last minute cake pops, reindeer style

by Dana on December 6, 2012

A couple years ago my mom gave me the Cake Pops book by Bakerella.
I tried one attempt to make them and it was a disaster (chocolate didn’t melt right, ooey gooey mess, blah blah blah).
So, the book sits in the kitchen.

And periodically Owen pulls it out and just flips through the pages, admiring each cute creation.  He loves that book! And of course asks me if I’ll make some of them.
(inner groan)

Well.  Tomorrow is his birthday.  And today he got to bring birthday treats to school.  So….
I pulled out the book and gave it a round 2, with Rudolph pops.  I knew he’d love it.


I gathered my supplies:
• Yellow cake and white frosting (per Owen’s request)
• Cherry sourball noses – I cut off one end so they would be flat for placing on the pops
• Lollipop sticks – in the cake decor section of most craft stores
• Alphabet pretzels – I found these at our local Texas H.E.B. grocery store.  But if you can’t find them, just use standard pretzels and break them up.

And then….drum roll please…..they totally worked!
Shiny nose and all!

I was pleasantly surprised.
Have you made cake pops?
If you have tips or secrets, please share with us in the comments.
Here’s what worked for me:

• Chocolate.  Last time I used chocolate chips and I think that was the problem.  You really need to use the candy coating/melting kind of chocolate (the small discs or the bars).  It’s technically not “chocolate” but more like flavored shortening.  It actually tasted pretty good though, compared to the real thing.  I used the bar chocolate, cut it up into smaller chunks, and melted 1/2 of it in a soup-size bowl in the microwave.  Melt on 20 second intervals, stirring after each time.  And after you’ve dipped about 6-8 balls, warm it in the microwave again for 20 seconds.  You want to keep it smooth and thin for the whole process.
• Work in small batches.  I placed my rolled balls in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, then pulled them out 3 at a time.
• Work quickly or the chocolate will set.  I was amazed at how fast the chocolate hardened (compared to chocolate chips).  So work quickly to place the pretzel antlers on first, and then the noses.
• I used a small tube of white frosting gel to draw eyes and mouths.

• Some of the pops cracked after cooling.  Not sure how to fix that.
• And some of them (ahem)…pooped cake strings! It was the craziest!  I’d look over and there was a small bit of cake oozing it’s way out of a hole.  Of course it was funnier on Ruldoph’s backside.  Has that happened to you?  I hope so.  Made the night more exciting.

And that’s about it.
It was still messy and still took a while but I was happy with how they turned out.

And the kids gasped when they opened the fridge this morning and saw them sitting there….all corralled in a styrofoam wreath.


Owen couldn’t resist picking one up, talking to him, asking him about flying the sleigh, normal stuff like that.


And there they go….off to his class.
Too bad they’re so delicate.  I’d hang these reindeer on my door.

Thanks Bakerella for the fun! (and gorgeous photos)

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lisa December 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Those are really cute! The cracking comes from the temperature difference between the frozen cake ball and the hot chocolate. It usually helps if you put the dipped cake ball in the fridge or freezer to set. Hope that helps!

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2 Amy K December 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I totally would’ve conversations with them too. Love your smart idea of using the foam wreath as a stand…I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with something, and nothing seemed to work quite right. THANK YOU!

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3 Carina Garcia December 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Beautiful! But how did the cake balls?
Kisses!

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4 Sandra December 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

These are Awesome!

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5 kristin December 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

aw dana, these are SO CUTE!! Love it.

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6 Phoebe December 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Those look awesome! You are such a great mom for making these for him. :) I made some hello kitty ones for my daughter for her birthday, but I bought a little kit to do it all.

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7 Kailee December 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Cute! They look great! I actually did make cake balls this past weekend for a bridal shower and I used chocolate chips. The trick is that you have to add shortening to the chocolate chips to make the consistently similar to the almond bark. They turned out totally fine for me that way! :)

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8 Crystal McClymont December 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I make cake pops all the time and I have had the “pooped cake strings” and the cracking. As someone mentioned above, popping them into fridge right away to set solved that problem. They turned out very cute and they can be addictive to make for every occassion, at least in my opinion. Love Bakerella, view her blog all the time. I love your blog as well, always browsing and love that I am now making clothes for my kids with the help of your site.

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9 Catrin December 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Hi Dana,
I do love to make cake pops! Yours turned out really nice for a second attempt! You can totally see how Owen loved them.
If you like – have a look here on my blog
http://lovelife-liebedasleben.blogspot.co.at/search/label/Cake%20Pops
I do share a lot of tips and trics – unfortunately I write only in German. But if you like a good laugh use the google translator ;-) (most of the sentences do make sense in German :-)

All the best from Austria
Catrin

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10 Leigh Anne December 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

How cute are those lil’ guys?? Way to go for your 2nd attempt! I tried them once with just my grocery store almond bark. Went OK for the white ones, but didn’t work when I added the food coloring…goopy mess. Next time I’m gonna get the actual discs/bars of the good stuff. Mine got a bit “heavy” and some kept wanting to fall off the sticks. So, next time I won’t make them so big. And I think keeping the chocolate as thin as possible helps. When it gets goopy = fallen cake pop. I didn’t have the “pooping” problem, but chuckled out loud at your pics & description…priceless! Its amazing what we do for our kids. I LOVE seeing their faces so happy at something I’ve created. Keeps me coming back even after my craft fails :) Thanks for sharing!

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11 Kristina December 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Cute!!!

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12 Sunae December 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

They look great! I’m yet to even taste a cake pop (yep, I know I’m behind the times) but after seeing these cuties, I’d love to give them a go!

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13 Sandy December 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I love love love your Rudy pops!! OK, now for my confession. Dont hate my cheating ways but I use munchkins * gasp * for my cake pops. Also: i found that the ghiradelli brand chocolate chips melts really well. Instead of a microwave, I use the Babycakes chocolatier, which keeps the chocolate nice and melty.

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14 this is lemonade December 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

This is the coolest! They came out great and the kids are so lucky, bless little Owen – happy birthday :) The cake poop is the funniest haha, I’d have loved to witness that lol :P

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15 Nikki @ Outnumbered December 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

those turned out amazing!
i made cake balls once and had problems with the cracking too, when i took them out of the fridge and we were driving to a party- i have no idea why?

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16 carla December 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm

These are so cute! I love making cake pops. I had to comment because I’ve had the cracking, but have never seen the pooping!!! That cracked me up. So funny.
Oh, and for my dipping chocolate, I use semisweet chocolate chips & drizzle just enough vegetable oil so that when you stir it in, all the chocolate chips are glossy. They taste soooo good.

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17 Lindsay December 7, 2012 at 12:16 am

These are so adorable! We tried to make owl cake pops and failed miserably, but when we did simple chocolate-covered ones, they turned out beautifully. The reindeer look easy enough, though. Maybe I’ll have to give it another go!

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18 Sarah K. December 7, 2012 at 1:28 am

I laughed so hard I cried when I saw the pooping reindeer. I am embarrassingly immature sometimes, but that was so unexpected in this cute tutorial! Ack! Now I’m laughing again!

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19 Kiersten December 7, 2012 at 2:00 am

I love reading your blog because I feel like we’re a lot alike (except I’m not nearly so crafty). We have children close to the same age and my son and your son actually look strikingly similar. Weird. And I love all things pumpkin. And wrapping presents is also therapeutic to me. And my cake pops have always ended in disaster. I’ve tried twice. I’ll probably never make them again. I’m glad you were able to get them to turn out so cute!

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20 Delia December 7, 2012 at 2:43 am

Super cute! I can’t believe Owen is 5! What a handsome boy.

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21 Kim December 7, 2012 at 3:07 am

So cute! Maybe they should change the name to Cake Poops!

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22 marta December 7, 2012 at 5:55 am

My daughter also just turned 5 and I’ve made some simple cake pops to give to the kids at her party. I’ve wrap them individually in cellophane bags and Teresa worte each friend name on each bag. They were a successes!
Take a look at the photos:
http://www.doguincho.blogspot.pt/2012/11/a-teresa-tem-5-anos-teresa-turn-five.html

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23 Melissa Shultz December 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

These are so cute. I’ve never made them, but my mom made them last year for the first time. She coated them with glittery sprinkles. They are yummy. I may have to give them a try. I love the idea of using the foam wreath.

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24 Heather December 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

You gave me a good laugh wih the cake string poop! So funny! But really, hats off to you for attempting cake pops again after your first try. My husband is a landscaper and had his first cake pop at the mulch yard. (The receptionist makes and caters them.) He loved them so much I told him I’d make him some. I did one batch, then pretty much said if he wanted them ever again to get them at the mulch yard! Happy birthday to Owen!

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25 Emra December 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

These are popular in my mom crowd/circle but it sounds like you’ve got good practical experience. They do make edible/safe ink pens for marking or drawing details & may make some characters easier or the process quicker. Yours look great!

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26 Amber Wright December 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

did you have to have a special pan how did you bake the cake part to be in balls?

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27 Sarah December 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

My first try was disastrous too! I felt so craft-worthless that day, lol…I did it at a little cake pop making party and seriously could not make it work while everyone around me was whipping out lovely little chocolately perfect cake balls.

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28 Vicki December 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I use the Ambrosia brand chocolate bark that they sell at HEB and it always works great for cake balls and cake pops. You should try chocolate cake with cream cheese icing, dipped in chocolate bark with crushed candy cane bits on top. It is delicious! I get the most requests from my family for that flavor.

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29 palak December 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I nearly die when I saw the pooping reindeer picture. Yay for the HEB shout out!

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30 Heather December 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

Adorable!

I am a little envious that you got to take home-baked goods to his school. We did that all the time in Glendale but out here the schools have all told me it had to be store-bought only. Gag. Poor Reed had Christmas cupcakes for his birthday because I refused to get the neon airbrushed abomination that didn’t look a thing like food.

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31 embee December 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

tip: instead of making pops, just make cake balls and put in cute mini-cupcake wrappers! i did that for a baby shower and they were adorable. i found that one of the most irritating parts of making cake pops was getting them to stand on the popsicle sticks. by just making the balls, you lose a lot of that irritation. :)

here’s a picture of them: http://pinterest.com/pin/117234396519604010/

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32 Charity December 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Haha, I laughed out loud over the pooping reindeer! Too funny! But all joking aside, those are seriously cute!

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33 Kelly December 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Those are so cute! I have been doing a lot of different cake balls lately. I find the best way to melt the chocolate is by using a small crock pot. So easy to melt and when it is all melted just shut it off but the chocolate stays warm enough for you to finish all your cake balls without having to keep reheating!

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