I have been wanting to make mini cake pops / mini cake bites for a while now. I finally decided to just go for it. Originally, I wanted these to be a bit smaller and not have sticks in them, but I changed it up as I was doing it because that would be a little too difficult for me right now. I'm still very happy with how these tiny cake pops turned out and they tasted great!
Step 1: Supplies
There are many things you can do to change up your mini cake pops and make them the way you want, but here is what I used. Change up as you need to, just don't use liquid food coloring on your chocolate.
I didn't count, but I would guess I made about 140 total (if I did do 20 of each of the 7 colors I did). This, surprisingly, did not take as long as I thought it would. I started at about 9am (I took breaks to do other things between doing colors: made and photographed two frappes and took breaks to do work) and finished cleaning everything up by about 2pm.
- Cake of choice - I decided to do a plain white cake to contrast the most with the colorful coating (I was also worried a darker cake would show through the coating, but I think you should be okay. You could also try making cupcakes in various colors for super colorful cake pops.
- Frosting - I only used about 1/4 cup so you won't need very much at all, I used vanilla to go with my cake
- Vanilla Almond Bark or White Chocolate - or coating of choice, colored candy melts should work nicely too
- Oil Based Food Coloring - if you use a water based coloring on your chocolate, it will mess up the consistency and probably cause you a whole lot of trouble when you try to coat the pops.
- Microwave-safe bowls
- Toothpicks - I used nice ones I bought at a $1.50 store. I suggest you use something a bit sturdier than normal toothpicks so they hold up the cake pops better, and they look nicer for serving your cake pops.
- Cake making supplies
- Teaspoon or spoon
- Gloves - just nice so you don't handle the pops all the time
- Foam - for a cake stand
- or a pan with wax paper for putting the cake pops on
- Food Processor (optional)
To get started, you need to make a cake and let it cool. I did this the day before I was going to make the cake pops, but you don't have to do it that long before.
Step 2: Make Cake Pops
Time to prepare your cake pops.
Crumble your cake as much as you can. You can use a food processor, but I actually didn't have a hard time doing it with my hands (gloves come in handy here).
Add in frosting a little at a time. Keep mixing up the cake to test the consistency. It is very easy to add too much and have a very sticky cake mix (I've done this so many times) and you can't go back once you add too much. I didn't measure, but I don't think I used more than just 1/4 cup of my frosting. If you can squeeze it into a ball and it stays, you're done.
To get the size cake balls I have, I would say to scoop out about 1 teaspoon or 1/2 teaspoon of mix and roll it into a ball. After a few, I stopped measuring because the cake mix just stuck to the measuring spoon and wasn't worth the hassle. To get an idea of size, that ball is sitting in a teaspoon.
When they are rolled, stick them in the fridge. To be honest, I actually stuck mine in the freezer, but I don't think that is recommended because they can get too cold and then they sweat once they are covered in chocolate. It seemed to work fine for me, but the fridge is a safe bet.
Step 3: Coat Your Mini Cake Pops
While your cake balls are in the fridge, get your cake stand ready or line a pan with wax paper.
If you want smooth pops, you need a stand of some sort. Foam pieces work the best. Since mine were small, I taped them to the table just in case, but you don't have to. I tried improvising a stand with cooling racks and just drove myself crazy. Nothing beats foam, it just always seems to work best.
Your other option is to have your cake pops stand on their head like this. This is easier and will actually work well with fancy/frilly toothpicks because then your cake pops are like little fancy appetizers.
After about a half an hour of sitting in the fridge, you can start coating your cake balls. I find it best to only take out as many as you need (then the rest can stay cool until you need them).
If you are using almond bark, I noticed that 1 block covered about 20 cake balls. Since I wanted to do multiple colors, I just did a single block of almond bark (in a single color) at a time. This worked well for me, but you can do a bunch of almond bark at once. Based on how many colors I did, I think it will take you about 7 blocks to cover all the pops.
Start by melting your almond bark. I put some coloring on it before I melted it and then added more if I needed it once it was melted. You can wait till its melted to add the coloring. Make sure to mix it well so you don't get any streaks on your cake pops.
Start by sticking the pointy end of the toothpick in the almond bark and then stick that in your cake pop. Set it to the side and do more of your cake pops. (I didn't want to do too many in case I ran out of almond bark so I did about 12, and then did them two at a time after that until I ran out of almond bark in that color).
Because these are small, it probably won't take long for the almond bark to dry, so once all the sticks are in, start coating them one at a time. A lot of people dunk them, this never ever ever works for me. They ALWAYS fall off and drive me insane. If you can dunk successfully do that. If not, here is what I did.
- Hold the mini cake pop in one hand.
- Taking a spoon (I used my teaspoon), coat the cake pop starting from where the stick meets the cake pop (this makes sure you can an even cover)
- Once it is all covered (it will probably be thick, and that's fine), hold it at a 45 degree angle to the bowl and carefully tap it so the excess drips off. You will need to drip off the excess or it will drip down the stick.
- Don't hurry, but don't take your time, because these are small, they dried really fast for me so you need to get that excess off. Once you think you've gotten most of the excess off, do a few quick taps while turning it (this helps you get rid of that annoying "tail" from where the almond bark was dripping off)
- Carefully do 2-3 quick taps on the table with the toothpick and then stick it in your stand (these taps also help bring that tail down to the stick so you get a smoother covering).
- If you don't want to do a cake stand, You can put these directly on their head on a piece of wax paper, this is particularly nice if you do frilly toothpicks that wouldn't stick in foam well anyway.
These cake pops seemed to firm up pretty quickly. If you are doing them in shifts like I did and you need to free up space in your foam, give them about 5-10 minutes to harden. Then, while you are preparing your next color, carefully pull them out of our stand (the first ones you put in should come out first) and gently put them in a bowl or on wax paper.
Step 4: Tips for Mini Cake Pop Making
I've tried to make cake pops various times before. Most of my previous experiences have either been complete failures (which you'll NEVER see) or turned out alright (brownie , peanut butter cookie , and hearts).
Making these mini cake pops went better than any of my other experiences, so I'm going to share some tips for making these that I learned along the way.
- Use something that melts well (don't use expired candy melts or chocolate chips). Using old chocolate has always turned out bad for me, it just never melts right. Almond bark, from my experience, melts the most wonderful-est. It has always come out smooth (except the time I added a liquid extract).
- Use oil based food coloring. I'm not joking around here, avoid water anything like the plague.
- If your chocolate/almond bark, seems like it is getting thick as you go, just stick it back in the microwave and melt it for about 10-15 more seconds. This never seemed to hurt it, and just made things easier.
- Have vegetable oil or shortening around just in case to try to thin out your chocolate (I didn't need it this time, but I was ready if I did).
- To reduce almond bark waste and to have fewer dishes (and if you are going to do various colors) start by coating your cake pops in the primary colors (red, yellow, blue), after those are done, reuse the bowls to mix secondary colors (use the red bowl for purple, blue bowl for green, and yellow bowl for orange).
- Give your cake pop a few taps on the table once you are done coating it to get the tail to go down to the stick (last image), don't do this too much or it will just flow down the toothpick and drive you crazy.
- Make sure you space out your cake pops in your stand, nothing will anger you more than creating the smoothest, prettiest cake pop and then having it accidentally bump into the cake pop next to it and ruining the smooth finish.
- BUBBLES are annoying. If you notice any bubbles on your cake pops, pop them right away and try to get the coating to cover the hole. If you pop them once it has hardened, or they pop themselves, you'll be left with a hole on your cake pop covering. If you do notice bubbles once they have hardened, just leave them be.
- Cleaning up chocolate that has re-hardened is frustrating, my suggest is, if you use anything metal (like teaspoons) rinse them off before the chocolate can re-harden. For everything that is microwavable, when you are ready to wash it, stick it in the microwave for 15 seconds. This will remelt any chocolate in it and you'll be able to wipe and wash it off so much easier than if you tried to wash it with hardened chocolate.
- And lastly, mistakes happen. It super sucks if you are trying to document your project or are making these for friends, but from my vast failure experience, failures, while ugly, taste just as good as pretty cake pops :)
Step 5: Enjoy!
Depending on if you used a stand or stood them on their head, you can decide how to serve them. Putting them in a clear bowl looks really nice for the smooth ones.
Well, I think that's it! Let me know if you have questions or if I skipped over anything :)