by Kelley Herring
Cake pops are the new cupcake. From Bakerella kits to Starbucks new grab-and-go assortment, these mini cakes on a stick are “popping” up everywhere.
But don’t let their diminutive size fool you. They’re not an innocent indulgence.
While they may be lower in calories (due to their mini nature), most are loaded with harmful additives… and still packed with sugar.
The Cake Pop Craze: Bliss on a Stick?
Take Starbucks line of cake pops, for example. Touted as “bliss on a stick” and the “perfectly sized treat”, these minis contain up to 21 grams of sugar apiece. (That’s as much as you’ll find in some full-sized candy bars!)
And take a look at the ingredients in their Birthday Cake Flavor Cake Pop….
Ingredients: white coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, whey powder, skim milk powder, soy lecithin, monoglycerides, titanium dioxide [colour], natural flavour, vanilla), sugar, water, flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), soybean oil, liquid whole eggs, powdered sugar (sugar, cornstarch), liquid egg white, butter, palm oil, candies (sugar, corn starch, confectioner’s glaze, carnauba wax), skim milk powder, palm oil (with soy lecithin), invert sugar, corn syrup, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), modified food starch, salt, vanilla extract, natural vanilla flavour, emulsifier (water, sorbitan mono-stearate, polysorbate 60, mono- and diglycerides, sodium propionate), xanthan and guar gums, emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides, polysorbate 60, citric acid, bht [antioxidant]), natural flavour, carmine.
In case you’re wondering, titanium dioxide is used in foods to create a white color – it’s also an ingredient used in sunscreen… and a potential carcinogen.
How about carnuba wax? This is a common ingredient in car waxes, shoe polish, cosmetics, floor polish and surfboard wax.
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a synthetic antioxidant which is used to prevent spoilage in foods. It been found to cause cancer in lab studies and is linked to hyperactivity in children.
And finally, there’s carmine. This is another name for a red food coloring… that’s derived from beetles.
If all of that didn’t burst your bubble about cake pops, I don’t know what will!
But the good news is that you can make delicious, healthy cake pops at home using REAL food ingredients.
Making Delicious Cake Pops (that are Good for You Too!)
Using our recipe, you can make cake pops that are just as delicious as the ones you get at Starbucks, with the difference being that they actually contain good-for-you ingredients. High protein almond flour, whey protein and real chocolate make for decadent, yet healthy treats (that provide 5 grams protein and 6 grams fiber per yummy cake pop!).
They’re also easily customizable — make them into pops with lollipop sticks or make them into bite-sized truffles that are perfect when you want to indulge. You can roll them in practically anything: cocoa powder, coconut, chocolate chips, or whatever you like.
For this batch, I used those, plus some organic holiday sprinkles I picked up at Whole Foods and some crushed peppermints. The beauty is that the skies the limit when it comes to toppings. (NOTE: If you like the idea of using sprinkles make sure to get them from a health food store as most brands contain trans fats and artificial colors. I like Organic Confetti Sprinkelz by Let’s Do Organic. Caring Candies offers sugar free peppermint candy canes)
While this recipe might seem long, it’s actually pretty simple…
To start, you’ll bake the Chocolate Bliss Cake Mix according to the package directions. Once you’ve done that, allow it to cool and crumble it into crumbs. Lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow them to cool completely.
Next up, prepare the Chocolate Ganache. This is what will hold your cake together and give it that rich, truffle like texture. It’s pretty simple.
Put one packet of Chocolate Ganache, 2 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup heavy cream or full fat coconut milk (I used Native Forest Original Coconut Milk — It’s BPA free) and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until it’s thick and glossy.
Now put your cake crumbs, ganache and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips in a medium bowl and mix well.
Form the mixture into 1-2 inch balls and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for about 15 minutes, but don’t let them get frozen solid.
Right before you’re ready to take your dough balls out of the freezer, it’s time to make the coating. To do so, put 8 ounces of dark chocolate in a medium sized metal bowl or double boiler. Heat a pot of water until simmering and put the bowl onto the pot, being careful not to get any water in it. Allow it to melt, stirring continuously, but don’t over heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon palm shortening to the chocolate and stir.
Transfer the chocolate to a mug or tall glass to make dipping easy.
Get your desired toppings lined up and ready to use so that your chocolate coating doesn’t thicken up on you.
Once you’ve taken the balls out of the freezer, push a lollipop stick through each one if using. Dip in the melted chocolate and either roll in or sprinkle on your toppings.
If you want a firmer chocolate coating, pop in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Or if you’re like me….
You can store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a more truffle like texture.
- Chocolate Cake
- 1 Chocolate Bliss Cake Mix
- 2 pastured eggs
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- ¾ cup hot coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 oz. organic cream cheese or Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup Dagoba Chocodrops (73%) (set aside for later)
- Chocolate Ganache
- 1 pack Chocolate Ganache
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup heavy cream or Native Forest Original Coconut Milk
- tsp. vanilla extract
- Dipping Chocolate
- 8 oz Dagoba Organic Eclipse Bar(87%) or Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate 85%
- 1½ tsp. palm shortening
- Toppings (Optional)
- Organic unsweetened coconut flakes
- Dark chocolate chips (mini)
- Let’s Do Organic Sprinklez
- Caring Candy sugar free candy canes
- Lollipop sticks (found at craft stores) or wooden skewers
- Double boiler or make-shift double boiler
- Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare Chocolate Bliss Cake according to package instructions.
- Pour into a greased 8 in. square pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min or until the cake springs back when gently pressed.
- Cool slightly. Break the cake into fine crumbs and cool completely.
- Chocolate Ganache
- In a small saucepan, combine the Chocolate Ganache, vanilla, water and heavy cream or coconut milk.
- Whisk over low heat until well combined, thick, smooth and glossy.
- Assembling the Cake Pops
- In a medium bowl, mix the ganache and chocolate chips into the cake crumbs. Combine well.
- Use a rounded tablespoon, scoop out dough and form into 1-1½ inch round balls.
- Set on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and transfer to freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm.
- While the cake balls chill, prepare the coating (see below “Coating the Cake Pops”).
- Stick a lollipop sticks or wooden skewer in the bottom of each cake ball. Then dip it into the chocolate. Pull it out, tapping the stick gently on the glass until the excess chocolate runs off.
- Use a fork to gently slide the cake ball off the skewer and place it back onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if desired. Repeat with the other cake balls.
- Place the dipped cake balls into the freezer for another 8-10 minutes to let the chocolate set. (Do not let them freeze longer than 10 minutes – condensation will form on the chocolate coating and make them sticky)
- Store at room temp in an air tight container. For a firmer chocolate coating, place in the freezer for about 5 minutes just before serving. You may also store in fridge which will give them a more truffle-like consistency.
- Coating the Cake Pops
- In a double boiler (or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water), melt the 8 ounces of dark chocolate.
- Once melted stir in the palm shortening. (Do not over heat the chocolate – it will become dry and lumpy.
- Pour the chocolate into a coffee mug or drinking glass for easy dipping.
196 calories, 15 g fat, 18 g carbohydrate, 4.6 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 5 g protein, 28 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium