Cake pops offer a trendy mash-up of candy and baked goodiness, but they also hold a host of problems. From handling lumpy coatings to cake pops that crack and even fall off, expert Bakerella (a.k.a, Angie Dudley), author of "Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats", shares how to overcome the most common cake pop problems.
How do you make the coating smooth and yummy-looking?
To make smooth cake pops there are a couple of things you can do. Start with crumbling your cake really fine. If there are large pieces of cake mixed in your rolled cake balls, those lumps and bumps will show through after you dip the pops. Also, make sure your coating is thin enough to dip and remove the pops easily. If the coating is too thick, it can be difficult to get a smooth finish. After I dip, I tap off the excess. The tapping process helps any extra coating fall off and smoothes the surface of the pop at the same time.
Why do cake pops fall off the stick? How do we prevent this?
This could happen for a couple of reasons. If the cake pops fall off when you dip them, the cake balls may not be firm enough or you could have too much frosting in proportion to cake. Also, make sure the cake is chilled when you dip. Take a few at a time from the refrigerator to work with so they don't all reach room temperature before you dip. If the coating is too thick and you try to stir the pops to coat them instead of dipping, then the weight of the coating can pull on the cake ball and loosen it from the stick. If they fall off after they are coated, you may have inserted your stick too far through the pop.
Cracks! How do we prevent them?
You can try letting the cake balls rest before chilling them the first time. If they are rolled tightly they can try to expand after coating, causing a crack. Don't worry, though. If it does happen, you can fill the crack with some melted candy coating and wipe off the excess to conceal it.
How can beginners know when their coating is not too thin, not too thick but instead, just right?
When the coating pours off a spoon instead of plopping into the bowl you are off to a good start. And if you ever need to thin your coating, you can do so by adding a little vegetable oil to make it easier to work with.
What are the most common mistakes when decorating cake pops?
Don't add water to your coating when dipping. And don't use liquid food coloring to tint candy coating. Instead use oil-based candy color to avoid ruining your chocolate. As far as decorating mistakes, I don't think there are any as long as people enjoy them and they make people smile.
Have you ever made cake pops -- or had a cake pop disaster? Tell us about it in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org