Valentine’s Cake Pops (Fun Projects with Kids)


I have to confess, I don’t really like cooking with my children. I am not at all a neat freak in my daily life, but something about the mess makes me twitch. Perhaps it’s because my children are still of a young enough age that I am cleaning up after them a lot of the time as it is. The thought of allowing them to deliberately make a mess that I know makes more work for me is hard to reconcile. But I also know that I just have to get over it. Not only does it provide a great activity for housebound children, it is a great learning experience and teaches them so much about the food they eat and the effort it takes to make it. And when I let go of my hangups, seeing them get down and dirty with the ingredients is actually a lot of fun for me too. Little kids love to make a mess and the joy on their faces is priceless.

This really isn’t so much a recipe as a project suggestion. It was really fun, especially as I had the kids help me pick out the supplies at the craft store. Then we came home and I let them get their hands right into the bowl, crumbling the cake and mooshing it up with frosting to make it dense and truffle-like. Rolling the dough into balls was a lot like playing with play-doh and they had a blast. And licking their hands off at the end was an added bonus. I couldn’t let go of my hangups quite enough to let them dip the cake balls into the melted candy coating, as that would have been just disastrous. But I did let them play with the sprinkles, lightly sprinkling some of the pops and dipping others right into the sprinkles for full coverage.

I don’t take any credit for this idea. If you have your finger on the pulse of the foodblogging world, you have probably seen cake pops all over the place. There is even a whole cookbook devoted to them by Bakerella, and she and many other bloggers are far more creative with them than I. Mine were simple, but they were really fun and my kids love them. I found some great step-by-step instructions from Recipe Rhapsody.

I simply used some leftover cake and icing I had in the freezer from several birthdays. My cakes often peak at the top so before decorating them, I slice off the tops to create an even surface. But frugal girl that I am, I am loathe to throw away those bits of cake and have been collecting them in a bag in the freezer, not knowing what the heck I was going to do with them. Well, now I have a fantastic, fun use for leftover cake. But even if you have to make a cake from scratch for this, it’s a great activity that your kids will enjoy.

Valentine’s Cake Pops

Cake equivalent to two 9-inch round layers (from a box, from scratch, or from leftover pieces, whatever you’ve got!)

1/2 – 1 cup frosting of any sort

2 14oz bags of candy melts (we used red and white, and then mixed the two to get pink)

Lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, crumble cake with your hands into fine crumbs. Stir in half the frosting and mix with your hands, squeezing to create a truffle-like consistency. Add more frosting as needed, you want it to be quite dense and hold together well.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. Freeze for at least one hour.

Melt candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl according to package directions. Working with a few balls at a time, dip the end of each lollipop stick into candy coating and then insert into the flat side of the cake ball, about halfway in (the balls will be slightly flattened where they were resting on the cookie sheet).

Insert each ball into melted coating, turning and swirling to coat fully. Tap lollipop stick gently against side of bowl to remove excess coating. Immediately drizzle with sprinkles or dip into a bowl of sprinkles to cover fully. Because the balls are frozen, the coating begins to set quickly so be sure to add the sprinkles to each cake pop right after coating it.

Set the end of each cake pop into the styrofoam block to allow it to set.

1. If your cake balls are becoming warm and getting too soft, pop them back into the freezer. I found it was best to simply leave the whole baking sheet in the freezer, only taking out 6 or 7 at a time to dip.
2. The candy melts can be reheated if the the coating is getting too hard to work with. I did only half a bag or so at a time.
3. We did different colours at a time, first working with white, then red, then mixing the two together to get pink, so we could have pops of different colours.

Makes 40-50 cake pops. The recipe could easily be halved.

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  1. Susi says

    Carolyn, when my kids were real little cooking with them was not one of my favorite things to do either. I did it every once in a while, but I don't think I enjoyed it that much LOL These days though I LOVE having my kinds in the kitchen with me. Of course they are a lot older now (17, 13 and 9) and we just have a blast cooking together :o)
    Your cake-pops look beautiful and very Valentin-y :o)

  2. The Souper says

    I wannah make Cake Pops too :)
    Thinkin adults will enjoy these tiny treats. Mouth watering here. Great pics.

    The Souper

  3. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    It's especially fun when kids get old enough that you can just turn the kitchen over to them, let them cook and do their own clean-up. My hang up is always wanting the baked goods to look "good" but I'm getting over that too. Your cake pops would be so great for class parties, which I miss now that my daughter is in high school :{

  4. Sandra says

    This is easy was that!
    I am the same kids also make so much mess that we are cooking together once a week..I mean it is not a mess, my kitchen gets destroyed and I love clean kitchen space when I am working!

  5. Sprinkled with Flour says

    Your confession made me laugh, because I feel the same way when letting my son help bake:) I will sometimes get everything measured out in designated containers before we start, just to do some pre-baking mess control:) Great looking cake pops, I love how you found such a thrifty way to use your cake scraps:)

  6. Kate @ says

    I think all parents are going to agree with you :) … I need to ask how my mom did it because I remember being in the kitchen with her all the time, but I don't know if I annoyed her… I probably did! :)

    Your cake pops look adorable, to say the least. They are so perfect!
    I tried working on some yesterday, but my 18 month old (there's those kids again 😉 ) would not let up… teething, I'm sure.
    I am hoping that I can work on them again tomorrow.

  7. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says

    Carolyn, these are so cute. I have yet to try these adorable pops, I don't know why, I love cake and frosting. I think kids would love this. Mine kids wanted to be in the kitchen from about 3 on. I had to get over my neat freakness and let them help me, and I'm glad I did. Sometimes, even the dog would be covered in flour.
    Happy Valentines Day!

  8. Sprinkled with Flour says

    Your confession made me laugh, because I feel the same way when letting my son help bake:) I will sometimes get everything measured out in designated containers before we start, just to do some pre-baking mess control:) Great looking cake pops, I love how you found such a thrifty way to use your cake scraps:)

  9. Kim - Liv Life says

    Cooking with older kids is SO much easier! Liv gets out the mixer, pulls ingredients, measures and even figures fractions!! We are still working on the clean up though, somehow I seem to be the dishwasher, floor cleaner and ingredient "putter awayer".
    As for these pops, she would LOVE to make these! She loves anything on a stick, put some sprinkles on it and it's even better. Ah… but how many of those sprinkles would I be cleaning up off of the floor!

  10. Laurie Alves says

    Thanks so much for our honesty. I too have "too messy" issues. But you made me confident enough to try it. Love it! Thanks again!

  11. Sommer J says

    These cake pops looks great! Love having little ones in the kitchen. My kitchen is far too little for 3, but the boys are more than happy to wait for the goodies and put the ladies to work.

  12. Brilynn says

    Haha, I don't have kids, but I don't like other people in my kitchen either! I think it's less of a mess thing with me and more of a control thing… That and I use baking/cooking as "me" time and I just like to do my own thing. I'm currently in the process of making cake pops too! I made the cake tonight and will do the rest tomorrow.

  13. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    I'm not crazy about the idea of eating cake pops, but they are really cute and they sound like a great project to do with kids, even if they can get a little messy :)

  14. She's Cookin' says

    These are so adorable! My daughter would love making these and she's 19! I know what you mean about the mess making you twitch – when I first started cooking with Chloe I felt like Mommie Dearest sometimes 😉

  15. Pretend Chef says

    It's not so much cleaning up the mess that my itty bitty would make, to me what's one more mess to clean up? What I have a hard time with is giving up my "timeout time". It's my half hour to an hour of piece where I hole myself up and daddy is on duty while mama gets her hands dirty. I have tried getting my 2 1/2 year old involved but he couldn't care less unless it's the eating part. I'll take his help with loading the dishwasher. Better take the help while he still enjoys it. I've seen the buzz over cake pops and they are so cute. I need to make some soon!

  16. Mike @theflavorjunkie says

    Carolyn, what a great idea! I'm sure i'd feel the same way about the mess if I had young children, or children at all. Love the pictures and the pops look delicious!! So good again!

  17. sheila @ Elements says

    How darling!!! They're just adorable!! You guys did a wonderful job and you're making me want to make some myself! :) I'll bet the kids had a blast! I know I would have fun making them. :) Happy Valentine's Day! Cheers! sheila

  18. Lindsey says

    Yay for cake pops! I'm like a kid when it comes to cake pops because who doesn't like mounds of cake dipped in chocolate. :) Your kids did an excellent job at decorating!

  19. Elle says

    I get it-it was hard for me to watch my little ones make kitchen messes, so we didn't do it constantly. But the times we did were so much fun!

    The pops look beautiful!

  20. Evan @swEEts says

    Everytime I try to make cake pops they fail miserably.. You've inspired me to try again though because yours look delicious!

  21. Spicie Foodie says

    What a great idea, both the activity with little children and for saving the extra bread pieces. I can just imagine how much fun the little ones had, I know I would have. Happy Valentine's Day !

  22. Elisabeth says

    These cake pops are so darn cute, and for sure it's a nice memory for kids to make fun things like this, even if they make a lot of mess.

  23. Dulce Dough says

    So pretty! Better than a bouquet of roses–a bouquet of cake pops! I didn't really enjoy cooking or baking with my kids when they were little either. I enjoy it much more now that they are old enough to not be so messy!

  24. Island Vittles says

    My mom used to let me "cook" alongside her as she got dinner ready every night. She pulled out the least-used of her spices, a little flour and an egg, and I would whisk everything together with great delight. I don't remember making a mess, but I can't imagine a five year old not making at least a bit of one with that flour!

    She would appreciate your frugal saving of cake bits, and the fact that you're getting your kids into the kitchen too! theresa

  25. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says

    That's a nice idea to use the leftover frozen cake to make cake pops. These are really cute and bite sized treats are always fun for kids.

  26. Joy, The Herbed Kitchen says

    These are lovely, Carolyn! I know what you mean about the mess. It's easier for me to bake with my kids than it is to cook with them. I have a small kitchen and my limited counter space is between the fridge and the stove so it's always a safety issue. Seriously, only one kid at a time can help me.

    These are great cake pops, I have yet to make cake pops, not sure why but just haven't gotten around to it.

  27. Chef Dennis says

    what a perfect Valentines Day treat!! those pops are beautiful, and I guess fb thought so too, congrats on our top 9 post!!!

  28. Annie says

    Cooking and baking are such important life skills to teach our children. I know a few adults that were never taught and don't even know how to make scrambled eggs. They eat out or prepackaged food – terribly unhealthy and expensive. When my son was younger I cringed at the mess that he made but now that he is older we are creating cherished memories in the kitchen.

  29. Jasmin Ortega says

    Congratulations on making Top 09 today. That's one of my food blogging dreams. But in the meantime I'll just try to make some cake pops like these and see how that goes.

  30. Katrina says

    Ha ha! I am with you with the kids in the kitchen thing. I love to have my son help in non-disasterous ways but that can be challenging! Your pops are cute! I made pops with sprinkles for my son's preschool birthday treat. When I realized what a mess the sprnkles were I left ours plain for the party at home! :)

  31. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says

    These are just beyond cute!! What a fun project to do with your children. Thanks so much for the recipe. I had a milestone on my blog this past week and wanted to Thank You for helping to make it possible by being so kind and coming to my blog and leaving your nice comment. Thanks Again!

  32. Beginner Baker says

    Your pics look fantastic!! I made these for the 1st time a few weeks ago and am now making a batch for my daughter's 5th birthday. I just love cake pops!!

  33. ravienomnoms says

    First off, I feel like I would be the same way with kids in my kitchen. Would totally make me twitch haha. Secondly, these are so gorgeous…your pictures are phenomenal!

  34. The Mom Chef says

    I love your cake pops. The simplicity of the sprinkles makes them so elegant and they look like they took hours to make, not minutes. Beautiful.

    I have to struggle with twitch-mode when Dudette helps out too. Watching her concentration and joy as she helps me makes it worth while though.

  35. Cake Duchess says

    The twitch! I know what you mean…;) I love baking with my little ones. I always wish after a magical fairy (besides my dogs) would come to clean:). These are too cute! Congrats on Top 9!!!

  36. Sprinkles of Parsley says

    These are beautiful! Definitely a fun activity to make with kids. I just made them for a group of girlfriends and they were a big hit! Mine didn't look half as pretty as yours though- they're gorgeous!

  37. Fran {The Flavorful Fork} says

    How pretty these are! We did something similar at our house this weekend. We made brownie heart lollipops dipped in chocolate. The kids loved it.

  38. BakingWithoutABox says

    Cake pops! Yay! Fun for little and big kids. I can understand the aversion to baking mess. But little fingers in photos get me every time.

  39. susan says

    I made cake pops awhile back and although they were super impressive – they wre a lot of work! you cake pops look perfect and I am sure, doing it with your kids made them very, very happy!

  40. Trish says

    I really love your idea of saving cake "scrap" to be used later for cake pops. It's such a shame to waste good cake :)

  41. Jolene says

    I’m amazed, Carolyn! I never have cake scraps leftover (between myself, husband and three kids, we don’t have many leftovers at all), but wondering if I could use one of your low carb cake recipes and maybe a low carb cream cheese frosting and then dip them in maybe the topping to your grasshopper cake (which was delish, by the way!!). Do you think that would work or would it be a mess?? And like you, I don’t need any more messes to clean up either… twin 5 year olds like to come in the kitchen, but my 2 year old is only allowed to stare in the oven yet!! :)


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