April 18, 2014
Cake Pops 101: Troubleshooting Guide

Cake Pops 101: Troubleshooting Guide

Hi guys!
It is so tempting to make cake pops, right?

They always look so pretty and stunning, and they are easy to do! No?

I know it is not easy for everyone to make Cake Pops the first time.
If you are having a hard time making them or if you have certain issues that you never been able to fix, I am here to help!

Topics:

At the bottom right, you see a that little pink arrow, click on it to get to the top again!

In this first section I answer questions for preparing the cake pops for dipping.

Cake Balls not round

If your cake pops are not round enough, you either used not enough frosting (cake ball won’t stick together) or way too much!

Remember to keep the consistency like play dough, so definitely not too dry, or too thin.

Cake Balls fall apart

What a bummer, your cake pops fall apart because it seems that you are not using enough frosting.
It has to be sticky in order to form a nice round shape. So add a little more frosting, bit by bit.

Balls fall off the stick

There are several reasons why cake pops fall off the lollipop stick:

– Mostly that happens when you dip your cake pops right away and you have not let them rest in the refrigerator or freezer to firm up. This is really important! – If your cake pops are too big, this can be a reason as well. I usually weigh my pops, 20g and you are good. Or keep them around 1.3 inches in diameter.

– You might used too much frosting, so the cake ball is way too soft. Add more cake, form them again and let them rest in the refrigerator to firm up! – If you’ve dipped the stick in your candy melts and stuck it in the cake ball, it can still fall off, because the chocolate inside the cake ball has not set yet. I usually wait a couple of minutes before I dip my cake pops in the candy melts and let the chocolate inside the pop dry first.

– When your candy melts are way too thick, the cake ball can fall off too!

Candy Melts too thick

Of course it is important to have smooth and even chocolate for dipping your cake pops.

– If your candy melts are too thick, which they usually are to me, I add vegetable oil, bit by bit though, until you reach your desired consistency. If you are adding too much oil, you need to add more candy melts.

– It can be the temperature also: If you heated the candy melts up too hot, the candy melts will get all lumpy. Just wait a little until they are cooled down. – Are you sure no water etc. accidentally got into your candy melts? Water makes them all lumpy.

– To thin your candy melts, use either vegetable oil like I said before, or buy Paramount Crystals online.

Now let’s talk candy melts:
Anything can happen but sometimes you just do not know what you’ve done wrong! Does any of these issues sound familiar to you?

Candy Melts crack

If your candy melts crack after they’ve dried, I am pretty sure your cake balls were way too cold before you dipped them. Of course you need to let your cake balls firm up in the refrigerator or freezer, but if you placed them in the freezer, make sure to take them out and let them rest on your counter for at least 15 minutes to warm up and expand a little. If your cake balls are too cold when you coat them, they expand while warming up and this is why they cause cracks.

Air Bubbles

That happens quite often; after coating your cake pops little air bubbles pop up. That’s why oils or butter from the cake try to get out. When you see airbubbles approaching, take a toothpick and pop the air bubbles. You won’t see a thing after the coating has dried. But do that while the coating is still wet!

White Streaks

Your cake pops have white streaks once the candy coating has dried?
This problem is called “blooming” – just like in photography. The candy melts still taste wonderful, so tastewise those streaks do nothing to the candy melts, but it just does not look all even anymore. That happens when you heated up your candy melts way too hot. I heat my candy melts in a mircowave, and with a microwave blooming can occur so easily because you do not have control over the heat.

Once you see blooming happening, just add a couple of candy melts drops (dry) to your bowl with the already (way too hot) melted candy melts.
Stir dry candy melts in there until everything is combined, smooth and melted. Do not put it back in the microwave though. Best is to check the temperature! Get a candy thermometer, you will need it a lot so it’s great to have one at hand. Make sure the temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius, that is around 90 degrees Fahrenheidt.
So after your candy melts are all smooth, dip another cake pop in there and see what happens if the coating dries. Blooming should be all gone now =) When reheating the candy melts (if you need to), do that in 15-20 seconds intervals and stir for a while and see if it is necessary to put them back in the microwave.

Most people recommend 30 seconds but I find it too much when your candy melts were already melted.
Of course it varies since all microwaves are different.

Candy Melts run down the cake pop

You probably thinned out the candy melts too much.
O you just have to be patient and shake off the excess of the candy melts until it does not look runny anymore.

Edible Ink Food Pens:
I get many questions regarding edible ink pens.
Edible Ink Pens

People who start with cake pops are having a hard time achieving good results with food pens and I am sure that is extremely frustrating. There are quite a few brands out there but honestly, only one brand works for me OK, not perfect, but OK. This can be really disappointing since those pens are not cheap at all and mostly you have to buy them online. There are a few brands, such as Wilton, Kopykake and others.

For me though, Americolor is a good brand and works for me the best. You can shop the edible food pens here. I use those all the time and those come in various colors.

Pen won’t Write

Once received your long awaited food pens, you are happy and ready to get started but: Certain pens won’t write on your cake pops! WHY? Even a good pen like Americolor won’t write perfectly on your cake pop when you used too much vegetable oil to thin out your coating.
It is a good and cheap method to thin your coating but it does cause problems when you want to paint on your cake pops afterwards. If your candy melts are too thick, try to rather use Paramount Crystals instead of oil.
Paramount Crystals make it so easy to paint on your cake pops – and then it is lots of fun!

Food Pen Dried Out

There are times where your food pen has dried out. What to do?? You can use food gel coloring! Use the tip of your food pen and dip it in a little bit of food gel coloring (black for example) and gently paint on your cake pops, it works! To me that’s not a way of doing that for many many cake pops but it is a last minute helper indeed in case your pen dried out!

Sprinkles etc. fall off the cake pop

Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

This is basically it: Prepare everything and get everything out you need for your cake pops:
sprinkles, tools, etc.

As soon as you dipped your cake pops, you have to decorate them right away, before the chocolate sets and dries.

Lollipop Sticks turn yellow

When you use too much frosting to the cake ball mixture, the fat of the frosting seeps into the lollipop sticks and that turns them yellow.
Try to use a little less frosting / cream cheese, just the amount of frosting that is necessary.

About niner bakes

Hi I'm niner - I blog about decorated cake pops, cupcakes, other yummy treats and about my passion of all things crafty/diy (printables etc.). Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, niner

17 comments

  1. Bravo, Niner! I hope this post gets linked to far and wide.

    (As for me, I figured out much of the above by trial-and-error, but I’m so happy that you’ve published this “Troubleshooting Guide” for future first-timers!)

    As always, I love your posts.

    • Hi Laura,
      thank you so much!
      I think it would prevent lots of problems for beginners if they read the troubleshooting guide before they experience issues etc.
      Thanks for stopping by, Laura.
      Blessings, niner

  2. hallo niner. ich schreibe dir erneut, da ich leider auf mein erstes schreiben keine antwort bekommen habe. ich hätte zwei fragen: erstens wo kann ich die bright White melts von CK bestellen . finde diese in keinem shop und zweitens deine cake Pops haben immer so intensieve farben. meine werden nie so. welche lebensmittelfarbe benutzt du zusätzlich oder welche melt hast du. ganz liebe grüsse aus Bayern . sandra

    • Hi Sandra, tut mir leid, manchmal übersieht man den einen oder anderen Kommentar.
      Die Brite Melts bestelle ich oft bei cake-pops.de – bei backfieber-pro.com gibt es sie ebenfalls.
      Ich benutze hauptsächlich Wilton und CK Candy Melts, zudem oft noch Chocolate Farben, wie z.B. diese hier: KLICK.
      Hoffe ich konnte dir weiterhelfen,
      alles Liebe und viel Spaß beim Cake Pops machen :)
      niner

  3. Hi niner from Crete, Greece!I love your blog!I am planning a pirate and princess birthday party for my children.i made some cake pops to practice, and they cracked! i read your troubleshooting guide, and i think i will do better next time. though it made me think… what if that happens on the cakes?i plan to cover them with marshmellow fondant. i would appreciate it if you could give me some advice!

  4. Hmm… I’m making cake pops for the first time and I’m afraid I used too much icing. 1 cake (box) and 2/3 can of icing.. it hasn’t rested yet but it feels pasty, not solid. I need these for my husbands work on Friday. Any tips to thicken it up without having to make more cake??

  5. Hallo Niner. Ich finde das Rezept für die Vanilla Cakebites und finde es nicht . : ( Wo steht es. Sehe die Bilder auf Instagramm aber nicht das Rezept. Kannst du mir helfen. Bin ein grosser Fan und wir haben schon viele Ideen von dir nachgemacht !!! Weiter so , du bist klasse !!!!

  6. Hallo Niner,
    ich habe ein Cakepop-Problem, das hier nicht beschrieben ist: Das Formen der Kuchenmasse und das Überziehen mit Schokolade (normale Zartbitter-Schokolade) hat wunderbar geklappt, die Pops sahen wunderschön aus, doch nach etlichen Stunden haben sich auf der Oberfläche kleine dunkle Pünktchen gebildet, so als ob die Kuchenmasse von innen durchfeuchten würde. Wo liegt das Problem? Kannst Du mir helfen?

    Danke und liebe Grüße
    Biggi

  7. I mixed mine together in the big bowl and it is running and it won’t get thick so I can’t round them put and put them on the pan????

  8. Liebe Ninner, Du hast meinen Backnachmittag gerettet. Für den 6. Geburtstag meines Sohnes wollte ich (tatsächlich zum ersten Mal) die Cake Pops backen. Das war alles ok, aber das Suger Melts blieb hart. Dank Deines Tipps sind wie super geworden und morgen lege ich gleich nochmal los. LG aus Singapore von Nicole

    • Liebe Nicole,
      ich freu mich sehr, dass es so gut geklappt hat – dann kann es ja weitergehen mit neuen Kreationen ;)
      Alles Liebe nach Singapur :)
      Blessings, niner

  9. hi niner,
    ich hab gestern das 1.mal cakepops versucht, aber mit einem cakepop blech. leider sind mir die cakepops dann nicht auf den stielen geblieben.
    da ich auf diese art und weise ja leider nix an der masse mehr ändern kann, hättest du vielleicht noch eine idee.? in schoko hab ich die stiele auch getunkt und bisschen gewartet.. :/
    ansonsten probier ichs mal so wie du sie machst..
    LG,birgit

    • Hi Birgit,
      das tut mir leid, dass du keinen Erfolg mit den Cake Pops hattest.
      Ich kann dir was den Cake Pop Maker angeht leider nicht helfen, da ich so einen noch nie in den Händen hielt. Denn: Das sind keine echten Cake Pops.
      Echte Cake Pops sind ein Mix aus Kuchen- oder Kekskrümeln vermengt mit Buttercreme/Frischkäse, sprich eine saftige Angelegenheit :)
      Der Cake Pop Maker zaubert ja leider nur normale, trockene Bällchen.
      Versuch doch mal die echte, ursprüngliche Variante, ich denke da wirst du happier sein :)
      Liebe Grüße :)

      • oki, hatte das mal im supermarkt im angebot gesehen und spontan mitgenommen. hab mich heute eh schon online mit deko versorgt fürs nächste mal. dann werd ich es auf die ‘richtige’ art probieren :)
        gibt es eigentlich bessere und schlechtere sticks? hab welche aus kunststoff und welche aus papier/karton gesehen..
        danke nochmal!
        liegrü birgit :)

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