I recently participated in a cake-pop workshop. I must admit, when I first heard about cake-pops from a friend last year I thought they sounded disgusting, and looked like way too much work for such a small treat. But, as someone interested in baking, I thought I should at least try them since they seem to be all the rage right now. I was definitely surprised! Who would have thought crumbled cake mixed with icing and dipped in candy coating could be so good? It is definitely a sugar rush, but because they are bite-size, it seems to be just the right amount.
At the workshop the base of the pops were pre-made by the instructor, so we just got to decorate. She didn’t have any specific instruction on decorating, but she had lots of different candies, sprinkles and treats to choose from, as well as several shades of candy coating. I think it would have been helpful to get a design demonstration at the beginning, and then let people’s creative juices flow, but it’s fun to learn by trial and error too.
Cake-pops are made by baking a 9” x 13” cake (most instructions use a boxed mix), crumbling the cake once cooled, mixing in half a can of frosting until it becomes like a malleable dough (again, most instructions use store-bought frosting), then roll this mixture into 1” balls. When I made them at home, I got just over 40 cake pops out of one cake mix. Let the balls cool in the fridge. [You can freeze them at this point, just thaw in the fridge a couple hours before you want to decorate]. Once cooled, use a skewer (or something similar) to poke a small hole in one end of each ball. Melt some candy coating, dip a lollipop stick in the coating, and stick it into the small hole. Return to the fridge to cool. Once they are cooled again, melt various colours of candy coating, dip the pops and decorate however you wish. I took just a few pops out of the fridge at a time to dip, which helps the coating cool faster. There are instruction videos on Youtube, and countless decorating ideas online.
I have made two sets of pops at home since the workshop, decorating some with yellow coating and some with blue. The yellow coating took a very long time to cool, making it difficult to decorate because I had to rotate the pop to keep it from dripping until it cooled. The blue was much easier to work with. It seems like every colour of coating will have a different cooling time. Once the coating starts to cool there is a very short window of time for decorating before the coating hardens, so I quickly learned to plan my design and have everything set out ready to go as soon as the coating stopped dripping.
I’ll confess, I have been won over by the cake-pop. They take a bit of time to make, but they are fun, attractive and tasty little treats. I took some to a neighbour’s birthday party the other day and the kids loved them. And like the workshop, it would be so easy to make the bases ahead of time and decorate them as a birthday party activity. I am definitely adding cake-pops to my repertoire, and someday when I have the time I will try making the cake and frosting from scratch, because like most things from scratch, I’m sure those pops will taste even better!
See more cake-pop photos in my ‘smaller fare’ gallery.