Watch out Starbuck’s! These gluten free chocolate cake pops may be their next competition. Fortunately for us, we can make them in our own kitchens. You can probably decorated these for any holiday: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas and more.
Every time I walk by Starbucks, I crave one of those cute little cake pops―balls of cake on a stick. So, I learned how to make them myself, using gluten-free ingredients.
They are not hard, but they do require some patience. So set aside some time and have some fun. Don’t worry if they don’t turn out perfect; that’s part of their whimsical appeal. My version is chocolate cake with chocolate coating, but you can experiment with your own flavor combinations. And, you can leave them plain or decorate them anyway you wish. I used shredded coconut, chopped nuts, and chocolate-covered espresso beans (see photo) but use your imagination. They’re sure to delight your family and friends.
Lollipop sticks (available at party stores or cake decorating stores)
Chopped nuts, sprinkles, coconut, etc. for decorating (all optional)
To make cake: Bake cake as directed on package, but bake it in two 8-inch round cake pans. Let cool completely. Freeze one cake for another time. Line a 13x9-inch baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Have a kitchen colander (not a wire sieve) nearby on a sheet of waxed paper to catch the drips.
To make frosting: In large bowl, blend frosting ingredients with a spatula until smooth. (Reserve a tablespoon for dipping the lollipop sticks.)
To make cake pops: Finely crumble one 8-inch cake into frosting and mix with spatula until well blended. The mixture will be very heavy and dense. With your hands, pack mixture into very smooth, dense 1 ½-inch balls (a #50 metal ice cream scoop works well) for a total of 18 balls. Place balls on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight to firm up.
To coat cake pops: In 2-cup glass Pyrex measuring cup, melt chocolate chips on low heat in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring each time. Working with half of balls at a time (leave others in fridge to stay firm) place lollipop stick into reserved frosting and then insert about halfway into ball, then dip ball into coating in one smooth motion all the way up to the stick (so the whole pop is coated). Remove ball from coating and keep rotating stick so coating falls evenly from ball and firms up a little. (If the coating firms up, reheat in microwave on Low.) Sprinkle with your choice of decorations and place stick in colander hole to dry. Proceed with remaining balls. Serve when coating is dry. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days, bringing to room temperature before serving.
Make sure the cake balls are firmly compacted together; otherwise, they fall off the stick.
To further assure that the balls remain on the stick, dip the stick in some of the reserved frosting before inserting it into the cake ball. The frosting acts like glue.
*Manufactured in a facility that also uses tree nuts and soy.
Don’t make the cake balls too big; little is cuter and they won’t be top-heavy. Make them as round as possible; the coating accentuates imperfections but that’s also part of their appeal. As you can see in the photo, mine are not perfectly round.
Refrigeration is key, so don’t skip this step or the cake balls might not hold together.
Have everything ready before you begin. Once you start dipping the cake balls into the coating, you should have a place to put them until the coating firms up. A colander with holes large enough to hold the sticks works best, but you can also use small drinking glasses. You can also lay the freshly-dipped cake balls on a sheet of waxed paper but the cake pops will have a flat side.
Decorate the cake pops soon after dipping; the decorations won’t adhere after the coating firms up.
Finally, have fun, use your imagination, and see how whimsical you can be!