A lot of people may not realize it, but cake pops are actually a bit more difficult to make than simply rolling balls of cake batter into perfect little circles. It isn’t exactly easy to make sure that the cake stays in its little shell, and that it stays in shape while it cooks.
When you are cooking cake pops for the first time, there’s a good chance that you will run into some common problems.
One of the most common problems that people encounter with their cake pops is that they seem to crack. Once the cake batter is formed into little balls and then cooked, you might not think that anything can go wrong when you apply the frosting. Unfortunately, this is where a fair few problems can begin.
If you notice that your cake pops routinely crack when you apply the frosting to them and let them cool, you may begin to wonder what is going on. Thankfully, they can be relatively easy to fix once you know what goes wrong and how you can change things to make the conditions right.
However, you will have to keep in mind that, even in perfect conditions, sometimes cake pops simply crack on their own.
With that being said, even if you did everything right the first time, you should always know how to remedy a cracked cake pop so that your treats can look just as good as they will taste when you are ready to eat them.
There are a few different ways you can go about fixing the issue, but first you should learn about why it happens.
What Causes Cracked Cake Pops?
Cakes pops can, and will, crack for seemingly no reason, even when you have been cooking them perfectly for years.
While there isn’t much you can do to avoid these unfortunate happenings, you can reduce how often they occur by ensuring that you are cooking your cake pops properly each time. There is actually one reason why your cake pop may be cracking when you take a look at them.
The most common reason why cake pops crack is because the temperature of the cake ball and the frosting you applied to it was too great. More often than not, the coating will have been too hot and the cake ball will have been too cold, although vice versa can happen. How does this work?
When any object is hot, it expands. Likewise, when any object is cold, it will shrink. These changes, for most materials, are on a microscopic level, but sometimes that is more than enough to cause cracks in your beautiful cake pops.
As the heat from the warm coating transfers to the cold cake ball, the cake ball will expand ever so slightly. As the coating begins to cool down a little bit more, it will harden and truly attach to the outside of the cake batter.
Slowly, the cake batter will also cool down too, as this is often the stage where the cake pops go into the fridge so the frosting can harden completely.
Unfortunately, as the frosting cools down and hardens, it will also be transferring slight bits of heat to the cake batter. This will cause the cake batter to expand ever so slightly, which will put cracks into the hardening frosting coating.
Then, when you open up the fridge to check on your cake pops, you will be greeted by this unfortunate surprise.
In short, the primary cause of cracked cake pops is when there is too big of a disparity between the temperatures of the cake batter and the coating. Luckily, this is incredibly easy to fix, as all you have to do is make sure that both parts are a similar temperature before you apply them next time.
Find out the best way to store cake pops (before or after dipping).
Fixing the Issue
Sadly, there isn’t that much you can do when the cake pops have already cracked. No matter what you do to fix them, it will have to be a noticeable fix.
Many people are okay with simply leaving the imperfect cake pops as an at-home treat rather than putting them up for display or offering them as gifts.
Depending on the size and scale of the crack, you could try moving the cracked piece back into its original position and hope that the cracks disappear when things are back in place. For larger cracks that run across the bulk of the frosting, this isn’t always feasible.
You can consider using very small amounts of frosting to try and cover up the crack, as if you were painting over it. This will depend entirely on the consistency of your cake frosting and how well you can apply this cover-up. For some people, this ends up being a good solution to a problem.
If you are at your wit’s end, you can consider just dumping the entire cake ball back into the frosting and applying a second coat of frosting. While this certainly has the chance of fully covering up the crack, it will also undo any decorative work you did beforehand and it will also make the coating much thicker than it should be.
These are the three ways you can attempt to fix an already cracked cake pop. The best way to fix the problem is to make sure that it doesn’t have the chance to happen in the first place by keeping everything at a much closer temperature.
Making Sure it Doesn’t Happen
The best way to make sure that this doesn’t happen is to rely on a thermometer to keep everything at a closer temperature so that the chances of cracks happening is very slim.
A crucial part of making cake pops is putting them in the fridge, but you can consider putting them into an airtight container so that the cold air doesn’t affect the cake pops as much as it otherwise would.
You can also consider not heating the frosting up as much to get it to the proper consistency. More often than not, this type of frosting is easy to melt and even holding it in your hand long enough will begin to melt it.
You can experiment with heating settings to see what the lowest setting you can get away with is, as all kitchen utensils are going to be slightly different.
The goal of this is to reach the proper frosting consistency for your cake pops without overheating the frosting. You can use a thermometer and a “trial and error” attitude to figure out which temperature of frosting gets you the optimal results for your cake pops.
Before you know it, you will know the tricks to getting cake pops that not only taste good, but look good as well.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.