Okay, so I finally broke down and decided to do a tutorial for making cake pops. My sister and brother-in-law just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary (well, kind of, if you count being sick in the bathroom half the day) and I had contemplated making them a cake of some sort because, really, hitting the 10-year mark in this day and age is something to celebrate, if you ask me! But after really thinking about it, and momentarily considering cupcakes as well, I decided it would be so much fun to make cake pops- just for the bride and groom of a decade. And what more fun that to actually make a bride and groom! And while going through the long process that involves making these delectable cake-chocolate addictions-on-a-stick, why not photograph the process? So here it is, all wrapped up in one blog post, along with the recipe I used for the cake. Of course, you are more than welcome to use a boxed-cake mix, but I’m more fond of the from-scratch cakes, and especially for such an occasion. I used red velvet cake because it’s, well, red, but it makes a very exquisite wedding color, but you can use just about anything you want.
These cake pops can be used for anniversary treats, as I have intended, or wedding favors for the guests at a ceremony. Ideally, they could even be used as the actual wedding cake if that was what someone opted for. And this cake pop tutorial of course can be altered to do just about any cake pop theme you want. Just stop after the initial pop-creation phase, and voila!, anything goes.
Red Velvet Cake
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 T unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 T white vinegar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 oz. red gel food coloring (I use Americolor Super Red)
Heat oven to 350.
- Grease and flour a cake pan. I used a 9″ x 13″, but you can easily use 2 round 8″ or 9″ if you need to. Line with parchment paper for best results.
- Add together all liquid ingredients and set aside.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly mix into wet ingredients and stir until completely combined. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom.
- Pour the prepared batter into cake pan(s).
- Bang the boom of pan(s) on the counter to release any air bubbles in the batter, and put in the oven on middle rack.
- Lick batter residue off of the spatula while the kids aren’t looking.
- Bake 30-40 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick in the center and have it come out clean.
- Cool on wire wrack.
Once the cake has cooled, break it up in a large bowl. You can even do this prior to the cake completely cooling and it will cool faster. Crumble into fine pieces.
Here comes the messy part. I usually make my own icing, but to save time and for convenience for those doing this for the first time, I used a container of pre-made frosting: a whipped cream cheese icing. I assumed the cream cheese flavor would bring out the best taste with the red velvet cake. Again, you can use any flavor icing, and I highly recommend choosing one that will pair nicely with the type of cake you have made.
Mix the container of icing into the crumbled cake, and mush it together thoroughly. The cake will resemble a play-dough like texture.
Line a pan with waxed or parchment paper, and begin rolling your balls. I generally try to keep mine around an inch in width, which can be measured using your index and middle fingers (of course, this is approximate. And I have very small hands.)
Put the pan in the freezer and allow the cake balls to freeze completely, you want them as hard as possible.
Melt a small amount of white chocolate (vanilla) melts in a microwave safe bowl, in 30 second increments. It usually will only take about 60 seconds total- stirring halfway through to avoid burning the chocolates. You only need a small, shallow bowl (this will be used to dip the lolly-pop sticks in).
Once melted, do one cake pop at a time by dipping one end of the stick in the melted chocolate, and insert halfway into the frozen cake ball.
I then use a finger to smear the excess chocolate over the ball, but this is not necessary.
Refreeze the balls the ensure the chocolate solidifies and tightly secures the stick inside of the cake ball. This helps to make sure the stick doesn’t slide out when dipping the ball into chocolate.
When the balls are again frozen (and I can’t emphasize frozen enough- putting them in the fridge can cause them to become too soft, and when you dip them the ball will fall apart in the chocolate. This will ruin the ball, but also inevitably ruin your chocolate as well because now you have pieces of red cake crumbs circulating throughout the white chocolate) you will want to melt some white chocolate in a chocolate melting pot, fondue dish, or metal pan over a bowl of bowling water (the latter is what I use because I don’t own a real melting pot, but make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the pan). This is the beginning of the cake pop decor phase.
Items needed for decorating bride and groom cake pops:
- Pure white chocolate melts (I bought a 2 pound bag of Make ‘n Mold from Hobby Lobby)
- Dark chocolate melts (or black, or whatever color you want for the tux and bow to be)
- White nonpareils
- White pearl nonpareils (these are larger than the sprinkles mentioned above- they will be used for the groom buttons and pearl necklace on the bride.
- Copper luster dust
- Crisco, or other vegetable shortening
- wax or parchment paper
- chocolate squeeze bottles or icing bags (I actually found it was easiest to use sandwich bags)
- small paint brush
- Ribbon (optional)
Bring your water to a bowl if you’re using the stove-top method. Put the bowl of chocolate melts (I would start with around 14oz.- you can always go back and melt more) on top of the water, and stir with a spatula, scraping the edges until the chocolates are almost completely melted.
Remove from heat but keep the bowl on top of the pan of water. This keeps the chocolates melted long enough to dip all of your cake pops. Here are a couple of tips to having success in dipping your pops, which I have learned through trial and error (e.g. the chocolate is too dense or it won’t cover the pops)
- Add a little bit of vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco) to your melts (after removing them from the heat) to thin out the chocolate for perfect dipping thickness (or thinness??). I’d start with about a tsp per 14 oz. of melts, and go from there until you’re happy with the consistency. Remember, you want them to be thin enough to smoothly and easily dunk the pops, but thick enough that you can’t see the cake through the chocolate (especially with a red or chocolate cake!)
- Make sure use enough melts that they are deep enough to fully submerge the cake ball. You can always tilt the bowl if need be (but watch out for any escaping steam!).
Remove the cake pops from the freezer, one at a time, and dip them in the chocolate.
For most cake pops, I will use a foam block that I’ve put holes in for the sticks to fit securely in, and put it in the freezer so the chocolate will harden quickly before the chocolate begins to drip off the cake. These pops, which I decorated upside down, I spun slowly to allow them to begin to dry, and then replaced them in their original spot on the pan in the freezer so the bottoms would remain flat.
Leave them to harden for several minutes, and then remove them from the freezer. I placed them on the counter on waxed paper, and lined another pan with additional waxed paper. Divide the pops evenly, half will become the groomsmen, and the other half the brides. Sometime from the pressure of the cake, the chocolate may crack on some of the balls. Since the groomsmen require additional dipping, the several that cracked were put into the grooms half. That way, when I dipped to create the tux, the cracks were filled in and covered. Clever? I must say so!
Repeat the same step taken with the white chocolate, this time instead using the dark chocolate (or black, or whatever color you chose for the tux and bow), by melting down. Take the grooms pops, one at a time, and dip them in the dark chocolate, at an angle.
Do one side, then dip the alternate side so that you have a V shape down the front of the pop. Turn lightly, and cover the back, leaving a small space of white between the dark chocolate and the stick.
Put them on a prepared pan into the freezer. Meanwhile, use a squeeze bottle (again, Make ‘n Mold makes good ones) Or use a pastry, frosting, or ziplock bag and melt chocolate in the microwave (30 second at a time) until melted to create bow ties. This is very simply. Use waxed or parchment paper and draw bow ties. If you lack in your art skills, simply create two connecting triangles and allow them to harden.
Finally, finish up your groomsmen by adding the bows, using a dot of chocolate the same color as the bow.
Next you will add three buttons to the groomsmen. Use the white pearl nonpareils, dip them slightly in white chocolate, and attach to the cake balls. I found it easiest to use tweezers.
Put the completed men aside. You are more than welcome to add small flowers to their shirts, or whatever creative ideas that may be hiding up your sleeves. I think they would be cute with red bows, too.
For the brides, I began by painting a V around the stick with the copper luster dust. Of course, you can always use a different color for skin tone, or keep them white altogether. You could even do an off-white vanilla chocolate melt for the initial base coat, and then the pure white in the same manner that you coated the groomsmen with dark chocolate, it’s all up to what you want for the result!
**Tip: If you have any moisture or condensation from being in the freezer, pat lightly with a paper towel or napkin. Do not push smear roughly- this could cause cracks, detachment from the stick, or smudge lines in the chocolate.
Organize white pearl nonpareils around the pop-stick to create the look of a pearl necklace. This gets to be very time consuming, but it looks so pretty! Attach them the same way you did the groom buttons. It also saves time to put the copper on all of the bride balls first, and then go back and do the necklaces at the same time.
The final step is decorating the dress. This part is fun, because you can do just about anything, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it still comes out looking fabulous! After the first couple tries, you’ll have it down.
**Tip: For my first couple cake pops I always use the worst looking ones (oddly shaped, cracked, discolored, etc.). That way, if you mess them up, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it takes a couple tries to get in the flow of things, and then you can just give them to your roommate, spouse, or the kids……(or yourself!)
Melt down some white chocolate in a squeeze tube or bag. Start by tracing the V around the stick, staying right at the edge of the copper bosom you created. Sprinkle the regular, small white nonpareils on top of this immediately, before it dries. It is also best if you have the bride pops at room temperature at this point. If they aren’t, the added chocolate solidifies too fast and the sprinkles will not adhere. This creates a pretty edge around the top of the dress. You can gently tap the bottom of the pop to release any extra sprinkles, or any that get caught in the necklace. I actually opted to finish most of the brides by doing the dress before do the pearl necklaces, just to keep them from getting stuck in the cracks.
Next, create loops, circles, or lace around the rest of the cake ball (dress), and put sprinkles on that. I found it worked best to just fill a bowl partially with the nonpareils, hold the cake pop over the bowl, and use my free hand to scoop them over the pop.
**Tip: Make sure your chocolate is warm, or it will harden too quickly.
Bravo!! You have a beautiful, elegant, and oh-so-tasty pop to WOW all those guests at the wedding. Sure, it’s very time consuming (especially those darn necklaces) but they are marvelous!
You can wrap them, put ribbons on them, or whatever you wish. I chose to tie the sticks with wedding ribbon, and put them in a cake box. I used mini cupcake wrappers (white), which I attached to the bottom of a dessert box with a dot of melted white chocolate underneath each one. I then attached the cake pops into each wrapper with a dot of chocolate as well (white underneath the bride, and dark chocolate underneath the grooms) to keep them securely in place while traveling in the car.
Almost too pretty to eat! But eat them, you will! Good luck!