Make your cakes pop with these holiday recipes

Looking for the perfect kid-friendly desserts for your festive party? Here, Angie Dudley, baking blogger of Bakerella.com and author of “Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats,” shares her cute mini cake treats on a stick.

Basic cake balls

Ingredients

    • 18.25-ounce box cake mix
    • 9-by-13-inch cake pan
    • Large mixing bowl
    • One 16-ounce container ready-made frosting
    • Large metal spoon
    • Wax paper
    • 2 baking sheets
    • Plastic wrap
    • 32 ounces (2 pounds) candy coating
    • Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
    • Toothpicks
    • Resealable plastic bag or squeeze bottle (optional)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Cake balls are bite-sized balls made of crumbled cake mixed with frosting and covered in candy coating. They are super-easy to make and form the basis of endless variations of decorated cake pops, cupcake pops, and cake bites.Bake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Let cool completely.Once the cake is cooled, get organized and set aside plenty of time (at least an hour) to crumble, roll, and dip 4 dozen cake balls.Crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. The texture of the cake causes it to crumble easily. Just cut a baked 9-by-13-inch cake into 4 equal sections. Remove a section from the pan, break it in half, and rub the two pieces together over a large bowl, making sure to crumble any large pieces that fall off. You can also use a fork to break any larger pieces of cake apart. Repeat with each section until the entire cake is crumbled into a fine texture. If you have large pieces mixed in, the cake balls may turn out lumpy and bumpy. You should not see any large pieces of cake.Add three-quarters of the container of frosting. (You will not need the remaining frosting.) Mix it into the crumbled cake, using the back of a large metal spoon, until thoroughly combined. If you use the entire container, the cake balls will be too moist.The mixture should be moist enough to roll into 1 1/2-inch balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on a wax paper-covered baking sheet.Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

Sweet snowmen

Ingredients

    • 48 uncoated Basic Cake Balls, formed into pear shapes (please see separate recipe)
    • 48 ounces (3 pounds) white candy coating
    • Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
    • 48 paper lollipop sticks
    • 48 orange candy-coated sunflower seeds
    • 96 chocolate jimmies
    • Styrofoam block
    • Toothpicks
    • 144 blue miniature confetti sprinkles
    • Black edible-ink pen
    • Small squeeze bottle
    • 48 Murray Sugar-Free Chocolate Bites cookies
    • 48 large dark chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli

Preparation

Baking Directions:

To decorateHave the pear-shaped cake balls chilled and in the refrigerator. Melt the white candy coating in a microwave-safe plastic bowl, following the instructions on the package. The coating should be about 3 inches deep for easier dipping. (I usually work with about 16 ounces of coating at a time.)When you are ready to dip, remove a few cake balls at a time from the refrigerator, keeping the rest chilled.One at a time, dip about 1/2 inch of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and insert the stick straight into the bottom side of a snowman body, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating, and tap off any excess coating: Hold the pop over the bowl in one hand, and tap your wrist gently with your other hand. If you use the hand holding the cake pop to shake off excess coating, the force of the movement will be too strong and could cause the cake ball to loosen or fly off the lollipop stick. Tapping the wrist holding the cake pop absorbs some of the impact. The excess coating will fall off, but you will need to rotate the lollipop stick so the coating doesn't build up on one side, making it too heavy on that side. If too much coating starts to build up at the base of the stick, simply use your finger to wipe it off, spinning the lollipop stick at the same time. This can happen if the coating is too thin or too hot. It's not as hard as it sounds; it just takes a little practice. While the coating is still wet, attach a sunflower seed in position for the nose and 2 chocolate jimmies in position for the arms. Hold each in place for a few seconds until the candy coating sets like glue, and place in a Styrofoam block to dry. Repeat until all the snowmen have noses and arms.When the pops are dry, use a toothpick to dot a small amount of melted candy coating in position for buttons, and attach 3 blue confetti sprinkles to each snowman.Draw on eyes and a dotted smile with an edible-ink pen and let dry completely in a Styrofoam block.Pour the remaining melted coating into a small squeeze bottle. Squeeze a small amount onto the very top of a snowman's head. Attach 1 chocolate cookie. Squeeze another small amount of coating in the center opening of the cookie. Push 1 chocolate chip, pointed side down, into the center. As you push, the melted candy coating will be forced up the side, giving you a white rim for the hat.Place in the Styrofoam block to dry completely.

Hanukkah pops

Ingredients

    • 48 uncoated Basic Cake Balls (please see separate recipe)
    • 24 ounces white candy coating
    • 2 deep, microwave-safe plastic bowls
    • 48 six-inch white wax candles or paper lollipop sticks
    • White sugar crystals
    • 2 large bowls
    • Wax paper
    • Baking sheet
    • 24 ounces light blue candy coating
    • Blue sugar crystals

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Candles and color really make these pop. Add a decorative tag for a distinctive design.To decorateHave the cake balls chilled and in the refrigerator.Melt the white candy coating in a microwave-safe plastic bowl, following the instructions on the package. The coating should be about 3 inches deep for easier dipping. (I usually work with about 16 ounces of coating at a time.)When you are ready to dip, remove a few cake balls at a time from the refrigerator, keeping the rest chilled.One at a time, dip about 1/2 inch of the end of a candle in the melted white candy coating, and insert it straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating, and tap off any excess coating: Hold the pop over the bowl in one hand, and tap your wrist gently with your other hand. If you use the hand holding the cake pop to shake off excess coating, the force of the movement will be too strong and could cause the cake ball to loosen or fly off the lollipop stick. Tapping the wrist holding the cake pop absorbs some of the impact. The excess coating will fall off, but you will need to rotate the lollipop stick so the coating doesn't build up on one side, making it too heavy on that side. If too much coating starts to build up at the base of the stick, simply use your finger to wipe it off, spinning the lollipop stick at the same time. This can happen if the coating is too thin or too hot. It's not as hard as it sounds; it just takes a little practice. Hold the wax candle close to the cake pop or it will bend when you tap it.Immediately sprinkle white sugar crystals on the cake pop until it is covered completely. Sprinkle over a large bowl and you can reuse any sprinkles that fall into it.Place cake pops, ball side down, on a wax paper-covered baking sheet, and let dry completely. Repeat with the remaining cake pops using the blue candy coating and blue sugar crystals. Let dry completely.

Cheery Christmas trees

Ingredients

    • 48 uncoated Basic Cake Balls formed into cone shapes (please see separate recipe)
    • 48 ounces (3 pounds) dark green candy coating
    • Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl
    • 48 paper lollipop sticks
    • Toothpicks
    • 48 yellow jumbo star sprinkles
    • Styrofoam block
    • Multicolored rainbow chip sprinkles

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Use multicolored rainbow chip sprinkles to decorate Christmas tree cake pops. Top them off with jumbo star sprinkles.To decorateHave the cake balls chilled and in the refrigerator.Melt the green candy coating in a microwave-safe plastic bowl, following the instructions on the package. Make sure the bowl is filled deep enough with candy coating so you can submerge the entire cone-shaped cake pop in one dunk.When you are ready to dip, remove a few cake balls at a time from the refrigerator, keeping the rest chilled.One at a time, dip about 1/2 inch of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and insert the stick straight into the flat bottom of a shaped cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating, and tap off any excess coating: Hold the pop over the bowl in one hand, and tap your wrist gently with your other hand. If you use the hand holding the cake pop to shake off excess coating, the force of the movement will be too strong and could cause the cake ball to loosen or fly off the lollipop stick. Tapping the wrist holding the cake pop absorbs some of the impact. The excess coating will fall off, but you will need to rotate the lollipop stick so the coating doesn't build up on one side, making it too heavy on that side. If too much coating starts to build up at the base of the stick, simply use your finger to wipe it off, spinning the lollipop stick at the same time. This can happen if the coating is too thin or too hot. It's not as hard as it sounds; it just takes a little practice.Before the coating sets, use a toothpick to drag gently through the coating, creating branches. Just touch the toothpick on the wet coating and pull it away from the pop several times. You can also use the toothpick to apply more coating to the cake pop if necessary. Then place a jumbo star sprinkle on top of the tree.Let dry completely in a Styrofoam block.When the trees are dry, use a toothpick to apply dots of melted green candy coating to the tree in the places you want ornaments, and attach multicolored rainbow chip sprinkles. Let dry completely in the Styrofoam block.

Tips:

If you don't want branches, forget the toothpick and just go ahead and attach the rainbow chip sprinkles to the smooth surface of the tree-shaped cake pops.

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