Cake Poppers: Cake Balls For The Baking Impaired

If you’re like me, you’ve seen many of Bakerella’s Cake Pops and thought, Yeah. Sure. I could totally do that. Just as soon as I catch that pig that’s flying around my house. Then, of course, she and Pioneer Woman both tease us into thinking the impossible is indeed possible with their simplified Cake Balls. (PW Here, Bakerella Here.) Except, of course, I still knew there was no way I could make something look that pretty…ever. I have shaky hands and the patience of a 2-year old. So, as many of you have heard me mention, I have re-named the Cake Balls to Cake Poppers and suddenly…they’re achievable!

Here’s the thing: If you call them Cake Poppers? They DON’T HAVE TO BE SPHERICAL. That’s the best thing about the name change. That – and if you’re 12 like me – you can mention them without giggling. (Hee Hee…Balls.) But seriously – once you remove the need for them to be in the shape of balls? By changing the name? The pressure is gone and the precision is unnecessary. ALL HAIL SLOPPY BAKERS!

I decided to document my process, now that I’ve got it fined-tuned, to share with those of you who have been struggling with the Cake Balls before. Keep in mind, this is the EXACT SAME RECIPE as Bakerella and PW use, but with a name change to allow for my own personal imperfections. Maybe the name change is all you need, but if you need more? Here’s my sloppy and messy guide to Cake Balls Poppers: Cake Balls For The Baking Impaired!

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

The cast of characters. I also suggest you keep wax paper and disposable forks/spoons on hand…but neither are necessary.

Step One: Bake the cake as per the instructions on the box. While this step seems like an easy one…it has been forgotten before.

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

Step Two: Let the cake cool for several hours. I usually even leave mine overnight.
Step Three: Mix in one container of Cream Cheese icing with then entire baked cake.

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

Step Four: Now it’s time to roll them into balls poppers! Basically, I go for balls (hee.) by rolling them up in my hand, but I don’t fret about the perfection of the shape. IT DOESN’T MATTER. TIP: Keep your hands damp. After about 7 poppers, you’ll probably need to re-wet them. Not sopping, just damp. Makes it easier to keep the cake from sticking to your hands.

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

Step Five: Put them in the fridge and wait for at least an hour…but I usually go for two hours. Now – I consistently get at least two trays full of these things with each batch. Sometimes that’s 70, sometimes that’s 80. Once…when doing it for a bake sale? I got 90 out of one batch. And charged $1/3 Poppers. That means I made $30 for the bake sale from my one batch of Cake Poppers. Look out world…I’m gonna be RICH!

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

Step Six: Melt the chocolate for the coating. TIP: Get the chocolate for the fountains (I found ours at Hobby Lobby) because it coats easier than the multi-colored basic candy chocolates. The other one kind does come in cool colors, but for these babies? The milk chocolate for fountains? PERFECTION.

Now, I melt mine in 45 second increments and stir each time until it’s all the way melted. But – every bag seems to tell you something different and every microwave is different. I’ve never used an entire bag on one batch of poppers before, so you might be okay if you mess up, just don’t get any water near the stuff. Has a bad reaction and won’t coat/melt properly.

Step Seven: Coat each Popper with chocolate.

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

As you can see, this is where I use disposable tools. The chocolate is messy and weird to clean up since it’s desire is to be a solid and it fights with water. I coat with the spoon and then hold with the fork while the excess chocolate drips. This is the key though: THESE ARE NOT CAKE BALLS. There is no need for any technique because no one knows they’re supposed to be round. They are Poppers. Tiny bites of cake. Blobs are actually better! So, don’t fret over how yours look. TRUST ME.

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

As you coat, they dry pretty quickly. As a matter of fact, mine are usually starting to dry before I finish the entire tray. So…give it a few minutes when you’re done and survey your work. Add some chocolate in spots that need them…it doesn’t matter. Because the last step? The drizzle to cover all mistakes! You’ll just drizzle chocolate over all of your poppers so that any mistakes get hidden! All hail imperfections!

Red Velvet Cake Poppers

There you have it! How I made Cake Balls achievable even for a twitchy, shaky-handed, impatient newbie like myself! I hope you are as successful as I have been with these treasurers. They were even requested for my son’s Theatre Awards reception on Saturday. When people start specifically requesting your baked goods? You are officially AWESOME. Which I am. Because – while I may have been known to ruin WATER ONLY muffins – I have perfected the Cake Popper. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Oh..and I forgot! My messy kitchen shot to prove my mess extends beyond the frame of the pretty pictures above!

DSC_0023 (2)
I swear, the red does come off! Don’t panic! (That’s to reassure my husband who is hyperventilating looking at that picture.)


  • Heather

    Wow Kim I never thought I’d see the day when you would write a cooking post! Go you! 😉
    I should really try these sometimes.

  • Clancy

    $30, wow! It makes me remember when we were in college and you had that bumper sticker on your car: “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the military has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.” 🙂 <3

  • Michelle Smiles

    You almost have me convinced to try making these. I am not a baker so I avoid desserts. I’m also not sure that I am a fan of red velvet cake…but then again I’m not sure I’m not.

  • Moogie

    OMG…these are awesome! How fun is that. I’m not much of a baker but I have been trying (I do love to cook though). I am DEFINITELY going to try these. Probably this weekend.

  • Donna

    Have you tried these with any other cake flavor? I really want to make some, but am not a red velvet fan at all. Do they work just as well/taste just as good with another flavor??? Thanks for the pictures and directions! Very helpful! I love your blog and seeing pics of your adorable kids all the time. ;o)

  • Erin

    Made these today with my girls (6 & 4) for our neighborhood BBQ. They were a big hit and so easy! Thanks for sharing your version. Next time I think I’ll use different cake. And I need to find better chocolate but still. Yummy!

  • Jeanette

    I made them with chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, I coated them with butterscotch! They were wonderful!

  • Nancy

    Denise made the Red Velvet Poppers when I visited in E. Tn. Delicious!!! I am getting ready to make some today for friends that are coming on Wed. and for a dessert at a picnic Sat. They should freeze well.

  • Deborah

    Now, once done, stick a lollipop stick in them and ole — a poppercyle for the little ones. Of course one who is really creative and talented could decorate — I’m not one of those so this guide is perfect.

  • Terisha

    I LOVE THIS!! Just a year ago I discovered that I have a talent for baking cakes. I have since done tiered fondant cakes for showers, birthdays and one wedding. Those are hard and take 3 days to do. But this is a great way I can spoil my family and friends with treats to let them know I love them! Fun, Fun! thank you so much for the fun idea!

  • angie

    Made these last night for a work carry-in today and they are a HUGE hit! I’ve been wanting to make them ever since YOU started making them and telling all of us about them. Thanks so much for the step by step directions! Yummmm…

  • Deborah

    I had these the first time in Kansas when I visited..they were decorated like baby chicks. I have just made a batch, thanks to your EASY recipe. I dipped them in white chocolate, put two on a stick and decorated them as snow men.. CUTE! My grandkids, 2, 4, 11 and even the 14 year old enjoyed it. SWEET treats for all. Thank you for the step-by-step.

  • Nancy

    Thank you for taking the pressure off!! I tried making cake BALLS once and I was disappointed. Cake poppers…now THAT I can do! Genius!

  • Tina

    I had to come back to this b/c I’m remaking them (I made some for a small group and they asked I bring them again for our Christmas part), and I needed to remind myself out to make them. I was just thinking, as I was rolling them, how I LOVED that you embrace the non-perfect. Yes those cake poppers ares amazing…but totally out of my creating ability, as much as I’d like to think I could do them. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Shirley

    Hi Kim, I used to work with Donnie and he brought these wonderful poppers to the holiday party last year. He was gracious enough to send me your web-site a couple of weeks ago. I have made 2 batches for my family and friends in North Carolina and 1 batch for my family in New Jersey while visiting. By the time I’m done your recipe will have seen the world! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!!! Shirley

    One quick funny note: both my brother-in-law and my son ate the whole bag of poppers I dropped off at their houses before anyone else could get any!

    • zoot

      Thanks, Shirley! Now that you’ve started making them people will expect them every year 🙂 I actually had someone stop me today and say, “Where are our cake poppers?” I hand’t made any for them this year and now I feel awful! 🙂