I am of the opinion that anything tastes better on a stick. Chicken? Meh. Satay? Yum. Cheddar? Meh. Cheese on a stick served by girls with outlandishly loud striped fezes? Delish.
German chocolate cake from a box mix? Meh. On a stick? Not bad.
After cooing over Bakerella's darling creations for a long long time, I finally had an occasion to make cake pops. I made them sparkly like miniature disco balls. And they were so very purty.
For all of their fancy schmanciness, cake pops are fairly basic and easy to make: just crumbled cake and frosting mixed together, rolled into a ball, and put on sticks. Bakerella's recipe, available here, calls for boxed cake mix and canned frosting. Easy.
Since Bakerella's cake ball recipe is all around the interwebs, I thought I'd give my two cents on a less well-examined part of the process: how to anchor the sticks onto the balls and candy-coat the cake pop. After you roll the cake balls, Bakerella recommends putting the balls into the fridge or freezer for a few hours to allow the balls to harden up a bit and come to hold their shape. She also recommends -- and this is a step that I think quite a few disappointed cake ball makers seem to gloss over -- handling the dipping process in small batches. Take a few balls out of the fridge/freezer at a time. Heat up only small quantities of candy or chocolate melts at a time (a microwave makes this step fast and easy). This is important because if you let the cake balls come to room temperature, they'll lose their solidity and won't hold together. You'll end up drowning your cake balls in candy melts because they'll fall right off the stick.
Cake balls don't swim, and you'll end up with a cake pop casualty on your hands.
Bakerella suggests that you can create a secure cake pop just by putting a popsicle stick right into the cake ball. From my experience (and that of others who have experienced cake pop casualties), that's not enough. To anchor the sticks securely to the ball, dip the end of the stick (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch) into the candy melt BEFORE putting the stick into the cake ball. This helps the stick fuse to the inside of the pop and also makes a ring at the bottom of the cake ball that serves as a base for the ball to rest (see photo). Put the cake balls with the sticks in them back in the fridge/freezer for a few minutes to allow the candy coating to dry and work its adhesive magic.
When the candy "ring" at the bottom of the pops is dry and the stick feels secure, you're ready for dipping. Dip and swirl the pop slowly in the candy melt. Make sure that the candy coating just overlaps the "ring" at the base of the cake ball, so that a bond is created between the two. To get an even coating on the cake ball, slowly swirl the stick as you lift the ball diagonally (almost horizontally) out of the candy melt while tapping -- very very gently -- the stick on the rim of the container the melt is in. The combination of the swirling and tapping will distribute the candy coating evenly around the cake ball.
A few seconds into the swirling and tapping, the candy coating should solidify slightly. The coating will be less liquid than solid and will not flow easily off the cake ball. At that point, you can, if you wish, sprinkle edible glitter or jimmies on top of the cake pop to make it pretty. It's important to get the timing just right though: if you put the sprinkles on before the coating is sufficiently dry, the weight of the sprinkles will pull the coating right off the cake ball, forming a gross lava-ish flow, but if you allow the candy coating to dry too much, then the sprinkles won't stay on.
BTW, if you are using a light colored melt on a dark colored cake, be prepared to dip twice, allowing the candy melt to dry between the first and second dip. Obviously, wait until the second dip to add the sprinkles.