Cake Pops Are Not Easy!

Who ever said making caking pops was easy? (Ahem… bakerella). It most certainly is not. It is a ton of work and takes a lot of practice and finesse. There, I said it. I’m so tired of these DIYers out there making it look like everything they do is just the easiest thing they’ve ever done.

            Its time someone spoke out, and I’m willing to be the someone.

This is the true story of how I tried and failed, and tried again, until finally I made the (almost) perfect Cake Pop! This post is dedicated to all of you who, like me, had a dream of being a baking goddess… only to be faced with the ugly truth, “I am NOT Martha Stewart.”

I picked up a Bakerella book at William’s Sonoma the other day and read through the whole thing right there in the store. Don’t judge me, but I snapped a couple pictures of the recipes. Armed with the ease of the illustrations and the gorgeous ideas, I was ready to go! I popped into Michael’s with my 40% off coupons in hand, and stocked up on lollipop sticks, Wilton candy coating, candy food colors, and styrofoam blocks. I picked up some box cakes and vanilla frosting as well.

Cake Decorating Supplies

First of all, the Bakerella recipe is WRONG. I’m not trying to disparage her because I think she’s an innovator, but whoever the test chef was who wrote this recipe obviously did not test it out first. There’s just no way.

The recipe calls for one boxed cake to one 16 oz cannister of frosting. This made for extremely mushy dough. A whole canister of frosting is WAY too much. Even after freezing the balls they were much too soft to hold up on the stick. It was even worse once I tried to coat them with the candy.

Several fell off the sticks into the candy and crumbs got all in my velvety candy coating.

The ones that made it through the coating process fell off while cooling on the sticks.

<– These are the ones that bit the dust. 😦

Ugh, the whole thing was very frustrating. But alas I am a champ.

I did not give up! I gave it another try. This time I am very happy to say I was successful! Yay!
Craftsy: Free Cake Decorating Classes

Here’s how I did it…

I started with a chocolate cake this time, the kind with the pudding mixed in.

After it cooled completely I cut the crust off the edge, so I didn’t have any crunchy pieces in my dough. Adam gobbled the crusts up in seconds!

I crumbled up the cake into evenly broken up crumbs. If you roll the cake between your palms it will really help for a nice smooth crumb. It was lots of fun getting my hands in there! This would be a great part to let the kids help with.

This time I only added about 1/3 of the frosting. About 5/8 of a cup if you’re making your own frosting.

The result was a nice firm dough. —>

Using a 1 oz scoop made perfectly portioned balls.

Though the portion was perfect, the shape wasn’t- so I rolled them between my palms to make nice smooth round balls. Then I popped them into the freezer to firm up.

Become an Expert Cake Decorator at HomeNow comes the fun part! I made a handy little double boiler to melt the Wilton candy using two pyrex measuring cups. I just kept my electric kettle near by with freshly boiled water to change it out so the candy stayed smooth. I also added a few teaspoons of shortening to thin out the candy a bit so it wasn’t too thick of a coating on the cake balls. It only takes a few minutes to melt and it gets really smooth.

Start by dipping the sticks into the candy and then gently push them only half way into the balls.

Then stick them into a styrofoam block and chill in the fridge for a few minutes.

On my first attempt I tried dipping them into the candy but this made the balls fall off the sticks. So I like holding them over the dish and spooning the melted candy over them.

Then gently twist & tap the cake pops on on the edge of the dish until no more “blops” of candy drip off.

Now all that I had to do was set them in the block, and let them cool. Then they were ready for embellishments!

I melted some white candy and poured it into a squeeze bottle.

I kept a glass with boiling water nearby in case the bottle started to cool. Then I just drizzled it over the pops.

And here is the final product!

They were a hit at my mom’s dinner party!

And finally… always be sure to buckle up for safety when transporting your little pops.

35 thoughts on “Cake Pops Are Not Easy!

  1. Melissa Parks

    Me too!!! I totally agree with the frosting to cake ratio. I like the spooning it over idea. Next time that’s what I’ll try.

  2. elizabella.t

    Noelle – I love this! I am going to try and make these balls (hehe) for our gathering when I’m visiting Florida! 🙂

  3. Malica

    Glad I’m not the only one who had problems!

    Dipping into chocolate sure is an art. Took me half of a batch to get it close to nice and smooth. Dipping the sticks into melted chocolate first then jabbing them in the ball seemed to help, but then you need to allow extra time to let it set.

    The problems I had besides just needing practice was the coating cracked on a number of balls (probably due to using the refrigerator to speed up the hardening), and the edible markers I got were water-soluble which write on chocolate about as good as a ball point pen on wax paper. :S

    It’s a good thing husbands and children are always so selfless in helping us get rid of the evidence.

  4. Shannon Gibson

    Thank you sooo much! I thought it was just me. I too will try the spoon method of coating next time. I make chocolates at the holidays, filled, molded and even chocolate boxes (for cripes sake). These were more challenging than any of that. Keep up the good work!

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      I’m glad to know its not just me! When I wrote the post I was so hoping there would be others out there. Let’s all band together against the Martha Stewarts and Bakerallas everywhere! (Just kidding I love them both 🙂

  5. Patsy

    Great tutorial! I’ve made them before, with similar problems… I’ll be coming back to review what you shared next time I get the urge to make them!

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      So glad I could help! After asking around I figured out that more and more people were having trouble with it. Stay tuned for more blunders revealed and repaired 🙂

  6. jen

    any suggestions on getting the choc. smooth. I just tried them today and because my frosting ratio was too much I had the same issues. I got about 5 good ones out of the bunch but even those looked amatour. Getting the extra choc off just made a bump on the one side. Did you have any tips? Also what type of shortening do you use? Like crisco in a can?

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      Well I used candy which is different than chocolate. Try using the Wilton brand chocolate candy chips. They have soy lecithin in them which helps with smoothness. Alternatively you can buy soy lecithin chips online for fairly low price. Adding some will surely help! If you cant get ahold of either then I would say use more shortening (melt it separately then pour in by the teaspoon). I use crisco in a can. Hope this helps!

  7. Pingback: How to Make Fool Proof Cake Pops « Homemaker Chic

  8. Stephanie

    Love your break down and pictures!

    I’ve had problems with cake pops before but in Bakerella’s defense, she does state not to use the entire can of frosting either in her book or her website. She recommends using 3/4 of a container of frosting, which is pretty close to your 5/8 measurement. She also wrote and tested her own recipes. If you follow her directions precisely, it actually does work out pretty well. I’ve only had problems when I didn’t follow them correctly.

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      Wow thanks for the comment. I must have misread the directions in bakerella’s book! That would make a lot more sense. The information I got was from Martha Stewart who posted the bakerella recipe after Angie Dudley appeared on the show. That recipe called for 2 cups of frosting. This is where I found problems. Anyway it is VERY likely that I had problems because I don’t follow instructions very well. I hope with this blog I can encourage others to do better than me 🙂

  9. Caylin

    I am about to attempt to make cake pops for my daughters birthday. How long do you let the cake balls firm up in the freezer before putting the sticks in?

    1. Homemaker Chic Post author

      Well with the kind baked in the cake pop pans you do not need to freeze them at all. For the rolled version (the kind with the crumbled cake and frosting) I’d say freeze them for about 15-30 minutes.

  10. Cristi

    At the cupcake shop I bake at, I make cake pops almost every day. The taste is incomparable when you use cake you’ve made from scratch, and make your own frosting. Jarred frosting is much too sweet, and the boxed cake/frosting combo is inferior in taste. I prefer our buttercream or cream cheese frosting, or if you are looking for rich chocolate, you can use chilled ganache instead of frosting. I wouldn’t pay attention to the ratio, just add a little at a time until it makes a “dough” that holds together well. Then roll them and chill them so that they are firmer and you shouldn’t have problems dipping. Don’t give up on the rolled method, everyone!

    1. jennkaybarberJenn

      Tips for them not cracking after you are done? Maybe the balls were too big? I used almond bark for better taste than candy melts…

      1. Homemaker Chic Post author

        With the rolled method you want to make sure you don’t freeze them for too long. The heat of the candy combined with the extreme cold of completely frozen pops causes cracking. Just freeze them enough to firm them up but don’t freeze them solid.

  11. CMLion

    I’ve been making Cake Pops for a few years and have never had a problem. Here are a couple of tips:
    First, as one of your commentors noted: don’t use a full can of frosting, only use 3/4.
    Second, I don’t freeze them, the chocolate coating tends to crack when the pops warm up. I refrigerate them as I melt the chocolate.
    Third, I use a small truffle scoop to get a consistent measurement of dough for each pop.

  12. Samantha

    Oh goodness, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way–but as I read this, I had a little giggle and wondered if you had bad Cake Pop Karma because you took a picture of the recipe in the store instead of buying the book. LOL I’ve been chicken to try so far, but I think I’m going to get brave and do some. We have a bake sale coming up and I’d love to make some to sell if I can make them look decent. I’m glad to see some tips from some of the pros who make them all the time. I guess I’ll try homemade cake and maybe homemade frosting if I can figure that out.

  13. zoekaseyzhaqkobe

    oh my word, I never could figure why my cake pops would break or why I would never have it looking smooth. I’m not giving up & I’m going to try these methods to see what works. I almost have the cake/frosting ratio but now my problem is the chocolate.

  14. ginni

    I too agree with you, I am a Chef though and a baker, but for some reason I have a hard time with the cake pops, I will try your idea of spooning the chocolate coating next time, Ive tried everything else, any suggestions as far as dipping them into say “sprinkles” they seem to always fall off

  15. Lemirn

    I’ve tried adding shortening or oil to the candy melts, but I find that when the Cakepops are drying the oil/shortening starts to come out through the candy coating or a bit drips down the stick -_-


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