Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cake Pop Tutorial: Prevent Cracks in Cake Pop Shells

One of the most frustrating and difficult issues to solve when making cake pops is cracking shells. If the cake ball is too cold, the shell cracks. If the cake ball is too warm, it falls of the stick when dipping. I did a fair amount of experimenting before getting a method that works for me. You may have to do the same but below is my go-to plan for a no-crack cake pop shell.
Why do cake pop shells crack anyway? As the cake ball warms up to room temperature it expands. If your candy melts shell hardens before the cake pop expands all the way then it will crack the shell. This means the cake ball can't be too cold and it helps if the candy melts are nice and warm so that they take longer to harden, leaving time for your cake ball to expand.

The main way I prevent cracking is to let the cake ball warm up a little bit after taking it out of the refrigerator and before dipping it. I find that whenever I put cake balls in the freezer, even for just 15 minutes I am more likely to get cracking. If you have time, put the cake balls in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill them.

I usually work with 3 cake balls out of the refrigerator at a time. I line them up and use the one closest to me first. I re-roll my cake balls just before I dip them to make sure they are perfectly round. This also helps me to feel if they are too cold to dip. They get a little softer and shiner and that's how I can tell they are ready to dip. As mentioned earlier warmer cake pops are more likely to fall off the stick so here's what I do to prevent that.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to do is to use a plastic bowl to melt you candy melts. Even candy melts, which are made to melt, can overheat and become thick. Dipping the warm cake pop into a thick consistency will surely result in a dropped cake pop. Microwave the candy melts as directed on the package, just go slow and be patient. You may need to do 30 seconds at a time or even 30 seconds on defrost mode. My best results have been using a plastic bowl that stays almost completely cool to the touch even after microwaving.

Some non-plastic bowls will heat up (even with slow and careful microwaving) and overheat the candy melts resulting in a thick consistency. The ideal consistency is when the candy melts drip off the spoon after stirring.

After dipping the stick into the candy melts and then inserting into the cake ball, I then dunk the cake ball. Some people wait and let the candy melts set on the uncoated cake pop but I have not found this necessary.

After you dip a warmer cake pop, immediately return it upright to tap off the excess. On a warmer cake ball you may feel it start to fall off the stick if you tap it in one place too many times. Rotate the stick in your hand as you tap so the cake ball stays centered on the stick.

I used to tap the cake ball TONS of times to get every little last bit of candy melts off but on a warmer cake ball this could spell disaster. Now, I just use a clean finger or knife to wipe away an excess near the base of the candy melt to reduce the number of taps that I do.

I used this method to make 24 cake pops and not one of them had a cracked shell.

When I'm ready to do the next cake pop, I take one moreout of the fridge and put it in the spot farthest from me so it has time to warm up while I dip the two that are in front of it.
Please leave a comment or Facebook us with any cake pop questions or issues you are having and we will do our best to answer them!

See our other cake pop posts here and here.


  1. great tutorial - I do the same thing - I usually put 7 or so on a plate and work with that. It's all about making sure it is the right temp. If a crack does appear I find that using melted chocolate in a plastic bag to pipe a design on it covers it right up!!

  2. Thaks so much for this very useful infom it is kind of you to share your method with us.

  3. I am trying this tonight. My last bunch (a bakers dozen) with much detail all cracked. I was so upset. Thank you for the advice

  4. Thank you! I will keep all of this in mind! I do want to know how much frosting you mix in?

    I just made some for a friend last weekend....some of them cracked after they were taken out of the fridge and out on the table before a baby shower. Is there anyway that I can avoid that? :)

  5. how do you avoid the cake pops from melting and adhere to the bags and ruin the decorations on them. I live in Puerto Rico so we always have hot whether and the birthday party usually are in parks or pools son there is no air conditioning. Please give me some advice.

    thank your for sharing

    1. Put them in a cooler with ice to help keep them from melting when you are outside.

  6. This happens all the time :( Do you mix anything in your chocolate? Like shortening? My cake pops some times leak to.

    1. I roll all the balls and place them in a container that is lined several times with paper towels. Let them sit for a while, or overnight in refrigerator until you are ready to take some out to warm up a bit and dip.

  7. If your cake pops leak you probably used to much icing. 1/3 cup of icing to 1/4 sheet cake is what I've read. And if your cake is moist enough you don't even need icing!

  8. the same result as what the universal provider puts in the membership table. So you are right, it's not using PBKDF2. We'll have to try the Zetetic wrapper...

  9. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. springdale bakery

  10. My pops are cracking after I pipe on decoration/ detail. Any advice?


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