This post is a follow up to the letter I wrote to Starbucks a few weeks ago. I finally managed to snag one of the Starbucks cake pops (they hide them behind the counter, BTW) and they were pretty good. I mean, they were fine. Whatever. It got me thinking: There's no reason that I can't recreate a little cake pop magic in my own home. It's not like cake pops are some complicated thing. It's cake on a pop. I attempted to make my own lovely little cake pop creations and they turned out awesome. It wasn't even that hard, either! While ordering a singular cake pop from Starbucks is arguably way less time consuming than making 50 of them from scratch, we should all know how to make cake pops on our own. You know, in case of an emergency. So....
Eat Your Heart Out Starbucks: It's a Cake Pop Tutorial
Materials (makes approximately 3 dozen cake pops):
- 1 box of white cake mix (and whatever ingredients you need to make the cake)
- 1 container of white frosting (I used whipped frosting, which is lighter, so I ended up using an entire XL container)
- 2 packages of candy melts (I used the pink ones from Michaels) They carry a variety of different colors, or you can buy the white ones and dye them to your liking. Only use gel food coloring to dye candy melts, as the liquid stuff won't work.
- 1 bag of lollipop sticks (also from Michaels)
- 2 tb of shortening
- sprinkles (optional)
- large foam ring (found in the "wreath making" section at Michaels)
You don't need to do anything special. Just follow the instructions on the back of the box. Let it cool off completely before you work with it.
Step 2: Crumble the cake and mix in the frosting.
You really don't need to overthink this part. I suggest adding about half a can of frosting and then going from there. I crumbled my cake before I put the frosting in because I'm anal like that, but you really don't have to. Keep adding more frosting to the mixture until it gets sticky enough to roll into a ball, but not so gooey that it won't hold its shape. I used a spatula to mix the cake and frosting together, but you can totally use your hands.
Step 3: Roll the cake/frosting mixture into balls.
Get out a cookie sheet lined with wax paper first. Next, take small portions of your cake/frosting mixture and use your hands to roll them into small balls and place them on the cookie sheet. The balls should be the size of a large gum ball. If you make them too big, they will fall off the stick during the candy coating process. Also, their circumference grows when you coat them with the candy, so start out making them smaller than you want your end product to be.
Step 4: Insert the lollipop sticks.
This is what makes the cake a pop! Prepare your candy melts using the directions on the back of the package. I used the microwave directions and melted the candies in a small round tupperware container. Follow the directions carefully, as you do not want to burn the candy. Ew. The consistency of the candy melts should be similar to that of honey. Dip one end of the lollipop stick into the melted candies and then insert the same end directly into the cake ball. After all the cake balls have lollipop sticks in them, put the cookie sheet in the fridge or freezer to set. This keeps the cake ball from falling off the stick during the coating process.
Step 5: Cover the cake pops with the candy coating.
You might need to re-heat your candy melts again. If the mixture still seems too thick, you can add a tablespoon or two of shortening to thin it out. Be careful though: less is more. Carefully dunk the cake pop into the melted candy. Turn it around until it is completely covered. You may also want to use a spoon to help cover the hard to reach spots. Then, take the cake pop out and turn it over and over until all the excess candy melt has dripped off. The coating needs to be thin or it will drip all over the place during the drying process and your cake pop will look like a hot mess once the candy has hardened.
Caution: Be gentle with your cake pops or else:
Step 6: Stick the cake pops into a foam ring to dry and decorate them with sprinkles.
Stick the candy coated cake pop right into the foam ring. Then sprinkle it with whatever toppings you desire. Make sure the cake pops aren't touching each other. I cheaped out and got the smallest (and least expensive) foam ring. Big mistake. I ran out of room for my cake pops in about five seconds. I had to wait for them to dry before I could finish the rest of the batch. I did this cycle THREE times. Ugh. Place the foam ring full of cake pops in the fridge to harden.
Once your finished cake pops have hardened, you can take them out of the foam ring and store them in any old container. I used a cake pan to store mine in the fridge. I made them on Thursday to take to a party on Friday, and they totally held up. They were a hit! Look how gorgeous they turned out:
Michaels also sells small plastic baggies that you can tie over the tops of each cake pop to be used as party favors, or you can cover your foam ring in colored plastic wrap and use it to present your cake pops. I arranged my cake pops on a pretty plate and they looked great. It's hard to go wrong with cake pops.
Good luck, all you cake pop connoisseurs!
Morgan is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She writes about life, motherhood, and the challenges of raising her two little chicks (and her flock of backyard chickens). You can read more of her at The Little Hen House.
All images by Morgan Benzian.
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