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International Incident Party: Cake Pops (and a giveaway!)

I have to admit, when Penny challenged us to make Cake Pops for this month’s International Incident Party, I had never actually eaten a cake pop, let alone made one.
In fact, I was so clueless that I thought they were just little round balls of cake on sticks. And I wondered how you got the cakes to be little shapes like that and then how you iced them.

I headed over to Bakerella, the queen of the cake pops to discover that in fact, they are composed of crumbled up cake mixed with frosting (icing) and then dipped in chocolate.  Really?  I will say that the idea is actually a little gross – sounds like a LOT of sugar!  I was also concerned that I would not be able to make perfect little spheres. I envisaged a lot of mess (well, more than usual!).

Then I saw a picture on Foodgawker of perfect little cake pops, even made in the shape of cupcakes. Neat looking little things. Heading over to the post, I found our that these had been made using a My Little Cupcake CakePop mold that you can buy here.  For $5.95 I couldn’t resist.  And am glad I didn’t!

There are no process photos of this endeavour for a number of reasons:

1. There are so many tutorials online that you hardly need my 20 process pictures to add to it all. (see Bakerella’s video tutorial for starters)

2. I just got a new camera (last night!) and haven’t had a chance to learn all the ropes yet and when I was making these, the battery was charging. (Thanks mum, dad and Neil for the early birthday pressie!). And yes, I am still figuring out the white balance settings, before you ask ;-)

I will tell you that I used a packet cake mix (gasp!) because we had one in the pantry for emergencies. Since I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making a whole cake from scratch.

I used a 9×13 inch cake pan and ended up using about 1/2 of the cake for 12 pops.  Into the crumbled 1/2 cake, I mixed 1/4 cup of cream cheese frosting (also from my emergency stash in the fridge).

After each step (mixing the cake and frosting, rolling the mixture into balls, pressing out the shapes with the mold, dipping the bottom part in the chocolate) I refrigerated the pops to make them easier to handle.

These were actually incredibly easy to make.

The hardest part was photographing them.  Today was windy and rainy and my “studio” (aka my front porch) was totally rained out.  I thought I would catch a break but didn’t bank on the pops being so uncooperative (you really need some styrofoam to sit them in – I had them in dried beans and styrofoam and it was still a challenge).  The wind whipped up around the Easter grass (I stupidly bought plastic Easter grass) and meanwhile, inside, Cleo managed to find the couple of strands I hadn’t managed to clean up (it goes everywhere!) and eat it. Only to bring it straight back up. Naughty!

So yes, there was a cake pop meltdown. But it all worked out in the end :)

These babies are currently on their way to Neil’s curling finals and we hope he has more luck with that than I did with my photo session.  Me? I just didn’t want to see the pops again LOL!

Edited to add: I made 12 of these and only 10 made it all the way to the end. One fell apart when I dipped it in the chocolate and the other, well, I had to taste test it – I was pleasantly surprised – it was fudgey and truffley and not *too* sweet.  I do feel these were on the big side though – I couldn’t eat the whole one in one go…

And now here’s the fun part!  A giveaway open to anyone, anywhere in the world!

Yes, thanks to Thomas Allen, I have a copy of The Pop Bakery cookbook!

As I am paying the postage this giveaway is open to anyone.

How to enter?

No requirements. Anyone who leaves a comment here on this post will be eligible to win. I will draw the winner’s name through Random.org on Monday April 18th at 6pm EST and announce the winner in the following day’s post.

My way of saying “thanks” for reading and commenting :-)

UPDATE: The contest is now closed and a winner has been chosen, to be announced tomorrow, Tuesday April 19th. Thanks for entering!

** Don’t forget to check out next month’s “Forever Nigella” event – I’m hosting a street party in honour of the Royal Wedding and would love for you to join me. All the details here.

Check out what everyone else bought to the party by clicking on the links below:

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124 Responses to International Incident Party: Cake Pops (and a giveaway!)

  1. Rochelle April 16, 2011 at 21:20 #

    I stand by what I said earlier, this are so cute! And happy early birthday, for getting a new camera and not getting a chance to play with it very much prior these photos came out great!

    I also had issues with the stupid cake pops wanting to fall down and had to resort to polymer clay to mold around the bottoms of mine.

  2. ironchefman April 16, 2011 at 21:24 #

    Let me guess, is your new camera a…Nikon D90? Exif tells all :) Very nice photos for the first time using it!
    As for cake balls, I was just at a baking store today and saw special cake ball molds. This post makes me wish I had picked some up to try out!

  3. mademoiselle délicieuse April 16, 2011 at 21:25 #

    Cake pops are adorable and, yes, lots of sugary fun. An alternative to the cupcake, I suppose. What I want to know is, did you at least try one of your creations after your output of efforts?

  4. Kathleen Mokus April 16, 2011 at 21:32 #

    How fantastic! This seems like a delicious idea, I want to try to make them now!!

  5. Ethan April 16, 2011 at 21:34 #

    Confession time, I’ve never had a cakepop and I know for a fact I don’t want the ones from Starbucks to be my first one! I might have to make my own or drive to Toronto and try one of yours:)
    Can’t wait to see the evolution with your new camera and happy very early birthday!

  6. Kimmie April 16, 2011 at 21:47 #

    Your first batch of cake balls are precious! Way to go!! =)

    There’s a bakery in Austin dedicated to just cake balls/pops – my favorite? Walnut and brie with spice cake dipped in white chocolate. Oh the possibilities are endless!

  7. Scott_D April 16, 2011 at 21:47 #

    Totally CUTE! Are you supposed to eat just one?

    Happy Birthday too!

  8. penny aka jeroxie April 16, 2011 at 21:49 #

    I, too, had problems with taking the photos too! And the stick I used was not suitable… but still it was fun to make and also GOOD too eat…
    see you soon MARDI!!

  9. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen April 16, 2011 at 21:52 #

    Mardi, your cake pops are adorable and mine couldn’t sit still for the photoshots either! I didn’t know we could get cake pop molds, or I would’ve bought them for this purpose. Had to go to cake pop therapy afterwards and that proved more expensive (especially on the hips)!

  10. Martyna@WholesomeCook April 16, 2011 at 22:07 #

    Hi Mardi, I completely understand where you were coming from. I don’t normally use a lot of icing on the cakes, so using it as binding agent sounded to me like complete sugar overload! But I do agree that cake pops can be extremely cute (look at yours!) and fun when entertaining! Love the cupcake mould!

  11. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle April 16, 2011 at 22:10 #

    OK, my confession is that I have had a cake pop or two. A friend of mine had a friend of hers make some for her daughter’s wedding (long before I ever heard of Bakerella) a couple of years ago and I must admit I thought they were 1. Cute and 2. Good.

    It seems standard practice to make them with a cake mix but the ones I had were not a mix; both the red velvet cake and the frosting to mold them were made from scratch…but this was for a wedding!

    These are cute but I would be hard pressed to imagine making them without kids around to enjoy the results; though I did see the ones at Starbucks the other day…and admit Ethan, I was tempted!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 19, 2011 at 20:37 #

      I felt like I should have a child around to share my excitement! I definitely need to try some from a store now to see how they shape up!

  12. Melissa@EyesBigger April 16, 2011 at 22:11 #

    I don’t need to be entered in the contest – it’s doubtful I’d give these a go myself and I’m sure there’s others who’d love it much more but I just wanted to say I think these turned out amazingly well.

    And I bow to you and your perseverance in the rain and wind. I would have made myself a cup of tea, ate a few of these and waited for some better weather!

  13. Evan Thomas April 16, 2011 at 22:14 #

    I’m glad they came out so well! You definitely have to taste test so no shame in losing one that way ;-)

  14. Maya April 16, 2011 at 22:18 #

    Thanks for pointing out the cake cup mold link. I’ve checked it out and so excited!

  15. amy marantino April 16, 2011 at 23:07 #

    very cute! these look like would be fun to make and eat.

  16. Beth April 16, 2011 at 23:41 #

    Ahhh I have been reading Bakerella’s blog for ages, but have never worked up the guts to actually cake pops! a) they look complicated and b) omg soo much sugar, how could I justify? But this book looks adorable, and if I won i reckon that would be a good excuse to finally give cake pops a go, right?!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Kristen @ Pixelated Crumb April 17, 2011 at 00:00 #

    These look fantastic! And I think you’re selling your photos short. They came out well! Although I certainly empathize with difficult “studio” situations.

    I had never had cake balls/cake pops until a couple months ago. I also thought they were balls of cake and was confused about the process. I still haven’t tried making them myself, but I’m eager to give it a go.

  18. Conor @ Hold the Beef April 17, 2011 at 00:26 #

    Wootles! I was so hoping someone would make the little cupcake ones, so I was very happy to see these little joys staring sweetly at me :D Beautifully finished, well done!

    Totally loving your presentation too, mine could have definitely benefited from some grass for my birdies to play in :) :)

  19. msihua April 17, 2011 at 04:27 #

    I remember the first batch I made.. the balls just feel all the way through the bottom of my stick.. so this time round I made a denser cake, did not follow bakerella’s recipe *gasp* and made it work! Yayy!

  20. Mirage April 17, 2011 at 06:41 #

    I am too late for the party but not for the giveaway, I guess…. :) These look so yummy, I bet my kids would love popping them in all the time. Love the colorful photos!

  21. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 17, 2011 at 06:49 #

    Congrats on the new camera, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it. You know I’ve never had a cake pop either! I think I need to remedy that very soon or I’m afraid I’ll be the only one left.

  22. Jackie April 17, 2011 at 07:29 #

    Darling, you have *no* idea how happy I am to finally see a give-away that everybody is eligible for! Oh my goodness, I’ve been waiting for this day for a while ;)

    Your little cake-pops look adorable – I’ve never made them either but I’ve seen them around a fair bit. They’re super cute ;)

    You are too lovely. Hope you’re feeling miles better!

    Jax x

  23. Mils April 17, 2011 at 07:32 #

    I’ve always looked longingly at cake pops but never dared try to make them..they look so wonderful!!

  24. Sanjeeta kk April 17, 2011 at 07:41 #

    Oh…they look so cute! And congrats for your early B’day gift. Have yet to try cake pops..infact feel a little odd to bake a cake and then Crumble it!! Anyway these cutties tempt me to do the same :)

  25. Liz April 17, 2011 at 08:14 #

    Such darling cake pops, Mardi! Oh, yes, these will now be on my have to try list~

  26. Maris (In Good Taste) April 17, 2011 at 08:15 #

    These are absolutely adorable!

  27. Angelie Oro April 17, 2011 at 08:16 #

    Looks deli. Hope i win :)

  28. Brian @ A Thought For Food April 17, 2011 at 08:30 #

    Despite the incident, these do look fantastic… And good for you for even trying them in the first place. I definitely would have been too scared.

    And how did I miss your birthday? Hope you had a fantastic time!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 19, 2011 at 20:32 #

      Nope – not my birthday for another few weeks. *We* don’t *do* birthdays on the correct day in our house – too conventional and lacks element of surprise!

  29. Heather April 17, 2011 at 08:58 #

    Mardi these look great! Much better than what I have seen in stores. yum!

  30. From the Bookshelf April 17, 2011 at 09:20 #

    These look terrific! I have wanted to try them forever, but keep talking myslef out of it!

  31. dagny April 17, 2011 at 09:39 #

    I have never made cake pops before! Can’t wait to try them out!

  32. Paula April 17, 2011 at 09:52 #

    Great job Mardi and I’m sure they were a hit at the curling finals!

    p.s. Not entering the contest

  33. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom April 17, 2011 at 10:26 #

    Poor Cleo! Lovely pops and I’m getting braver about trying to make some myself, based on your experience.

  34. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate April 17, 2011 at 10:39 #

    TOO CUTE!!!! They are fun! My girls and I have been discussing making cake pops for some time but have yet to make the plunge. I’m sure when they see your photos they will clamor to make them. Hmn… I’m hiding your post until after Passover!

  35. Megan April 17, 2011 at 10:50 #

    Your cakepops look amazing! And that was your first attempt? Wow! I’ve always wanted to try making these. Thanks for the generous giveaway!!

  36. Amy's Cooking Adventures April 17, 2011 at 10:54 #

    Your cakepops look great! I have been wanting to make some, but just haven’t had the right occasion yet–the book looks great!

  37. Mr. Neil April 17, 2011 at 10:57 #

    So really after all the fuss – they’re just tarted up Timbits? ;-)

    I am sorry the psot does not include a photo of Cleo and the purged streamer.

    Alas, they were gone in seconds at the curling finals – I didn’t even get my hands on one…

    • Mr. Neil April 18, 2011 at 08:01 #

      (And yes, I know it’s not REALLY the same as a Timbit…)

  38. Our Eyes Eat First April 17, 2011 at 11:04 #

    theyre adorable! I might invest in that mold as well! Also thank you for doing a giveaway : j *crossing my fingers*

  39. S. April 17, 2011 at 11:11 #

    Mmmmm… cake on a stick :)

  40. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets April 17, 2011 at 11:43 #

    Omg these are just too adorable! I’ve seen that mold around and it makes such cute pops =D.

  41. Kristin April 17, 2011 at 13:00 #

    I’m a little embarrassed to say that I’ve never even heard of cake pops before but they look delicious!

  42. Kelly April 17, 2011 at 13:38 #

    I’ve never had a cake pop either, and wondered how they were made so thanks! These look awesome and something I will definitely note to try in future. All the best with the new camera – I’m sure you’ll have so much fun figuring out all its tricks :)

  43. ShootingStarsMag April 17, 2011 at 13:43 #

    This would be great. I’ve never made these before…but I have tried one and it was pretty good. I’d love to see what other creations I could check out myself.

  44. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz April 17, 2011 at 13:49 #

    Oh I was tempted t try the muffin shape, I think they look great but easy and frustrating to do at the same time. Pretty good pics for a first try if you ask me! Thanks for saying mine don’t suck lol

  45. Ginger G April 17, 2011 at 13:52 #

    … would be fun to try with gluten free recipe!

  46. Lou (PleaseDoNotFeedTheAnimals) April 17, 2011 at 15:18 #

    They look beautiful – so cute – great colours and very tempting.
    I have made 3 attempts at cakepops now from Bakerella’s book. The nicest ones to eat were the lion ones – I made them from chocolate cake, mixed with chocolate frosting but the candy coating was peanut butter so they were quite tasty. Otherwise, they are not my favourite things to eat but boy do the kids love the novelty of them!

  47. Flour On My Face April 17, 2011 at 15:42 #

    Your cupcake pops turned out great! I am making these on the 1st for my grand daughters birthday. I hope mine turn out half as nice as yours!

  48. Lisa April 17, 2011 at 15:47 #

    I have never made cake pops but they look so fun – for a party, for kids and adults.

  49. Heather April 17, 2011 at 15:54 #

    Those look awesome! Im thinking of making some for the family easter get together :D

  50. Lucy April 17, 2011 at 16:13 #

    These look great! I’ve heard of cake pops and have seen them on a few websites before. Looks like your first efforts worked brilliantly – so pretty!

  51. susitravl April 17, 2011 at 16:23 #

    Love the pictures!! The Cakepops look delicious.
    susitravl(at)gmail(dot)com

  52. Parsley Sage April 17, 2011 at 16:33 #

    Well done with your first cake pop attempt! I can’t even make cake…much less little mini-uber-cute ones with sticks. The curling team is lucky!

  53. Judy April 17, 2011 at 17:17 #

    I haven’t made any cakepops yet, but I keep meaning to give it a try. They always look so cute.

  54. Mary April 17, 2011 at 17:19 #

    Those cake pops look soooo delicious, good job!

  55. caroline April 17, 2011 at 17:41 #

    The cakepops looks adorable, love the cupcake shape! Congrats on your new camera, too. :)

  56. lo April 17, 2011 at 17:44 #

    I’ll admit that I’ve never made cake pops either – but they look like such fun. And, despite the fact that they probably DO contain a ton of sugar, they’re small. So, eating one or two won’t hurt, right?

  57. Emily @ Life On Food April 17, 2011 at 17:45 #

    These are super cute. I considered having these as a special treat at my wedding but I agree they were too sweet. Good to know there is a new way to make them.

    And I always have a cake and brownie mix in the pantry just in case!

  58. Ashley Kirkland April 17, 2011 at 17:45 #

    These are so cute! What a great idea for a church picnic for the kids!
    amberpebs@yahoo.com

  59. Happy When Not Hungry April 17, 2011 at 20:19 #

    These cake pops look so cute! I’ve never tried making them, but def need to give them a try!

  60. StephIrey April 17, 2011 at 23:44 #

    Mardi, I love the shots of the pops in the bag with the grass! I agree…they do sound kind of gross…glad to hear they taste good. Congrats on the new camera. Looking forward to even more impressive photos (although your work is so good, I’m not sure how much better you can get!)

  61. Cherrie April 18, 2011 at 00:43 #

    i love the cupcake shapes of your cake pops. They look so pretty and colourful

  62. Ashleigh April 18, 2011 at 01:23 #

    Cute!!!! I have tried Cake Pops once…and did not have as much luck as you… I tried round and found them very hard to get to actually be… well round…and then had a hard time dipping in chocolate and then getting to stay on the stick…but I will try them again!!!

  63. sara @CaffeIna April 18, 2011 at 02:18 #

    I’ve never made cakepops for the very same reason you mentioned at the beginning of your post but now you are tempting me! They look so perfectly made. Great job.

  64. Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbs April 18, 2011 at 02:23 #

    Seriously, how cute are your pops! I must admit that I have never tried making them, although they have been on my list for quite a while. Your photos are great too, and I totally get what you mean about your “studio” and bad weather. I don’t have lights so quite often I am desperately trying to get a good photo in between the cloud cover, and my food melting in the hot weather.

  65. Adriana April 18, 2011 at 06:14 #

    I love cake pops – they are adorable and automatic portion control! I need to look into some of those tutorials soon. Long live the emergency stashes :-)

  66. AmandaP April 18, 2011 at 08:49 #

    OMGoodness your little cupcakes look amazing! I love the two-toned effect, I don’t think I have the patience to do one of those let alone attempt to do a dozen!
    I’ll see you later this month at the street party, I’m doing mine this Friday as part of a Bachelorette event :-D

  67. Winnie April 18, 2011 at 08:52 #

    I’ve yet to get on the cake pops bandwagon but yours look great Mardi!

  68. janet April 18, 2011 at 08:55 #

    Your cupcakes are too cute!

  69. Trix April 18, 2011 at 09:47 #

    I think there is an exuberance in these photos – I would never know you were having so much trouble! So cute. Sad to have missed my first Incident ever, but catching up after a trip takes time …. Happy early birthday!

  70. Cassandra D. April 18, 2011 at 09:58 #

    Thanks for the chance to win. I’ve had some really YUMMYcakepops before and would love to learn to make them. How fun would they be at family get togethers!?!

  71. Tricia Howard April 18, 2011 at 10:57 #

    Adorable! I can’t believe that was your first try! I’m inspired!

  72. Isabelle April 18, 2011 at 11:28 #

    To be honest, I’m not a big fan of super-sweet desserts, so I’ve yet to try a cake pop despite the fact that they’re completely ubiquitous lately. Yours are awfully cute, though!
    PS – If these are your first photos with the new camera (and shot under less-than-ideal lighting conditions, no less), I can’t wait to see what happens once you’ve gotten a little more practice! :)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 19, 2011 at 20:26 #

      Thanks so much Isabelle! These are great because you can make tiny ones so they are not overly sweet!

  73. MeL April 18, 2011 at 11:40 #

    I think these cake pops are fantastic. My first attempt making them was for a childrens birthday party as favours. The kids and adults both found them to be spectacular! I must admit that they can be tricky to make but they are definetly worth the end result and kind comments! I’m totally going to get one of the cupcake molds! they look so cute! :)

  74. Karen Fenton April 18, 2011 at 11:55 #

    Way too cute. I like your story and always thought they looked too sweet to eat, in more ways than one!

  75. Knitstamatic April 18, 2011 at 11:58 #

    Had my first cake pop a few weeks ago, cute idea. I like the idea of using a mold to create shapes other than a sphere. Yours look great. Oh and congrats on the new camera! Do tell, what did you get?

  76. Janet April 18, 2011 at 12:01 #

    Your photos are SO cute! Would never have guessed your struggles… well done! I’m a piano teacher and hold a “Celebration” (small party) when a student graduates to next level. Love bringing novelty treats and these would be PERFECT! A mold addict, I must find that, too. :-) Such fun. Thanks!

  77. Nora April 18, 2011 at 12:04 #

    PICK ME — PICK ME!!!

  78. Annie April 18, 2011 at 13:55 #

    So cute!!! My daughter loves cupcakes and she
    Thought these were great. She wants cupcakes instead of a cake for her party. We might try these. Thanks. The pictures were fantastic.

  79. Kitchen Butterfly April 18, 2011 at 16:04 #

    A tale of many pops…..It was a learning curve but what I like is the versatility of these pops. Yours look gorgeous and girls :-). Congrats on the new camera too!

  80. UrMomCooks April 18, 2011 at 17:36 #

    I have watched my daughters make very messy cakepops for awhile now…they are sooooo delicious and their friends go wild for them!!! Yours are beautiful and I have admired bakerella’s for some time! These are about the yummiest idea ever!

  81. Sarah April 18, 2011 at 17:42 #

    these are super cute!

  82. Lauren April 18, 2011 at 17:43 #

    Yummy! I love cake pops! :)

  83. The Farmers Wife April 18, 2011 at 17:53 #

    Those look so good! Great job, I have yet to attempt these, but I want to!

  84. Tami April 18, 2011 at 18:01 #

    How cute……..might be an idea for the lolly buffet at the wedding in September.

    Now if I only had a book for some ideas……………………….

  85. melissa April 19, 2011 at 19:43 #

    I make cake pops and sell them around the holidays, I will be making Easter egg cake this week. My problem was buying the styro foam to hold them as they were melting, the styro foam is expensive and the holes get bigger every time you use it, I needed a better solution so my husband got me a scrap piece of wood from our local hardware store and drilled holes in it, it holds 33 cake pops at a time! and best part costs all of 52 cents!

  86. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction April 21, 2011 at 14:37 #

    These are adorable! I have yet to make cake pops, but they are super cute. I just know that entirely too much cake/icing filling would wind up in my mouth instead of in cake pops.

  87. Magic of Spice April 21, 2011 at 21:32 #

    These are just so adorable… sorry about the bit of a melt down, I think I have one per post, lol. And congratulations on the new camera :)

  88. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes April 23, 2011 at 07:06 #

    I have yet to make cake pops, but after your description I’m putting it on my list to try.

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