Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Homemade Cake Pops

How to make CAKE POPS from scratch with no cake mix! Homemade vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream cake pops! Recipe on

How was your weekend? We spent most of it celebrating my friend’s birthday. I made a whole mess of treats including this cake (as cupcakes), these cookies, and these cookies too– it’s been way too long since I made a batch of those in particular! The birthday girl loves chocolate and peanut butter and caramel so these 3 were a no brainer.

There’s no batter time (get it? batter?) than a happy occasion to indulge in your favorite treats whether that’s a birthday, shower, wedding, you name it. My mom and sisters threw my baby shower last month and one of the treats they surprised me with was a HUGE display of cake pops. I love cake pops, but hardly ever take the time to make them. Though I did whip up a batch for both of my sisters’ bridal showers in the past few years. (Remember the green and pinks cake pops? They were for a bridal shower!)

See? Special occasions call for super special treats.

How to make CAKE POPS from scratch with no cake mix! Homemade vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream cake pops! Recipe on

The difference between these cake pops and others you may have tried is that these are 100% homemade. There’s no box cake mix or canned frosting, which results in a totally unique cake pop experience. You can actually TASTE the homemade. The love, the passion, and the care that goes into creating each adorable pop.

I first began making homemade cake pops when I wrote Sally’s Candy Addiction. In fact, this recipe is published in the book! I want to share it on the blog as well because I’ve gotten lots of questions about making from-scratch cake pops.

Today we’ll go over all my tips, tricks, and secrets to crafting the peeeeerfect pop as well as the homemade vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream used inside. There’s lots of ground to cover so let’s pop right to it. (Can’t stop with my nerdiness right now.)

Homemade vanilla cake batter on

Since we’re leaving the box cake mix and canned frosting on the store shelves, we’ll need to take a little extra time to prep both from scratch. I always make the cake the night before, then finish the cake pops the next day. Here’s the general process:

  1. Make homemade cake.
  2. Make homemade frosting.
  3. Crumble cake into homemade frosting.
  4. Mix.
  5. Roll into balls.
  6. Dip.
  7. EAT!

Super basic recipes for both the vanilla cake and frosting, but I do encourage you to use the correct size pan for the cake. This cake is too large for a typical 9-inch cake pan. You’ll need to use a 9-inch springform pan since it rises quite high. Or you can use an 11×7 pan instead. A 10-inch springform pan would work as well.

Cake ingredients are straightforward. The basic crew like flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, milk. Same goes with the vanilla frosting: butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, milk (or cream). The difference between this and what you get out of a box is the taste. You can totally tell these cake pops are special and it’s because you started with from-scratch components. WORTH IT!

How to make homemade cake pops on

Now it’s time to crumble the cake up and mix with your frosting.

(Crumbling the cake into the frosting sounds super weird when you think about it and that’s exactly what cake pops are– super weird when you think about it. It’s cake and frosting mixed together to form a truffle-like ball. Pop a stick in it and dunk into coating. Yep, it’s weirdly delicious and awesome and you need to embrace it.)

Left photo: cake crumbled into bowl of frosting. 

Right photo: the two mixed together. 

How to make homemade cake pops on

How to make homemade cake pops on

Once the two are mixed together, it’s time to roll the mixture into balls. And here’s my trick for doing so.

My Rolling Trick

It’s easier to roll the cake + frosting mixture into perfectly round balls if it’s cold. And what I do is roll the balls up right after the two are mixed together. They’re pretty misshapen because the cake + frosting mixture is super moist– and at room temperature. So then I chill the balls in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. After that, I give them another little roll to smooth out the sides. When they’re cold, they’re easier to smooth out and form perfectly round shapes.

So (1) roll (2) chill (3) roll again to smooth out the sides.

The cake balls need to be super chilled before dipping, so this trick gets both steps done!

How to make homemade cake pops on

Now let’s dunk. You can dip the cake balls into pure white chocolate, which is what I prefer for best taste, but that stuff is pretty expensive. And you need a good amount for all 40 cake pops! You can use candy melts/candy coating instead. I give both options in the recipe below along with notes for each choice.

Another trick: to ensure the cake ball stays secure on the lollipop stick, dip it slightly into the coating first. Then stick in the center of the cake ball. See photo above!

And another trick: the best way to allow the coating to dry and set– without ruining the perfectly round cake pop– is to place them right side up in a large styrofoam block or even a box. I used a box, as pictured below, for this batch. I just poked super tiny holes into it. Easy and cheap.

Cake pops will be dry within an hour or so.

How to make homemade cake pops on

Cake pops are a genius celebration-worthy treat to make ahead of time because they freeze beautifully. I simply freeze them in a large zipped-top freezer bag after they’ve fully dried. They’re great for up to 6 weeks, then just let them thaw overnight in the fridge.

I have a few more tips for ya! I went over these in Sally’s Candy Addiction because they’re pretty important to review before you get started.

Cake Pop Tips

  1. Frosting is the best part of cake, right? Well that doesn’t apply to cake pops. Too much frosting produces a super wet and greasy cake pop– not the deliciously moist pop you were expecting. This frosting recipe yields *just enough* to barely moisten those cake crumbs. Proper ratio is imperative here!
  2. The cake balls need to be extremely cold before dipping. Make sure you have enough room in your refrigerator or freezer for them. I always chill them on a large lined baking sheet.
  3. A 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup is the perfect depth for dipping the cake pops.
  4. Tinting the coating brings a fun POP of color! I usually stick to just white + one other color. Or two colors maximum. (Like these.) The teal color I use here is Americolor gel food coloring in teal.
  5. Sprinkles are necessary, of course. But you already knew that.

How to make CAKE POPS from scratch with no cake mix! Homemade vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream cake pops! Recipe on

Homemade Cake Pops


  • 1 and 2/3 cups (208g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk (or buttermilk)


  • 7 Tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 32 ounces candy melts or coating (or pure white chocolate)*
  • sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk to the wet ingredients until combined. Manually whisk the batter to ensure there are no large lumps at the bottom of the bowl. Batter will be slightly thick. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top begins browning too quickly in the oven, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil on top.
  4. All the cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
  5. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes.
  6. Crumble the cooled cake into the bowl on top of the frosting. Make sure there are no large lumps. Turn the mixer on low and beat the frosting and cake crumbles together until combined.
  7. Measure 1 Tablespoon of moist cake mixture and roll into a ball. Place balls on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour. Re-roll the chilled balls to smooth out, if needed. Place back into the fridge as you'll only work with a couple at a time.
  8. Melt the coating in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (best for dunking!). you can use a double boiler or microwave.
  9. Coat the cake balls: Remove only 2-3 cake balls from the refrigerator at a time. Dip a lollipop stick about 1/2 inch into the coating, then insert into the center or the cake ball. Only push it about halfway through the cake ball. Dip the cake ball into the coating until it is completely covered. Make sure the coating covers the base of the cake ball where it meets the lollipop stick. Very gently tap the stick against the edge of the measuring cup to allow excess coating to drop off. Decorate the top with sprinkles and place upright into a styrofoam block or box (as explained above). Repeat with remaining cake balls, only working with some out of the refrigerator at a time. The cake balls must be very cold when dipping!
  10. Coating will set within an hour. Store cake pops in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip: I always make the cake 1 day ahead of time. Cover and keep at room temperature. You can store the undipped cake balls in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 6 weeks. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator then continue with step 9. You can also freeze the finished cake pops for up to 6 weeks once the coating has fully set. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

*You can use candy coating/candy melts, almond bark, or pure white chocolate. If using almond bark or pure white chocolate, chop it up before melting. Melt it down with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to thin out so it's easier to use as a coating. Semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate work as well. Coarsely chop and melt down with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to thin out. Keep warm over a double boiler.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Besides lollipop sticks and the correct size cake pan, you don’t really need much else to get going. Here are all the products I used in case you’re missing some!


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Measuring CupSpringform Pan | Silpat Baking MatHalf Sheet Baking Pan | Lollipop Sticks | Americolor Gel Paste Kit

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

How to make CAKE POPS from scratch with no cake mix! Homemade vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream cake pops! Recipe on


  1. Hi Sally, wow, these are soo good! I made them last week for a neighborhood barbecue and everybody loved them! Thanks for the recipe! I reposted it on my Blog refering to your site and original recipe 🙂

  2. I made these as a test to see if they would be good for an upcoming baby shower, they were approved!!  I changed the shape, I rolled out like sugar cookies and cut shapes.  They need to be think to stay on stick, but turned out great!  Can’t figure out how to post pictures.

  3. Hi Sally’s 🙂 my sister and I are making a bunch for her wedding in August! Yay. Question: a bunch of our cake pops are cracking after being coated. Why is this happening? Do you know? We want them to look super pretty obviously and with out cracks! 
    I’ll email you a picture when we are all finished 🙂 

    We were also wondering if you have any ideas on how to display/present!!! We are making about 150! So many cake pops! 

    Thanks 🙂

    • The super hot chocolate/coating + super cold cake ball. I’d let the coating cool down slightly before dunking. Should help. Have so much fun prepping all of them!!

  4. Hi Sally, these look great! I am planning on making these later this week to take with me for a girls’ weekend. This involves a plane ride (only a 2 hr flight, plus car travel at either end). I am making them the day before I leave. I’m wondering if it would be better to make them and then leave them at room temp until I get to my destination? I am worried if I store them in the fridge before traveling that they will start to “sweat” so to speak, since they will have to be unrefrigerated for quite a while. What do you think would be best? I’m hoping they can survive the journey! Thanks so much!! 🙂

  5. I’m about to make this and don’t have my springform pan. Would a 9×13 pan work?

  6. Hi Sally,

    Can’t wait to try these!! Would any other cake and frostings work too? (Chocolate cake & peanut butter frosting? Strawberry buttercream?)

    • I can’t say for sure without testing myself– ratios may need a little work! Let me know if you try any other flavors.

  7. I’m starting to think about Christmas baking and want to include these. Every year we take trays of cookies to the hospital for the nursing staff and am always looking for new ideas for our trays. I am looking forward to checking out the Christmas cookie recipes! Is anyone else planning their holiday baking?

  8. Hi Sally, big fan 😉 I just published a post featuring your cake pops. I made a little printable to go along with them, if you feel inclined to share that would be super-duper 😉 good luck with your new little bundle of joy headed your way!

  9. Hi Sally,
    I want to make chocolate cake pops using this recipe so what ingredients would you need to add/change to make it chocolate flavoured?

    • I’m unsure– I haven’t tested anything for chocolate!

      • Hi Sally, I’ve made cake pops using your recipe and they have worked perfectly fine! However, everytime I rolled out a ball using the crumbled cake/frosting mixture, the surface with look really crumbly with cracks in it, not like yours in the image above. Is this because I didn’t put enough frosting into the crumbled cake mixture? Also, are there any tips and tricks to making your cake pops looking like round because mine seem to look irregular instead of spheres.

      • Hi Jacinta! It seems like there isn’t enough frosting– did you follow the recipe to make enough? Try your best to roll into smooth round balls. Refrigerating then smoothing out trick helps!

  10. Hi Sally! This look super amazing!!! I’m planning to make this for the bridal shower for my sister. Can the vegetable oil be replaced with canola oil? Thanks! 🙂

  11. Hi Sally!
    First of all, I love your blog and your recipes!
    I loved this cake pops recipe too..and coincidently I have a lot of chocolate cake crumbs with me as I made a cake today and one yesterday. I have baked those cakes for my nephew and the frosting wil be done tomorrow. I was just wondering what I could possibly do with all the cake crumbs when I came upon this recipe. I am planning on using dark chocolate for the dip and get some stunning chocolate cake pops. What do you think?
    I began baking quite recently so I am not an expert baker as such. But your recipes are so easy to follow that I feel each on of these is so doable even by an amateur like me!
    Thanks a ton!

  12. Hi I have never made cake pops before
    these look good but. I have a dumb question.
    Would chocolate cake and chocolate frosting
    work as well ? Do you have a chocolate cake 
    Pop recipe on your website?
    Please let me know. Please e-mail me 
    A response at the e-mail address I am providing 
    In the contact information.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Heather! I don’t have a recipe for chocolate cake pops at this time, sorry! Let me know if you find one you love.

      • Hi sally thank you for your reply. Can I use chocolate cake and chocolate frosting here to make these cake pops?

      • everyone loves these cake pops – thank you Sally for sharing, hoping that you will have a chocolate cake pop recipe for us soon

  13. Domyou have a recipe for chocolate cake pops?

  14. Hello Sally,

    Do you have a recipe for chocolate cake pops? I made these last month and they were a huge hit, but I would really like to try a chocolate version. I tried looking for a solid chocolate cake pop recipe, but most of them use a box mix.

  15. Hi,

    I have a 8″ square pan and a 6″ round pan. Can I divide the batter between them and use?
    Urgent help required as I need to do it tomorrow.

  16. Hey this looks great can’t wait to try!! My icing came out to thin any tips?

  17. Last weekend was my grandmother’s 90th birthday party. I made these cake pops (which are super amazing and yummy), but I wanted to make chocolate ones, too. I read through the comments and saw several asking about a recipe but no tested ones. I decided to try one out on my own and used your triple chocolate cake recipe and added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter. I baked it in a 9×13, let it cool, then cut the center of the cake out, leaving about an inch of cake around the perimeter because my edges got a little crispy. (That made for tasty snacking!) I used this frosting recipe but subbed 1/2 tsp almond paste for the vanilla. They were rich but phenomenal!

  18. These look too pretty to eat!

  19. After staring at this recipe page and waffling for three weeks on whether to attempt these for a baby shower- I’m happy that we went for it!

    Sally, I appreciate the thought you put into each recipe you share. The tips and tricks you recommend definitely make a multi-step recipe like this one seem less daunting. And when I trust it and do what it says, it works every time. 

    Making the cake balls was a process, but not too difficult for this novice baker. I used white candy melts for half the dipping and bittersweet chocolate for the other half. Microwaved, then switched to double boiler method for the candy melts and struggled with seizing toward the end of the half batch. Can I thin candy melts with oil? I felt like it went on a little thick. The chocolate (without oil) went on smoother and thinner but took longer to set. Topped them with sparkly sugar sprinkles!

    I sampled one of the white ones, and while the candy melt shell is quite sweet for my taste, the inner cake ball is so amazing!! They taste homemade and made with love. Another winner! Thank you!

    • Hey Hannah! Love reading this! Thank you so much for taking the time to report back to me about these homemade cake pops. I always add a little canola or vegetable oil (not coconut oil or anything that sets at room temp) to help thin out the candy melts. Just a 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon.

  20. I was so excited to give this recipe a shot. The cake baked beautifully and tastes great. However, once dipped (I used chips and the chocolate didn’t stick as I expected) and placed in the box to dry, the cake fell off the stick. I lost my patience and gave up. Lucky me, my friends ate the plain cake balls. 

    • Hi Maria Luisa! How large did you roll the cake balls? Because they’ll fall right off if they’re even the slightest bit larger. Sorry you had trouble!

  21. Hi Sally!

    Do you think these would work well as pseudo-truffles? I would just not put them on the stick.

    Thank you!!

  22. Hi Sally,

    Have you ever tried a cream cheese frosting to hold the cake pops together? The reason being is that I going to try red velvet cake and thought that would be a nice compliment in flavor. 

  23. Hi sally, I was asked to recreate starbucks birthday cake pops and when I came across your homemade cake pop recipe I knew it would be phenomenal! They were better than starbucks and I added sprinkles to the cake batter as well. Reposted on my blog and referenced your blog as well. Thanks for never letting us down with your fabulous recipes!

  24. I don’t usually comment on things but I tried this recipe and they turned out perfect and amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I did have a problem with the candy coating cracking on a few of my pops but I looked it up and maybe the candy coating was too hot. Can’t wait to try the chocolate ones.

  25. Can you melt down white chocolate chips with a little vegetable oil and dye it? 

  26. Hi Sally!

    I was planning on using a box of Trader Joe’s vanilla cake mix, then making your frosting. Do you think the amount of frosting this recipe yields is the right amount to go with a box of standard cake mix?

  27. I made these with my 3 year old daughter and they turned out awesome. Your tips were so helpful and they were so tasty, she kept asking for “ooooonnnneee more little cake pop please!” Yum, they were better than the Starbucks version. Thank you for a delicious and fun recipe that made for great memories!

  28. Hi! So excited to make these for upcoming party. About how many does this recipe make? Thanks so much plz lmk ASAP! Love you and your blog

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