Wondering how to make cake pops from scratch? It’s easy. Here’s simple directions on turning almost any kind of cake and everyday ingredients into irresistibly charming cake pops.
Known as cake pops, these sweet little confections are ridiculously easy to make from scratch with cake and other ingredients you probably already have on hand. Given how sweet and cakey and simple these little confections are, they’re the perfect party dessert—even if you’re a party of one.–Julie Van Rosendaal
What Would Alice In Wonderland Eat?t
The author of this charming cake pops recipe is someone who sees the world much as Alice did while in Wonderland. And when in Wonderland, do as Alice would. Which is exactly what the author has done throughout Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook. It’s the tale of Wonderland as seen through Alice’s eyes, recipes included. We’re in deep, deep like with it.
- One package cream cheese at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
- 2 baked (8- or 9-inch) cake layers or 2 pound cakes (any flavor)
- 1 pound milk, dark, or white chocolate chopped
- Sprinkles, shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts, or colored sugar (optional)
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and milk or half-and-half until smooth. You want the mixture to have the consistency of soft frosting. Scoop about 1/3 of the frosting mixture into a small bowl.
- Crumble the cakes finely into the bowl of frosting and stir until well blended. If the cake pop mixture seems dry, add some or all the remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
- Roll the cake pop mixture into 1-inch balls. (If you prefer cake pebbles to cake pops, make them a little imperfect so they resemble pebbles.) Place the cake pops on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place the sheet in the fridge or freezer while you melt the chocolate or up to several hours. [Editor’s Note: The cake pops were easier to dip and in fact looked prettier when left in the freezer overnight before being dipped. This ensured they remained firm enough to stay together without creating little crumbs in the dipping chocolate.]
- Melt the chocolate on low heat in the microwave or in a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring until smooth.
- If you want the cake pops to be on sticks, poke a lollipop stick or wooden skewer into each cake pop and use it to dip the confection into the warm chocolate, turning to coat. Otherwise, use a fork or skewer to maneuver each cake pop as you dip. Set the dipped cake pops back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, sprinkle the cake pops with candy sprinkles, coconut, finely chopped nuts, colored sugar, or other decorations before the chocolate sets. Let the cake pops sit at room temperature or in the fridge until firm. For any cake pops that don’t look perfect after being dipped, go ahead and redip where needed (otherwise, if the cake pop isn’t evenly coated, the filling will ooze out where it’s only scantily coated).
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These cake pops are delicious. They’re sweet, creamy, bite-size, and enrobed in chocolate. They’d be the perfect party dessert, even if you’re a party of one. I divided the cream cheese mixture in half and used a red velvet layer cake in one part and a vanilla layer cake in the other. (I knew there was a reason I froze those cake layers!) I dipped the vanilla cake balls in dark chocolate and the red velvet in white chocolate. Nirvana. The cream cheese mixture doesn’t add a whole lot of flavor. Next time I’ll add a teaspoon vanilla to the mix. (This might not be necessary with a dark chocolate cake, but with the vanilla and red velvet, the mixture needed a flavor boost.) If you’re using moist cake layers, you might want to hold off on adding the milk or half-and-half until you see if the mixture needs it. Some of my cake balls were soft and squishy, even after chilling, which made them a bit hard to work with.
These cake pops are fabulous! I’ve made several different recipes for cake pops, and they frequently call for using canned icing, which is not something I relish eating nor is it something I like my kids to eat. Using a homemade mixture to hold the “cake pebbles” together was wonderful and delicious. I mixed the cake mixture and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight before attempting to make the pebbles. An ice cream scoop worked well to scoop out the mixture, and then I used my hands to finish forming the pebbles. My kids prefer a sweeter chocolate, so I melted a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar in the microwave and it was just the right amount of chocolate. The dipping process was easy, and the pebbles held together well. The finished product didn’t last long—these were delicious!
Everyone seems to love these cute little cake pops! And the great thing is you can make so many different versions to fit your taste. I made one batch using a dark chocolate cake and another using a spicy pumpkin cake. They were very different, but wonderful. The possibilities are endless to fit your taste and mood—I can imagine carrot cake, red velvet cake, pound cake, even a chocolate chip cake or coffee cake would be great. You could also change the icing to any of your favorite recipes. After making the pebbles twice, I have several suggestions regarding the assembly. The first version I made, the filling was a little too gooey—it seemed like it had a little too much cream cheese mixture. (This extra moisture may have been because I made the cake myself and it was naturally a very moist cake.) So for the second batch, I added the cake to only half the icing mixture and slowly added the remaining icing mixture until it reached the consistency I wanted. Second, no need to crumble the cakes—I realized when I put 1/3 cake in at once it quickly mixed in evenly and turned out exactly the same as when I took the time to crumble the cake. The 1-inch cake balls quickly become too large for a single bite once dipped, especially if you end up dipping more than once, drizzling a contrasting color, or rolling in a topping. So, just for fun, I tried making tiny balls—only 1/3 to 1/2 inch in diameter. They were the first to go each time I put them out and preferred by most people because they were easy to pop in your mouth in a single bite. The cake balls were easier and looked prettier when left in the freezer overnight and then dipped – firm enough to stay together without making little crumbs in the dipping chocolate too (I had to add a little shortening to my chocolate at one point to keep it smooth). For the ones that don’t look perfect from the beginning, redip where needed or the filling will ooze out a little as they warm (it’s not pretty). Adding a drizzle of another chocolate (for my chocolate cake, I dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with a dark chocolate) made them look great. Some I sprinkled with nuts or colored chunky sugars. This added a nice texture. I was thinking of using crushed candy canes on some for Christmas.
This is one of the easier recipes for cake pops that I’ve tried. I made 2 eight-inch lemon cake rounds and let them cool. After creaming the cream cheese and butter and adding the cake crumbles, I allowed the mixture to cool overnight in the fridge. This definitely made it easier to roll into little pebbles. I coated half the pops with white chocolate and the other half with milk chocolate. They were a popular dessert at the two events I sent them to. What I noticed is that the ones in the white chocolate coating were by far the more popular. Comments were that the taste of the chocolate coating overpowered the taste of the lemon cake, while the white coating complemented it. If a chocolate coating is desired, I’d recommend using a strong-tasting cake like chocolate to better blend together with the coating. One other comment was that the cake pops were almost too moist after being at room temperature for a while. I think perhaps adding another cake round might have solved that problem.
Originally published February 20, 2014