Yes, I have attempted cake pops, me, total novice baker that I am. And I actually managed to make them, too, so I thought I’d put together this beginner’s guide to making them so that others can learn from my mistakes and benefit from the extensive research that I did before launching into this new and exciting cake arena. Here I’m sharing with you the honest start-to-finish very first attempt at them. They will not look perfect Pinterest-worthy finished, but they are made and they were enjoyed, so that’s good enough for me, and I’m hoping will give you hope you can do it, too, if your skill-set is similar to mine.
I am not an accomplished baker. I can do fairy cakes, muffins, and my go-to never fails me banana loaf. So the idea of doing cake pops was a little bit daunting, as the more I read, the trickier they seemed to be. But never one to give up on an idea, I figured worst case scenario I’d be writing a blog post telling you how incredibly difficult they are and never to attempt them!
The time it takes to make them was the factor that alarmed me most (along with the thought that they’d slide off the stick, but do not fear, I’ll cover that later). From start to finish it’s around 2 hours. But, if you’re impatient like me, do not be put off, as there’s actually only 20 minutes prep time in there all together, you just need to allow for breaks to allow for baking, cooling and refrigerating. Now that I know this, I’ll plan in other tasks around this so it won’t seem as drawn out. I also found that lots of the posts I was reading used a premade cake mix to start with, whereas I wanted to bake from scratch, so I’ve ensured I’ve included a sponge cake recipe here for you, too.
I got a few cake pops essentials ready..
That stand there is a fold away cardboard one and I love it. It makes it so much easier to make the cake pops and then have them held upright like this, and it’s very pretty, too. The sticks you’ll need, of course, the mold is optional, and then you’ll need some melts to use as the dipping sauce and sprinkles are just added fun.
Baking the Cake:
So first up you need to make a sponge cake. Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4, line or grease a loaf tin of 22cm x 11cm, and prepare the following ingredients:
Ingredients for the cake:
120g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
180g self raising flour
4 tbsp milk
Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla essence and stir. Sift in the flour and fold in, then add the milk and stir it all together.
Your cake mix is now ready for the tin and then the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
Check that it’s ready by sticking a knife into it. If it comes out smooth and free of cake mixture then it’s done. Remove from the tin and allow to cool.
Making the Cake Pops Mixture
Now that you have a rather lovely looking cake, you need to destroy it. Yep, cut off all of the edges, and then put the rest of it in a bowl and crumble it all up with your fingers.
At this point you can either make some frosting/icing, or add some shop bought. For me, I found it easier to simply add in some chocolate icing here, but you can make your own if you’d prefer. I went for chocolate as that always goes down very well in this house, though you can use any you like, and you could add food colourings in, too. I added 2 tablespoons of chocolate icing and then mixed it all up until I had a play dough like consistency.
I have a cake pop mould so I then broke the big ball up and put roughly shaped balls into it and pressed it together so that it gave me several of a consistent size and shape. I then scooped off any excess. If you’ve not got one of these, simply roll them into same sized balls.
When they’re all ready and pop-shaped, place them all onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and place them into the fridge for an hour.
Decorating the Cake Pops
You can now get out those sprinkles and candy melts. To prepare the dipping sauce, put the melts in a microwaveable bowl that is deep enough to dip a cake pop in without it needing to touch the bottom. Then melt the candy melts in the microwave on medium for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir quickly and thoroughly to ensure it’s all melted through.
Now’s the part that I was a bit worried about. I’d been reading reports of the pops not staying on the sticks, but do not worry as I also found a way to prevent this from happening. Before putting in your sticks, you need to dip the top of the stick into your dipping sauce and then insert it about half-way into your pop. By doing this, I didn’t have a single cake pop come loose or fall off into the sauce.
Now that your pops are on sticks, dip them into the sauce and twirl them around in there to ensure even coverage. Add on some sprinkles if you fancy it, too, and voila, you have a cake pop!
Place them into your stand and allow to harden and set before eating.
Cake Pops I have conquered you!
OK, I did do them, but I also found I made a few mistakes, that I think are useful to share, to prevent you from making the same ones….
– Don’t let the dipping sauce set. It sets really quickly, so I’d say get your pops, stand, sprinkles and sticks all ready before you put it in the microwave. As soon as it’s out and you’ve mixed it, get dipping those pops. My icing ending up being quite thick as it was already on it’s way to setting. I think this also makes it harder to then get a smooth finish.
– Once it’s on your cake pop, if you want sprinkles, get them on now! It’ll be setting straight away and if you delay even by a few seconds, it will struggle to stick well, as you can see in the two examples above. The better one was done no more than 10-15 seconds faster.
– Less is more. I was trying to cover my entire pop with sprinkles, maybe just a few on top would have been enough?
– Don’t try and use a spoon to smooth it out. You’ll just end up with a coarse, bobbly pop as in the bottom left photo there.
So there you have it, my first attempt, from start to finish, success and failures included. And the verdict? They are delicious. Will I make them again? Absolutely. Now that I actually know what I need to do at each stage, and the little niggles that can make it harder, I actually feel quite confident. Now, don’t get me wrong, I won’t be winning any baking contests with them, but they’re fun to do and so I can see us playing around with different flavours, colours and toppings.
What do you think? Fancy having a go yourself now?
Pin me for later!!!
Disclosure: With thanks to MeinCupcake who supplied me with my cake pops bakeware