- Cake your favorite from scratch or box mix.
- Cake pop sticks (from a craft store)
- 1 bag of white candy wafers (from a craft store)
- 1 bag of black candy wafers (from a craft store)
- 1 bag of red candy wafers (from a craft store)
- Wilton Chocolate Pro (optional)
- Candy coated mini chocolate chips (bulk section of grocery store) for the hats and beaks
- Hershey’s kisses for the hats
- Royal icing for the eyes
- Two very small piping tips
- Two piping bags
- Orange m&m’s for the feet
- A fork, for making the hats, or candy tools if you have them
- A space in your fridge for cooling
- Something to stick your cake pops into for drying (a piece of Styrofoam) or a piece of wax paper to rest them on.
Bake your favorite flavor of cake in a regular cake pan.
When the cake is cooled take a fork and turn that cake into crumbs making sure to not leave the crumbs too big. You can crumble the cake when it is still slightly warm I think it actually helps cool the cake faster. Don’t add the icing to a warm cake however as you don’t want it to melt.
When the cake is cooled very gradually add your favorite “glue”: butter-cream, cream cheese, peanut butter or even just plain butter. You just need something that will help it stick it all together. I prefer something without sugar I find that butter-cream can be too sweet. Remember that what ever you add if you add too much to the mix will get too soft and you will have to start over so only add one tablespoon at a time! I have found that two tablespoons is the perfect amount for me. I do live in a very dry climate though so if you are somewhere humid maybe start with half and work your way up.
Once your mix is together roll the mix into balls. The consistency should be prefect for making balls: not sticky or crumbly. As soon as you have all your cake balls made cover them with plastic wrap and cool them in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until they are firm. It is important to note here that foods with high fat content, like the butter in your cake balls, are notorious for absorbing flavor. If your fridge has any strong-smelling foods in it double cover your cake balls with plastic wrap. I love curry and onions and egg salad but those flavors don’t belong in cake pops. So be aware of that.
While you are waiting for the cake balls to harden get to work on melting your candy wafers. I strongly recommend using a chocolate melter. This will make the job much more fun and contribute to less waste of your candy coating. You can speed the melting process up with the microwave if you want and then just pour it into the melter to maintain the temp from there. You can also add flavors and colors to your candy coating. Do not use water based flavors or colors though. The candy coating is extremely sensitive to water and will just turn to liquid if water is introduced. You will see this when the time comes to clean up. I was dreading cleaning the hardened candy. I poured water over it to get started and it all just melted away in a few minutes.
Once your candy is melted take your cake balls out of the fridge and unwrap them. Dip a stick into the melted candy and then push it about 2/3 of the way into a cake ball. Do this until each cake ball has a stick in it and then wrap them back up and put them back in the fridge. The candy will harden in approximately 10 minutes or so and they will be ready for dipping.
While you’re waiting for the sticks to harden into place make sure to set up a place to put your finished cake pops to allow them to harden without getting bumped into each other or falling over. In a pinch a coffee mug works pretty good. If you have a friend with a drill press a block of wood with holes works the best. This is also a good time to get your beaks and feet ready.
Once the cake pop is securely hardened to its stick dip it into your melted white candy and swirl it around making sure to evenly coat it. Allow the cake pops to harden. While you are waiting for them to harden you can use the time to start making the little hats. I made my hats by throwing the kiss into the melted red and fishing it out with a fork to allow all the excess candy to drain through. You must do this step as quickly as you can because the kiss will melt and ruin the red color. Transfer the now red hat to a piece of wax paper and quickly decorate with the candy coated chocolate chips. When your hats are done get your black candy ready for dipping and slowly swirl the pop leaving just enough on both sides so you can still see the white layer underneath for the penguin’s belly. Place the hat onto the cake pop and hold for a few seconds until you are sure it will stay. Do the same with the little orange candy coated chocolate chips that you set aside for the beaks and the feet too.
I pre-made the eyes but if I had to do it over again I would pipe the eyes right onto the little guys so I recommend doing that. Just mix one bag worth of black and one bag worth of white and have them ready to go with the very smallest tips you can find. If you have never worked with royal icing before I really do recommend getting a mix and just adding water this will prevent the eyes from becoming brittle and falling apart. I also really recommend Americolor food coloring to achieve the black color. It works beautifully. Keep the icing for the next day just in case any of the eyes fall off. And of course with royal icing allow it to dry for a full 24 hours before packaging the pops. Or you can do what I did and pre make the eyes and just stick them on.
The cake pop will take about 15 minutes to dry completely; maybe longer. After they are hardened they can lay on their side or even be stacked on each other for transport. I have found that if I refrigerate them the coating becomes slightly sticky so if you are planning for them to be served at room temperature it really is best not to put them in the fridge at all. They do taste great cold so if you are serving them at home where you can serve them cold that works too. I have even successfully frozen these cake pops without a problem. The coating has never once cracked for me.
Good luck and have fun!!