Happy Almost Halloween, everybody! Got your pumpkins carved? Your party favors and goodies planned? The candy bought? Your kid’s costume ordered? Has it arrived yet? Have the wee beasties been hounding you on its every move through the tracking system? DOES IT FIT?
Because my kid’s costume did not.
Not to worry, though, we found some sensational ones – at Cracker Barrel! Thank you, little country store! Kidlet shall be the purtiest little Renaissance princess. Ever. Or as she likes to say, “That girl from the pirates Caribbean movie.”
Once those details are ironed out, you can settle down and make some Halloween cake pops! Come on now, you know you wanna. Yes, they’re work – but so is any other form of cooking. Once you’ve made a few, you’ll get into the swing of things and soon shall be a cake pop machine. Does that need to be on a t-shirt? Methinks it does.
When Life gives you cake, consider making some cake pops! These things at their most basic are deconstructed (crumbled) cake mixed with frosting. So far so good! Then you just decorate them however you want to, or maybe you’ve been inspired by Bakerella, too. Whatever your motive, just sit back and let’s look at how to make these little fellas.
You’ve been productive and made your cake the day before right? Don’t worry, that’s not a prerequisite, merely a time saver. We did ours the night before, then I got up the next morning early to crumble the cake and make it into cake balls. These are the basic building block of Bakerella’s style of cake pop. They’re not tiny little brains, which is what they look like to me the longer I look at that picture.
Ahhh! What in the world – oh, that’s just my hands. Whew! Scary things. What, don’t all food bloggers apologize for their hands at some point? I could go as My Hands for Halloween. We would terrify the neighborhood together with My Knees (if hubby agreed to be My Knees, that is…or Her Knees, rather)!
This is the labor-intensive part of making the ghosts. Come on, you can do it!
Take your shaped cake ball and dip a popsicle stick a half inch into the melted candy coating. Insert the stick halfway into the cake ball. Next, dip the cake ball fully into the melted coating, being sure not to let the pop linger too long. It might slide off into the coating! We’ve done that, lots. Next, tadaaaa! Congrats, you have a coated cake ball. Next, To shake the excess candy coating off, hold the stick at a 45 degree angle, and while almost constantly rotating, tap it against your finger while holding it over the candy coating container.
You’ll do the exact same technique for the pumpkins, although they’ll be a little easier because you won’t have to hand-mold them into a different shape. The round cake balls are perfect already. Win! You’ll just have to hold a little green Tic Tac on the top for a few seconds till its firmly set enough on its own.
Look, I’m not gonna lie – it’s going to take a while to make enough of these to have for a party or coworkers or even if you just have a large family. Prepare to set aside a couple to several hours of your day. That orange fella in the back has all the confidence in the world in you.
Either that or he’s laughing at you. You decide!
This one just wants to be loved. Smile at him before you bite his wittle ghost head off, OK?
This group is striking off to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man, errr, ghost, has gone before! Well, they watched some movie that made them wish they could. We didn’t tell them that lumps of cake on sticks don’t really have lives outside a human stomach. Shhhhhh.
Have a good one, folks! Be safe. Don’t take that non-wrapped candy! Or even some of that wrapped candy. Umm, just use your heads. Munch on some of these. Well, not these, they’re way gone by the time this post went up. Sorry! *digs out of hole, skips away*
Ghost and Pumpkin Cake Pops
from Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats by Angie Dudley (aka Bakerella)
Since this is more of a method than it is a recipe, I’m just going to list the ingredients/materials needed, then the steps we took to make them. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to help you out in the comments section or even via email if we can (please go to the Contact link under the About button at the very top).
Also, I just didn’t want to have to repeat some things since we did Easter Cake Pops earlier in the year, so please refer to that post as well. You may find some further useful tips there.
Last but not least, we did have Bakerella’s book on hand, and we still just love it. Lots of good info in it and more in-depth than she gets on her website sometimes.
If you’re planning to make two cakes’-worth like we did, and you’re going to divide them evenly between ghosts and pumpkins, get two bags (14 ounces each) of each color candy melt. You may not use all of the second bags, but you’ll likely need more than one bag.
Psst! If you go to that link above for her book, Bakerella demos making basic cake pops in the video on that page.
- 1 box of cake mix, your choice, baked and cooled completely (we used Duncan Hines Golden Butter this time)
- 1-2 16-ounce containers of frosting (see step 3 below), your choice (we used Duncan Hines Classic White this time)
- Lollipop sticks, 4 or 6-inch size (Wilton brand is what most craft stores carry)
- White candy melts (most craft stores Carry Wilton, but you can also try Merckens or Make ‘N Mold)
- Orange candy melts
- Green Tic Tacs
- Black food writer pen (I bought these.)
- Vegetable shortening (for possibly thinning out the candy coating)
- A large foam florist’s block to hold the pops upright while they dry, or other such tool
1. Make your store-bought cake according to package instructions. Allow it to cool completely.
2. Crumble the cake by taking two pieces and rubbing them together. Make sure to retrieve and crumble any large pieces that escape into the bowl. Alternately, you can crumble the cake with a food processor. Just make sure you stop at that breadcrumb consistency.
3. If your cake is very, very moist, use half the container of frosting. Using a large spoon, kind of mash the frosting evenly into the cake till it is all combined and all the cake crumbs are combined. Normally Bakerella suggests three quarters of the can of frosting, but our cake was extremely moist this time, and cake balls cannot be too moist. I went with half a can of frosting instead. You be the judge of what amount of frosting your cake can handle.
4. Form the cake mixture into 1 and a half inch balls and place on parchment paper or wax paper-lined baking sheets. Put them either in the freezer for 15 minutes (and then remove to fridge after that; you do not want them to actually freeze) or in the fridge for several hours to firm up. It’s actually very important that the cake balls be firm. This helps them to stay on the sticks better while assembling and dipping them. And don’t make the cake balls too big, Bigger ones do tend to fall off the sticks more or slide down even after their candy coating has set. Laws of gravity and all!
5. Once the cake balls have firmed up, melt your candy coating, one color at a time, according to the package directions. DO use those package directions. You could burn the coating otherwise. Put the coating in something tall, like a coffee mug. Bakerella advises at least three inches of the coating to dip the cake ball into. A coffee mug worked great for us this time. Reserve the original bowl used to melt the coating. You’ll need this to shake the excess coating into. If you need to reheat the coating, as we did several times while making the pops, still follow the bag’s instructions for heating the candy. If your candy coating is too thick, add a little vegetable shortening to thin it out. Reheat and stir the melted shortening in, adding in shortening till it’s thin enough, about the consistency of melted chocolate or Hershey’s chocolate syrup you use on ice cream. We did have to use vegetable shortening to thin Wilton brand candy melts.
6. Shape your cake balls into whatever shape you’re going to do. Take a lollipop stick and dip it about a half-inch into the candy coating. Dip the cake ball into the candy coating, doing so quickly, but so that the entire cake ball is covered, and remove. Holding the dipped pop over the microwave bowl for melting the coating, hold the stick at a 45 degree angle, and while almost constantly rotating, tap it against your finger while holding it over the candy coating bowl (the coffee mug is usually too narrow for this, but might suffice for one person). The coating should fall down toward the stick and then into the bowl.
7. Wedge the pops into the florist foam to hold them up while they dry. We let ours dry about thirty minutes. Just gently touch a pop, preferably whichever ones you made first, to see if the coating is completely set. Once dry, use your black food writer pen to draw faces on the ghosts and pumpkins.
Even though we pretty much stuck with Bakerella’s look and method, you’re not limited to how we did the pops here. Found a different candy that will work great for pumpkin stems? Great, use it! Maybe ghosts aren’t your thing, but skulls are – the cake balls can easily be morphed into skull shapes and the same materials used for our ghosts can be used for skulls as well.
You can always go to Bakerella’s website to get more ideas, too.
As for the cake, you can certainly make your own from scratch as well, but Bakerella suggests something slightly different for that kind. Again, check out her site on making basic cake balls. We prefer to cut out some time so have always used store-bought mixes. I’d hoped to get a red velvet mix, but no dice. I looked next for a seasonal pumpkin cake mix – no dice again! You get my drift, though. You can use whatever cake or frosting you prefer.
Just have fun with these! One thing we noticed this time was that it didn’t feel like we were getting our time’s worth till we started putting the faces on these guys. We worried maybe they wouldn’t turn out so great. Once you start adding the details you’ll see that they’ve been coming together all along.
On food writer pens: if your pen seems like it’s not writing well on your cake pop, have a scrap piece of paper handy to occasionally mark on with the pen to remove any candy coating that might be sticking to the tip. Always use a light pressure when bearing down with the pen. Too much pressure causes that candy coating to stick to it. We cut open paper grocery store bags to protect the table, but these doubled well for cleaning up the food pens, too.