Cake pops are still relatively new to the dessert world, but we’re definitely here for it. In comparison to longtime staples such as red velvet cake or chocolate chip cookies, they’re still coming up in the ranks.
Thanks to blogger Angie Dudley and her appearance on television with Martha Stewart in 2008, cake pops were officially introduced to the world. They really started gaining traction around 2011, and Starbucks followed suit by introducing them in their stores, making them even more popular.
Cake pops make cake perfectly portable, but they’re certainly different from cupcakes. Cake pops are crumbled cake paired with a bit of frosting as the glue that holds them together. Then, they’re dipped in a chocolate or candy coating to provide a delicious crunch when you take a bite. And while they may seem terribly daunting to make, especially because of the multiple steps required, it is absolutely possible to whip up a batch of fun and festive cake pops at home for any celebration with this cake pops recipe.
Gather the ingredients for this cake pops recipe
While cake pops look like an intimidating treat, the process of making this sweet actually goes quite quickly. You’ll want to be sure you have all of your ingredients on hand and ready to go before you dive in on this cake pops recipe.
To make cake pops, you’ll need a baked cake, frosting, candy melts or almond bark for the coating, and lollipop sticks. You can opt to utilize a boxed cake mix and store-bought frosting to make the process simpler, but for this recipe, we made these cake pops entirely from scratch. To make the funfetti cake for these cake pops, you’ll need 1-¼ cups sugar, ½ cup butter, two eggs, one teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1-¼ cups flour, 1-¾ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¾ cup milk.
For the frosting for these cake pops, you’ll need two cups powdered sugar, another ¼ cup butter, and one tablespoon milk. You’ll also need one 24-ounce block of vanilla almond bark, or you can use a 12-ounce bag of candy melts.
Bake the cake for this cake pops recipe
To get going on making this cake pops recipe from scratch, you’ll want to bake the cake first. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, begin the batter. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla extract, and mix. Then, gradually add in a third of the flour mixture and half of the milk. Mix, and then add in another third of the flour mixture, the remaining milk, and then the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until a batter forms, and then mix in sprinkles if desired.
Pour the batter into a cake pan greased with cooking spray. A nine-inch square will work well here, but feel free to use any size. Bake the cake for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown and set. Once the cake is fully baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to fully cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can put the cake in the freezer to fully cool.
Make the frosting for this cake pops recipe
While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting for the cake pops recipe mixture. The frosting is essentially the glue that holds the filling for these cake pops together. Plus, it adds another kick of flavor and great texture. Again, using store-bought frosting is an option here, especially since not very much is needed for this recipe. Plus, you can choose to utilize any flavor of frosting here you desire. We kept things simple with a vanilla frosting, but you could change the extracts added or even the color if desired.
To make buttercream frosting at home for this recipe, start by creaming the butter. Use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer and a mixing bowl. Cream the butter, and then add one cup of powdered sugar. Add in the tablespoon of milk and a quarter teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, and mix. Then, add in the remaining cup of powdered sugar and continue mixing until a smooth frosting consistency forms.
Crumble the cake for this cake pops recipe
Once the cake is fully cooled for this cake pops recipe, it’s time to break it up. Crumble the entire cake into a large mixing bowl. You can use your hands to make this step easier. Be sure to crumble it enough to avoid any large chunks in the mixture. This should amount to about four cups of cake crumbles. You may also opt to use a food processor for this step to pulse the cake crumbs into a fine mixture.
Once the cake is fully broken up, add three tablespoons of the prepared frosting into the bowl. Stir in the frosting, or use your hands for easier mixing.
You’ll want to continue mixing the cake crumbles and frosting until a texture similar to a paste or dough forms. It shouldn’t be too wet or too dry but just right to come together to form a large ball.
Form the cake balls for this cake pops recipe
Once the cake pop filling is fully combined, it’s time to form the balls of cake for this cake pops recipe. Before you begin, be sure your station is prepared. Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper to keep the cake pops from sticking throughout the steps.
Scoop tablespoon-sized pieces of dough from the bowl of cake pop filling. If you have a cookie dough scoop, it will make this process much simpler. Once you’ve scooped a piece of dough, roll it into a ball, making sure it’s smooth all the way around, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet.
This method will produce 15 balls of cake pop filling with the cake recipe given. You can make the cake pop balls a bit larger or even smaller — just be sure not to make them too much larger. If they’re too big, they won’t hold as well on the lollipop sticks.
Dip the sticks for this cake pops recipe
Once the cake balls are formed for your cake pops, it’s time to begin assembly of this cake pops recipe.
Start by melting the vanilla almond bark or candy melts for your coating. Break up the almond bark and put it in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture, which will still be chunky, and then put it back in the microwave. Continue to heat the almond bark for ten-second intervals, stirring in between each heating until the almond bark is fully melted and smooth.
Once the almond bark is fully melted, dip the end of a lollipop stick in the bowl. Then, push it into a cake ball, being sure that it only goes through to just the center of the cake ball, rather than all the way through. Repeat this step with all of the cake balls and lollipop sticks. Once all sticks have been dipped, place the full baking sheet in the freezer to allow the almond bark to fully set and the cake pops to chill for 15 minutes.
Coat and decorate these cake pops
Now finally comes the last step for this cake pops recipe. Once the lollipop sticks are set with the almond bark, dip each cake pop into the almond bark to fully coat it. It’s best to dip the cake pops into the melted almond bark when they’re cool to allow the coating to harden easier. Be sure your almond bark or candy coating isn’t too hot for this step.
Once you dip the cake pop, allow the excess melted chocolate to drip off of the cake pop. Tap it gently to assist this process if needed.
If you want to decorate your cake pops, it’s best to do this when the cake pop coating is still wet. Sprinkle the cake pops with your favorite sprinkles, and then prop the lollipop sticks up by using a glass filled with rice or even a cardboard box. Be sure to allow the cake pops to fully set without touching each other to achieve a smooth coating. Sprinkling crushed Oreos, nuts, or fine shredded coconut is another great option for topping.
How long can you keep cake pops?
Cake pops really are genius, especially when you think of the option to preserve cake in this way. It’s the ideal use for leftover cake, keeping it fresh for quite some time.
Because there’s plenty of sugar in the cake pop filling, frosting, and the outer shell coating, cake pops can last at room temperate and be kept stable for quite some time. Store your finished cake pops for four to five days at room temperature. Just be sure to keep them away from any temperature changes that would cause the coating to melt.
If you prefer to preserve your cake pops for longer, the fridge or freezer will work as well. Wrap the cake pops individually in plastic wrap, or use tin foil, and store the cake pops in an airtight container to avoid any moisture or air from getting to them. Store the cake pops in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to one month to pull them out to snack on later.
While they may seem terribly daunting to make, it is absolutely possible to whip up a batch of fun and festive cake pops at home for any celebration.
- 1-¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup butter (plus ¼ cup for frosting)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (plus ¼ teaspoon for frosting)
- 1-¼ cups flour
- 1-¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup milk (plus 1 tablespoon for frosting)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (for frosting)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla extract, and mix.
- Gradually mix in a third of the flour mixture and then half of the milk. Add in another third of the flour mixture, the remaining milk, and then the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until a batter forms, but be sure not to over-mix. Mix in sprinkles if desired.
- Pour the batter into a cake pan greased with cooking spray. A 9-inch square pan will work well here. Bake the cake for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown and set.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to fully cool. Feel free to place it in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.
- While the cake cools, make the frosting. In the bowl of stand mixer, mix the quarter-cup of softened butter. Add in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk, and mix. Add in the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix until a frosting forms.
- Once the cake is fully cooled, crumble it into a large bowl. Be sure to crumble it enough to avoid any large chunks. This should amount to 4 cups of cake crumbles.
- Stir 3 tablespoons of frosting into the cake crumbles. Use your hands for easier mixing. Mix until the cake crumbles and frosting are well combined to create the cake pop filling.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon-sized pieces of dough from the bowl of cake pop filling. Roll each section of dough into a smooth ball, and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Melt the white almond bark topping. Put the almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and then continue heating in ten-second intervals, stirring in between, to make sure the almond bark is fully melted and smooth.
- Dip one end of the lollipop stick into the melted almond bark, and then push it into the cake ball. Be sure it only goes through to the center. Repeat this step with all of the cake balls, and then put the full baking sheet in the freezer to allow the almond bark to set for 15 minutes.
- Once the lollipop sticks are set with the almond bark, dip each cake pop into the almond bark to fully coat it. Allow the excess melted chocolate to drip off of the cake pop, tapping gently to assist.
- Sprinkle the cake pops with the sprinkles of your choice, and then prop the lollipop sticks by using a glass or a cardboard box to allow the cake pops to fully set without touching.