Cake pops are an up and coming baking trend that look amazing and can be adapted to any occasion.
Whether it be a wedding, baby shower, Christmas, Halloween or birthdays the list is never ending, and although there are lots of stages to them they’re pretty easy!
You can make both the cake and the buttercream from scratch, however alternatively, you can use plain shop bought vanilla sponge and buttercream from a tub.
This step-by-step guide will show you how simple these cake pops really are to make, no panic, no tricky steps – anyone can do it. And once you’ve mastered these simple pops you can experiment with different flavours, colours and decorations.
Stage 1: The Sponge
225g Self-Raising flour
225g Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Baking Powder
Your first step is to make the sponges themselves.
- Pre heat the oven to 180°C and then simply weigh all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine with an electric mixer until you have a smooth batter.
- Split evenly into two baking tins and into the oven for 25 mins.
To check if they’re cooked through stick a metal skewer into the middle of the cake. It should come out clean.
The cake should also look golden brown and spring back if pushed on top gently.
Once they’re out of the oven leave them to cool on a cooling rack and then store in an air tight container until you are ready for the next step.
Stage 2: The Buttercream
40g Softened Cream Cheese
200g Icing Sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
- Firstly, cream together the butter and the cream cheese with an electric whisk until well combined.
- Then gradually incorporate the icing sugar a bit at a time until light and fluffy.
- Lastly mix in the vanilla extract.
- Cover with Clingfilm and stick in the fridge. Most recipes say 30 mins but the harder this mixture is the better it works so we’ll say 45mins just to be safe.
Stage 3: The Crumbling
- Crumble your two cakes thoroughly into a large mixing bowl until they look like breadcrumbs, making sure there are no big lumps of cake.
NOTE: You can use a food processor for this but using your hands ensure there are no lumps missed. (Al you experience the weird sensation destroying the cake you’ve just made.)
- Once your buttercream has chilled in the fridge, combine (using your hands) with your cake crumbs a bit at a time. Depending on how moist your cake is you may not need all the buttercream.
NOTE: To test if you have added enough buttercream take a little cake mix and squeeze in your palm, it should be pliable and shouldn’t crumble. If you add too little the cakes wont form the balls you need, and if you add to much they will become sticky, heavy and are likely to break off of the stick when trying to decorate.
- Wrap the mixture in Clingfilm and stick in the fridge
NOTE: other recipes say for an hour but an hour and a half ensures the mixture is really firm.
Stage 4: Making Your Balls
- Set out a baking tray and cover with a layer of greaseproof paper.
- Remove your mixture from the fridge and unwrap.
- Breaking off small ping pong sized bits of mixture roll into balls and arrange on the baking tray.
NOTE: If you make your balls too big they will be too heavy and break off the stick when dipping. Keep them small, they will look bigger once you’ve dipped and decorated them anyway.
- Once they’re all on the tray stick them back into the fridge to harden up.
NOTE: This is to harden the butter, as each time you handle the mixture it heats up and the butter starts to melt (you get really greasy hands.)
- Once again, other recipes say 15-20 mins, however, one hour will ensure that they are really hard and there is less of a chance of them falling apart.
Stage 5: Dipping & Decoration
2 X 400g bags of Candy Melts
(colour preference is yours)
In the last 5 mins of their fridge time heat the candy melts in the microwave. Do one colour first, cover the cake pops in the colour and then melt the second colour. Otherwise they will harden too quickly. Start with 1 minute in the microwave then thoroughly stir them making sure nothing is stuck to the bottom, then a further 30 seconds.
NOTE: Melted candy melts don’t have a very runny consistency which can make dipping the cake pops difficult, therefore you can add up to 2 x tbsp vegetable oil per 400g pack to loosen up the mixture.
- Take a lollipop stick and dip into the melt mixture.
- Then insert into the top of a cake ball.
- Insert until the stick is about half way in, to ensure it is secure.
- Place back on the tray lined with baking paper and let rest for about 5 mins (stick pointing into the air) until the candy melt has set.
The next step is the hardest part of the whole operation.
NOTE: We would advise keeping your cake pops in the fridge, taking them out one by one to dip them in the candy melts. This keeps the cake pops hard and then they’re less likely to fall apart when dipping.
Make sure your bowl of candy melt is deep so you don’t have to tip the bowl. Hold by the stick and dip fully into the candy. Be sure to cover right up to the stick to ensure the cake pop stays in place.
To stand the cake pops up after you’ve decorated them you can use an upside down egg carton, however this isn’t amazingly stable.
A better option may be a big block of polystyrene, which you can always decorate with tissue paper to make more attractive.
Stage 7: Decoration
- If you wish to decorate with sprinkles etc. wait a minute after you’ve dipped your pop so that is had begun setting then stick them on, this way the candy won’t be dripping off your pop.
- Leave to set and then store in a cool dry place until ready to use!
Baking cake pops is a case of trial and error, how much butter cream to put in, how long to cool for, etc. The end results, however, are worth it. And once you’ve got the hang of making them you can challenge yourself with the decoration.
Here at SANT we are waiting for Christmas to decorate them as Christmas pudding, (just one idea for you.)
Words: Iona McGregor-Nelson