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Carrot Cake Pops – The Most Adorable Springtime Treat

Carrot Cake Pop (Carrot Garden Patch Cupcake with Carrot Cake Pop)

These Carrot Cake Pops are a delicious treat on their own for a really cute addition to a chocolate cupcake to make it look like the carrot is growing in the ground.  Cake pops are crumbled cake mixed with frosting which is then shaped and coated in candy coating.  Most cake pops are served on a stick (like a lollipop or popsicle), but these Carrot Cake Pops are more like cake truffles because they are made without a stick.  Scroll down to see the instructions for how to make this adorable, sweet treat. 

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Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pops
Equipment
Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake Pop Ingredients

Start by making a delicious carrot cake recipe.  I baked a half recipe of my favorite Carrot Cake recipe.  You can find the recipe here.  I added the pecans like the recipe states, but it I were to make these again, I would probably leave the nuts out because they made it harder to get clean carrot shapes. 

You will also need a batch of cream cheese frosting.  I used my Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting recipe before I added the cocoa powder.  You can find the recipe for my cream cheese frosting here.

Differences Between Compound Chocolate (aka Candy Coating) and Real Chocolate
  • Real chocolate is made by combining cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and flavoring ingredients.  Compound chocolate, on the other hand, contains vegetable fats in place of cocoa butter. 
  • Compound chocolate costs less to produce than real chocolate because vegetable fats cost less than cocoa butter.
  • The flavor of compound chocolate is typically not as strong as normal chocolate and tastes much sweeter.
  • Real chocolate must be tempered (i.e., the chocolate is heated and cooled to a specific temperature) to get a shiny and smooth surface that snaps when bent.  Compound chocolate does not need to be tempered to have a snap.  You can simply melt it in the microwave and use it.  Compound chocolate is definitely easier for beginner bakers. 
  • Both real chocolate and compound chocolate can bloom (i.e., a whitish coating that appears on the surface of chocolate), however, the bloom occurs for different reasons.  In real chocolate, blooming occurs when chocolate is not tempered correctly.  In compound chocolate, blooming can occur if it is heated too much and it can also occur if moisture is introduced to the candy melts (this can also lead to the compound chocolate seizing). 
  • Some compound chocolate does not even contain cocoa (e.g., Wilton Candy Melts).  I will refer to this kind of product throughout the post as candy coating rather than compound chocolate.
Want to Make Your Own Candy Coating Color?

Depending on where you shop, it might be difficult to find candy coating (e.g., Candy Melts).  Frequently, grocery stores carry candy coating in the baking aisle, but it is typically only available in white and brown.  For this project, I wasn’t able to find green candy coating in my neighborhood, so I bought some Ghirardelli White Melting Wafers from the grocery store and colored it using candy coloring. 

When coloring candy coating (as well as chocolate), it’s very Important to only use candy food coloring rather than liquid or gel food coloring.  Candy food coloring consists of oil-based colors while liquid and gel food coloring is water-based.  This difference is significant when working with candy coating and chocolate products because the presence of water and water-based food coloring will make the candy coating seize (i.e., it will transform from melted, liquid chocolate to a lumpy and grainy solid mass).  Most food coloring that you can find in grocery stores and craft stores will be water-based food coloring.  Purchase the oil-based food coloring you need online or in the candy-making aisle of craft stores. 

Add a small amount of coloring to the melted candy coating and mix until thoroughly combined.  Continue adding coloring until you’ve reached the desired shade.  I’ve found that oil-based food coloring does not typically result in the same vibrant colors as candy melts unless you use A LOT of food coloring. 

Shaping the Carrot Cake Pops

Crumble the cake into a large bowl and use your fingers to break up the clumps until you are left with only cake crumbs.  Add the frosting to the cake crumbs in small amounts and mix until incorporated.  You can mix the frosting in by hand or with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer.  Continue adding frosting until the mixture is able to hold its shape when rolled into a ball.  The carrot cake is pretty moist, so you shouldn’t need too much frosting.

Forming Carrot Cake Pop into Carrot Shape

Begin shaping the carrot cake mixture into rounded triangle shapes (i.e., a carrot shape).  I made my carrots about an inch on all sides (although each carrot looked slightly different since I wasn’t using a mold).  This will make about 40 carrots.  I wanted these to be relatively small so I could put them into my Carrot Garden Patch cupcakes (post coming soon).  It is also a good idea to keep them small because cake pops are very sweet and large pops can be too rich for one sitting. 

Place the shaped Carrot Cake Pops on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours until firm. 

Melting Candy Coating
Candy Coating - Whole Disc and Melted

To melt candy coating, place the desired amount of discs in a microwave safe container and follow the instructions on the package. Generally, the bag will specify to microwave on medium power for 15-30 seconds at a time, stirring thoroughly after each interval (even if they still look solid). Please note, that candy coating can be overheated and scorched which will result in a seized mixture. When there just a few small pieces left in the bowl, remove it from the microwave and let the residual heat melt the remaining small pieces.

If the melted candy coating is too thick, add a small amount (e.g., ½ tsp) of vegetable shortening (e.g., Crisco) or solid vegetable fat (e.g., coconut oil) and stir to combine. Continue adding vegetable shortening until the candy coating is thin and glossy. Do not add other fats like butter or liquid vegetable oil. They will make the candy coating seize due to the presence of water.

Making the Carrot Tops
Making Carrot Tops for Carrot Cake Pops

Set up a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.  Following the instructions above, melt a small amount of green candy coating and place it in a piping bag.  Cut off the tip of the bag to make a small, round hole and pipe 3 tear drop shapes next to each other on the parchment paper.  There should be 2 smaller tear drops on either side and a larger one in the middle.  All tear drops should be touching.  Make a bunch of carrot tops (enough for each cake pop and a few extras in case of breakage) and leave at room temperature to solidify.  Remove them from the parchment paper by using your fingers to gently peel them off. 

Covering the Carrot Cake Pops

The Carrot Cake Pops will be covered in 2 steps.  The first step is to coat the bottom.  The second step is to cover the top and sides. 

Candy Coating on Bottom of Carrot Cake Pop

Remove a few cake pops from the fridge at a time.  Leave the rest in the fridge while you’re working because they soften quickly when at room temperature.  Dip the bottom of each carrot in the melted candy coating.  Gently shake off the extra candy coating and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to dry and harden.  Continue this process for all of the cake pops.  Return the tray to the fridge to firm up again.

Place 1-2 cake pops on a wire rack that is placed over a sheet of parchment paper.  Melt more candy coating and pour it over each cake pop to cover it completely.  Before the coating has a chance to set up, push one green carrot top into the top of each carrot.  I needed to hold a toothpick at the bottom of the carrot to provide a little resistance so I could push the top in. 

Removing Carrot Cake Pop from Wire Rack

Immediately remove the carrot from the wire rack and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper for the candy coating to harden. If you let the carrot harden on the rack, it will be very difficult to remove and the coating on the sides will likely break off. Continue this process for all of the cake pops.

Cake Pop Problem Solving

I originally tried to dip the cake pops like I normally would (i.e., with a stick), but I had a few issues:

  1. Since I didn’t want a stick in the final product, I first tried to dip the cake pop without “gluing” the stick in with melted candy coating. Had this worked, it would have allowed me to dip the cake pop and then remove the stick and replace it with a carrot top. This plan, however didn’t work. The cake pop just slid off the stick (even when I tried to dunk it sideways rather than straight up and down).
  2. I tried using the candy coating as “glue” to keep the stick inside the cake pop to make it easier to dip, but I wasn’t able to remove the stick and replace it with the carrot top without messing up the coating.
  3. I also tried to just dunk the carrot without the two-step process I used above, and my tools kept sticking and leaving ugly bare spots on the bottom of the carrots.

The two-step method was a little cumbersome, but it was the best method I found to cover my carrot cake pops.

Adding Extra Designs

At this point, the carrots will already look cute.  If you want to add some extra details, pour some melted orange candy coating into a piping bag, snip off the tip of the bag to make a small hole, and drizzle the candy coating back and forth over each carrot to make a cute design.

Carrot Cake Pop (Carrot Garden Patch Cupcake with Carrot Cake Pop)

Serve these on a decorative platter or push them into the top of a Carrot Garden Patch cupcake (post coming soon) for a super cute spring treat.

Storing Carrot Cake Pops

Cake pops can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.  These Carrot Cake Pops need to be refrigerated due to the cream cheese frosting.  If you make these with a different frosting, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.  You can also freeze them for up to one month in an airtight container.

Looking for Spring and Easter Ideas?
Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know how it turned out!  Please let me know by leaving your thoughts below.  Or snap a photo and share it on Pinterest or Instagram (@windycitybaker).

Carrot Cake Pops

Course: Dessert
Servings: 40 1-inch carrots

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment (OR hand mixer with a large bowl)
  • Silicone spatula
  • Baking sheet (at least two)
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Shallow bowl
  • Wire rack
  • Measuring cup with spout
  • Piping bags (OR resealable bag)

Ingredients

  • One 9-inch carrot cake (see "Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese" section below)
  • 1 – 1½ cups (125-225g) cream cheese frosting (see "Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese" section below)
  • 2 bags (24oz/680g) Orange Candy Melts or another candy coating (like Ghirardelli) with candy food coloring
  • 1 bag (12oz/340g) Green Candy Melts or another candy coating (like Ghirardelli) with candy food coloring

Instructions

Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Start by making a carrot cake recipe. I baked a half recipe of my favorite Carrot Cake recipe. You can find the recipe here. I added the pecans like the recipe states, but it I were make these again, I would probably leave the nuts out because they made it a little harder to get clean carrot shapes.
  • You will also need a batch of cream cheese frosting. I used the cream cheese frosting in my Chocolate Cream Cheese recipe before I added the cocoa powder. You can find the recipe for my cream cheese frosting here.

Coloring Candy Coating

  • When coloring candy coating (as well as chocolate), it’s very Important to only use candy food coloring rather than liquid or gel food coloring. Candy food coloring consists of oil-based colors while liquid and gel food coloring is water-based. This difference is significant when working with candy coating and chocolate products because the presence of water and water-based food coloring will make the candy coating seize (i.e., it will transform from melted, liquid chocolate to a lumpy and grainy solid mass). Most food coloring that you can find in grocery stores and craft stores will be water-based food coloring. Find the oil-based food coloring you need online or in the candy-making aisle of craft stores.
  • Add a small amount of coloring to the melted candy coating and mix until thoroughly combined. Continue adding coloring until you have reached the desired shade. I have found that oil-based food coloring does not typically result in the same vibrant colors as candy melts unless you use A LOT of food coloring.

Shaping the Carrot Cake Pops

  • Crumble the cake into a large bowl and use your fingers to break up the clumps until you are left with only cake crumbs. Add the frosting to the cake crumbs in small amounts and mix until incorporated. You can mix the frosting in by hand or with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Continue adding frosting until the mixture is able to hold its shape when rolled into a ball. The carrot cake is pretty moist, so you shouldn’t need too much frosting.
  • Begin shaping the carrot cake mixture into rounded triangle shapes (i.e., a carrot shape). I made my carrots about an inch on all sides (although they were all slightly different sizes). This will make about 40 carrots. I wanted these to be relatively small so I could put them into my Carrot Garden Patch cupcakes. It is also a good idea to keep them small because cake pops are very sweet and large pops can be too rich for one sitting.
  • Place the shaped Carrot Cake Pops on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours until firm.

Melting Candy Coating

  • For coating the bottom, place approximately 1 cup of candy coating discs in a shallow, microwave-safe bowl and follow the instructions on the package to melt the candy coating. Generally, the bag will specify to microwave on medium power for 15-30 seconds at a time, stirring thoroughly after each interval (even if they still look solid). Please note, that candy coating can be overheated and scorched which will result in a seized mixture. When there just a few small pieces left in the bowl, remove it from the microwave and let the residual heat melt the small pieces.
  • If you find the melted candy coating to be too thick, add a small amount (e.g., ½ tsp) of vegetable shortening (e.g., Crisco) or solid vegetable fat (e.g., coconut oil) and stir to combine. Continue adding vegetable shortening until the candy coating is thin and glossy. Do not add other fats like butter or liquid vegetable oil because that will make the candy coating seize due to the presence of water.

Making the Carrot Tops

  • Set up a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside. Following the instructions above, melt a small amount of green candy coating and place it in a piping bag. Cut off the tip of the bag to make a small, round hole and pipe 3 tear drop shapes next to each other on the parchment paper. There should be 2 smaller tear drops on either side and a larger one in the middle. All tear drops should all be touching. Make a bunch of carrot tops (enough for each cake pop and a few extras in case of breakage) and leave at room temperature to solidify. Remove them from the parchment paper by using your fingers to gently peel them off the paper.

Covering the Carrot Cake Pops

  • The Carrot Cake Pops will be covered in 2 steps. The first step is to coat the bottom. The second step is to cover the top and sides.
  • Remove a few cake pops from the fridge at a time. Leave the rest in the fridge while you are working because they soften quickly when at room temperature. Dip the bottom of each carrot in the melted candy coating. Gently shake off the extra candy coating and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to dry and harden. Continue this process for all of the cake pops. Return the tray to the fridge to firm up again.
  • Place 1-2 cake pops on a wire rack that is placed over a sheet of parchment paper. Melt more candy coating and pour it over each cake pop to cover it completely. Before the coating has a chance to set up, push one green carrot top into the top of each carrot. I needed to use a toothpick at the bottom top of the carrot to provide a little resistance so I could push the top in.
  • Immediately remove the carrot from the wire rack and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper for the candy coating to harden. If you let the carrot harden on the rack, it will be very difficult to remove it and you will likely lose some of the coating on the sides, which will make the carrots look less pretty. Continue this process for all of the cake pops.

Adding Extra Designs

  • At this point, the carrots will already look cute. If you want to add some extra details, pour some melted orange candy coating into a piping bag, snip off the tip of the bag to make a small hole, and drizzle the candy coating back and forth over each carrot to make a cute design.
  • Serve these on a decorative platter or push them into the top of a Carrot Garden Patch cupcake.

Storing Carrot Cake Pops

  • Cake pops can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours or stored in an airtight container in the fridge up to one week. These Carrot Cake Pops need to be refrigerated due to the cream cheese frosting. If you make these with a different frosting, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week. You can also freeze them up to one month in an airtight container.

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