If you like plenty of icing with your cake, sometimes a regular cake slice just won't cut it. Cake pops, with the cake and icing all mixed up together, are a much better way to get your frosting fix. Not only are they an icing lover's dream, they're conveniently bite-sized and you can decorate them to suit any occasion. They start with crumbled-up cake, which is easiest if the cake isn't too moist.
Don't Be Fresh
The important thing to remember about cake pop recipes is that they were originally created by bakers looking for ways to use up leftover cake and cake trimmings. If you start off without leftover cake and have to bake one especially to make the cake pops, you may find that it's too moist to crumble properly. Some cakes will cooperate and some won't, depending on the recipe or mix you've used. Leaving the cake to sit out for two or three days would help, but you might not have that kind of time. There are a few ways to speed up the process, though.
Age It in a Hurry
If you've got all day, you can just cut the cake into long strips about a half-inch thick and lay them out to dry on a wire cooling rack. Turn them a few times during the day, and after six to 10 hours – depending on how humid it is where you live – they should be dry enough to work with.
If you need crumbs in a real hurry, turn your oven to its lowest setting and put the rack of cake slices on a sheet pan to catch the crumbs. Then slide it onto your oven's middle rack. If your oven has convection, turn on the fan as well. The gentle heat of the oven will bring your drying time down to an hour or two, depending on your oven's minimum temperature. Either way, the cake slices are ready when you can easily break one and crumble it into pieces without the crumbs forming a ball and sticking to your fingers.
The actual crumbling part of the process isn't hard. At its simplest, you can just break your cake a piece at a time into a mixing bowl, pressing the larger lumps between your fingers to break them down further into coarse crumbs. This takes a little while, especially if you're doing a whole cake. As an alternative, you can grate the cake on the side of a box grater to speed things up. For finer, more even crumbs, another option is to use a wire-mesh strainer or sifter. Put your cake pieces into the sifter a few at a time and press them through with your fingertips.
The fastest method of all is to use your food processor. Pulse the cake pieces a few at a time, dump the crumbs into your mixing bowl and repeat until you've used all the cake. If you end up with more crumbs than you need for your batch of cake pops, pack up the leftovers in an airtight bag and pop them in your freezer for another day.