Healthy Cake Pops are the perfect compromise – a treat your kids will absolutely adore, but without the junk. Take the favorite treat on a stick and put a healthy, breakfast for kids twist on it with this sugar free cake pop recipe. This quick and healthy option can be made nut free and gluten free, uses leftover pancakes (shh!) and ingredients you probably already have around the house.
This post was originally posted on July 18, 2017 and has since been updated.
On Ryan’s birthday when he was 2, I got him one of those seasonal Pirate Cake Pops and he was immediately in love.
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.
The Key to making a healthier cake pop..
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. There were also cake pops made in those weird cake pop machines. Again, not what I wanted.
Instead, I did some thinking and found a way to give my kids cake pops first thing in the morning under the guise of breakfast. Enter: leftover pancakes.
The base? My favorite pancakes. You could also play around though and switch the flavor. I love these apple cinnamon pancakes and these healthy cinnamon ricotta pancakes. I’ve even used my spinach pancakes for a fun green food option.
The pancakes allow for you to create the texture of a ‘traditional’ cake pop without using actual cake. This way we can manipulate our “base” to be protein packed, whole wheat, gluten free, sugar free – whatever you want, really.
While pancakes aren’t exactly quinoa, they can be quite a bit healthier than actual cake. This way, you can control the sugar component more.
If you’re looking for cake, this collection of healthy cake recipes is for you!
How to make kid and mom friendly sugar free cake pops
Making these sugar free treats is super simple and would be a fun way to get littles in the kitchen with you! Here’s how to make your own.
First, make the cake balls.
This is really the meat of the cake pop. Some people call these cake truffles, and it make sense when you try the smooth, creamy, sweet insides of the treat. Here’s how we make our pancake version.
- Break up the pancakes. Pulse 12 leftover in your food processor or high-speed blender until you have fine crumbs. Substitute the sugar for maple syrup or honey to cut down on refined sugar in your favorite recipe. if you want a completely sugar free option.
- Make your frosting. Next, whip up your brick of cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Taste the mixture to see if you’d like more maple syrup. I use this sugar free frosting recipe.
- Mix it up. Combine your crumbled pancakes and the cream cheese mixture well. Use your hands and just mush everything together. Add in some mini chocolate chips if you please.
- Form your balls. 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.
Then, make your sugar free candy coating:
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.
- 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.
- When combined well with no lumps, pour into a container. A taller container works best so you’ll 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. This 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.
If you want cake pops with no lip on top, you’ll have to set them 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 chips onto wax paper and place your healthy cake pops on top.
And that’s it, my friends! 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 thawing a bit before enjoying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Totally! I love these because they’re so customizable and easy to make. Use your favorite gluten free pancake recipe. Sub in almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter.
Unfortunately, with the coating they need to be kept pretty chilled. If the temp is warm enough to liquefy coconut oil, you’ll need to pop them in the fridge. If you want to travel with these, I’d just use normal candy coating.
It’s doable! A few tios: one, cold pop are important! Next, dip your stick in the coating then insert into the cake ball. Pop in the freezer a few minutes to set. Finally, rather than dipping straight down, go in on it’s side and twirl the cake pop. It gives you better control.
Yup! The coating is yummy with just coconut oil and peanut butter, and you can easily find a sugar free pancake recipe. You can also use a sugar substitute like monk fruit or stevia.
Some final tips for making Healthy Cake Pops
- Use leftover pancakes. Double your normal, favorite pancake recipe and put half into the fridge. I try to always double or triple my pancake recipes so i can freeze them and have quick snacks.
- You can use any kind of nut butter or seed butter to these to make the allergy friendly. Gluten-free pancakes would also work with this recipe.
- The coating will need a second layer if it’s too thin. If you think your coating is too thin, allow it to cool a bit more to thicken up. You can also place the pops into the freezer for 5 minutes between double dipping.
- I like using a 1 TBS cookie scoop when making these to that they are uniform.
- If you’re having issues getting the cake balls to stay on the stick, dip them in the coating before putting into the cake pop. Then, return to the freezer to cool for 5 minutes or so.
You may need….
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I recently found this cake pop kit and it’s awesome! Instead of rolling by hand, pop the mixture into the silicone trays and let them firm up in there. So genius. This pack also comes with sticks, but if you need just the sticks, try these: Wilton 6 Inch Lollipop Sticks I like them because they’re long for kiddos.
Healthy Cake Pops
These sugar-free cake pops are the perfect balance of fun and healthy. They would even make a fun breakfast on the go! Make it nut free by subbing in sunflower seed butter, or gluten-free by using GF pancakes. Either way, your kids will love this healthy alternative to a coffee shop favorite!
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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!