Eat. Explode. Enjoy!

Guaranteed to be the most POPular dessert at your 4th of July party, these Pop Rocks-filled treats will surprise everyone's taste buds. Made with a dense, sponge-cake-like recipe, the colored cakes stack nicely and hold together with just a dab of frosting.

Firecracker Cakelettes

Firecracker cakelettes

Yields 10-14 cakes


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Red and blue food coloring
  • 3 packages Pop Rocks candy
  • Black licorice ropes
  • White frosting (less than 1/4 cup)



Step one

Mix white cake mix, egg whites, oil, water and sour cream for three to four minutes on medium speed. Split cake batter into three equal amounts, adding red and blue food coloring to two of the portions. Coat three, 4 x 9-inch bread pans with cooking spray and lightly flour the bottoms. Add the three batters to the pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-23 minutes. Allow them to cool and remove from pans.

Make cake


Step two

Using a 1-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles from each of the baked cakes. (I got 10 out of each cake, but you might be able to get more if you try.)

Round cookie cutter

Cut circles


Step three

Using a serrated knife, carefully trim off the browned, baked bottoms of each cake circle.

Trim bottoms


Step four

Using a jumbo straw or plastic tube (one-half or three-quarters-inch in diameter), remove the centers of the cake circles. Be sure to save the red and blue centers to use as plugs for later.

Use straw or plastic tube


Step five

Put a portion of the red cake plugs back into the bottoms of the red cake circles. Pipe a line of frosting around the centers of the red and white cake circles. Stack the white cakes on top of the red cakes and the blue cakes on top of the white cakes.

Ice the centers


Step six

Add Pop Rocks down the hollow centers of the stacked cakes. Put a portion of the blue cake plugs back into the tops, covering the center filled with Pop Rocks.

Add pop rocks


Step seven

Cut licorice rope pieces approximately 1-1/2 inches long and insert them into the centers of the blue cakes.

Cut licorice rope pieces


For maximum popping potential, pour the Pop Rocks into the cake centers no earlier than one hour before serving. The moisture in the cakes will cause the Pop Rocks to slightly snap and crackle on their own. In fact, they make a great sizzling sound on the plate. But after about four hours the Pop Rocks lose most of their popping power, so plan accordingly.

Final product

Final product

More photos!

Click here for more step-by-step photos
of firecracker cakelettes.

More 4th of July recipes

Flag lasagna
Summer layered drink recipes
Candy kabobs


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Comments on "Fourth of July firecracker cakelette recipe"

Gee July 05, 2013 | 5:48 AM

Cool idea, way too much trouble.tried it even after reading comments.i followed cake box instructions and forgot the sour cream.these were barely enough as far as moisture.would not have worked at all with the cream. Pound cake might work better.i used lemon olive oil.tasted good even though a fail.

Cynthia Sanchez July 04, 2013 | 4:38 PM

Awsome idea.For those having trouble with the cake being too moist maybe try a different cake batter.

Sandra July 04, 2013 | 8:09 AM

I'm sorry to hear your cakelettes didn't cooperate. Especially because I always try my recipes several times to work out any kinks or pitfalls before sharing them. My cakes never crumbled, so I can't say where things might have gone wrong. Baking is always an experiment, and there are a few things that can be a factor when making cakes or cookies. Humidity, altitude, and oven types vary and can cause issues. Also, if you double or triple a recipe, the ratios can get off and not bake correctly. Pan size and pan type can also affect the results. Again, I know how disappointing it can be to spend hours making something and it doesn't turn out as you'd hoped. (It's always good to have an easy back-up plan in case your planned party treats don't perform to expectations.)

Rachael July 03, 2013 | 8:43 PM

Elise, i had the exact same problem with them being so moist that I couldn't do a ---- thing with them. I was making two batches for a holiday party tomorrow and I ended up throwing them out. I did finally get them to cut into the circles but they were so moist that I really couldn't even dot frosting between layers because it kept pulling the cake off. I did manage to stack a few but so soft that they just leaned and looked silly. Once I decided to toss them I put Pop Rocks into two of them to try. Our Pop Rocks didn't even fizzle. I was bummed because these looked so cute. So after four hours of trying I have nothing to take to a party tomorrow. I would love to hear if there is something else I could try because these could easily be adapted to Halloween and Christmas as well. Please help!

Sandra July 03, 2013 | 3:13 PM

You could freeze or refrigerate the cakes before cutting the shapes.

Elise July 03, 2013 | 10:24 AM

These did not work out well for me. I followed the directions very closely. When I tried to cut out the shapes with a cookie cutter, the cakes were so moist that they just completely fell apart. They did taste very good, but let me tell you, this is very frustrating after you're 3 cake-mixes in, when you're trying to do them for a company bake-off until midnight the night before. :( I would like to try these again for other events. If anyone has any suggestions/idea as to how to get the cake to stay together, please let me know!

Connie July 02, 2013 | 3:45 PM

Love this idea, very creative! I'll be making a batch to bring for a big Independence Day picnic. I'm sure everyone will appreciate the festive addition. Thanks so much for posting it.

Sandra July 01, 2013 | 2:05 PM

Gabi - Sure, you can bake the cakes before and put them in the fridge or freezer. They'll stay moister though, if you wait to cut the circles the same day that you plan to serve them.

alyssa June 28, 2013 | 9:40 PM

Such a great idea!!! Making these tonight for a pre 4th weekend party!!

Gabi June 28, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Can you store the cake (after baking, before decorating) for a couple days before making the "cakelettes"?

Gabi June 26, 2013 | 4:09 PM

I'm going to use these for a 4th of July dessert contest! I won last year with cake pops, but those were insanely hard and these look easy and delish!

Rj June 24, 2013 | 6:37 AM

Wonder if it could be one with marshmallows to allow for earlier filling and no baking?

chrissy June 24, 2013 | 5:54 AM

This is a cute idea! Thank you for taking the time to post it. On a different's a shame people don't know enough that if you don't have anything nice to say,don't say anything at all! Just saying!!!

Brittani June 21, 2013 | 1:54 PM

Such a cute idea! this cake looks like it would be nice to add jello to the mix.

Carrie // July 03, 2012 | 11:46 AM

Pretty much the best idea ever!!!

Brooke Adams July 02, 2012 | 8:50 PM

These are so cute and I am definatly going to try & make them! TY for the cute idea!

Yi-Fan June 27, 2012 | 11:06 AM

Wow. What a nice desert that can be serve to everybody.

Courtney June 27, 2012 | 11:01 AM

Cute idea. I totally forgot that pop rocks still exisited.

Mazza June 22, 2012 | 2:01 PM

Wow! They look absolutely dis-gusting!

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