Chocolate Cake Pops

Chocolate cake pops from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on

This time last year I introduced you to Sally’s Baking Challenge. Can you believe it? A whole year? That means 12 challenge recipes including the very first one, which also landed a spot on the 2017 most popular recipe list: chocolate lava cakes!! (Here are the top 10 recipes of 2017 if you missed that.)

Chocolate HAD to be included in February’s Baking Challenge again. I decided on chocolate cake pops because many of you request them, especially after I shared my favorite vanilla version. Your wish is my command.

What I love most, however, is that you have creative control. You can decorate these cake pops in your own unique way, which makes the challenge 100x more fun.


Chocolate cake pops from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on

I have plenty of step-by-step photos and lots of tips/tricks. I want you to understand every instruction so you can follow along and know what the heck you’re doing. The process isn’t difficult– you’re literally just baking a chocolate cake and making frosting then mixing them together. Things just get a little particular when it comes to rolling, lollipop-sticking, and dunking/dipping. If you can make bread bowls, you can totally handle cake pops! (They’re more fun to eat too… sprinkles!)

By the way, if you’ve ever eaten store-bought cake pops– these taste totally different. They’re from scratch. No cake mix. No canned frosting. No preservatives or other crap-o-la. You can actually TASTE the homemade. ♥


  1. Make single layer chocolate cake
  2. Make just enough homemade chocolate frosting
  3. Crumble the cake
  4. Mix the two together
  5. Form into cake balls
  6. Dip the cake balls in chocolate

Quick tip: Whenever I make cake pops from scratch, I always begin the night before. I make the cake, cover it, and let it sit out at room temperature overnight. I also prepare the frosting, cover, and refrigerate. This way everything’s ready to go.

Ok let’s do this thing!

Chocolate cake pops from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on


It might seem like the switch from vanilla cake pops to chocolate cake pops is easy. Replace some flour with cocoa powder, right? And vanilla frosting with chocolate frosting? I wish! Chocolate is a complicated soul and requires a little finesse. I baked a couple single layer chocolate cakes before stopping at this one. The first few began with creamed butter + sugar. My favorite chocolate cakes and cupcakes typically rely on oil for the fat because (1) HELLO MOISTURE and (2) the flavor of butter really isn’t necessary because chocolate overpowers it anyway. My initial thought with cake pops, however, was that I needed a slightly drier cake to get the best texture for cake pops (because it will be mixed with frosting). Well this was just a huge mess from the start because dry cake is gross.

That being said, you’ll need oil for the cake. And a few other basics like cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and eggs. Hot water is also a must. Remember why? The hot liquid encourages the cocoa powder to bloom and dissolve. When I make chocolate cake, I usually reach for hot coffee (instead of hot water) because coffee accentuates the chocolate favor– but that’s not as crucial here. Because we’re just crumbling the cake and mixing with chocolate frosting!

Homemade chocolate cake for chocolate cake pops on

By the way, you can totally enjoy this chocolate cake on its own. If you ever need a single layer chocolate cake– use this guy. It’s so good. Like, italicize and bold good. Deep and dark chocolate flavor. Super moist. Super rich. Top with chocolate buttercream, peanut butter frosting, or red wine chocolate ganache. (!!!)

What was a little more difficult than testing the perfect single layer chocolate cake was figuring out how much frosting I needed. Too much frosting and the cake pops are wet and greasy. Too little frosting and you won’t have enough to bind the cake crumbles. I have the perfect amount of frosting you’ll need. It’s not much because the chocolate cake is already so moist.

Chocolate frosting for chocolate cake pops on

Crumble the cake into the bowl of frosting and yes, you’ll feel very weird doing this. You just made this beautiful chocolate cake and will now break it up into a bowl of frosting. Because that’s what cake pops are– cake crumbs and frosting. Weird.

Crumble up and use your mixer to combine the frosting + crumbs:

How to make chocolate cake pops on

How to make chocolate cake pops on

Once the two are mixed together, it’s time to roll the mixture into balls. This part is EASY. I found the chocolate cake pops much easier to roll into balls than my vanilla version. This mixture is just sooo smooth! Your hands will get a little sticky, but just roll with it. Hahahaha get it? get it?


Smaller wins. If you roll the cake pops too large, they’ll wobble off the lollipop stick. They’re too heavy. You need 1 Tablespoon of the cake pop mixture per ball. No more, no less. You’ll end up with 40 of them. Quite a lot– but these babies freeze beautifully! And you can gift them to anyone and everyone. Who doesn’t love a homemade cake pop? Seriously WHO.

How to make chocolate cake pops on

These cake balls need to chill in the refrigerator before we pop ’em with a lollipop stick. Why? They’re much too delicate right now; they’ll completely fall apart. Which reminds me… you do NOT have to make these as pops. You can make them truffle style by simply rolling them up and coating in chocolate. Either way you enjoy them, chill the cake balls before coating. I just place them on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate them for a couple hours.

Speaking of chocolate, you can dunk the cake balls into pure chocolate, which is what I prefer for best taste, but that’s pretty expensive. 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.

How to make chocolate cake pops on


  1. 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.
  2. 2-cup glass liquid measuring cup is the perfect depth for dipping the cake pops. If I’m using pure chocolate, like I did in these photos, I melt it in a double boiler then spoon a little at a time into the measuring cup. I don’t like dipping right into the whole pot of melted chocolate.
  3. 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. (This is my vanilla version.)

Homemade cake pops on

Contrary to my wordy post (sorry!!!) and 1 million photos, I promise chocolate cake pops are simple. As long as you follow my tips in this post and get started the night before per my suggestion, it’s simple!

Chocolate cake pops from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on

If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate February Baking Challenge:

After you make the baking challenge recipe or alternative, share your photos throughout this month using #sallysbakingchallenge on Instagram or Twitter, or upload a photo of your recipe to my Facebook page or Facebook group. By doing so, you’re automatically entered in the $250 giveaway!!

Chocolate Cake Pops


  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (31g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120mll) canola, vegetable, or melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water

Chocolate Frosting

  • 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


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


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch pan (round or square) or 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water, and whisk everything together until combined. Make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients hiding.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
  4. 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. This isn't a lot of butter and it will get stuck on the sides of the bowl, so you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to really help get it creamed. Add confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons of heavy cream/milk, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until it really comes together. Add another teaspoon of milk/cream if it looks a little too thick.
  5. 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.
  6. Measure 1 scant 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.
  7. Melt the coating in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (best for dunking!). Use a microwave or you can use a double boiler and pour some at a time into the liquid measuring cup. Let the coating cool down for a few minutes before you begin dipping. If it's too hot when you dip, the coating will crack.
  8. Coat the cake balls: Remove only 2-3 cake balls from the refrigerator at a time. (Keep the rest cold!) 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 - 3/4 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!
  9. 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 7. 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 semi-sweet chocolate. If using almond bark or pure 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. Bittersweet, white chocolate, 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. You can also temper pure chocolate for the coating. My full tempering tutorial is in Sally's Candy Addiction if you have a copy.

Want to skip the lollipop stick? Go for it. Just dip the cake balls in melted or tempered chocolate to make delicious chocolate cake truffles. Whenever I dip truffles, I always use this spiral dipping tool. Place the truffle in the chocolate and lift it out with the dipping tool. Quickly flip it upside down on a lined baking sheet. You can see exactly how I do this in this video (scroll down for video): dark chocolate chocolate rum truffles. Go to the 1 minute mark. That’s how I dip and neatly release truffles. So easy!

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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.

Chocolate cake pops from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on


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

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Measuring Cup | Springform Pan | Silpat Baking Mat | Half Sheet Baking Pan | Lollipop Sticks

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.

Chocolate cake pops from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on



  1. Denise Selby on February 19, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Sally, 
    Can I use butter in place of the oil in the cake?

    • Sally on February 19, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Denise! I don’t recommend it.

  2. Denise Selby on February 25, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Hey Sally, one more question.. I was not able to get all my cake pops coated in chocolate. How should I store the melted chocolate until I can continue dipping. (Hopefully tomorrow)

    • Sally on February 26, 2018 at 6:43 am

      Hi Denise! Cover and refrigerate and re-melt again tomorrow.

  3. Vaishalee Howey on February 26, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Hi Sally! I love your blog and have used many of your recipes! J am planning on making these for my daughter to hand out on her birthday at school. Could I cut the recipe in half since I do t quite need 40 pops? What size pan do you recommend I use?
    Thank you!!

    • Sally on February 26, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      This recipe makes 40. You can certainly cut the recipe in half, if you have a 9×5 loaf pan it should work. Or you can make them all and freeze what you don’t need right away!

  4. Pauline Quigley on March 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Sally,

    We love this post. Would you mind if we shared it on our social media over at Cake Cetera?



  5. DessertLover on March 22, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Hi Sally, I made your cake pop today and it tasted really delicious. I was wondering how come my candy melt chocolate was cracking after I let it dry?

    • Julie on June 14, 2018 at 9:26 am

      You get cracks when the cake pops and the candy melts or chocolate are too different of temperatures. You want your chocolate to be about room temp and I always take my cake balls out of the fridge for about 10 minutes to warm up a bit before I dip them.

  6. Lauren Wyant on March 22, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I am making cake pops for my grad party and want them to be my school colors. Do you have any red velvet cake pop recipes? (or blue velvet haha)

    • Sally on March 22, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      I don’t, sorry! You can tint the frosting in my vanilla cake pops to whichever color you want, though. It will turn the whole mixture that shade.

  7. Melissa Downie on March 25, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    We loved this recipe so much! My daughter is 3, and her and I made them together yesterday! I tried candy melts for the first time and they were amazing and so easy to use! I can’t wait to try the vanilla cake pops with a milk chocolate coating next! Thanks again for a perfect recipe!

  8. Teri carpenter on March 26, 2018 at 7:24 am

    I made this chocolate cake for cake pops using 1 cup came out flat as a flitter…what did I do wrong?  Inadequate this before but it came out fine and I wonder if I put 1 2/3 cup flour.  Help!  I’ve got a shower I have To make these next week for a baby shower!

  9. Leighton on March 28, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I love this recipe! I make them for special holidays, and they’re always a big hit when I bring them to parties. For St. Patrick’s Day I dipped them in green candy melts and for Mardi Gras I decorated them with purple, green and gold sprinkles. So cute!

    They always taste great but they never turn out as pretty and smooth as yours and the icing is uneven. I do chill them before, but wondering how to get that smooth finish?


    • Sally on March 28, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks Leighton! It’s so fun to dress these up for different occasions and holidays. What type of chocolate are you using? I always use Bakers or Ghirardelli and add a little oil to thin it out. When it’s thin, it usually dries and sets pretty smooth.

      • Leighton on March 28, 2018 at 9:33 pm

        I’ve only used the candy melts. Would the oil trick work for candy melts as well?

      • Sally on March 28, 2018 at 9:40 pm

        It might. But you’ll really get the smoothest finish with chocolate.

      • Leighton on March 28, 2018 at 10:10 pm

        I should just bite the bullet and buy the good stuff… Thanks for your help!

  10. Aimee C. on April 3, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Hi! Looking forward to making these, but wondering if I can use chocolate chips melted in a double broiler for the coating? Would you still add oil and how much?

    • Sally on April 3, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Aimee! Pure chocolate is best because it melts into a lovely thin consistency that’s great for coating. Chocolate chips melt into a pretty thick and uneven consistency. You can use them in a pinch– and I would add a teaspoon or 2 of oil.

      • Janet T on August 12, 2018 at 10:29 pm

        Hi Sally
        What type of oil would you use to thin out the chocolate for the coating?

      • Sally on August 13, 2018 at 9:23 am

        I use either vegetable or canola oil.

  11. Jill on April 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Sally!

    What type of “real” chocolate do you recommend? Is there a way to make these chocolate peanut butter?

    • Sally on April 16, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Hi Jill! For the chocolate, I like using either Bakers or Ghirardelli baking bars.

      I recommend using peanut butter frosting instead of this chocolate frosting. I recommend only using half of the peanut butter frosting or just enough until you have a moist cake crumb that you can shape into balls.

      • Jill on April 29, 2018 at 9:27 am

        Thank you! How many baking bars would I need? Is the 1/2 tsp of oil per cup of chocolate chunks?

  12. Isabel on April 17, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I am planning on making these, but my brother is a type one diabetic. Do you know the carbohydrates for these?

    • Sally on April 18, 2018 at 7:52 am

      I don’t, sorry!

      • Isabel on April 18, 2018 at 11:36 am

        Okay, thank you anyways.

  13. Natalie on May 1, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Sally, can these be made and dipped two days before serving?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Sally on May 2, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Natalie! Yes, 2 days ahead of time is just fine.

  14. Christy on May 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Suggestions for serving these/ transporting them? Do you usually just serve them on a plate as pictured above?

    • Sally on May 4, 2018 at 5:59 am

      Hi Christy! I love serving these laying down on a platter or sometimes I fill a few mason jars with sprinkles and stick the cake pops in like the photo in the blog post!

  15. Salima on June 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Hi sally, i cant wait to try your recipe! Can i use nutella chocolate instead of the frosting?


  16. Natalie on June 11, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you! These were amazing!
    Once made and dipped, are they best kept in the fridge or can they be left out at room temperature over night?
    Thanks again,

    • Sally on June 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      They should be ok at room temperature for one day as long as it’s not super hot in your house (so that chocolate doesn’t melt)!

  17. Jamie L on July 2, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Sally, I am going to be making both the chocolate and the vanilla over the next week and a half, BUT I only need 20 cake pops each. What would you suggest for pan size/bake time?

    • Sally on July 2, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Hi Jamie! How about baking as cupcakes? This way you can avoid figuring out the best size pan. (And I’m honestly not sure without testing myself!)

  18. DreamingTree on July 13, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Hi Sally,
    Do these store well in th freezer?

    • Sally on July 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Yes! See the “make ahead tip” at the end of the recipe 🙂

  19. Jenn on July 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Hi sally,

    Cake pops are my LEAST favorite treat to make. The reason why is because they always end up cracking. I have read through so many blogs and I can’t seem to figure it out. Any tips?

    Thank you!

    • Sally on July 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Hi Jenn! The melted chocolate may be too hot and the cake pops too cold. Let the melted chocolate sit for 5 minutes before dunking. That usually helps.

  20. Julie on August 15, 2018 at 4:13 am

    Hi Sally,
    Can I use toothpicks instead of lollipop sticks?
    Or do you recommend making truffles instead?


    • Sally on August 15, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Hi Julie! I recommend making cake pop truffles instead with no stick. Toothpicks aren’t sturdy enough.

  21. Ingrid Fuentealba on August 15, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I love these!!! I swear I make them at least once a month, my friends love them and I love baking for them so it’s a beautiful balance. Thank you so much for this recipe!! It’s fun to make, fun to eat (in every step)!

    • Sally on August 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Ingrid – I’m so happy that you make these so often! I love baking for others just as much as I enjoy eating the treats so I know what you mean!

  22. Penny on August 16, 2018 at 12:40 am

    My 11 year old daughter made cake pops tonight following your recipe and they are absolutely amazing. She made everything all by herself so great job on the easy to follow instructions. For the coating, she used Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips melted in the microwave and she added a little coconut oil. The coating is thick and most of the pops aren’t as smooth as your pictures, but they are smooth enough and they taste crazy good!

    We are newcomers to your site but I think you have two new regulars. I have already found a lot of recipes that I want to try.

    • Sally on August 16, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Penny! I’m so happy that your daughter made these and that you both loved them! Let me know what she bakes next! 🙂

  23. Shawn on August 24, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I made your German Chocolate Cake, but my cakes were stuck to the pans, so now I’m left with 3 broken layers of that delicious cake. I was thinking I would use it for these cake pops. Do you know how much frosting I should use for that amount of cake? Can I double the frosting recipe here?


    • Sally on August 27, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Hi Shawn! That’s a great idea to save crumbled cakes. I would double the frosting, then add it little by little until the crumbs are just moistened.

  24. Amanda on September 10, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Hi sally!
    How do you melt your chocolate in the double boiler without it getting thick and crumbly?

    • Sally on September 11, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Hi Amanda! Constantly stirring helps. Make sure you’re using pure chocolate like the chocolate baking bars from the baking aisle (Bakers, Ghirardelli, Lindt)



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