Healthy Cake Pops are the perfect compromise – a treat your kids will absolutely adore, but without the junk. Take your kids favorite treat on a stick and put a healthy, breakfast twist on it with this Healthy Cake Pop recipe with no refined sugar, healthy fats, and a secret ingredient. This quick and healthy breakfast can be made nut free and gluten free and uses a leftover ingredient you probably already have around the house. No more arguing with your kids when you go to your favorite coffee house – promise them a healthy snack when they get home!
Last week we went to Starbucks as a family and while sitting in the drive through waiting to place our order, Ryan started screaming for an “ARR POP!” and my eyes got reeeeeeeaaaal wide.
On Ryan’s birthday in May, I got him one of those seasonal Pirate Cake Pops and he was immediately in love. I had bought him 2 since, both after doctor’s appointments, and I may have bred an addiction. So much so that Alex asked me what on earth I was feeding him when he wasn’t around. My entire reason for never getting him that kind of stuff at Starbucks for the first 3 years was because I didn’t want it to be a ‘thing’ every time we went to get coffee.
So, I quickly went into research mode to find healthy cake pops that I could give him without essentially giving him sugar on a stick and I found… nothing. Okay, that’s not true. I found date balls on a stick, which while tasty, was not what I wanted and definitely not what Ryan wanted or cake pops made in those weird cake pop machines. But to be honest, I do not have space in my house to buy a machine that I’ll use once and then probably never again (let’s be honest, people.) so I needed to think of a different way to enjoy a healthy cake pop.
And then, my lovely, lovely husband came to the rescue. One day while talking about the stupid Arr Pops, Alex said I should make some kind of healthy breakfast version to find our healthy cake pop solution. He was half joking, half serious, suggesting mushed up bread on a stick, and while I rolled my eyes, it did get my wheels turning.
Because really, it wasn’t a bad idea. Okay, mushed up bread on a stick is a bad idea, but healthy cake pops based in breakfast food? Not a bad idea.
Need more healthy cake recipes? Check out: Healthy Cake Recipes – tips, tricks, and healthier cakes
So I did a bit of experimenting and came up with these healthy cake pops. The base? My favorite pancakes.
The pancakes allow for you to create the texture of a ‘traditional’ cake pop without using actual cake. Feel free to use whole wheat to make your pancakes, as that will increase your health factor. While pancakes aren’t exactly quinoa, they are a bit healthier than actual cake and you can control the sugar component more.
Since first making these, I’ve tried them with a few different recipes, including my apple cinnamon pancakes and ricotta toddler pancakes and they work just fine. Meaning these could easily be made whole wheat, gluten free – whatever.
To make your own healthy cake pops, you’ll pulse 12 leftover, cooled pancakes in your food processor or high-speed blender until you have a container of fine crumbs. I used a regular pancake recipe here. the best part is you can double your normal pancake recipe and eat half for breakfast. I haven’t experimented yet, but I bet if you made a sheet pan pancake it would work the same. Just use one batch of the sheet pan pancake or 12 pancake equivalent for it.
I used 12 pancakes that I made using a 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. I always make 2-3x the recipe when I’m making pancakes so I can freeze extras to use later. I also usually substitute the sugar for maple syrup or honey to cut down on refined sugar.
After, whip up your brick of cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Taste to see if you’d like more maple syrup. When everything is ready, combine your pancake ‘flour’ and the cream cheese mixture well. Use your hands and just mush everything together. Add in some mini chocolate chips if you please (I always do) – about 2 handfuls went into my batch.
Scoop out the dough into balls – I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop because it’s my favorite kitchen tool. Press your dough firmly to make sure they are nice and tight before your refrigerate them.
Next, you’re going to work on the coating. Normally, cake pops are coated in a thick shell of candy coating or melted chocolate. All fine and dandy unless you’re trying to make one that’s a bit healthier. I should note before I go any further into this coating, that if you’re looking for something that travels well, you might want to stick to a thin coating of chocolate. This coating melts at room temp due to the coconut oil. But if you’re okay with that, keep reading. (If you want to put them into a lunch box or something, I’d suggest ice packs and freezing it ahead of time before putting the cake pops in in the morning. I think that would be a safe bet. If anyone experiments, please let me know! They’ll still be tasty if melted, just messy!)
To make your coating, melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil and mix with 1 cup of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of honey. You can use maple syrup for continuity sake, but I find it gives a bit of a different texture. Still delicious though and works just as well. When combined well with no lumps, pour into a container that is a bit taller – I actually put mine back into the empty PB jar. That way you have more room for dipping without having to spoon the coating onto the cake pops.
Dip your cake pops into the mixture and tap firmly to get off the excess. The coating should be cooled enough to firm up almost instantly to the chilled cake pop after dipping and tapping, that way you don’t have a ton dripping down the stick. If you find this to be an issue, return the cake pops to the freezer and cool down the peanut butter mixture (while still remaining liquid – stir it often) until you get the desired effect.
If you want cake pops with no lip on top, you’ll have to set them pop up/stick down. I poked holes into cardboard to make my set up. Sprinkle with mini chips or sprinkles if desired while your coating is still slightly wet.
Alternatively, place about a tablespoon of mini chips onto wax paper to tin foil and place your healthy cake pops on top.
ENJOY! You can either eat your healthy cake pops within about a week or freeze them – this makes about 36 so freezing some isn’t a bad idea. If you freeze, just allow to thaw a bit before enjoying.
Tips for making Healthy Cake Pops
- Use left over pancakes. Double your normal, favorite pancake recipe and put half into the fridge.
- You can use any kind of nut butter or seed butter or these to make the allergy friendly. Gluten free pancakes would also work with this recipe.
- The coating will need a second layer if its too thin. If you think your coating is too thin, either allow it to cool a bit more to thicken up, or place them into the freezer for 5 minutes between dipping.
- I like using a 1 TBS cookie scoop when making these to that they are uniform.
I should mention that there are relatively healthy. There is no refined sugar (unless you add it to your pancakes or if you add chocolate chips) no candy coating, no pound of frosting. But I although they do contain healthy fats, protein, and potentially whole grains if you use whole wheat pancakes, I can’t say you should serve them every single day for breakfast.
Want to get the kids involved?
This is a fun recipe to get your kid to help with since (other than cooking the pancakes ahead of time and heating the coating) it’s a “safe” recipe. My boys love pulsing the food processor after I add the pancakes and lock the lid. Dipping and decorating is always a kid favorite, but let’s be honest – kids will LOVE squishing the pancakes and ‘frosting’ together most of all. It’s also a great opportunity to remind littles about kitchen rules and hand washing!
If you want to boost up the healthy factor on these healthy cake pops, try using a hidden veggie pancake. Green spinach pancakes would be a fun surprise to bite into, but I think next time I’ll try these cauliflower pancakes from Super Healthy Kids.
Healthy Cake Pops
Healthy Cake Pops Recipe
Healthy Cake Pops are the perfect compromise - a treat your kids will absolutely adore, but without the junk. Take your kids favorite treat on a stick and put a healthy, breakfast twist on it with this Healthy Cake Pop recipe with no refined sugar, healthy fats, and a secret ingredient.
For the Cake
- 12 cooled pancakes
- 1 8- ounce brick of cream cheese softened
- 2-4 TBS of maple syrup
For the Coating
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 cup of nut butter
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil melted
- 2 TBS of honey
- optional: mini chocolate chips sprinkles, nuts, etc
Pulse the pancakes in a blender or food processor until fine crumbs. Whip cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Combine the pancake crumbs and cream cheese mixture well. Add about .5 cup of chocolate chips if desired. Scoop into balls (I used a 1 TBS cookie scoop) and refrigerate.
Stir together melted coconut oil, nut butter (I used peanut butter) and honey until smooth. Remove chilled cake balls from the refrigerator before dipping the ends of your sticks into the peanut butter mixture and inserting into the balls. Place into the freezer until the peanut butter mixture sets well.
Dip each pop into your nut butter coating, tapping well to remove excess before decorating is desired and allow to set in the refrigerator.
Enjoy your healthy cake pops right from the refrigerator within a week or freeze until ready to enjoy.
Okay, so tell me – are your kids addicted to something incredibly inconvenient? (like treats at the coffee shop..) do they dig cake pops? Would they like healthy cake pops? Let me know in the comments!
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