April 1, 2020
Written By: Adriana
Cakesicles are small popsicle-shaped cakes covered in chocolate and eaten on a stick. Make cakesicles by filling a mold with cake or other sweets, such as cookies, ganache, or brownies. To decorate, drizzle with chocolate, or add sprinkles, fondant, or candies.
Cakesicles are great for any celebration, and are especially popular for kid’s birthdays. My absolute favorite occasion to make them is with my donation cakes to Cake4Kids or Icing Smiles. When I get a layer cake request, I will often save the cake scraps to make cakesicles as a special treat for the birthday boy/girl.
If you're familiar with making cake pops, this is a great project to try. Just like cake pops, they are easily customized in terms of flavor combos. In addition, the technique is very similar.
There are a couple great advantages to making cakesicles, (other than their inherent cuteness).
A key advantage to making cakesicles is their size.
Cakesicles are smaller than an ice cream-based popsicle, (such as Dove Bars) but they are typically about twice the size of a standard cake pop. (The cakesicles pictured here contain about 1/3 cups of cake crumbs.)
In my opinion, it’s about the equivalent of eating a single cupcake. As it is bigger than a cake pop, this is a perfect single serving dessert size for birthday parties.
Another advantage of cakesicles over cake pops is their flat shape. Cakesicles have a large, flat surface area. With cake pops, we are limited to designing on spheres.
Cakesicles offer a greater surface area for decorating. They are a great canvas for design elements, such as piping, drizzling, or fondant creations. I’ve seen some really amazing cakesicles, including characters, animals, abstract designs and buttercream flowers.
It’s a great medium for displaying your creativity.
Cakesicles are one of my favorite treats to make, but making them can seem intimidating. There’s a bit of knowledge that will be helpful if you’re starting out, and I’ve collected every single bit I know this post.
As with anything in baking, cakesicles need a bit of practice and patience. I will outline every detail to ensure you create beautiful and delicious cakesicles every time.
Let’s get started. 🤓
There are two ways to make cakesicles. You should decide at the very beginning which one you'd like to use. The type of method you choose will largely depend on:
I've made a video tutorial comparing the two methods here:
The dipping or inside-out method is when you create the cakesicle from the inside and work outwards.
If you're familiar with making cake pops by dipping them in chocolate/candy coatings, then this method may be your go-to for making cakesicles.
First, you fill the mold with a dense cake pop mix (or something else firm, like a hard chocolate ganache) and insert the popsicle stick. You chill the mold, making sure that it is sturdy enough to pop out of the silicone mold without breaking.
You would then remove the filling from the mold. Then, dip the cakesicle into melted chocolate that has been thinned with coconut out or paramount crystals, and let the excess drip off. Then place the cakesicle on a parchment covered tray and allow it to harden completely.
A sign that someone has used this method is by looking at where the popsicle stick meets the cakesicle. If there is a little of the chocolate/coating on the stick, then the cakesicle was made with the dipping method.
Conversely, a shelling method cakesicle will have a clean stick. Sometimes there's even a hole around the stick if the silicone wasn't coated properly.
The shelling or outside-in method is when we coat the interior of the silicone mold with chocolate or coating first. We allow the chocolate or “shell” (also sometimes called a cast) to harden completely before filling the cavities. We work around the popsicle stick, leaving a small gap at the top. Then we fill that gap with more chocolate closing the "shell" of chocolate. We allow it all to harden before removing it from the mold.
Here's a tutorial on how I use the shelling method for some plain and marbled cakesicles:
|Dipping (Inside-Out)||Shelling (Outside-In)|
|Coating Thickness||Thin or thick||requires thick shell|
|Cakesicle Shape Consistency||Can be irregular if filling is not smooth||Very consistent with a smooth surface|
|Filling Types||Must be very dense (e.g. firm cake pop mix and ganaches)||Versatile, as long as coating is a thick shell.|
|Difficulty||Less difficult||Slightly more difficult|
|Decorating||Outside the shell only, e.g., drizzling, piping, or fondant||Can incorporate designs within the shell and on top of the shell as with dipping method|
At first when I started seeing silicone molds everywhere I would wonder why anyone would ever want to use them. They flop around everywhere. This didn’t sound like a great time with large amounts of liquid batter.
After trying them, I LOVE THEM. The flexibility allows you to remove the cakesicles with perfect shells. Just place them on a cookie sheet when moving them around.
I have a whole box full of them, including sets for my cakesicles.
Cakesicle molds are the most important tool to make perfectly sized and professional looking cakesicles.
You may find (or have) popsicle molds, but you can’t use those. Traditional popsicle molds make, well, popsicles. They are upright molds that you pour into vertically and then place the top on with the popsicle stick in it.
You need a mold that allows you to pour chocolate/cake pop mix while the molds are laying flat, not positioned upright.
The best cakesicle molds have:
This is my favorite cakesicle mold. (Actually, Silikomart makes awesome silicone molds for baking that are amazing. I’m not a sponsor for them, I just enjoy baking with their products.) This is what I call their “Easy Level” mold. It’s the classic recognizable “popsicle” shape and is small and rounded, which is ideal for beginners.
I also have this one, which is really cool. This is what I would call a “Intermediate Level” mold. It has a few sharp corners, but generally rounded in shape with ample room for different types of fillings. Very modern looking and will definitely get you wondering about what’s on the inside.
I don’t have this mold. YET. But just looking at it makes me a little crazy, if not tempted. I definitely like a challenge but this one will definitely keep me busy. I can just tell by looking at it. Check the edges on this thing! 😈
Now let's talk about what types of chocolate/coatings we can use on cakesicles. These chocolates and coatings are what give the cakesicles the outer layer. You can color them depending on the occasion, or use natural chocolate colors and flavorings.
Each chocolate/coating has different requirements. Some are easier to work with than others. And some taste better. We'll dive into the details below.
The easiest way to think about which type we're working with is to remember:
By definition, real chocolate must contain two ingredients: chocolate liquor and cocoa butter as its fat.
Knowing this, you can read any chocolate or candy coating ingredient label to identify
There are other clues too, and we will go over that in detail below.
Before we start getting into our options, I’d like to reiterate that I’m a hobby baker and not a professional chocolatier. Chefs can spend years perfecting their skills with chocolate, which is a beautifully complex ingredient.
That said, I’m not going to get into tempering quite yet, as I want to delve into the chemistry with a dedicated and very thorough blog post.
For the sake of simplicity and brevity, I’m going to use the lazy method for melting chocolate (I’m not sure I’d call it tempering), which works well enough for our purposes.
In my experience, the cakesicles still look great and more importantly, still taste fantastic.
Ok, onto the chocolates.
Ah, real chocolate. One of the loves of my life. These are your chocolates that contain chocolate liquor and cocoa butter *only* as its fat and no other fat (palm oil, etc.)
I categorize my ‘real’ chocolate in two ways:
The word “couverture” has a French origin, from the word couvrir, meaning ‘to cover’. Couveture chocolate is made for the enrobing or covering desserts.
Couverture has a higher percentage of cocoa butter, which gives it that amazingly smooth mouthfeel and super glossy finish. It also contains a certain higher percentage of chocolate liquor, giving it a very rich and deep taste.
Working with couverture requires tempering or the surface will bloom (have a white appearance.) If you’re into fancy chocolate, you might recognize the names like Callebaut and Valrhona, as they make great couverture.
When you’re trying to impress with your cakesicles and have some experience with tempering, this is the chocolates to use.
Examples of couverture:
This is what I use most of the time for my hobby baking! I’m talking about your Ghirardelli's, Guittard’s, and whatever you have available in your local Target.
You can also use some really high end chocolates here, Valrhona, etc., but for the most part I'm using what's available to me at my local grocery stores, since I do quite a bit of baking and experimenting. (Does anyone ever realize how expensive hobby baking can be?)
My favorite chocolate that's excellent for the price?
Trader Joe's Pound Plus Chocolate is the best tasting chocolate for the cheapest price. It's $5 for a whole giant bar, so I usually pick up every flavor when I swing by Trader Joe's.
The dark chocolate flavor is great for straight eating and baking. There is also a milk chocolate version that my kids like to eat in cookies. I just chop up what I need for my recipes. Delicious for cakesicle coatings.
This is still real chocolate, but good affordable chocolate. It works with my lazy tempering, which I'll go over in a sec.
If I’m making cakesicles for kids (which actually, is most of the time), they can’t tell between the artisanal couverture chocolate harvested from Peruvian cacao beans with earthy peach notes, and um, Ghirardelli's.
Now in working with this chocolate, like I said, I’m not tempering with a thermometer. I will only do that when I am working with couverture (fancy chocolate).
My lazy “tempering” method to working with real chocolate:
These are not considered "real" chocolate. Instead of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter, compound chocolates contain cocoa powder and vegetable oil. The result is a chocolate that does not need tempering. It does not contain cocoa butter and thus is cheaper.
A hint that you’re working with compound chocolate: they are often sold in little discs or round pieces. Since it’s made for enrobing and dipping, companies usually make them in little pieces to melt uniformly. (This is not to be confused with chocolate chips, which are made primarily for holding their chip shape during baking.)
Think of these as your made-for-melting chocolates. The tradeoff here for ease-of-use is definitely taste. You will not get that rich and creamy mouthfeel from using real chocolate that contains cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.
The one big bonus here is that you don’t have to temper your chocolate!
Here are some examples of meltable compound chocolates:
Candy coatings are not considered chocolate. Some are chocolate flavored, but they often have extra oils to help them melt and contain no chocolate liquor.
They look like little colored disks and are used all the time to make cake pops and other candies. They melt and remelt easily (no tempering!), come in a wide variety of colors and flavors, and are not expensive.
You can even use those handy coupons at Michaels or wherever and get a whole bunch of them for a great deal. 💵
In addition to their ease of use, a main reason to use candy coatings are their colors!
Chocolate will obviously only give brown coatings. You can use colored white chocolate, which I do often with Whole Food’s mini white chocolate chips. However, I don't always have coloring oils on hand. In my experience, sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to get a bag of these colored candy coatings.
There is only one drawback to working with candy melts. And it’s kind of a big one - and that’s the taste. They border on a creamy, kind of milky taste that is very sweet. Some people don’t care for the taste, saying they taste artificial or too sweet.
Don’t let that deter you though, especially with kiddos. I’ve never had a kid that said they didn’t like the taste.
And quite frankly, they are so incredibly easy to work with, that I suggest you start your cakesicle journey with them first. They are a dream to remove from the molds.
Also, you can take your sweet time with these melts. If they harden, you just pop the bowl back into the microwave and keep moving at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Even when I’ use real or compound chocolates to make my cakesicles, I will always grab my candy coatings. They are excellent for decorative piping and sprinkle adhesives. Candy coatings are a staple in any well-stocked baking pantry.
Mercken's make my favorite candy coatings!
I actually like the chocolate flavored ones too, which are considered a compound chocolate, listed above.
Mercken's has a very creamy texture, a non-artificial flavor, and is very easy to work with. Not as many color choices as Wilton's Candy Melts, but you can add candy coloring (oil-based) to get the colors you need. If you you're using a large quantity of candy coatings for your desserts, this is the one to use.
The only caveat - it's a little more difficult to find. I order mine online at Amazon in big bulk bags. Trust me, if you are a solid hobby baker, you will be using these enough to justify buying them in bulk.
Ingredients: Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel and Cottonseed Oils, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Cocoa, Glyceryl Lacto Esters of Fatty Acids, Soy Lecithin Added as an Emulsifier, Salt.
These are my second favorite candy coating. The primary reason these taste better is probably because it uses a natural vanilla flavor.
They come in a few popular colors but again, not as much as Wilton’s candy melts. The White Candy flavor is a muted white color that you can easily tint using candy colors. Can buy these at Michael's with a coupon 🙂
Here are the ingredients for the ChocoMaker Vanilla Natural that I keep in my pantry:
Ingredients: Cane sugar, Palm oil, Milk Powder, Sunflower Lecithin and Natural Vanilla Extract.
Although these taste the most artificial, you can’t beat the color and flavor selection. You need hot pink, lime green, and bright red? They have it.
It’s as easy as going to your local craft store and picking up a bag. Or seven, like I do. The only thing to be aware of is that they use artificial vanilla, which may have a strong taste to some people.
Ingredients: Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder, Whole Milk Solids, Nonfat Dry Milk Solids, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavor.
Ok, so that was lots of information on different types of coatings! Here's a handy summary table for you so you can choose what’s right for your cakesicle project.
|Couverture||Grocery Chocolate||Compound||Candy Coatings|
|Is it “real” chocolate?||✅||✅||❌||❌|
|Price||💲💲💲||💲 to 💲💲||💲 to 💲💲||💲|
|My favorite brand||Vahlrona White||Trader Joe's Pound Plus ♥️||Merken’s||Mercken's|
*Technically you can color white chocolate, but it requires extra steps. You may also need to brighten your white chocolate to get the correct color.
With fillings, we have so many options! Just remember: the filling density/type you choose will affect what coating technique you can use (Shelling or Dipping.)
Check out some cakesicle filling ideas here:
This is the standard filling for cake pops - also known as cake pop mix.
If you have cake scraps, making cakesicles is an excellent way to use them up. I often torte, or trim and level my cakes when I make large layer cakes. I like to then freeze these cake scraps in a freezer ziploc bag so they are ready for my next cakesicle project!
To use frozen cake, just leave it out on the counter for about 20-30 minutes and it’s thawed out a bit. You can certainly use fresh cake too, just make sure that it’s been cooled down completely, otherwise you will melt the buttercream and it will be quite goopy.
Making cake pop mix is fairly easy.
Standard cake pop mix requires only two ingredients: cake crumbs and buttercream/frosting.
For my favorite mold, which I’ve shown above, you will need approximately 1 ⅓ cups total of cake mixture. I use about ⅓ cup per cakesicle. The exact amount will depend on how densely you pack your cakesicle cavities.
To make cake pop mix filling:
A couple things to keep in mind: Like I said earlier, I don’t like a dense cakesicle interior, especially if I'm using the shelling method. The texture is not appealing to me, so I like to keep it light and somewhat airy even at this mixing stage. So not too much buttercream. You’ll be surprised that a little is all you need to get the cake to adhere into moldable shapes.
However, if you’re of the camp that likes a dense cake mixture, keep adding buttercream until you reach the density that you would like.
The main question here is, can it still be called a cakesicle if there’s theoretically no “cake” inside? Well, if we're going to get technical, appending “-sicle” to a word implies that it is frozen. (“-sicle” actually means frozen, e.g., icicle, popsicle...)
More accurate would be cake-skewers, cake-en-brochette, cake….kebabs (??), all of which sound highly unappealing 😕.
So the word cakesicle itself is a little inaccurate. However, I don't think this naming business should limit our creativity here.
Anyways, what I’m getting at here is that you can (and should!) fill your cakesicles with whatever you can think of. I've always liked adding "pop" to the fillings sounded great.
Ganache-pops! Brownie pops!
Here are some non-cake filling ideas for your cakesicles:
Do you kind of see where I’m going with this? It is really up to you and your flavor preferences. There are some really amazing flavor combinations out there, we just need to use them!
Now that we've gone over the mechanics of making cakesicles, we can decorate! There are so many options beyond this list here, but I’ll go over a few to get started.
Cakesicles come out so beautifully from the mold that they really don’t require any additional decor. There’s something about the minimalist look of these and the element of surprise if you don’t know what’s inside.
However, if you’re thinking of adding some more to your cakesicles, I categorize decorating into two sections. You can:
If you have with some food safe paint brushes, you may enjoy painting some cool designs onto the mold. Let the designs air dry before performing your shelling step to coat the entire interior of the mold.
The key thing to remember is that when we pop them out, you will be presenting the mirror image of your design.
This is how I achieved the swirly look for my galaxy cakesicles. Take a look at how I hand paint molds here:
Drizzling/spattering candy on the silicone mold
You can also channel your inner Jackson Pollock. Create abstract designs by brushing different colors or applying droplets to the surface of the mold.
The alternative to decorating directly on the mold itself is to decorate onto the cakesicle itself. Once you remove the cakesicle from the mold or after dipping, you can finish off with some piped designs or sprinkles.
You can also use fondant to make the cutest cakesicles. I am not a fondant expert but I’ll point you to Shaun Teo for inspiration, who is a gifted pastry chef and cakesicle maker, especially with cartoon characters:
source: Shaun Teo Creations
Aren't these so creative? Some people just have a way with fondant. I'm still learning!
For cake-filled cakesicles, I like to say that cakesicles can be stored at room temperature as long as you would store a cupcake at room temperature. As long as you didn’t use dairy, like cream cheese, to mix with the cake crumbs, it should be good at room temperature for a few days.
You can keep these in the fridge, but I would use cation if you’re using real chocolate. Real chocolate collects condensation on its surface in humid environments. This often happens when removing cold chocolates from the fridge to room temperature.
I have not had any problem refrigerating cakesicles made with compound chocolates (candy melts, etc).
If you plan to freeze your cakesicles, first, make sure that you used the shelling method and lightly packed cake pop mix. (I have not tried this with other fillings.) Because it has a lower density filling inside, it has a lower chance of cracking the shell due to water expansion.
Refrigerate the cakesicles first for 24 hours, then move them over to the freezer to give them a gradual decrease in temperature. Store in an airtight container.
Take a look at my recommended tools page for cakesicle packaging that I use.
Ok, I hope that has given you a head start on your cakesicle projects! I often post little side projects, including more cakesicle and spontaneous dessert pics on my instagram, and that’s also a good way to message me if you have any problems or questions.
Also, I provide in-depth video tutorials on my youtube channel, so if you need more visual instruction head over that way 👉🏼 Tasty Pastry Kitchen YouTube 👩🏻🍳
... the nerdy baker behind the videos and recipes here. I coded this site to not only share my recipes with you but also to build some helpful tools for bakers.Read more here!