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Valentine's Day cake pops for kids

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All it takes is a little imagination to help children create beautiful cake pops for Valentine's Day. This is a simple recipe from Duncan Hines that gives easy step-by-step instructions to give the best results. For Valentine's Day you may prefer to use a strawberry, cherry or white cake mix of your choice, and sprinkles should include little heart-shaped sprinkles and shot, with white and pink (strawberry) frosting as a first choice. Your children will love doing the dipping and decorating, with a bit of help. This is a great family project for teacher or classroom gifts, too. To make it even easier and have all the tools and such that you need, you could pick up a Wilton's Cake Pop kit from Walmart or another big box store. Note: It's also possible to use "donut holes" to make cake pops if you are in a hurry.

Ingredients

[Original recipe makes 40 cake pops]

  • 1 box Duncan Hines® Triple Chocolate Cake Mix (or your choice of pink or white cake mix)
  • 1/3 cup water, for filling
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) container Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Chocolate Frosting (or white or strawberry)
  • 32 ounces candy melts or candy coating (white or pink)
  • 2 teaspoons shortening

Special Tools:
Lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block
Decorations for cake pops (coconut, nuts, candy)

Directions

  1. Bake cake as directed in a 9 x 13 pan and let cool completely.
  2. Crumble cake up into a large bowl.
  3. Soften frosting for 10 seconds in microwave. Add frosting to crumbled cake and stir with a fork until frosting disappears and is completely incorporated into the cake crumbs. Test your mixture by picking up a handful and squeezing it together. It should hold together without breaking apart. If mixture is too dry, add more frosting.
  4. Roll mixture into walnut-sized cake balls and transfer to a wax paper lined baking cookie sheet. Make sure balls are tightly packed and look smooth with no cracks. If they appear cracked, you may need to add more frosting.
  5. Transfer cookie sheet with cake balls to freezer or refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Place 16oz. of the candy melts in a small, deep microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring each time until completely melted. The melted coating should coat a spoon but still be able to slowly drip off. If coating is too thick, add shortening or vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Do not exceed 2 teaspoons per 16 ounces of candy coating or the cake pops will crack.
  7. Remove cake balls from freezer. Dip tips of lollipop sticks into candy coating and insert sticks no more than halfway into center of your cake balls. Let them set for 1 to 2 minutes, resting on the cake ball, sticks in the air.
  8. Pick up cake pop by the stick and dip into candy coating. Gently tap stick against side of bowl and rotate cake pop to help excess coating fall back into bowl. (Reheat and/or melt more candy coating as needed.)
  9. If decorating your cake pop, add your sprinkles, nuts or candy right after dipping, before coating dries.
  10. Poke stick of cake pop into Styrofoam block to stand up straight and dry completely, about 5 minutes.

Hints:

  • Make sure your Styrofoam block and all sprinkles, nuts and decorations are ready to go before you start dipping your cake pops. The candy coating hardens within a minute, so you have no time to lose!
  • For decorations, check your local craft store or baking aisle at the grocery store for colored sprinkles nuts and candies. You can also use M&M's, chocolate chips, colored sugar, or coconut.
  • If you want to draw on your cake pop, you can buy decorating pens. They work like markers but are food safe, with edible ink.
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