It’s ok. It’s happened to all of us. You finally mastered cake pops using chocolate candy melts, you’re feeling pretty damn good about yourself, and then you decide to move on to purple thinking it’s going to be a breeze. It’s a candy melt so it should behave the same, right? Yeah….that’s the day you find out that purple is a massive dick. It behaves nothing like the chocolate candy melts and you’re on the verge of tears.
After a couple years of making cake pops and cake balls, I finally decided to compile a list of what brands I prefer in each color. It sucks that every color is better in a different brand, but that’s the life of a cake popper-every damn thing has to be a pain in the ass. Hopefully this list will help you on your ventures. I’ve only used Merckens, Guittard A’Peels and Wilton’s. I’ve heard good and bad things about Make and Mold, but I haven’t used it. As for almond bark, I find it to be sweeter than what I prefer. Word.
Remember: Candy melts behave differently in different climates, have different finishes depending on age, and pretty much act like a sullen teenager. If you want instructions on melting candy melts, this is how I go about it.
All candy melt photos shown are of Merckens Candy melts purchased from The Biggest Little Cake Shoppe. It doesn’t mean it’s what I prefer, but they are the prettiest out of the bag.
RED (I’m in Reno, and didn’t have a red melt to take a picture of because I forgot to buy a bag. My bad. Here’s a picture of red lipstick).
Hands down, Guittard A’Peels is my favorite red candy melt. It melts smoothly and is easy dippable (is that a word???). The only caveat is A’Peels can be finicky and crack easily. So make sure your cake ball isn’t too cold, and your candy melts isn’t too hot. And don’t try to look directly at the cake pop as it’s drying. It’s like making eye contact with Medusa.
Baby Pink: Wilton’s pink mixed with Merckens Super White or Guittard A’Peels White. This makes an awesome blush color as well.
Hot Pink: This photo is Merckens, but I personally don’t like the way it melts or dries. Your favorite white mixed with Wilton’s Pink CANDY food coloring has been my go to (Or Wilton’s Pink candy melts mixed with Wilton’s Pink CANDY food coloring for a super vibrant hot pink). The pink CANDY coloring is available in the 4-pack of CANDY food coloring along with green, violet and black. Why do I keep typing CANDY in all caps? Because regular food coloring will not work with candy melts. It has to be oil based or powdered. If you’re that kid that has to make your own mistakes to learn, have at it. But you’ll be sad/pissed/irritated.
Merckens. This is one of the colors I tend to add a bit of Paramont Crystals to, and sometimes I find the coverage to be a bit translucent so I end up double dipping. Yaaaaayyyyyy…..
This is one of my least favorite colors to work with. No matter what brand I use, I end up adding an exorbitant amount of paramount crystals to. So, I end up choosing between Wilton’s and Merckens depending on the finish I want. Soft, pale yellow that remind you of chirping chicks? Merckens. Bright, happy sunshine yellow? Wilton’s. Even brighter, happier yellow? Add yellow CANDY food coloring or powdered food coloring to Wilton’s.
This one is a toss-up between A’Peels and Merckens. I like the way the A’Peels melts, but the Merckens has a sturdier finish. They’re both a nice solid green color. Sooo…that’s all on green.
Sky Blue: I prefer Merckens because it tastes better, but Wilton’s is totally acceptable to work with. They both melt great, require little Paramount Crystals, and are a great base for other shades of blue. Except Navy Blue. If at all possible, don’t try to make that ish. Just buy it pre-colored.
Navy Blue: Merckens. FTW. Paramount Crystals necessary. Clasen’s has a nice one as well, but it’s harder to come by in my neck of the woods.
I LOATHE PURPLE. I cannot begin to describe the disdain I have for this God-forsaken color. If you have followed me for some time, you know that I had to make a hell of a lot of purple cake ball cakes…I even had one order where someone ordered 26 (TWENTY-SIX) purple and white cake ball cakes. No matter what, this damn color will crack or dry splotchy. And the moment you think all your pops are good to go, they will start cracking like a perp in an interrogation room.
Lavender-Wilton’s. I use Wilton’s lavender. If you need a deeper purple, you can add the Americolor or Wilton’s Candy coloring (OIL BASED) or start with Merckens and add coloring if dark, dark purple is needed.
Instruction on custom colors would take another blog post, as it does require discussion about the color wheel. It’s late and I’m sleepy. In the meantime, here’s a fancy color chart from Shop Baker’s Nook using Merckens Candy Melts (oh hey, they sell Merckens candy melts too! HOLY CRAP THEY HAVE GREEK YOGURT FLAVORED WAFERS!). It’s a great resource to get you started on custom colors. Don’t forget that colors on your monitor may look different than real-life, so don’t be cursing my name if you try this out. Click on the photo to expand it.
- Candy Melts are not the same as real chocolate. Real chocolate contains cocoa butter and must be tempered (but in all honesty tastes the best).
- White Candy Melts-Merckens Super White or Guittard A’Peels (but A’Peels are tempermental). UM, I just recently discovered Ghiradelli Melts. Hello, dreamy!
- Chocolate Candy Melts-Merckens Dark Cocoa or Ghiradelli Dark Cocoa melts. Yes. Yes. Yes.
- Use Paramount Crystals to thin out your melts. You can also use shortening or vegetable oil, but I find Paramount Crystals are flavorless and won’t affect the firmness.
- The more saturated you make the color, the more you are altering the taste.
- When making pastel colors, start with your favorite white and add colored melts 1 disk at a time, or candy food coloring 1 drop at a time.
- Use food coloring specifically for CANDY. This means oil based (Americolor or Wilton’s) or powdered (Linnea’s). Keep in mind powdered food coloring is harder to incorporate into your melts, especially in large quantities.
- Dark Chocolate mixed with Navy blue makes a great black. You can even add some black CANDY coloring to deepen it. It’ll look grey while melted but will harden and cool to a chalkboard black.