Super-moist vanilla cake pops are transformed into adorably-sweet ladybugs with just a few simple kid-friendly decorating steps. Such a fun project to do with your own little Love Bugs! Add plastic wrap, a ribbon, and cute tags to each and they make a fun alternative to standard classroom Valentines.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 10-ounce bag white chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
7 Tablespoons shortening, divided (additional at hand as needed)
20 drops red food coloring
1 cup red sanding sugar
40 lollipop sticks
40 round chocolate mint or caramel candies (such as Junior Mints or Milk Duds)
1 package black licorice rope candy, cut into 80 1/4” pieces
White decorators icing
80 small candy “eyes” (available at some Bed Bath & Beyond stores or craft stores, optional)
Toothpicks or small paint brushes for decorating
- Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and eggs and beat to combine.
- Create a well in the center of dry ingredients and alternate adding butter mixture and yogurt, until combined.
- Preheat a countertop cake pop maker according to manufacturer’s instruction (or heat oven to 350 degrees if using a cake pop pan). Working in batches, fill maker/pan halfway with batter and cook 3-4 minutes (for a countertop machine) or 8-10 minutes (in oven) or until cooked through. Let cakes cool and then store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to decorate.
- Dip a lollipop stick into pink chocolate mixture. Poke through center of cake and let set for several minutes on sheet pan to set (this will help the cake pop stay on the stick as you decorate).
- Working one by one, immerse each cake pop into pink chocolate mixture and pull out with a circular motion. Spin the pop a bit while upside down to allow excess pink coating to flow back into the bowl.
- Roll in sanding sugar (sneaky trick to hiding any unevenly coated or lumpy spots!) and place on cookie sheet (with stick pointing backwards behind the pop). Immediately press one candy into the top-front of ball to form Love Bug “head”. Press two pieces licorice into cake pop behind head to form antennas. Repeat for all cake pops, rewarming coating as needed. Let coating and sanding sugar set slightly
- Melt white chocolate chips with 5 Tablespoons shortening in a double boiler (or by microwaving and stirring at 30 second intervals) until thin and smooth-coating should run easily off a spoon. Add red food coloring and combine to a dark pink color. Use the same process to melt dark chocolate chips with remaining 2 Tablespoons shortening. Keep both warm (or near hot boiling water to immerse bowls and reheat as needed. Note: a glass measuring cup works really well for this!).
- Place sanding sugar in a small shallow bowl.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper.
- Use a toothpick to draw pink smiles on faces with pink chocolate coating. Use another toothpick or small paint brush to paint one vertical dark chocolate line down the back of each Love Bug body (forming “wings”). Add dark chocolate polka dots as desired. Finally, dab a bit of white frosting on face to form eyes. Either adhere candy eyes to frosting or use a toothpick to dab dark chocolate into frosting to complete eyes. Allow chocolate and frosting to set.