As part of my passionate pursuit at Olin College, I set out to explore the art of cake pop making. I iterated the process two times this semester, and I can safely say that this second time was much, much better than the first time. There's a magic ingredient that makes the dipping part seamless and a few tips and tricks that will help your cake pops hold together.
Step 1: Bake Your Cake!
First, bake a simple cake! I prefer using red velvet cake mixes from Duncan Hines. Aside from the cake mix, I used three eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, and 1.25 cups of water. I poured the mixture onto a 9" by 13" cake pan and let it bake at 350 deg F for 32 minutes.
Step 2: Crumble Your Cake Up
Take your beautiful cake and use a fork and/or your hands to crumble it all up!
Step 3: Add Some Frosting to Your Cake Crumbs
I used cream cheese frosting for this, but any frosting should work fine. The trick is to use your hands to mix a Iittle bit at a time. Like a small spoonful each time. You don't want your cake to feel mushy. Ideally, it should be moist and able to hold a ball shape, but still slightly crumbly.
Step 4: Next, Form Cake Balls With Your Hands!
It's best to use your hands for this, as using an ice cream scooper or a spoon won't give you a ball that holds together. This step is super important - if the ball doesn't seem to hold stably then it will break apart later during the decorating process. And it's always a little heartbreaking to watch your gorgeous cake pops fall apart at the end.
Step 5: Store Your Cake Balls Somewhere and Then Freeze Them
I used a small cupcake pan to hold my cake balls. I then covered the pan with parchment paper and put the entire thing in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes. This step ensures that your cake balls will hold together better when it comes time to cover them with melted chocolate.
Step 6: While Your Cake Balls Are Freezing, Melt Some Chocolate!
The ideal container for the dipping process is one that is tall and deep so that you can melt less chocolate at a time and get the entire cake ball dipped in one go. I used white, dark green, and royal blue Wilton Candy Melts and put them in three different containers. I then sprinkled some (magical) paramount crystals into them. These crystals are what made this cake pop making process much smoother than the last time. They thinned the chocolate out so that it didn't dry up as fast during dipping and this made the cake pops ultimately look rounder and prettier. Once you have your containers, microwave them for 30 seconds at a time, making sure to take them out to mix them thoroughly before putting them back in for 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted.
Step 7: Remove Your Cake Balls From the Freezer and Prep Them.
Remove the cake balls from the freezer. Take your lollipop sticks and dip them approximately 1 inch into the melted chocolate and then insert them into the cake balls. The sticks should go through halfway. More or less and the pop is likely to fall apart later.
Step 8: Dip Them Into the Melted Chocolate
Take each pop and dip them slowly into the melted chocolate. It should ideally take one dip to cover the entire ball. Lightly tap the pop (while rotating it) against the inside rim of the container to remove excess melted chocolate. Once it's dipped (and before the chocolate dries up), feel free to decorate the pop with sprinkles or anything else edible! I used a variety of sprinkles (Wilton sugar pearls, rainbow sprinkles, and Wilton silver pearlized sprinkles mix) and had a lot of messy fun decorating. I placed each pop carefully onto a cake pop stand to dry.