So … it has been a year since my last post … sorry about that. It turns out that starting a business is hard work! 😉
Today, I am sharing a recipe for healthy cake pops. Sounds too good to be true, right? But it is true! I promise you … these cake pops are actually good for you. They are grain-free, gluten-free, and contain no added sugar.
I came up with this recipe after seeing a video featuring traditional cake pops the other day. I thought to myself … there has to be a way to make these healthy! Coming up with a recipe that worked was tricky. Anyone who has worked with almond flour or coconut flour knows that they are not the equivalent of traditional all-purpose flour. They bake differently and require different measurements. It was also tricky coming up with an icing recipe that did not involve the use of sugar in some form. Even the coconut oil based icing recipes I found online called for powdered sugar. So the recipes in this post are original recipes. I came up with these entirely on my own. Feel free to play with them, and if you find ways to improve upon them, please do share! The cake recipe is versatile … you can add fruit, crushed nuts or seeds, nut butters … you can even sneak in veggies like carrots or zucchini. So without further ado, this is how I made → HEALTHY← cake pops …
I started by making a coconut flour cake batter. Coconut flour makes wonderfully moist cupcakes, which is why I chose to use coconut flour instead of almond flour when I was determining how I would make these.
After mixing together the batter, I divided it between 6 mason jars, so I could add food coloring to each and create an assortment of colors. The food coloring typically found in stores by brands like Wilton and McCormick are made using artificial dyes and preservatives, but natural food stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods Market sell natural, vegetable-derived food coloring. It can also be found online.
Ingredients in McCormick Food Colors …
Ingredients in Color Garden Food Colors …
On a side note, food coloring is completely unnecessary in this recipe and can be omitted if you like. I used it because I had originally planned to make rainbow cake pops, but alas, natural food colors are not as brightly colored as the poisonous competition on the market. The natural food colors did not show well against my yellow cake batter. (The coconut flour batter is yellow.) So the rainbow cake pop experiment was a flop. I am not one to accept defeat, so my experiment morphed into a completely different – and yet wonderful – cake pop recipe (that makes the use of food coloring irrelevant).
Coconut Flour Cake Batter
- ½ cup organic, unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil
- ⅔ cup xylitol granules
- ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tsp organic, GMO-free, gluten-free vanilla extract
- 6 large, organic eggs
- 2 Tbsp filtered water
- ½ cup organic coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free, aluminum-free baking powder
- All-natural, vegetable-derived food colors (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake tins (enough for 12 cupcakes).
- Whisk together coconut oil, xylitol, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, & water. Once mixed, whisk in coconut flour. After coconut flour is mixed in, whisk in baking powder.
- If using food coloring, divide batter into containers and add desired food colors to each. If not using food colors, skip this step.
- Fill each cupcake space in the cupcake tin ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake cupcakes approximately 20 mins (start checking on cupcakes after 15 mins). The cupcakes are baked when a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Do not let the cupcakes brown.
Once the cupcakes have finished baking, it is time to create the cake pops. You will start by crumbling the cupcakes into little pieces. You will want to have a separate dish of cake crumbles for each flavor of cake pop you plan to make. I made 6 cake pop flavors, so I separated my cake crumbles among 6 dishes.
After crumbling the cake, I added a variety of mix-ins (primarily fruit).
For the chocolate covered strawberry cake pops, I chopped 3 organic strawberries and heated the strawberries in a small pan until warm and mushy. I then smashed them and added them to the cake crumbles. (Please make sure your strawberries are organic, since strawberries are at the top of the dirty dozen list this year.)
- Keep in mind that the amount of fruit you will use in each batch of cake crumbles will vary depending on the amount of cake crumbles you are working with. I separated the cake crumbles from 12 cupcakes into 6 batches, so each batch consisted of 2 crumbled cupcakes. If you make a larger batch, you will want to use more fruit. Example: 6 strawberries for 4 crumbled cupcakes, 18 strawberries for 12 crumbled cupcakes, etc.
For the apple pie cake pops, I grated 1/4 of a small organic granny smith apple and sprinkled the grated apple with 1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. I then heated it in a small pan until warm and soft. I mixed the warm apple mixture into the cake crumbles. (P.S. Apples are #2 on the dirty dozen list, so go organic on these too!)
For the spicy chocolate peanut butter cake pops, I combined 1 Tbsp organic peanut butter with 1 Tbsp organic unsweetened cocoa powder. (Sidenote: Raw almond butter would have been ideal. I had just run out, so peanut butter had to do. I would def suggest using raw almond butter if you have it on hand.) I then mixed the chocolate peanut butter with the cake crumbles. (The spicy part will come later.)
For the cocoa mango cake pops, I grated 1/4 mango. (Yes, it is mushy and messy and prob should have been pureed, but grating it worked fine.) I then mixed the mango in with the cake crumbles.
For the banana split cake pops, I cut 2 inches off of a banana and mashed the 2 inch piece. I then added the mashed banana to the cake crumbles.
For the double chocolate coconut cake pops, I grated a chocolate bar of 70% cacao. I added 1 Tbsp grated chocolate and 1 Tbsp organic, unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut to the cake crumbles.
After adding the mix-ins to the cake crumbles, I formed the cake crumble mixtures into balls that were the size of typical cake pops.
I then made vanilla coconut oil frosting using the following ingredients. I whisked the ingredients together. Then I put the mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes, took it out, and used the whisk to whip it.
- 1/4 cup organic, unrefined cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/8 cup organic coconut flour
- 1/2 cup full-fat organic coconut milk (from a bpa-free can)
- 1 tsp organic, gluten-free vanilla extract
I took a cake pop stick and dipped it into the vanilla frosting and then inserted it into the cake pop. (After the frosting hardens, it helps to hold the stick in place.) After all of the cake balls had sticks, they were placed in the freezer for 20 minutes.
While the cake pops set in the freezer, I prepared the chocolate coconut oil frosting. The ingredients were the same as those used in the vanilla frosting except I replaced the coconut flour with organic, unsweetened cocoa powder.
Right before removing the cake balls from the freezer, I melted a bar of chocolate (70% cacao). This was used as melted chocolate frosting.
Then it was time to cover the cake pops with either melted chocolate or coconut oil frosting and any additional toppings.
For the chocolate-covered strawberry cake pops, I dipped the cake pops into melted chocolate. I used a spoon to assist in covering the entire ball with chocolate. (If you attempt to move the cake pop around too much, it will slip off of the stick. It is better set the cake pop into the chocolate sideways and use the spoon to pour the chocolate over the ball of cake.) I then sprinkled crushed raw almonds on top of the chocolate before it hardened.
It is a good idea to have something to stick the cake pops into, so they can stand upright. A piece of foam or a container specifically used to hold cake pops would work well. I didn’t plan for this ahead of time, so I ended up dumping flax seeds into bowls and then sticking the cake pop sticks into the bowls of flax seeds. It worked. It held the cake pops upright. I would definitely suggest using something else though. I wasted a lot of flax seeds.
I iced the apple pie cake pops with vanilla coconut oil frosting and then sprinkled them with organic cinnamon before the frosting hardened.
The spicy chocolate peanut butter cake pops were covered in melted chocolate and then dusted with cayenne pepper.
The cocoa mango cake pops were iced with chocolate coconut oil frosting.
The banana split cake pops were dipped in chocolate coconut oil frosting and then sprinkled with crushed raw almonds. You can use any crushed nut you would like. I just happened to have almonds.
The double chocolate coconut cake pops were iced with chocolate coconut oil frosting and then sprinkled with organic, unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut.
All cake pops covered with melted chocolate or vanilla coconut oil frosting must be refrigerated, and all cake pops covered with chocolate coconut oil frosting must be kept frozen.
So … here is my honest review of the recipe results:
After spending 6 HOURS (!!!) in the kitchen getting the cake and frosting recipes just right, I would recommend using melted chocolate to cover all of the cake pops. It is very difficult to get a frosting with a decent consistency without using powdered sugar. A dark chocolate bar (between 70%-80% cacao), melted, would be the easiest choice. If you do not wish to use chocolate, the vanilla coconut oil icing works and has a subtle, pleasant flavor. It is not smooth though and has a somewhat lumpy appearance. The chocolate coconut frosting is runny and has to be kept frozen. It was my least favorite frosting. My taste testers (a.k.a. my children) agreed.
The cake pops themselves were pretty good. The ones that went over really well with my kiddos and the patients in our office were the chocolate covered strawberry, the apple pie, and the spicy chocolate peanut butter.
At this point, if you are still reading this post, I applaud you for having the longest attention span ever. Now here is the condensed version:
Use the coconut flour cake recipe. Skip the food colors. Follow the directions to mold the cake balls and place the cake pop sticks in them. Stick cake balls in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then dip into melted dark chocolate. Refrigerate. Enjoy!