A few weeks ago, my 3rd grader was engrossed in a novel she had borrowed from a friend, Cake Pop Crush by Suzanne Nelson. I didn't know it at the time, but this book was sweeping through her school like a sharp crosswind. The book's heroine, Ali, attempts to save her father's bakery from the competition with her baking specialty: cake pops. The book really does have a wonderful message for kids, especially young girls. In the face of adversity the main character both rises to the occasion of fighting to keep something alive, i.e. her dad's bakery while honoring her deceased mother, whose cake pop recipe she resurrects to drive traffic to the family business.
As soon as my daughter finished the book, she was harping on me to make cake pops with her. We popped into our neighborhood library to see if we could find some direction on how to undertake this endeavor. I'm glad we did, because as it turns out, cake popping has multiple steps for which it proved very helpful to have clear illustrations. The two most helpful (and super pretty) guides we found were books by Angie Dudley, AKA Bakerella : Cake Pops Holidays and Cake Pops Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats.
The books are chock full of darling and (some) massively intricate cake pops. Any seasonal, holiday, or animal-themed cake pop you want to create is in there. I successfully steered my daughter toward the basic cake pop...thank goodness, otherwise I could still be decorating 48 balls to look like spring chickens.
What you need:
- 18.25-ounce box cake mix
- 9 by 13-inch pan
- a large bowl and spoon for mixing
- 16-ounce container ready-made frosting
- wax paper
- baking sheet
- plastic wrap
- 3 pounds candy coating
- microwave-safe bowl
- 48 lollipop sticks
- lollipop tray to stand the pops up while drying (could use Styrofoam, but the stand is cheap and works way better)
Steps for making the cake pops:
- Bake the cake in pan, let cool completely.
- Separate/crumble your cooled cake into a bowl.
- Fold in 3/4th of the frosting until all of the cake is incorporated completely.
- Roll about Forty eight 1 to 1 and 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet that is covered in wax paper.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes. The point is to make them firm, but not frozen.
- In your microwave, melt about 1/4 th to 1/3 rd of the candy melts at medium power at 30 seconds intervals, stirring each time. This step is crazy important to take your time with! If you scald or burn your candy melts, there is NO turning back, it will not flow if you do. Keep stirring and melting until the liquid is smooth and easy to stir.
- Dip 1 lollipop stick in the candy liquid about 1 inch at the tip and then insert into 1 cake ball only about 1/2 way through the ball.
- Submerge the ball into the melted candy liquid. This step will let you gauge if you need to melt the liquid further to make it smoother and easier to coat the ball. Turn the stick carefully to completely cover the ball.
- Use your finger or a butter knife to catch and/or stop the candy liquid from rolling down the stick.
- Prop up the finished cake pop to dry completely.
I have to admit, these cake pops were worth the time. They turned out incredibly cute and surprisingly delicious! I would definitely do it again, but I would maybe wait for a rainy Saturday when we have absolutely no later engagements to get to. Plan ahead and maybe it won't take you as long as it took us!