I’m so excited to bring you my very first cake pop recipe! Cake pops were my nemesis for the longest time. But I’ve finally figured them out, and I’m only too happy to share some of my tricks with you. This first recipe is citrusy and reminiscent of an American flag, making it perfect for any patriotic celebration.
I’ve also teamed up with an amazing group of food bloggers for a virtual 4th of July potluck. The five of us came up with a delicious spread, so be sure to check out everyone’s contribution! Lori of Pop of Gold put together a festive charcuterie board. Kathryn of Worn Slap Out made a yummy flank steak with blueberry balsamic sauce. Lauren of The Basic Ginger created a fun red, white and blue slaw. And Kirsten of This Celebrated Life made an incredible strawberry shortcake. Dig in, everyone!
Cake pops are time-intensive, so be sure and read the entire recipe carefully before beginning. You can break the process up into two days if you make the cake one day and assemble/decorate the cake pops the next.
The first step is making the cake. Begin by zesting the lemon and greasing a 9 x 13 baking pan. I recommend using a microplane to zest the lemon.
Note: This is the gluten free flour that I use. But you can also make this recipe gluten-full.
Once the batter is finished, spread it evenly in the prepared baking pan. The batter will be thick, creamy and soft. Bake it for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back lightly at your touch. I actually recommend testing the cake in several places. Also keep in mind that oven temperatures vary, so your cake might bake in more or less time than it took mine.
Prepare the frosting while the cake is cooling. This recipe yields a little more frosting than you’ll actually need, but it would be difficult to make even less!
Crumble the cooled cake in a large bowl and mix in 4-5 teaspoons of frosting with your hands until the crumbs begin to hold their shape. Use a medium cookie dough scoop to shape 40-45 cake balls that are slightly larger than 1 inch. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Placing them on one large baking sheet will help you visualize the flag arrangement. With 40 cake pops, you’ll make 12 blue ones, 16 red ones and 12 ones.
You’ll need three bags of Ghirardelli white chocolate melting wafers. You have several options if you want to decorate the cake pops like an American flag. I used blue food coloring, red sanding sugar, white sanding sugar and white star sprinkles. (If you’re gluten intolerant like I am, be sure and check the sprinkle label. Not all sprinkles are gluten free!) For the red stripes I used plain white chocolate and covered the cake pops in red sanding sugar. I used white sanding sugar for the white cake pops. But you could simply use red and blue food coloring and leave the sprinkles out.
Here are a few tricks to keep in mind when dipping cake pops:
- Let the melted chocolate rest for 5 minutes before you begin dipping.
- Dip the end of each stick in the chocolate and 2/3 into the cake pop.
- Dip the cake pop straight down into the chocolate and immediately back up. This works better if the measuring cup doesn’t have a wide mouth. Once the chocolate depletes, tilt the measuring cup to one side so that there’s a deeper pool of chocolate. Each bag is enough for 14-16 cake pops.
- Gently tap the stick on the side of the measuring cup to remove any excess chocolate. Do this for 20 seconds before adding any sprinkles.
Melt one bag of chocolate at a time, finishing one set of cake pops before moving on to the next. If using gel food coloring, wait until the melted chocolate has set for 5 minutes before stirring in a few drops.
There are two ways to display cake pops, either with the stick standing straight up (like I did) or with the cake pop on top. The reason I made them this way is so it would be easier to display the cake pops as an American flag. If you want the cake pop on top, you’ll need some styrofoam to stick them in while the chocolate is setting. After that, you can display them in a pretty glass or vase.
Of course, you can decorate these lemon cake pops any way you like. I’d love to see what you come up with, so tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try them and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers. Happy baking! 🙂
Patriotic Lemon Cake Pops
- 2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-full cake pops
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large lemon zested
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding mix
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
Frosting & Decorations
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp Crisco
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 bags Ghirardelli white chocolate melting wafers
- red and blue gel food coloring optional
- red and white sanding sugar optional
- white star sprinkles optional
- Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with butter and flour, and line the bottom with parchment paper. (See recipe notes.) Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter, vegetable oil, sugar and pudding mix until light and smooth. Cream in the sour cream. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure each is well incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. The batter should be thick and pillowy soft.
- Mix in half of the flour mixture on low speed, followed by the buttermilk and then the remaining flour. Mix until just incorporated. The batter will still be thick and soft.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top lightly springs back when you touch it. (I actually recommend testing it in several places.) Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping it out onto a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Assembling the Cake Pops
- Make the frosting while the cake is cooling. Cream the butter, Crisco, powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and fluffy.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Once the cake is cool, use your hands and break it into crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Mix in 4-5 teaspoons of frosting with your hands until the crumbs begin to hold shape.
- Use a medium-sized cookie dough scoop to form cake balls that are slightly larger than 1 inch. Use your hands to tighten and smooth each one. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. You should end up with 40-45 cake balls.
- Chill the cake balls in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Decorating the Cake Pops
- Once the cake pops have been in the fridge for an hour, melt one bag of white chocolate wafers in a heat-proof measuring cup in the microwave. (Don't use a measuring cup with a wide mouth.) Follow the melting instructions on the bag. Let the melted chocolate rest for 5 minutes.
- While the chocolate is cooling slightly, prepare any decorations you're using. Put the sanding sugar and/or sprinkles in small bowls for easy access and get out the food coloring.
- If you're using food coloring, put in a few drops once the chocolate has cooled for 5 minutes.
- Only take a couple of cake balls out of the fridge at a time. Use your hands to tighten and smooth them a little more. Then dip the end of a cake pop stick in the white chocolate, and stick it about 2/3 into the cake ball. Dip the cake pop straight down into the white chocolate and immediately back up. (See recipe notes.) Don't swirl it around. Tap the stick gently on the side of the measuring cup to remove any excess chocolate. Do this for about 20 seconds before adding any sanding sugar or sprinkles. Place the cake pop back in the fridge on the baking sheet, stick end up.
- Continue until you've used up the first batch of chocolate. Each bag should be enough for 14-16 cake pops. Repeat this process with the remaining two bags.
- Once the cake pops are set, they're ready to serve. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. (I often store leftovers in a ziplock bag in the freezer.) Enjoy!
- Grease the bottom of the pan with butter before lining it with parchment paper. Then grease and lightly flour the rest of the pan and the top of the parchment paper.
- Once the chocolate gets low it's hard to dip the cake pop straight up and down. Tilt the measuring cup so that the chocolate accumulates on one side. Once you're down to the last few you might need to use a spoon to help cover them completely with chocolate.