Salted Caramel & Chocolate Cake Pops

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“Those cake pops were seriously the best cake pops I’ve ever had! Even better than Freeport Bakery.”

This high praise comes from a former co-worker, Mariel. For her last day in our office, I wanted to bake something special as a surprise. I knew she liked cake pops and salted caramel (she requested that I make salted caramel macarons a few months ago, which I will post soon). The idea of a salted caramel cake pop was born.

I was shocked that I couldn’t find any recipes for salted caramel cake pops online. I ended up adapting my salted caramel cupcakes (one of my all-time favorite cupcake recipes). However, once I covered them in chocolate, the delicate salted caramel flavor of the cake and frosting was overwhelmed by the chocolate. I made a salted caramel sauce to drizzle on top (along with a sprinkle of fleur de sel, a French sea salt). I think you could probably use an easier vanilla frosting recipe and simply make some salted caramel sauce to pour over them.

Stay tuned for Valentine’s Day recipes coming next week, including some heart shaped cake pops. I realize I’m a bit behind as far as food blog schedules go, but I couldn’t bring myself to bake Valentine’s desserts in early January.

RECIPE:

Salted Caramel Cake Pops

Adapted from Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Makes around 35-40 cake pops

Brown Sugar Cake

Makes 2 8″ cakes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk (or add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk and let sit for 5 mins)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8″ cake pans or line them with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until fully incorporated. Mix in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk, stirring after each until everything is combined.

Pour half of the batter into each prepared cake pan. Bake for around 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Make caramel: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat. Boil without stirring until it turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream and vanilla, whisking until it is very smooth. Let cool for around 20 minutes, until it’s just barely warm and still pourable.

Meanwhile, beat butter and salt together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour in the cooled caramel and beat on medium-high speed until light and airy (around 2 minutes). If frosting is too runny, the caramel was too warm when added – refrigerate for around 15-20 minutes until frosting is stiffer.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The sauce is extra work, but I found that the salted caramel flavor of the cake was overwhelmed by the chocolate coating. If you want to cut down on the work, you could do a simple vanilla cake/frosting inside the pop instead of the cake and frosting recipe above. Use my snowmen vanilla cake pops recipe and cover them in chocolate, a tiny sprinkle of salt, and this salted caramel sauce.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups – use the extra to pour over ice cream, fruit, desserts, or anything!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter (I recommend using 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted, then add additional salt to taste if needed)
  • 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

In a large saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat. Once it begins melting, stir occasionally with a spatula to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquified sugar until it reaches a deep copper color, then add the butter. Stir until it has completely melted and combined, then remove from heat. Add heavy cream (be careful – it will foam) and whisk until you have a smooth sauce.

Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Microwave for a minute to bring it back to pouring consistency.

Assemble the Cake Pops

  • Semisweet chocolate (I used around 16 oz.)
  • Canola oil (optional)
  • 35-40 6″ lollipop sticks
  • Styrofoam block
  • Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt
  1. Once the cakes are completely cooled, cut each into 3 pieces. Using your hands, crumble each piece into a large bowl (or use a food processor).
  2. Add frosting to bowl and mix with the back of a spoon or your clean, dry hands until thoroughly combined.
  3. Roll into 1 1/2-inch balls.
  4. Place cake balls on a baking sheet covered in wax paper and chill for several hours in the refrigerator or for 15 minutes in the freezer. (If you put them in the fridge, I recommend freezing them for 10 minutes while you melt the chocolate.)
  5. In a double boiler or in a microwave, melt the chocolate, stirring until all lumps are gone. Stir in a 1-2 tablespoons of oil to thin the chocolate if desired (the more you add, the thinner the coating will be).
  6. Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat and pour into a cup. Let cool for a few minutes.
  7. Remove cake balls from freezer. Dip the tip of a lollipop into the melted chocolate, then stick it straight down into the ball.
  8. Holding the lollipop stick, dip cake ball into the melted chocolate until it’s completely covered and quickly remove.
  9. Hold pop over cup while excess chocolate drips off (if needed, tap your wrist with the opposite hand to help the process).
  10. Place pops into styrofoam block. Sprinkle with a little salt and let dry. Once chocolate is dry, drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Store covered in fridge until ready to serve.


19 Responses to “Salted Caramel & Chocolate Cake Pops”
  1. Living The Sweet Life writes:

    Your salted caramel cupcake is phenomenal … I’ve made them a couple times – all with rave reviews and great success. I know for sure these cake pops will be a hit as well :) ~ yumm!!
    Living The Sweet Life recently posted Fire Breathing Shrimp Mango-Tango Rice Paper Wraps

  2. Cindy B. writes:

    These look delicious !

  3. Stephanie writes:

    @Cindy – thanks! :)

  4. Stephanie writes:

    @ Living The Sweet Life – thank you! I love that cupcake recipe. It’s a lot of work but worth the reward!

  5. Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) writes:

    Just looking at this picture has me drooling. They look amazing and gooey and caramely. Fab!
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) recently posted Readers, this is for you!

  6. Shannon @ Family Bites writes:

    I’m definitely going to have to try both, the cupcakes and the cake pops. I love salted caramel and the frosting sounds amazing! I love to make cake pops, but I never think outside the box with them, I just dip and sprinkle sanding sugar on them. I love how gourmet these look!
    Shannon @ Family Bites recently posted Clementine Buttermilk Scones

  7. Magic of Spice writes:

    Great idea for cake pops…they are so cute and I am sure delicious!
    Magic of Spice recently posted What’s on the side? Vegetarian "Meatballs" with 5 Star Flair

  8. Robert St. Augustine writes:

    Yummeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, and with the birthday candles they look like cool tinker-toys.

  9. Elizabeth writes:

    I’m thinking about making these for a friend, but I’d have to send them from GA to FL. Any tips on the best way to package? Do you think the caramel will stand up with 2nd Day air, or should I go overnight? Thanks!

  10. Stephanie writes:

    @Elizabeth – If it’s hot, I would probably send them overnight with an ice pack just to be safe. I usually package baked goods in plastic tupperware, and cushion it in the box with paper or bubble wrap. I’ve never mailed cake pops though. Good luck!

  11. S writes:

    Hi, I’m a sucker for anything caramel, and though I find cake pops a lot of work, I’m keen to make them for my teacher as a thank you gift. Two questions though – have you ever tried using fresh cream (whipping or double cream) instead of buttercream to mix into the crumbled cake as the frosting? i always see recipes for Philadelphia cheese frosting or buttercream frosting but no one seems to use cream…secondly, is there any reason why you have not coated the entire cake pop in the caramel sauce? why just drizzle it over the chocolate coating?

  12. Stephanie writes:

    @S – I haven’t tried using cream. I think it would be a little too wet, but it might work. I tried coating the entire pop in caramel sauce but it was too gooey, so instead I did the chocolate drizzled with caramel sauce.

  13. Mary writes:

    Ack! I really wanted these to turn out but what I got was a fail. The cake mixture was way too moist and though they formed into a ball and set up in the freezer — when I dipped them, the chocolate essentially melted them. After they sat out for 5 minutes, we couldn’t pick them up because they were so soft. I want to make cake pops for my daughter’s wedding so I do want to figure out how to make them work.

  14. Stephanie writes:

    @Mary – how hot was your chocolate? If it melted the cake pop, it is probably too hot. Let it cool for a bit before dipping. I often use a mini Crock Pot, which doesn’t get it as hot as a microwave or double boiler.

  15. maria writes:

    Is it possible to freeze the cake pops once they are made?

  16. Stephanie Nuccitelli writes:

    Maria, I usually roll the cake/frosting into balls and freeze it, then defrost and coat them later when I’m ready to use them. I’m not sure how they will hold up already coated in the freezer.

  17. Darlene writes:

    I am making these for a piano recital tomorrow. I also found the cake/frosting mixture too wet/soggy without adding all the frosting. I’ve already dipped a few in chocolate, but I’m afraid once the cake pops come to room temperature, they will collapse and fall off the sticks. I have one coming up to room temp to see if it will hold up before I make the caramel drizzle. The frosting recipe is excellent and has wonderful flavor.

  18. Jasmine writes:

    Hi, this is my first attempt to make cake pops & I need them for an event tomorrow so I’m nervous as to whether or not they will turn out. Also, I’m confused with the frosting paragraph. The pictures don’t have a white frosting but I’m assuming its like Starbucks’. Also, that paragraph says make the caramel…obviously those are separate right? Ad the caramel instructions would be the caramel sauce I’m assuming because otherwise I have no idea how to make caramel. And could I just melt premise caramel to save time?

  19. Stephanie Nuccitelli writes:

    Jasmine, the frosting is mixed in with the cake to make stick together. See my post on how to make cake pops for step by step photos. I also recommend using this super easy 7 minute caramel sauce in place of the recipe in this post.

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