I don’t know why I haven’t made cake pops before?! I guess I’m pretty darn late to the “pop” craze, choosing to stick with cupcakes instead! But better late than never! Here is my super easy cake pop recipe for anyone out there feeling a little bit intimidated by these chocolate-dipped confections.
What I love about this cake pop recipe is that it’s all homemade (no boxes of cake mix and cans of shelved frosting!) using my Grandmother’s Strawberry Cake recipe. There are actual chunks of real strawberry in each bite! The only junky ingredient I couldn’t quite escape were the Wilton “Candy Melts.” Sure, they are super-user-friendly, but I’m not a big fan of the ingredients in these Candy Melts, namely the partially hydrogenated palm oil (trans fats anyone?) or the food coloring and artificial flavors. My goal next time I make some pops is to dip them in glaze instead of the Candy Melts or a traditional dark chocolate would be great too.
Check out my latest installation of my Grandma’s Strawberry Cake recipe, as this is the basis of the cake pops. The cake recipe yields A LOT of cake, what I did was make a traditional cake with half the cake batter in a small glass pan, and use the other half for the cake pops. I got over 30 pops for half the strawberry cake recipe! You could always use the whole cake if you need more pops for a party or gifting.
EASY STRAWBERRY CAKE POPS:
Makes about 30, inch and a half pops
- 1/2 batch Strawberry Cake, cooled
- 1 box Trader Joe’s Vanilla Icing mix (or use 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla)
- 2 – 8 oz cream cheese blocks, room temperature
- 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (I used a strawberry rhubarb preserve I found at Whole Foods)
- Wilton Pink Candy Melts (or your favorite chocolate for dipping, if desired)
- Wilton lollipop sticks (I used the 8 inch size)
- Make the Strawberry Cake recipe, using half the batch and reserving the other half. Allow the cake to cool down.
- While the cake is cooling down, make the frosting. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, use their vanilla icing box. Sift the contents of the box and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese. Add the sifted sugar mixture in 2-3 installments, beating after each addition. After all the sugar is combined into the cream cheese, add the strawberry preserves. Set frosting aside. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s handy: make an easy cream cheese frosting by creaming the blocks of cream cheese, adding the vanilla extract and then adding 2 1/2 cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar. Finally add the strawberry preserves, and you’re ready to go!
- In a large bowl, crumble the cooled strawberry cake. Add the frosting and mix well.
- Form the balls by taking a good spoonful of the mixture and rolling in the palm of your hand. Set aside on a wax paper surface. Continue to roll the pops until all of your cake and frosting mixture has been used. Try to keep your pop balls small and compact as this will make dipping them much easier later on!
- Cool the balls in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours (I chilled mine overnight). Place your rolled balls into an airtight plastic container and let them chill in the refrigerator. Note: I couldn’t wait for the fun part (decorating) and I decided to dip the pops while they were room temp, much, much harder to do! I highly advise chilling them first for an easier dipping and decorating experience!
- Prep for dipping and decorating: Make a cake pop cooling tray. A lot of people use a thick piece of Styrofoam and just poke the cake pop sticks into it as needed. I used an old USPS box that I cut holes into with a knife and slid the pop sticks into, it held them pretty well but not straight up. Make sure you have something ready to go before you begin to decorate. If you are going to use sprinkles make sure you have them nearby and a plate to sprinkle over. Have your lollipop sticks handy and a spoon in case you need help getting the chocolate over the whole pop.
- Use a microwave-safe bowl and heat the Candy Melts for about 25-30 seconds, stirring until all the discs have melted. Start
bydipping the end of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and then take a cake ball and slide it on top. There will be a dab of chocolate on the bottom of your ball and this helps to evenly coat the cake pops. Gently swirl the cake pop in the candy melts until the entire pop is covered. Immediately sprinkle with your decorations and set to cool. You may need to reheat the candy melts periodically as you dip and decorate the pops.
NOTE: The cake pops take about 30 minutes to fully cool down and harden.
Cake pops are a fun-er way to eat cake and something different from the standard cupcake. I always have leftover cake sitting around after making a batch and you could honestly crumble any already-made cake with its frosting and then roll and dip–YES, CAKE POPS ARE THAT EASY! So, next time you have some leftover cake or cupcakes, make someone special a batch of cake pops–perfect to stick in the kids’ lunchbox or give to teacher or a deserving co-worker!