Cake Ball Workshop: Tips, Tricks & Lessons Learned

I’m a dreamer and a reader.  No wonder I became somewhat obsessed with cake pops after reading Wilton’s Sweets on a Stick how-to guide for making and decorating cake pops!  If you can dream it, you can bake it.  Designs range from princesses and pirates to Easter chicks and candy canes.  Certainly anything that looks so adorable must be equally as fun to make, right?

Cake pops are fun to make but, in my opinion, they’re even more fun to eat!  This past Wednesday, about 30 ladies and I gathered for a two-hour cake ball workshop.  Each of us decorated 12 cake balls.  Those bite-sized balls of bliss were so tempting that only 9 remained in my box when I left the class.  There were 6 in the box when I reached my car, and there were only 3 in the box by the time I got home.  (Seriously, you can pop them in your mouth like popcorn.)  By bedtime, none remained!

I’ll share with you a few tricks we learned this week in case you’d like to make your own cake balls:

  • Dough must chill at least two hours before cake balls are dipped.  Dough at room temperature literally falls off the stick.  If the dough is too cold, the dipping chocolate will crack.
  • Set your frosting in a water bath to dipping ease.  Our “baking coach” put the frosting in two, small loaf pans surrounded by warm water in a roaster on low heat.  It kept our frosting at the perfect temperature for long periods of time without the worry of overheating, which makes it stiff and unusable.
  • Dip a wooden skewer in melted chocolate or melted almond bark before placing the stick in the cake pop.  This way the frosting asks like “glue.”
  • Be sure to poke the blunt end of the skewer into the cake pop, so the pointed end can be used to hold the pops in place.
  • Styrofoam is a simple way to keep the cake pops in place while they dry.
  • Chocolate hardens quickly, so have sprinkles and candy toppings at the ready.  To make fancier designs, you can shape the cake mixture and decorate with royal icing.

My first experience with making cake balls was so much fun that I’m considering hosting a Bake Once for a Bunch (fashioned after my Cook Once for a Bunch party).  If time permits this autumn – in between combine rides and football games – it would be fun to try my hand at making pumpkin pops.  (I’m sticking to “round designs” for now after discovering how difficult it can be to make shapes like footballs.  Maybe I’ll get more daring with more practice.)

Should you decide to make cake pops at home, following are a few more tips and frosting recipes.

Cake Balls


Buttercream Icing


  • ½ c. solid vegetable shortening
  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. Imitation Clear Vanilla Extra
  • 4 c. sifted confectioners’ sugar (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 T. milk


  1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
  2. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
  3. Scrap sides and bottom of bowl often.  When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
  4. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
  5. For best results, keep icing in bowl in refrigerator when not in use.
  6. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks.  Rewhip before using.

Makes about 3 cups.  For thin icing, add 2 T. light corn syrup, milk or water.


Royal Icing


  • 3 T. Meringue Powder
  • 4 c. sifted confectioners’ sugar (about 1 lb.)
  • 6 T. water*


  1. Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes until icing forms peaks.

Makes 3 cups.
** When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 T. less water. **

EDITORIAL NOTE:  I’m considering putting a Babycakes pop maker on my Christmas Wish List.  Made by Select Brands, this electronic device went on sale in April 2011 when cake pops became the trend and was a best seller during the 2011 holiday season.  After failing with Hasbro’s Easy-Bake Oven, I’m a bit skeptical about trying Babycakes.  Do any of you have a Babycakes maker?  I’d sure appreciate hearing your thoughts and opinions on the device.  Please send your comments to



Beginning Instructions:

  1. To prepare the cake mixture, bake a cake according to directions on the box.  Then let it cool, and break the cake apart in large pieces in a large bowl.
  2. Continue to crumble the cake with your hands.  Pick apart any large pieces, including the hard edges.  A consistent texture of crumbs is key.  You do not want any big chunks in the cake pops.
  3. Pour an entire 16-oz. container of frosting into the cake crumbs.
  4. Mix crumbs and frosting together using your hands until you have thoroughly blended the cake with the frosting; the mixture should feel like play dough.
  5. Scoop out a tablespoon-size ball with the tablespoon. Roll the ball and press it firmly together.