Do you ever skim through Pinterest and see those beautiful cake pops? Do you ever wonder how they did it?
Well I’m here to share those secrets the professionals use to make you an expert in your kitchen.
Today I am focusing on achieving the perfect Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pop. By mixing a sweet vanilla cake and a tart strawberry jam and dipping it into chocolate you have made a full flavored combination in one bite.
Making tasty cake pops has never been easier by learning this technique you too will be an expert in no time.
Every cake pop starts with a really good cake and this recipe is even because I also break down how to make and use strawberry jam to add flavor and a little surprise inside each cake pop.
Making the cake is obviously very important but I have a way to cut some time out of the process.
Like I have explained in my Cake Pop Tutorial post; some bakers use sphere molds to bake the cake mixture in so it’s already in a ball shape. I don’t prefer this way since the cake pops ends up being dry inside.
For a simple cake recipe, go to my foolproof cake here. It’s super easy and you can change the flavors even easier but in this case for Strawberry Shortcake we are making vanilla cake.
When I bake cakes for clients’ orders, typically the cake puffs up and to level the cake out I would then cut the top of the cake to make it even. Most would throw away that cake or eat it up right away but for me, I save that precious cake.
By repurposing the top of the cake, I can keep my cost low but also make awesome goodies like cake pops or what I call “cake truffles” cake pops that don’t have the stick.
I put the tops of the cake into a bowl and mix with frosting like I’ll show you soon then I freeze it in a Ziploc bag so I always have awesome cake pops in my freezer at all times.
Bake according to that recipe’s directions.
*Note: the shape and size of the cake doesn’t matter, it will all get crumbled up soon enough.
Let’s Start Popping!
Once the cake has been baked and has cooled down, remove the cake from the pan and place into a large bowl.
Begin to crumble the cake into small pieces. Split into 2 bowls. One is for vanilla cake with vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the other bowl is vanilla cake with strawberry jam. See my homemade Strawberry Jam recipe here.
*Note: For a thicker Strawberry Jam for the cake pops make sure to add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water to make a “slurry” and add that to the boiling strawberry mixture. This will help insure that the jam is nice and thick. Thicker jam is highly recommended for this recipe so it doesn’t add too much moisture and ruin the consistency of the cake pop. This is super important.
For the ratio of vanilla cake to buttercream is 1 lb. (16 oz./4 cups) of cake to ¼ cup of buttercream frosting. This is an approximate recipe because depending on the moisture of the cake is how much frosting you add. Mix together in a bowl by hand.
This might take practice but by slowing adding the frosting you have a much higher chance of nailing it on the first try.
*Note: if cake pop mixture is too wet like it’s falling apart then add more cake crumbs to offset the frosting being added.
The goal here is to make a consistency of a meatball. You are looking for it to hold together while being compacted but not so moist that it just totally falls apart once the cake pop stick gets inserted.
For the strawberry vanilla cake part of the shortcake the ratio is ½ lb. (8 oz./2 cups) of vanilla cake to ½ cup strawberry jam. Mix together in a bowl by hand.
Before making small cake balls, start melting down the chocolate candy melts in the microwave. Place the majority of the candy melts (save the remaining to the side, I’ll explain in a second) into a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave the chocolate in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after each time.
While the chocolate is melting, start rolling the vanilla cake into balls. Place the rolled balls onto a parchment or wax paper lined cookie tray or sheet pan. The easiest way to make all the same sizes is to use an ice cream scooper. I used a size 50, you can find that here as a reference. You can also use a heaping tablespoon to scoop the vanilla cake.
Then scoop all the vanilla cake out into rounds then on top of each scoop, place 1 teaspoon of strawberry cake mixture onto each vanilla scoop. Then smash each scoop. Have some fun with it!
Then before you start to roll each ball add ¼ teaspoon of the thickened strawberry jam to each. Roll each ball marble ball into shape. You will get approximately 36-48 depending on the size of each cake ball.
Continue to tightly roll each cake ball till you get a cool marble cake ball. What’s the fun part is when you bite into the cake pop you will see the strawberry jam marbled throughout.
Now once the chocolate is melted start dipping the end of each cake pop stick into the cake ball. Push the stick through the center and down to the end of the ball but not through it.
This is an important step since the chocolate helps secure the stick to the cake and prevents the stick from falling into the chocolate.
*Note: Some bakers tell you to place the cake balls into the fridge or freezer to firm up but what I have found is no matter what I do if the cake balls are too cold like frozen the second I dip the chocolate the cake pops dries and then almost immediately cracks. To prevent this from happening make sure you mixture is at room temperature and your consistency is good, remember like a meatball.
After each stick has been secured in each cake ball, it’s now time to dip each cake pop in the chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is nice and melted or else the chocolate will just rip your cake pop apart, trust me it will taste good but totally ruin your nice clean chocolate.
After dipping the cake pop into the chocolate gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl, this gets any excess chocolate off the pop and makes it much more even and enjoyable to eat.
Remember those chocolate candy melts I had you set aside well this is where we use them. To create a clean crisp bottom to each pop, place 1 round candy melt on your sheet of parchment or wax paper.
Now place your freshly dipped cake pop right on top of the candy melt (making sure it is still melted not dried).
Let the chocolate ooze over the candy melt blending it into the rest of the chocolate. You might have to maneuver and hold the stick is standing straight up and down for a clean and consistent look until it starts to dry. Then continue the process.
This is an easy way to have clean cake pops where you won’t see the cake from the inside. You can see by my pics below how simple and clean it really is.
As a bonus it also gives each cake pop a little platform to stand on.
When every cake pop is dipped and drying now you can decorate. You can place my chocolate into a piping bag or plastic bag to create the stripes you see in the picture below and the put sprinkles on shortly after for an even better look.
To create the stripes, make sure the chocolate is warm and melted. You might have to place the chocolate back into the microwave before pouring the chocolate into the piping bag.
Then have your sprinkles ready to go. I used white non-pareil sprinkles (the little bead ones).
Next, slightly cut off the very tip of the half full pipping bag.
Pick up each cake pop individually to then by gently squeezing the bag move in a back and forth motion to make the stripes. Quickly turn the pop in between your fingers to decorate the whole cake pop.
Once the stripes are on the cake pop then add the sprinkles. The sprinkles will only stick to the stripes not the whole cake pop and really give that professional clean look.
Let dry back onto the parchment or wax paper and continue to decorate.
Let dry then ENJOY!
You can see above how cool it is to see the marble of strawberry on the inside!
There are so many ways to decorate cake pops but it will be so much easier once you have established a perfect base in the cake pop.
The combination of sweet vanilla and tart strawberry is an ultimate crowd pleaser. Making any dessert is much easier with a solid foundation and understanding. Hopefully by my guide you too can be that expert in your kitchen!
P.S. Here are all the recipes you need below!
- 2 cups (16 oz.) fresh strawberries or frozen
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) granulated sugar substitute with honey, agave or sugar in the raw
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch For thicker jam: use 6 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoons cold water For thicker jam: use 3 tablespoons
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Slice strawberries thin (to help break down the berries faster while cooking), measure out the sugar set aside, zest and juice one lemon set aside.
In a medium pot add strawberries and turn to medium heat. Stir in sugar or sugar substitute. Stir with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula every minute or so to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning.
The berries will continue to cook down in their juices and begin to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. It’s up to you if you would like to leave the berries chunkier or continue to boil the berries for a smoother consistency.
In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry mixture. This is a thickening agent for your jam to help speed up the process.
Once the berries have been boiling for 5 minutes stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture. The berries will become cloudy and milky; continue to stir until the berries is a clear red.
Bring back up to a boil for another 5 minutes. This is cooking that cornstarch out and making it smooth and thick.
To test if the jam is thick enough take the back of a wooden spoon and dip it into the berries. If the jam holds tight and doesn’t slide right off then it is thick enough. Turn off the heat. If the jam is still slightly runny then boil for another 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and zest to the jam mix well. The citrus juice helps brightens the flavor of the jam and brings out the strawberry flavor.
Next quickly cool down the jam by placing it onto a clean cookie tray and spreading thin or by placing the jam into a metal bowl over a separate bowl full of ice.
Once the jam has cooled place into mason jars or keep in an airtight container. For storage place into the fridge and jam will last up to one month.
Note: If you are looking for a really thick jam mixture for Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops fillings then I add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water to the berries. This makes it nice and thick and so easy to work with for cake pops. Check out How to Make Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops here.
For longer lasting storage, proceed through the canning process here. This helps insure the jam can last in the pantry.
The Best Foolproof Vanilla Cake
Vanilla Pound Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unsalted
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Vanilla Boxed Cake Mix
- 1 box vanilla cake mix
Begin by combining the all-purpose flour, salt and boxed cake mix together. Sift them together to get rid of any lumps. (You can also use a whisk, that works just as well).
In a stand mixer, place the unsalted room temperature butter inside the bowl and by using the paddle mix the butter until smooth and creamy.
Then add the sugar, mix again until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Now add the oil from the cake mix recipe.
Slowly add in all the eggs from the pound cake and the cake mix (it should be around 7-8 eggs depending on the cake mix). Then add the vanilla extract.
Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl every few eggs to make sure everything is getting incorporated. At this point the batter will look broken and weird and you are probably thinking something went wrong no that’s okay, I promise it will look better after the next step!
Now add the all-purpose flour, salt and the cake mix (dry ingredients) to the mixer, it will become thick but still creamy.
Next, slowly add the water (or milk is fine too) from the cake mix. Your goal at this time is just to mix the two recipes together to create a combined batter. Once you don’t see any visible dry ingredients turn off the mixer and you are done!
This is the point when you do your last scrape down the sides of the bowl including the bottom of the bowl (get in there). This batter is really forgiving and will be fine.
Pour or scoop the batter into the prepared pans either sprayed down and then lined with parchment paper or shortening rubbed and coated in flour. (I personally always line the bottom of the cake pans so when I flip the cake out of the pan it’s easier to handle with paper underneath).
Bake according to the cake mix directions (typically 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the cake pan), check the center of the cake with a toothpick and once it comes out clean then it’s done.
Let cool slightly so you can flip the cake out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. This will prevent the cake from drying out.
Either wrapping plastic to freeze for the next time you want cake and can decorate it or buttercream and decorate it once it’s completely cooled. Even if you are decorating the same day as you baked the cake, still freeze the cake for 2 hours because it is so easy to frost a cold cake. Now you can start decorating!
Strawberry Shortcake Cake Pops
- 1 Foolproof Vanilla Cake Recipe baked and separated into 4 cups and 2 cups
- 1/4 cup prepared buttercream frosting plus more for mixing if needed
- 1 cup strawberry jam thickened, divided
- 1 (12 oz.) bag white chocolate candy melts
- 2 (12 oz.) bags pink chocolate candy melts save 50 pieces or so of candy melts set aside
- 48 cake pop sticks
- Sprinkles, white non-pareils
- Clear pipping bags optional
- Vegetable Shortening to thin out chocolate candy melts optional
Bake the cake according to the recipe. Quickly cool down the cake.
Once cooled completely separate into two bowls, one with 4 cups of vanilla cake and another one with 2 cups of vanilla cake.
Mix together the 4 cups of vanilla cake and the vanilla buttercream frosting in a bowl. Mix until the consistency is like a meatball. When squeezed together it should stay together but not be so moist that it won’t fall off the stick when being dipped in the chocolate. (It should be drier than the strawberry jam/cake mixture)
Mix together the 2 cups of vanilla cake and ½ cup of the thickened strawberry jam in a bowl. Mix until the consistency is softened.
Before melting the chocolate, remove 50 or so candy melts from the bag of the main color you are dipping the cake pops into. Set aside for the decorating stage.
Begin melting the chocolate in a microwavable bowl or container. Melting in 30 second increments; stir after each time to make sure the chocolate isn’t burning.
Start scooping the vanilla cake/vanilla buttercream frosting mixture into a larger tablespoon size balls or use a size 50 ice cream scooper. Scoop each cake ball onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.
Scoop 1 large teaspoon of the vanilla cake/strawberry jam mixture add to each pre-measured vanilla cake ball.
Then before rolling the cake balls till smooth, add ¼ teaspoon of strawberry jam to each cake ball. Now mix and roll together till a smooth marble cake ball.
Once the chocolate has melted completely, dip the tip of each stick into the chocolate and then into the formed marble cake ball.
Then dip each cake ball into the chocolate, gently tap the edge of the bowl of the container with the stick to remove the excess of the chocolate off the cake pop.
Before placing the cake pop right onto the parchment or wax paper, place the round candy melt on the paper and then place the dipped cake pop onto the candy melt. Hold the stick straight up and hold for a minute to make sure the pop has adhered to the candy melt.
Continue to dip each cake pop into the chocolate and place onto the candy melts. This step is so important for achieving a clean bottom of the cake pop.
Once all the pops have been dipped, now you can decorate. Pour the melted white chocolate into a piping and cut off the tip for a small hole.
Then spin the dried cake pop between your fingers and squeeze the pipping bag of chocolate over the cake pop. Making stripes and continue to spin the cake pop to prevent over stripes. Then before the strips dry sprinkle the non-pareils over the pipped chocolate and then place back onto the parchment or wax paper to dry fully.
Store in the fridge up to a week or eat right away! Enjoy!
If the chocolate is too thick and is warm enough then add 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening to the chocolate candy melts. This will loosen the chocolate and make it much easier for dipping. Continue to add the shortening until the chocolate is thin enough to dip but not so thin it’s like water. We are looking for a molasses consistency. For easy decorating, dip the cake pops like instructed above. Once the cake pop has been dipped and placed on to the candy melt add sprinkles to the wet chocolate before they dry. This is the easiest way to create fun and colorful cake pops.
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