Meringue pops are my favourite cake toppers because it’s easy to pipe any shape and to create lots of colour and texture, AND they’re delicious! My recipe makes about 24 meringue pops, depending on their size, but you can easily halve or double the recipe depending on how many you need. If you prefer to watch a video of this tutorial, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Start by separating 4 eggs by cracking the eggs and then passing the yolk back and forth between the eggshells, letting the whites fall down into a bowl underneath. Make sure you don’t get any of the yolk into the egg whites! To be safe you can transfer the egg whites one at a time into the bowl of your mixer, so that if you do spill any egg yolk into the bowl you’ll only be contaminating one egg white.
You can use the yolks to make lemon curd or any flavour of curd, which makes a delicious filling for cakes or you can fold it into your frosting for a strong fruity flavour. If you’re weighing your egg whites, maybe because you bought egg whites in a carton, you’ll need about 160g or 5 1/2 oz.
Pour the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer and add 1 cup of sugar, which is 225g or 8oz, and add a pinch of salt.
Heat a small saucepan of water over high heat until it’s boiling. Turn the heat off and place your mixing bowl on top of the saucepan. Whisk the egg white mixture together for 2 minutes,
Pinch some of the egg white mixture and rub your thumb and finger together. If you feel any grains of sugar, whisk for another minute. When the mixture is smooth, move the bowl to your mixer and use a whisk attachment to whisk on the highest speed until stiff peaks form, which takes about 7 minutes.
While the egg whites are thickening, prepare your piping bags by fitting them with whatever piping tips you’d like to use. I like using any star shapes, like the typical 1M tip and open star tips like an 8B or 4B or #32 or #199 work really well too.
Fold the tops of your piping bags over so that they’ll be easier to fill, with less mess.
Now check on your egg whites. This is the texture you’re looking for: while the whisk is whisking, you’ll see texture in the egg whites that stays there, it doesn’t sink back into the egg whites by the time the whisk gets back around to that part of the bowl again.
Lift the whisk out of the bowl and the whisk should leave a peak in the egg whites that stays upright even after removing the whisk. It’s fine if the peak droops slightly.
Now look at the egg white on the whisk. There should be a peak at the top of the whisk that might fold over slightly at the end, but if you hold the whisk upright the peak of egg whites should hold its shape.
The egg whites should look thick and glossy. Spoon the mixture into your piping bags or into bowls, which you can tint using gel colours. Try to fold the colour in gently instead of stirring aggressively. Spoon all of your colours of meringue into piping bags and now you’re ready to pipe!
Line a baking tray or two with parchment paper or a non-slip mat. Place a paper straw down and hold it steady with one hand while you pipe with the piping bag in the other hand.
I’m piping hearts with an 8B piping tip, squeezing the piping bag and moving the bag slightly away from me to make a bulge at the top and then pulling the bag back towards me and releasing my pressure on the bag as I swipe away to make the tip at the bottom of the heart.
You can use a toothpick to pull off any stray strands of meringue to tidy up the shape. If you want to, you can place sprinkles on the shape now and they’ll bake into the meringue pops. You can make these on parchment paper instead of a silicone mat and the process is exactly the same.
If you pipe a shape you don’t like you can wipe it off with a paper towel and pipe something else instead. Toothpicks are really useful to pop any air bubbles in the meringues or to tidy up any imperfections.
For a swirl, use any star tip but a 1M or 2D are my favourites. Start piping at the top of a straw and as you spiral outwards you’ll cover up more of the straw, which the meringue will attach to.
If you don’t want to hold the straw as you pipe, to stop it from moving, you can pipe a dot of meringue onto the baking tray first and push the straw into that to hold it steady, and then pipe your swirl or whatever shape you’re piping.
I like to add sprinkles to match the colour scheme of my cake, or if I’m going to use a certain sprinkle mix to make a sprinkle boarder around the bottom of a cake I’ll use that same sprinkle mix to decorate my meringue pops. It takes a bit of planning ahead but I think it’s worth the effort because it really brings everything on the cake together.
You can alternate the direction of the meringue pops to fit more on each tray. Pipe half of them upside down, to fit a meringue pop at the bottom in between two other meringue pops.
If you use a round tip you won’t create texture on the meringue. If you over-mix the meringue when you add colour you’ll make the meringue runny and it won’t hold the texture of the piping tip as well as meringue that isn’t over-mixed. If that happens you can use a toothpick to flatten any unwanted texture to make a smooth shape with no texture.
To make a shape with LOTS of texture and as much colour as you like, draw or trace a shape onto the parchment paper and place a straw down so that it stops at the mid point of the shape. The pencil WILL transfer onto the back of your shape so it’s a good idea to flip the parchment paper over before you start piping.
Use a variety of piping tips and techniques to fill the shape, piping swirls and rosettes and whatever other textures you like. I’m using a few shades of pale pink for this heart but you can make it as colorful as you like!
This would be a fun way to create numbers to use as cake toppers for a birthday cake. When I make meringue pops I try to make them for several cakes at a time to make the most of the batch, since it takes a few minutes to prepare the meringue mixture so I like to maximize that time spent by sharing it amongst several cakes!
You can also make these meringue pops as treats on their own, and you can skip the straws if you like. You can pipe little meringue kisses with a 1M tip or any other star tip and press them into the frosting on top or on the side of a cake, or they work really well on top of number cakes to add a bit of colour.
After piping all of your meringues, bake them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Celsius for 90 minutes. By cooking them at a low temperature you’ll prevent the meringue discoloring. Also, at this temperature my paper straws don’t burn and I’ve also used cookie pop sticks and those don’t burn either. If you don’t have either of those, you can even use toothpicks or wooden skewers!
After 90 minutes, when you touch a meringue pop it should be firm, not soft or sticky. If it’s still sticky, cook them for another 15 minutes and then try again. When the meringue pops are cooked, turn the oven off but leave the meringue pops in the oven for another 2 hours. After 1 hour of cooling I crack the oven door open so that the pops cool completely. By letting the meringue pops cool this gradually, you’re preventing them from cracking.
When they’re cool you’ll be able to lift them easily off the parchment paper or silicon mat. Most sprinkles stay shiny when you bake them and the paper straws don’t burn because the baking temperature is so low.
After they cool, I store my meringue pops in a large Tupperware like a cake caddy so that they stay crispy. I put a piece of parchment paper in between each layer of meringues to male sure they don’t stick to each other. They’ll be fine like this for a week. If you don’t store them in an airtight container they’ll get soggy.
I push the pops into the cake as close to serving as possible, so that they stay crispy. If the straws are too long you can cut them so that they don’t stick up as high out of the cake, and it’s really easy to cut paper straws so I like using them instead of cookie pops. They also come in every colour imaginable so you can match the colour scheme of your cake! I like to vary the height of each of the meringue pops.
These meringue pops add so much texture and colour to cakes that they make even a very simple, frosted cake look fancy!