Cake Central › Tutorials › Cake Pop Problems & Tutorial

Cake Pop Problems & Tutorial


SONY DSC

Have you made cake pops? Were they a complete disaster? Yeah, me too. Seriously. We've all burned the heck out of our chocolate, lost a cake ball off the stick, had our perfectly good cake pops crack 5 minutes later and begin leaking weird stuff out everywhere! It's sooo frustrating! Don't worry though, it gets better. But let me save you some time and sugar with a few tips...!

List of Materials

  • 1 cake mix (+ required ingredients)
  • 2 (16 oz.) packages CandiQuik Candy Coating (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 8 oz. cake frosting
  • lollipop sticks
  • styrofoam block
  • sprinkles, etc.


step1

Prepare and bake cake mix as directed on box. Allow to cool slightly - I leave it to sit about 30 minutes (longer if I'm not in a hurry).


step11

Crumble (trimmed*) cake into a large bowl. Add frosting and mix thoroughly with hands.


step2

Chill mixture approximately 2 hours in the refrigerator.


step4

Measure cake mixture and roll into 1" sized balls. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. You may need to place the cake balls back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, allowing them to firm up. Insert a lollipop stick into each cake ball. You can dip the lollipop stick in a small amount of coating before inserting into the cake ball if you have had issues with it falling off the stick. *Tip: remove a few cake pops at a time to dip, storing the others in the fridge until ready.


smoothcoating

Melt CANDIQUIK according to directions on package, being careful not to overheat. If desired, add oil or powder based food coloring; stir until blended. To Dip: you can use the tray that the coating comes packaged in, or a deeper microwaveable bowl if desired.


step5

Dip cake pops in melted CANDIQUIK; allow excess coating to drip off (hold at a ~30 degree angle allowing the coating to drip off the bottom and not land on the stick) by tapping the stick and place in the Styrofoam block to set.


swirls_pink

Decorate cake pops as desired with candy coating and/or icing and sprinkles.


swirls_blue

Common Issues & Problems with Cake Pops!!


not_smooth_cb

MY CAKE BALLS/POPS ARE NOT SMOOTH! This is probably the easiest problem to fix. It begins with baking your cake. Do not overbake - simple. Second, trim off the edges and (if your obsessed like I am) leave the bottom of the cake out too. Mix thoroughly with frosting. Thoroughly, as in: dig in(!) using your clean hands to mush the mixture of the cake and frosting together. Finally, roll, roll, roll. The smoother they look as uncoated cake balls, the better they will look when dipped. Voila.


cracks

MY CAKE POPS CRACKED!!! They look perfectly fine, then magically they look like they experienced an earthquake. Super frustrating! Typically, this is caused by the drastic difference in temperature of the coating and the cake ball itself - the coating is super hot and the cake balls are too cold; the cake ball expands and now you have cracks. While I do like to chill my cake pops in the fridge (sometimes freezer for a few minutes, but be careful - there is a fine line between keeping them firm to ensure they stay on the stick and too cold where they crack), make sure you pull them out before dipping and that your candy coating isn't TOO hot (let it sit for a couple minutes after immediately heating). Think of it this way, you want to dip your cake pop in the warmest (while still being cool) condition you can, before it begins to soften and fall off the stick. This is the biggest challenge I have found with other cake poppers, sometimes - even with the perfect conditions - cracks happen.


cakeball_leaking

My Cake Pops are LEAKING CAKE/OIL! Some call it cake pop *poop* - which I think is a good word for it. After all, this was my initial reaction for it when I began making cake pops a couple years ago. This happens when the cake is pushing it's way out of the coating through a weak spot, a tiny hole, or a bubble that resulted in a hole. Make sure you coat the entire cake ball in coating. Can also be caused by the cake ball and coating temperature difference - see the "cracks" problem. But in my opinion, leakage is better than cracks, so if you have a leak - pull the excess cake off and use a toothpick to seal up the hole with additional coating (luckily they usually occur near the stick/bottom so it shouldn't be too obvious). The cake can also be very oily, causing oils to seep out the coating and even down the lollipop stick. If this happens, remember, you can always substitute apple sauce or greek yogurt for oil in your cake recipe! Also, using less frosting = less oil. And again, you can seal any holes up with a little candy coating. Despite all of that, I still have some cake pops that are oily and the stick literally absorbs the oil (could be the cake flavor/mix) and I'm fine with it, as long as they don't crack/leak! Colored lollipop sticks would help hide any oil absorbed (these can be purchased online or at specialty cake supply stores).


bubble

AIR BUBBLES?! Air bubbles happen. You can prevent this a lot of the time. Usually caused by stirring your chocolate too fast/vigorously. Create a smooth "spot" with the back of your spoon before dipping your cake pop, it helps drastically! Just run your spoon (in a back and forth motion) over the coating between dipping each cake pop. If you notice the air bubble immediately upon pulling your cake pop out of the coating, just give it a second dip. My coating is THICK & CLUMPY! You may have scorched your coating. This is a very common issue and happens when the sugar particles become too hot, causing them to carmelize or scorch. When using the microwave, be sure to follow the instructions and heat the entire block of CandiQuik for an initial 60 seconds, then stir very well and heat in 15 second intervals. If using less, adjust the microwave times accordingly. And remember, you can't go backwards if you scorch your coating, so it's better to start off slow. Of course, microwaves can heat unevenly and cause hot spots, so stirring constantly in between heating and using short intervals will help this. If melting on the stovetop, make sure you have the burner on low heat and stir constantly. And of course, I suggest using CandiQuik Candy Coatings. I don't have to add anything to thin it out and I get a nice, smooth, palatable, thin shell of coating (versus a thick, gloppy mouth full of thick sugar particles). *If you experience the coating is thicker than normal (commonly caused by humidity/climate), add a teaspoon-tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening (ex: Crisco) or vegetable oil to the melted (16 oz) coating. Begin by adding a little and add more if needed. *Also, if you see just a tiny section that has burned/scorched/became too hot, I have been able to save the rest of the coating by carefully scooping out all of the coating that was burned! Simply spoon it out and allow the rest of the coating to cool slightly, then continue heating in short time intervals. This is usually a microwave heating the coating unevenly. My coating is THICK & CLUMPY! You may have scorched your coating. This is a very common issue and happens when the sugar particles become too hot, causing them to carmelize or scorch. When using the microwave, be sure to follow the instructions and heat the entire block of CandiQuik for an initial 60 seconds, then stir very well and heat in 15 second intervals. If using less, adjust the microwave times accordingly. And remember, you can't go backwards if you scorch your coating, so it's better to start off slow. Of course, microwaves can heat unevenly and cause hot spots, so stirring constantly in between heating and using short intervals will help this. If melting on the stovetop, make sure you have the burner on low heat and stir constantly. And of course, I suggest using CandiQuik Candy Coatings. I don't have to add anything to thin it out and I get a nice, smooth, palatable, thin shell of coating (versus a thick, gloppy mouth full of thick sugar particles). *If you experience the coating is thicker than normal (commonly caused by humidity/climate), add a teaspoon-tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening (ex: Crisco) or vegetable oil to the melted (16 oz) coating. Begin by adding a little and add more if needed. *Also, if you see just a tiny section that has burned/scorched/became too hot, I have been able to save the rest of the coating by carefully scooping out all of the coating that was burned! Simply spoon it out and allow the rest of the coating to cool slightly, then continue heating in short time intervals. This is usually a microwave heating the coating unevenly.


cake_pops

FALLS OFF THE STICK! This can happen because of a few problems. I think the most common is thick coating and it is dragging your cake pop down. Again, smooth coating is one of the most (if not THE most) important parts of successful cake pops! Also, huge cake balls are heavy cake balls. So try to make them moderate size (1" tall), use a spoon (small cookie dough scoop, coffee scoop, melon baller) or something to measure an even amount for each ball. Also, when I first started making cake balls I would use the whole can (16 oz) of frosting. Now, I start with adding 1/3 of the can and typically use up to 1/2 (8 oz) of frosting. You could probably get away with even less than that, but I found this amount is good for me and rolls out smooth. Also, when dipping your cake pops: dip the stick in the coating first, then insert into the cake ball. Then, when dipping the cake pop make sure that you don't bump the bottom of the cake ball on the bowl. Finally, don't swirl the cake pop around in the coating, just dip and get out!


SONY DSC

Comments (31)

Thank you for the tutorial! Your pops are beautiful! I have tried cake pops a handful of times and have had varying degrees of success..and figured I'd never get the hang of it. These tips will be helpful and I"m encouraged to give them another try. I know that a big problem I had was adding too much frosting..the whole can was way too much..and I didn't roll my balls smooth enough, for sure. Thanks again for taking the time to make this tutorial!
Lovely tutorial. Thank you so much for answering all my questions BEFORE I had to ask them!
Thanks, definitely going to try this.
I bought one of the pans to make the perfectly round balls without adding frosting to the cake and form them yourself. I was so excited waiting for it to get here! It came a few days before Christmas, and I haven't touched it yet. I bake all the time, but I had some doubts after the thing arrived, now I feel I can tackle these babies!! Thanks for the info!!
thank you very much ... you put a lot of effort in this tutorial and it deserve it ... thumb up :D
Thank you!!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Glad to know it's not just me :)
thank you for the tips!
Great tutorial, I can't wait to try it out. I had given up on cake pops because they never work for me, so this is awesome and will probably give it another try! :)
FANTASTIC tutorial!!! thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have experienced almost every one of the problems you describe, and I had not figured out how to solve the cracking! Looks like there will be cake pops made at my house this weekend! yeay!
Thank you for this tutorial, I've had problems making these especially cracks, until my hubby bought me the baby cakes cake pop maker, but this troubleshooting is so helpful I just might try doing them again.
Love this tutorial. Thanks! I've never tried cake balls before, but my daughter is constantly asking me to make some. Maybe with this tutorial by my side, I'll have a little more than just "beginners luck'.
Thanks so much for all your info. Can't wait to try them again using this info.
How can far in advance can you make them, and how do you store cake pops which are wrapped in a clear baggie?
Cake pops are my downfall. Can do all kinds of beautiful cakes but the pops are never a success for me. I will try all your tips. One question though: do I have to use canned frosting, is that necessary for success. I hate canned frosting and would prefer to use my own homemade frosting.
Awesome tutorial....so detailed. Thank you for sharing. Flourbud, my wedding cake instructor made cake pops for brides using any trimmings from her wedding cake, he didn't use any frosting. One of the purposes of the frosting is to help keep the cake ball stay together, and to add another flavor element, but if your cake is moist enough you don't need the frosting. My instructor would just use flavored sugar syrups or liquors keeping with the same flavors in the wedding cake adding the necessary moisture to the cake. The flavor options are endless!
This is awesome! I had the leaking "oil" problem on some cake pops I made a few weeks ago - appreciate the advice!
The cakeball pan is fine but how would you mix already formed cake balls with the frosting? It's the mixure of Cake and icing that makes the cakeball or cakeball pop unique. It's moist and cakey and dipped in chocolate. I've found that adding just enough frosting to moisten the cake is enough to have a firm and stable cake ball for dipping and will stay on the lollipop stick too. Also it doesn't matter what frosting you use, I've used store-bought and my own frosting, doesn't make a difference. I've made hundreds of them, everytime I have cake scraps, I roll them into balls and store them in the freezer in Chinese Takeout containers or Ziploc bags, just defrost them enough so they are still chilled but not frozen and dipping them in your warm but not super hot chocolate will be super easy. My cakeballs comes out perfect every time, no leakage or Cakeball poop (that's funny)
Thank you so much for the details! I tried last summer for a surprise party, and failed to the point of tears lol.... with the falling off the stick (red velvet was just too moist and heavy) and then the cracks. I think I just may try again in a smaller scale just to hope the tips work!
I tried them using white chocolate. But white chocolate was stiff and hard to dip even with the addition of shortening. They did not come out smooth enough. Does the brand or quality of white chocolate make a deifference to melting. If so can you recommend a good one. Also I found them waaay too sweet. Are candy melts less sweet than white chocolate?
Cake Central › Tutorials › Cake Pop Problems & Tutorial