Cake Pop Tutorial, Q&A, and Giveaway

I would like to begin by saying I am not an expert on this subject matter.

FAR

from

it.

However, I’ve had a fair amount of practice. Also, the huge number of people finding my site by searching “cake pops falling off the stick” makes me sad because thus far I haven’t really offered solutions. Only problems. And more problems.

Let’s review:

I’ve had problems with cake balls falling off the sticks–resulting in cake balls:

I’ve had problems involving the most delicious poop I’ve ever come upon.

Say what?

And, I’ve had some undesirable trips to the Grand Canyon. Multiple times. As in, more than I can count.

So to summarize, I’ve had a lot of problems. All because I wanted it to be perfect for my daughter’s first birthday.

And let me tell you, it was nearly perfect. Close enough for this girl.

Cute, right? (Humor me.)

The first thing I am going to do is take you through my process. Then I’ll do a quick Q&A . Then I’ll direct you to other sites that may also be helpful. Okay? Okay.

Oh, and I have a giveaway!

My Process:

  1. I use a boxed cake mix. Prepare as directed on box and bake until toothpick or knife comes out clean.
  2. Cool completely. Sometimes I break it up a little to let the steam escape while it is still hot to limit the moistness factor.
  3. After cake has cooled completely, crumble up until it is all small crumbles. I use my (clean) hands for this step.
  4. Once that is done, grab your can (that’s right, can) of frosting. Or you can make your own. I was getting nuts in the kitchen (for my daughter’s birthday) so I tried to keep things simple. Start with 1/3 of the can of frosting and stir into crumbled cake until incorporated.
  5. Make a test ball. If it sticks together you’re golden. If it is still kind of crumbling in your hands, add a little more frosting. Bit by bit, repeat this step until you have achieved perfect consistency. Remember that you can always add more frosting, but you cannot take it out, no matter how badly you want to.
  6. Roll out all your balls (I use a medium size cookie scoop for uniform balls)  and put them on a large baking sheet with a rim. Unless you want your cake balls rolling all over the floor. I prefer sprinkles to dust and hair. Not that there is any dust or hair on my floors! *eye roll*
  7. Refrigerate overnight. Or for a while. At least a few hours.
  8. Okay. Now this is what worked best for me. This is by no means and exact science. Melt your candy melts as directed on package, except add in about 1 tbsp of shortening (per one bag of melts). This helps to thin out the melts.
  9. Dip your stick about 1/2″ into the melts and then stick into the cake ball about halfway. Return to sheet pan. Repeat with all the balls and all the sticks.
  10. Put these in the freezer for about 5 minutes. (I did it in batches.)
  11. Dip straight into bowl of melted (but not too hot!) candy melts. Use a spoon to cover up the top if you need too, don’t swirl the pop around in the melts.
  12. Add sprinkles immediately while candy melts are still soft.
  13. Place in cake pop stand or Styrofoam block to harden.
  14. Store at room temperature.

Supplies:

Cake
Frosting
Sticks
Styrofoam or an pre-made stand or you can make your own like I did
Candy melts
Sprinkles–lots of ’em*
Time & Patience*

*Items marked with an asterisk are especially important.

Q&A:

Q: Why are my cake pops falling off the stick?
A: There are a number of explanations/reasons for cake pops falling off the sticks. These were my most common reasons:

  • Cake/frosting ratio is off, likely too much frosting. Remember to add only a little at a time until the right consistency is achieved.
  • Cake balls are too cold. You want them cold, but not frozen. 5-15 minutes in the freezer seems to do the trick.
  • You forgot to dip the stick in the candy melts first, before sticking it in the cake ball. Remember to let it harden before dipping the cake pop in the candy melts.
  • You swirled the cake pop in the candy melts. Dip straight in, then straight back out. If your bowl of melts is too shallow, use a spoon to cover the rest of the pop.
  • You have bad luck. So do I. Turn it upside down and make the best of the situation. Or just eat your losers.

Q: Why is the cake oozing out from under the candy coating (aka “cake poop”)?
A: The most likely answer to this is that there is a hole in the coating somewhere. Based on feedback I got on Twitter, the most common cause of this is a bubble in your candy coating. So make sure you don’t get too crazy when you’re stirring. Be gentle. This will help ensure there are no (or less) bubbles. I also found that once I had a better consistency of both the cake and the candy coating, I didn’t run into the poop problem.

Q: Why is my candy coating cracking (aka “Grand Canyon”)?
A: The most likely reason for this happening is that your pops are too cold and your melts are too hot…and the difference in temperatures is causing the melts to crack.

Q: Why is my candy coating dull and funny looking?
A: You overheated it. Start over with a new bag or just add extra sprinkles to cover it up.

Helpful Links:

Bakerella: Make Your Cupcakes Pop! (Cupcake Pop Tutorial–also has a link to video.)

Pioneer Woman: “Cake Pop Lesson #1: The Cake Ball”

Pint-Sized Baker: Video Tutorials (Good one about dipping.)

Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body: “10 Tips in Cake Popping”

Bakerella: Cake Pops (Link to order book–but also a helpful video.)

KC Bakes: Cake Pop Queries (Similar to my Q&A only more eloquent.)

UPDATE: WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN: Grubarazzi is the winner and has been notified via email.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Kim from KC Bakes has graciously donated one of her beautiful cake pop stands to giveaway. I purchased one from her, not only to thank her, but also so I could attest to the quality of the stand. I have it here in my possession, and let me tell you–it is great! Very high quality and extremely nice looking. She is good at what she does! She is donating a white mini-stand (holds 12 pops). She will ship anywhere in the world! Here is some more information from Kim:

“Cake Pop Stands by KC Bakes are the best thing to hit the cake pop world since the lollipop stick!  Each stand is hand-crafted from solid wood, providing a sturdy and durable base. The stands then receive two coats of protective finish, so they can get messy while decorating cake pops, then be wiped off and used as a beautiful display to showcase your culinary creations.  Important to note, they are eco-friendly, freeing bakers from the expense and mess of Styrofoam. 
 
KC Bakes’ stands are a great addition to any kitchen.  Originally crafted to hold cake pops, we’ve found a plethora of ways that our stands can be used for home entertainment; check out our website for both Sweet and Savory recipe ideas: http://www.kcbakes.com/recipes-with-sticks.html.”

To Enter:

Comment on this post. You can tell me what your experience has been with cake pops. Have you made them? Eaten them? Tried to make them and run into problems?

For Extra Entries (MAKE SURE to leave an extra comment for each or they won’t count!):

1. Follow @not_rachaelray on Twitter
2. “Like” Not Rachael Ray on Facebook 
3. Subscribe to my RSS feed or add your name to my email list (please confirm when you get the email asking you to do so).
4. Tweet about this giveaway! You can use this if you want: “Enter to win a cake pop stand from @KCbakes and @not_rachaelray! http://wp.me/p1AwA6-qu”
5. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page.
6. “Like” KC Bakes on Facebook.

 

That’s up to seven chances to win! This is a quickie–enter by Thursday night (11/3) and I’ll choose a winner using random.org on Friday morning (11/4). Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I choose another winner. Prize will be shipped by the generous Kim of KC Bakes. Good luck!

When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!

163 comments

  1. Pingback: How To Make Cakepops – Tips, Tricks, Advice, Links & Resources

  2. Pingback: Common Cake Pop Issues & Tutorial | MISS CANDIQUIK

  3. I’M HAVING AN ISSUE WITH THE INSIDES…. IS IT ME OR DO THEY ALWAYS COME OUT TOO GOOEY IN THE MIDDLE AS IF THE CAKE WAS UNDERCOOKED WHEN ITS NOT?? HELP ME OUT WITH THIS PLEASE… WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? THANKS

    • They are on the moist side because of the frosting added in. I’d recommend trying less frosting. If you’re still not a fan of the texture, there are cake-pop makers (like this one) you can get that actually bake round cake balls, so there is no frosting included. Good luck! Let me know if I can help in any other way.

  4. By the way, this tutorial was perfectly timed. The cake pops I made this weekend did not crack. Not a single one of them. This is a big deal! I’m not sure if I can attribute that to the fact that I didn’t dip them immediately after pulling them out of the freezer, or if it was because I splurged and bought Merckens candy melts. But your advice definitely helped me get closer to cake pop perfection.

  5. Your cake pops are so beautiful. I think you have amply gotten the hang of this cake pop thing!

  6. Thanks for the tip on what causes cracking!! It has been a major frustration for me!

  7. A wonderful tutorial and contest :)

  8. I like KC Bakes on Facebook.

  9. I subscribe to your RSS feed

  10. I like Not Rachael Ray on Facebook

  11. I have made cake pops. They are delicious but never look as good as the pictures!

  12. HA! Great tips…that cake pop poop is hilarious…

  13. What great cake pop information! I’ve never made cake pops and have been wanting to make them for a while now! Maybe for Thanksgiving!

  14. I made sheep cake pops for my youngest son’s 2nd birthday 3 weeks ago! I successfully did 17 of them, and probably lost at least 10. They were yummy!! I’m making simple ones for my daughter’s 4th birthday in a week and a half; just sprinkles!

  15. Awesome tutorial :) And the birthday cake pops turned out fantastic!

  16. What a fun tutorial! Your cake balls looked amazing for little E’s birthday!!

  17. Your cake pops look great. It is a trial and error sort of thing when making them. I just finished making some pumpkin cake balls and cake pops for Halloween. They’re fun and the perfect bite size dessert. Very informative.

  18. Liked KC Bakes on facebook

  19. Already like Not Rachael Ray on facebook

  20. i liked KC baked on Facebook, and i have never tried cake pops before, but i am intrigued by them:)

  21. I made cake balls for Easter and sent them to my grandchildren. They were time consuming….but worth it. I made lemon with cream cheese frosting and dipped them into yellow candy melts and used pastel Easter sprinkles. I had no problems at all…followed instructions pretty much the same as yours. Fun!

  22. Liked KC bake on fb

    Liked not Rachel ray on fb

  23. Thanks for your advice!! Cake pops look so simple to make but when I tried they were far from this!! thanks for adding me in your drawing

    holly

  24. I subscribe by email, and i love it:)

  25. I liked your page on facebook:)

  26. i love this site!

  27. I subscribe to your email updates!

  28. I like KC Bakes on FB!

  29. I follow you on Twitter!

  30. I like you on FB!

  31. I’ve never made cake pops exactly…but I did make cake balls once. They turned out really well, but I made them too large. Would love to try cake pops! :)

  32. I subscribe via RSS feed.

  33. I tweeted giveaway.

  34. I like KCbakes on FB.

  35. I like you on FB.

  36. I follow you on twitter.

  37. I see them everywhere but have yet to make them. Will do soon.

  38. Love cake balls…..just getting into making them!!

  39. I like KC Bakes on facebook.

  40. I follow you on twitter. I’m @TheLittleKitchn.

  41. I like you on facebook

  42. Love reading about your cake pop adventures! Makes me want to give it a shot!

  43. I “Like” KC Bakes on Facebook

  44. I am already Subscribed to your RSS feed

  45. I already “Like” Not Rachael Ray on Facebook

  46. I already Follow you on Twitter

  47. I have never tried to make them, I have eaten them, and I have made lots of different types of truffles,but this would be a fun change to what I normally make.

  48. I have a mostly good experience with them. I love chocolate cake pops!

  49. Oo Ooo – pick me pick me!!!!

    I have a bit of experience with them, I read a great tip for my last batch, and when you pull them out the fridge and they’re hard, roll them a second time. It makes them super smooth, and brings the temp down so less grand canyon action. Personally, I love grand canyon, you get to eat them and all the calories fall out the crack – they’re like broken bikkies/cookies you get from the supermarket – they don’t count.

    I also found some microwavable cups from my supermarket, I can fit heaps of chocolate in here (candy melts are soooo expensive in Aus) and put some shortening in as well, shortening saves heaps of time. I colour the choc with gel and/or powder, I prefer the gel. Just remember when colouring white choc is that white choc is actually yellow, factor this into your colour combo’s.

    Yay cake pops!

  50. And shared it on FB! I guess you’ve guessed i’d love to have one of those cake pop stands :-)

  51. Liked KC Bakes on FB!

  52. Twitted about your giveaway lol

  53. Wow.. i’m also subscribed to your posts by e-mail!

  54. I already follow you on twitter ;-)

  55. I love your post! And your cake pops! They’re SUUUPER cute! Really! I’ve tried to make them once, had a little problems with the candy melts, they didn’t actually melt… oh well, i guess i’ll have to give’em another chance!
    Keep doing such a fantastic job! Every time a read your blog, you make me smile! :-)

  56. These are adorable. They look PERFECT to me. Perfect enough to eat. nom nom.

  57. Shared the giveaway on my facebook

  58. I led KC Bakes on facebook!!

  59. I Like” Not Rachael Ray on Facebook

  60. I love cake pops and think yours turned out wonderful!!

  61. I Like Not Rachael Ray on facebook

  62. I follow not_rachaelray on twitter!

  63. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve tried cake pops once and failed miserably. I have already gotten everything to try them again, so I bookmarked this post so I can reference it as I go!

  64. I like KC Bakes on FB.

  65. I like you on facebook and I wish there was a way to post these faster instead of getting the “you are posting too quickly” so frustrating.

  66. I follow you on twitter @icywit

  67. I have made cake balls. No pops yet.

  68. I’ve recently started my own cake ball business at home and this would help me so much get into cake pops so I’d have a stand to hold them! Thanks yours truely Little Boe Sweets :)

    littleboesweets.com

  69. Your cake pops look terrific! I’ve had some great experiences with cake pops – love making them and ‘specially decorating them :) Of course, eating them is always fun too!! Great tutorial and tips, Thanks.

  70. I haven’t eaten them or tried to make them but want to do both after reading this post!

  71. I was in a real hurry and ordered 12 doughnut centers instead and stuck the stick with melting chocolate, refergirated, and dipped. Definately a great tip with just dip and NO swirling around!

  72. Oh girl, i have had so many issues doing cake pops over the years. I can do them now but get nervous everytime! LOL! Why is that? Awesome tutorial

  73. I have subscribed to your blog! Yay!

  74. I shared your giveaway on my Fbk page! Thank you!

  75. I already liked KC Bakes on Fbk… her stands look awesome. So I really hope to win this one. :)

  76. Hello! I liked your FBk page! I can’t believe I’d not seen it yet.

  77. The first time experiencing a cake pop was when my wife made them for the first time. It was interesting to watch her struggle creating something that looks so simple. After several hours she had created 4 cake pops. I have never seen someone work so hard on 4 small items before in my life. Then I took a bite and it was heaven on a stick. Don’t know if it was worth the hours she put into it, but she has perfected her art and they are a hit in the house.

  78. LIKE KC Bakes on facebook

  79. And I just liked you on facebook.

  80. I’d love to try out making pops. I always just do the balls, which is just not as cute!

  81. I’ve made ’em oodles of times, and am making them on Friday for a baby shower on Saturday. Pressure! I’m too familiar with the Grand Canyon crackage, too. Fingers crossed I won’t have that problem on Friday.

  82. I subscribe via e-mail

  83. LIKE u on facebook

  84. I follow on twitter as Halleelujahmom

  85. All of the above, I love making them and coming up with creative ideas, I just wish my ideas would look like I invision them.

  86. I agree with your tips completely! I’ve had similar troubles with the pop falling off the stick and like you mentioned, it’s usually because the cake pop is too cold or I go swirling the pop in the melts (I’m greedy, what can I say? ;-). Yours came out beautifully though!

    xo, Margaret

  87. My first time making them was a complete disaster, I think everything went wrong! I was determind to get them right! So the more I tried the easier it got. I still have my ooopsie pops but they are in big demand right now and people love them! Thanks for all your wonderful information it is very helpful!

  88. I’m also following both you and Miss Kim (@KCbakes) on FaceBook and Twitter (I’m @lucylupop)

  89. I’m so thankful to @KCBakes not only for her amazing stands, but also for introducing me to your site! I’ve experienced all of the Cake Pop issues you mentioned above! Thanks for the great trouble shooting guide :)

  90. I liked kc bakes on fb

  91. I shared the link of fb

  92. I tweeted about your giveaway

  93. I’d like to be added to your email list please.

    • Great Lynette! I used the email address that you provided me, but if you would like to add a different address, just type it into the sidebar on the right-hand side of my site. You’ll get a confirmation email that you need to click a link in to complete the process. Thanks again for stopping by!

  94. I love making cake pops they are so much fun I prefer making a million of them then making one cake lol.

  95. My last couple of batches came out best…really smooth and pretty.
    1. mix the cake and icing and leave in fridge to chill overnight.
    2. Wear gloves (keeps them smooth and from sticking all over your hands); use an icecream scoop to scoop up the cake, leveling the tops of the scoops to keep the size consistent.
    3. form into smooth balls.
    4. please in fridge.
    **I purchased some silicone bowls…they are great for melting in the microwave and deep for dipping. ***the consistency should be thin enough for the melt (either chocolate or confectionary) to fall off your spoon in a stream. Chocolate has to be tempered.
    5. dip lollipop sticks in melt (paper sticks are best), then place in center of your cooled cake balls.
    6. place standing upright on whatever you have to keep them still and upright (I bought a $7 styrofoam rectangular block @ walmart and poked holes every 2 inches with the sticks).
    7. Working in small batches (about 5 at a time), dip the CHILLED (not frozen) cake balls into the dip and move the stick in every direction (don’t swirl the ball cause it will fall off) making sure to cover it completely down to the stick.
    8. if you want to add sprinkles or something, do it while they’re still wet, or place them back in the fridge so they chill and harden.
    9. eat them.

  96. I have eaten them but not made them. I need to give it a try, thanks for this post!

  97. I LOVE making cake pop! And I LOVE eating them! And I’d LOVE to win this stand!!!!!!!

  98. Too funny! I know exactly what you are talking about with cake pops…ya win some, you lose some. Such is life ;)
    Love pops though and have became fairly good at them. I still have to laugh though when I look back at my uglys.

    :)

  99. shared FB!!

  100. Love cake pops!!!

  101. So – I’ve heard so many people talk about these but I’ve never actually tried to make them. I have, however, tasted them – and yum!!!! I would love the cute cake pop stand! By the way if you want to read a REAL failure for a first birthday cake – check out this link. (pay no attention to my bad photos – as I didn’t have my nice camera at that time.) :) http://herviewfromhome.com/2011/07/03/r-i-p-miss-teddy/

  102. I liked KC Bakes on Facebook

  103. I shared this giveaway on my Facebook page Moore or Less Cooking.

  104. I also have some issues with the melts and some balls falling off the sticks!!!ciao from Italy

  105. I subscribed to your email

  106. I posted your giveaway on Twitter

  107. I am following you on Twitter

  108. I made my first cake pops for Halloween, I added my homemade frosting, recipe said 1 cup, it was too much, consistency not good. Now I know!!

    Moore or Less Cooking

  109. Just tweeted about it too.

  110. I like Not Rachael Ray on Facebook.

  111. I like KC Bakes on Facebook, that’s how I got here.

  112. I’ve made regular cake pops, cupcake cake pops and for Halloween it was Candy Corn shaped cake pops (pumpkin loaf cake inside). I sometimes have issues with cracking of the coat but I never had cake poop. It’s the first time I see that. Hope you will, one day, have a batch that is perfect. ;)

  113. I feel like these would take too much time to bake and make so I’ve never tried to attempt making them. They sure are cute though!

  114. I have also had many cake pops fall off the stick! And candy melts that did not look so smooth. I think cake balls are just as impressive-I tell people they are cake truffles. Sounds fancy ;)

  115. I have had some success but after all the failures..like your list above! lol

  116. I’ve just shared your link on Facebook!

  117. I haven’t made cake pops yet – actually, I’ve avoided pops all together and made mini cupcakes all alone but never in the ‘cake’ variety. someday tho and if I have a stand even better!

  118. I love cake pops and they are not as easy as they look to make; your tutorial will hopefully help me a lot and I aslo like you on facebook!! TY!

  119. I had my first really bad exprience with cake pops. I’ve been working with cake pops for about 6 months now and no problems what so ever. When people blog about cake falling off sticks or chocolate too thick, i didnt’ really pay attention. Well you have my attention now!! I had 60 cake pops to make for the next day. All was good, cake was made, rolled and sticked. I go to dip and off pops my cake ball. i tried another and another and started to panic. 9 p.m at night and i know no stores are not open in case i need more supplies. I took a look at my cake and noticed, what i should have noticed at the begining, that it was wayyyyyyyyy tooooo mushy! No way would it have ever worked! Adding the right amount of icing to the crumbled cake is sooooo important. I read blogs and tips from now on just in case i were to incounter more problems :) I’m a fan of KC Bakes and should be receiving my Push Pops Stands in the mail any day.

  120. I make them all the time and your suggestions to fix the problems you had are all spot on. It just takes practice but looks like you are well on your way… and btw, my husband loves the ones that get messed up cause he gets to eat all of them! ;) So in this case, mistakes are never a bad thing! LOL

  121. I Liked you on Facebook (rzohn)

  122. I am following on Twitter

  123. I promised cake Pops for a Halloween party…but couldn’t get them right so i store bought and passed them off as my own. I don’t want to be that person!

  124. I actually do swirl my pops a bit. I find that my secret is less frosting and a box of pudding in the mix. Make the cake moist and allows it to stick to itself more. I’ve actually made a pretty successful business out of it!

  125. I like you on Facebook :-)

  126. I’m now following you on twitter :-)

  127. I’ve been making cake pops for almost two years now and I’ve had the cracking problem mostly. From having the pops in the freezer too long :-( but I learned from my mistakes and haven’t had many problems lately :-) Loved your tutorial!

  128. I follow you on Rss feed!

  129. I like you on facebook too!

  130. I had the same problems as you but like you say, little by little you will get it right. Every time my grandkids have a school activity, I make them as a gift. They love them. Hope I win the cakepop stand. Lots of health to all the cakepop bakers, from a beginner in Puerto Rico.

  131. i was going to make them for my son’s bday treat at school. then i found out one of his classmates has celiac’s and dairy allergy. so i decided to come up with a gluten-free, dairy-free alternative. but i still want to make them.

  132. I like kc bakes on Facebook already ;)

  133. I haven’t tried making them before because I haven’t found cake pop stands yet but I’ve been meaning to make them soon sometime when I free time. The first time I ate them was this past summer at my cousin’s baby shower and they were so delicious I kept eating them. LOL! I hope I get the chance to win the cake stand so I can make some myself. : )

  134. I make them and eat them too! I have ran into some problems like yours but the more you do them the easier it gets :)

    I also liked your page on facebook!

  135. You commentary is hysterical! I love making cake pops and aim to be a perfectionist as well, it will never happen. I will do all of the steps above to complete my entry, some I had already done. Thank you!

  136. I’ve never had the opportunity of making or eating some, but they look so adorable! For my daughter’s birthday, I was planning to make some.

  137. And I like KC Bakes on Facebook.

    Thanks again! :)

  138. Just tweeted ’bout the giveaway.

  139. And I follow you in my RSS Feed!

  140. Oh wow, I feel pretty dang honored to be in that line up of cake pop links, thanks!!!! You’re do look great, and I’m not JUST humoring you, they totally do!!!! I want to win the stand, maybe it’ll encourage me to make another batch of pops, and then another, and another…

  141. This is an awesome entry–I haven’t tried to make cake pops myself yet, but I just bookmarked this post so that when I do (my cousin is expecting a baby; cute desserts are inevitably in my future), I can refer to it for all my cake pop pooping questions. :)

  142. Oh my goodness I love this, better yet you have me laughing this morning about the cake poop and the Grand Canyon. :). I have yet to make these. Yes, they scare me a little as I am afraid of how they would turn out but after your very helpful tutorial I may need to eventually give these little poops, I mean pops a try! :)

  143. I am so crazy excited for you that you got this right on your daughters b’day. Happy Birthday to her and CONGRATS to you! I will FB this giveaway :)

  144. Really want to try these for the next kiddo’s birthday which is in Jan. Better start practicing now…

  145. I’ve had a lot of experience with them, too, so I can relate. Recently I realized I’ve been making my balls too large… so when I make me next batch, I have to keep that in mind!

  146. I’ve eaten them. Haven’t been brave enough to try to make them into pops. We just do cake balls.

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