If you’re a fan of Mario Kart, get excited.
Koopa shell cake pops are not the easiest dessert I’ve ever made, but damn do they look (and taste) good. In previous years I’ve made various baked goods for various birthdays (like this Hobbit Hole Cake, last year’s Hamburger Cupcakes, or my stint with fondant for Sushi Cupcakes), but I wanted to one-up myself.
I strongly recommend making the cake balls the night before and doing the decorating the next day—doing both in the same day would take a lot more time and patience than the average person possesses. Also, for the love of god, do not try to blast the candy melts on high heat. Learn from my mistakes. I ended up with a giant clumpy brown mess of burnt chocolate that needed to go in the garbage.
I bought cake mix and all of my icing because it’s a pretty tricky recipe as is and I didn’t want to risk any complications. It also saved me some time. Candy melts, icing, Wilton tips, lollipop sticks, foam blocks and couplers can all be found at Bulk Barn or specialty baking stores. You’ll have to excuse the lack of step-by-step photos, I was coated in chocolate, icing and needed to get them done. I did however do my best to give crystal clear instructions and if there’s anything that seems confusing, shoot me an e-mail or comment on the post and I’ll answer your questions.
I got this amazing idea from Rosanna Pansino of Nerdy Nummies. I altered a few things like subbing out fondant, but kept things pretty much the same and I’m really happy with the result. I wish I had learned a better technique for piping the hexagons earlier on in the pop- making process so they looked a bit cleaner, but I can’t complain.
Makes 40 cake pops
- 1 (432g) box cake mix of your choice (I used Betty Crocker Devil’s Food one but you can use any brand or flavour), baked as directed and cooled completely
- 3 tbsp. instant coffee
- 1 (450g) container of chocolate frosting (same goes for this—any brand or flavour will do)
- 50 tall lollipop sticks
- 3 cups white candy melts
- 1 cup red candy melts
- 1 cup green candy melts
- 1 cup blue candy melts
- 2 (120g) tubes of white decorating frosting
- 1 (120g) tube of red decorative frosting
- 1 (120g) tube of green decorative frosting
- 1 (120g) tube of blue decorative frosting
- A Wilton #2 piping tip + coupler
- A Wilton #230 piping tip + coupler
- 1/2 cup mini white chocolate chips
- Foam/styrofoam blocks for drying
The first thing you need to do is bake your cake mix as directed with the addition of 3 tablespoons of instant coffee mixed in, and allow the cake the cool completely. Crumb the cake by cutting it into four and rubbing the pieces together until the entire cake is fine crumbs; you may have to cut the edges off if they got a little crispy in the oven. With a large spoon, spatula or (my favourite tool) your hands, mix in 3/4 of the icing container into the cake crumbs. Mix until well combined and a rich, thick dough is formed.
Roll out dough into roughly 1 1/2 inch balls, then place on a wax or parchment lined baking sheet. Pop these in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight to make sure they’re well chilled. Don’t skip this step!
Heat candy melts in a microwave-safe measuring cup or mug on a very low power setting, stirring every 20 seconds. if the melted chocolates are too thick, add in a few drops of vegetable oil at a time until smooth.
That rule applies for the rest of the instructions whenever I refer to melting the candy melts. Don’t try to be a hero and microwave them on high heat, they will burn and you will cry tears of rage. Moving forward!
Once your balls are well chilled, heat a small portion of the white candy melts (about 1/4 cup) until they are smoothly melted and no clumps remain. Using one of the lollipop sticks, make holes in the cake balls that go about half way down the centre on top. Dip the tip of the stick in the melted chocolate and insert it into the hole. Repeat until all cake balls have dipped sticks in them.
Melt your remaining white candy melts as instructed above. Holding the cake pop by the stick, dip the cake ball in the melts until completely covered—drip the excess back into the mug by tapping the stick on the edge of your cup/mug. Place the stick in a foam block to hold it in place and allow it to dry. Repeat with remaining pops and allow to dry for 10 minutes.
Divide your white dipped cake pops into thirds (you’ll have one extra…the chef always needs a taste test right?). Heat red candy melts as instructed above. Holding the cake pop by the stick, dip the cake ball into the melt halfway, leaving the top half red and the bottom half white. Drip off the excess, place back into the foam block, and repeat. Do the same for the green and blue melts.
Now you are ready to decorate! Using a tube of the white decorative icing and a Wilton tip #230, grab a cake pop of your liking. Ice around the dividing line between the colour and the white melt halfway around the cake pop, making to arcs on opposite sides (see photos for clarification). Do this with each one. Using a Wilton tip #2, pipe hexagon patterns to mimic a Koopa shell on the tops of each cake pop in their respective colours—red for red, blue for blue…you get the point. Rinse out the tip between each colour change to avoid colour mix-ups.
Using the #2 tip, use a tube of black decorative icing to fill in the “arcs” you iced earlier; this is supposed to be where the turtle’s head would poke out. Using the same #2 tip (remember to rinse it out before the colour switch), using the white decorative icing to pipe 4-5 white horizontal lines across the “belly” of the turtle.
This last step is only for the blue shelled pops: take your mini white chocolate chips, pipe a tiny amount of white icing to the bottom and place 5-6 chips on each Koopa shell evenly.
You’re all done! Go massage your hands, take a shower, nap, have a drink and relax.