Sitting down to write this and I’m realizing that this post would be WAY too long if I created tutorials for both the paw print cake pops and the cupcakes. So instead I think I’ll split it in half and do the cupcakes later on. First up are these adorable (and super easy to make) vanilla cake pops. I actually used to dread making them, but now that I’ve figured out a simpler way, I totally enjoy it! This post contains affiliate links.
Every year for my niece’s birthday I make her cake/cupcake/cake pops in whatever style she asks for. This year she went with a puppy dog theme. I know she’s got to have some of my DNA (well, other than she’s my sister’s child lol) as we both share the same love for our four-legged friends. She carries around a stuffed polka dotted puppy that to me, looks like a dalmatian. His name is Black Dog and for the life of me, I can’t ever remember his name. I’m thinking since it’s spotted, I would name it Spot, but since his spots are black, well, she came up with the name Black Dog.
Hey, whatever works.
I agreed to make both cupcakes and cake pops so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. At first I was thinking about making puppy dog faces, but when I saw how much work that was going to be, I went with this idea instead. To save even more time, I used a few of the extra cupcakes and a spoonful of the frosting to make the paw print cake pops.
The pink paw prints are piped on using white candy melts that I colored pink. I did have to purchase special chocolate food coloring, (← affiliate link*) but they were pretty inexpensive and a little goes a long way. I could have bought pink candy melts but since I already had a bag of white ones, I just decided to go ahead and buy the food coloring instead. This means from now on I can color white chocolate bark any color of the rainbow that I may need.
How to make Paw Print Cake Pops:
I used a few of the plain cupcakes to make the base for the cake pops and a spoonful of the frosting to hold it all together. If you’re not planning on making cupcakes, just bake up your favorite vanilla cake in a 9×13 pan.
***I’ll go ahead and add the recipe that I used to the bottom of this post or you can just use a mix and follow the baking directions on the box.
Once the cake has baked and cooled, crumble it up using your hands until no large lumps remain. The ratio of cake to frosting will depend on how much cake you have so add a spoonful at a time until it holds its shape when rolled into a ball. I ended up making these 25 grams each which made them about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Once you have them all rolled out, place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and stick them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
I would have preferred to coat the paw print cake pops with candy bark but unfortunately all I had on hand were white candy melts. If you’ve ever worked with them, you know that they can get goopy when melted and aren’t really ideal for dipping. I looked online for tips on how to thin out the candy melts and apparently Crisco will work in a pinch. There is also another product called “paramount crystals” that works even better. Of course, I didn’t have either (I stopped using Crisco long ago and didn’t have time to wait on Amazon to deliver).
What I did have was Nutiva organic superfood shortening. I checked the label and it has red palm oil as one of the ingredients – the same thing that the paramount crystals are made of. Nutiva for the WIN!
After melting the candy, I added a teaspoon at a time of the Nutiva shortening until I got the desired consistency. (You want it to look more like melted chocolate and less like yogurt.) Dip about 1/2″ of the lollipop stick into the melted candy and insert into each cake ball.
Once all of the sticks have been inserted, go back and dip each cake pop into the melted candy. You might have to re-warm it a bit as you go along so just pop it into the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it’s fluid again.
Tap your wrist (the one that’s holding the cake pop) with your opposite hand to gently remove the excess coating. Don’t tap the actual stick on the side of the bowl or else the cake might fall off. Once you have a thin, even coating, place each pop in a stand of some sort to set up.
I wasn’t able to take pictures of me actually piping on the paw prints because the candy coating sets up SO quickly. I tried using a parchment cone but the coating solidified before I could get to the second paw. I think your best bet here is to use a plastic piping bag with a metal tip and coupler so that you can hold it under hot water if it starts to get too thick. Simply press your finger over the opening and let the hot tap water run over the metal tip to thin it out again. To “draw” the paw prints, simply pipe two dots side by side then two more below them on either side. Finish with an upside down triangle and you’re done!
Best Vanilla Cake Recipe for Cake Pops
Yield 9x13 cake
This is an excellent recipe not only for cake pops, but for lunchbox cake as well. Increase the sugar to 2 cups and bake in a 9x13 cake pan. Once cooled, cut into squares and pack in your lunchbox for a noon-time treat. It's perfectly sweetened so it doesn't even need frosting!
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup buttermilk, room temp
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 pasture raised eggs, room temp
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease 9x13 cake pan with baking spray. Cut out a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan and spray the paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Add the vanilla to the measured buttermilk. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy, approx 10 minutes.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add them to the butter mixture one at a time, mixing well between each. Scrape the bowl and mix for a few seconds more.
- Starting and ending with the flour, alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the mixture (1/3 of the flour, half the buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour, the last bit of the buttermilk, and then add the remaining flour). Beat on medium-low just until combined after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then beat once more briefly on medium.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 210°F and the top springs back when lightly touched. (Another sign will be that it has started to pull away from the pan.)
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
This recipe also works well in two 9" cake pans or even muffin tins. Simply adjust the baking time accordingly.
These paw print cake pops were such a big hit that my family and friends were actually fighting over them (they were literally keeping count of how many each person had). They disappeared long before the cupcakes so it looks like I’ll be making them from now on!
Are you team CUPCAKE or CAKE POP? Let me know in the comments below!
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Thought you might like these past birthday cupcakes:
*In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon.com I only recommend products that I absolutely LOVE and use myself. Thank you in advance for your support!