icing colours that are water-based as that will not work with your chocolate / candy melts)

Toothpicks

Microwave

Microwaveable bowls or cup (should be deep, and about 1 ½ times the width of the cake pop)

Method

  1. Take one chilled cake pop at a time and dip straight into the melted coating, completely covering it. Do not move it around the coating too much as it may fall off the pop stick.

  2. Lift covered cake pop straight up from the coating, then angling it slightly while keeping it above the bowl with the coating, tap off excess coating. You need to tap gently.

  3. Stick it into Styrofoam and repeat with the rest. If you wish to add sprinkles or glitter, you should do it while the coating is still wet. Otherwise, leave it to harden.

#cakepop #whitechocolate #candymelts

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