Chocolate Cake Pops

chocolate cake pop

Chocolate cake + chocolate frosting + cute heart sprinkles = the most adorable treat! Today we’re making chocolate cake pops because many of you request them, especially after I shared my vanilla cake pops. 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 this recipe 100x more fun.

chocolate cake pops on a purple plate

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. 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 with heart sprinkles


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, that’s why my vanilla cake and chocolate cake recipes are so different! 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!

chocolate cake in a baking pan after baking

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, whipped cream, 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 in a glass stand mixer bowl

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:

chocolate cake crumbs in glass stand mixer bowl

chocolate cake and chocolate frosting mixture in a glass bowl

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.

2 images of chocolate cake pops rolled into balls before dipping on baking sheets

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.

2 images of dipping cake pop stick into chocolate coating and dipping cake pop into chocolate coating


  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.)

vanilla cake pops stuck into a cardboard box to dry

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

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chocolate cake pop

Chocolate Cake Pops

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 26 minutes
  • Total Time: 6-7 hours
  • Yield: 40 cake pops
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Chocolate cake pops from scratch- made with homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles!


  • 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
  • 23 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.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Measuring Cup | Springform Pan | Silpat Baking Mat | Half Sheet Baking Pan | Lollipop Sticks
  3. Chocolate: 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.
  4. Cake Balls: 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!

chocolate cake pops standing up in a glass jar full of sprinkles


  1. I made these for a party and they came out great! Just one thing I noticed was my chocolate coating was probably a bit thicker than it should be. I used semi sweet chocolate chips, any idea how I can get the coating to be thinner and more fluid than it was? Would adding some olive oil or butter help?

    1. Hi Lakshmi! I recommend using baking chocolate; it’s ideal for coating. I don’t recommend butter to thin out– olive or canola oil is best.

  2. Love this recipe! I am planning on making a lot of these for Christmas. How would you store finished, coated cake pops in the freezer? would you wrap each one in something or just put them in Tupperware or….? Thanks!

    1. You can lay them in a Tupperware once they are set and place a piece of parchment paper between the layers. Ziplock freezer bags work also! Enjoy!

  3. hi sally,
    im about to make this for my niece bday tom. if i make it tonight will it be ok to serve tom? will it melt easly if we display it on candy corner? i already made the chocolate cake ands smell so good. hoping for your fast response! thank you in advance!

    1. Yep! They’re fine stored in the fridge for several days.

  4. Hello Sally,

    I already have some of your chocolate buttercream frosting in the freezer. Could I just measure about 220 grams of that out for the recipe?


    1. That should be fine, yes.

  5. Hi Sally! These look amazing. I’m hoping to make them for a holiday party I’m attending soon and going to make them in fun Christmas shapes. Do you think I could substitute the frosting in this recipe for your chocolate cream cheese frosting? Thanks:)

    1. Hi Maddie! Sounds so cute! The chocolate cream cheese frosting is too thin for cake pops. I recommend following this recipe. 🙂

  6. Regarding the cake pops, I was wanting to make a peppermint vanilla frosting instead of chocolate to change them up for Christmas, any recommendations on which frosting recipe to use and how to make it taste like peppermint and not overpowering? Love this recipe.

    1. That sounds perfect for Christmas! You can simply add peppermint extract to your frosting – I recommend starting with no more than 1/4 tsp and tasting it….a little goes a long way!

  7. Pattie Lastovica says:

    Tried this recipe a few weeks ago my hubby is not a chocolate lover but fell in love with these chocolate pops.. I also used the cake recipe to make some cake rolls.. they were awesome best chocolate cake you ever put in your mouth!

  8. These are THE BEST cake pops I’ve ever made! A little extra work to do them from scratch, but 100% worth the effort! Delicious!!! Thanks so much!

  9. Hi Sally
    We are all peanut butter lovers in my family so I’d like to make peanut butter cake pops .. would I be able to substitute the chocolate frosting for your peanut butter frosting?

    1. Yes, absolutely! That sounds delicious!

  10. I just made these last night and i absolutely love your cake recipe! My cake pops came out so tasty. Thank you for all these wonderful recipes you create!!!

  11. I would like to use packaged chocolate chips for the coating . How do I go about doing this?

    1. Hi Nettie, I don’t recommend chocolate chips for this. Chips contain stabilizers which helps them keep their shape, making them less than ideal to melt down. See the recipe notes for alternative ideas.

  12. Can the frosting be left out or does it need refrigerating?

    1. If you leave out the frosting you will just have a pile of cake crumbs! The frosting is what “glues” it all together 🙂

  13. Hi Sally! I don’t have a 9×9 pan, but I have a cupcake pan. Could I bake the cake as cupcakes? If so, how would I change the baking time?

    1. Hi Kerry! That shouldn’t be a problem at all. The bake time will be shorter. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  14. Thank you so much! My kid used a chocolate gluten free cake mix to bake a cake for a scout event, and it crumbled when we took it out of the pan. he was devastated and This saved it… and when mixed with the butter cream, the cake was amazing. I used white chocolate chips to coat the frozen cake balls, using 2T of coconut oil to thin it enough to dip. We used popsicle sticks and topped with crushed walnuts, shredded coconut, sprinkles, and colored sugar. Perfect, delicious, easy for my scout, and got a high bid. It made 21 (1.5″) cake pops. Not too time consuming, and the finished product is perfect. My 9 year old loved to make the balls and dip them into the toppings.

  15. Hi Sally,
    This has become my go to recipe for anything to do with chocolate cake.Thanks for sharing!!
    Can we store these cake pops in lolly bags individually to be distributed as birthday treat ? Also should they be kept in refrigerator after packing ? As I see there is little bit moisture on the wrapping.

    1. Hi Vandita! You can store the cake pops in little baggies at room temperature for a few hours or even all day. I simply recommend refrigerating when possible.

  16. Ok, I just have to say, these were soo good! I good eat the cake by itself all day

    1. Thank you very much for the most amazing recipe and detailed explanation.
      I am not a baker. I wanted to do something special for my son’s 13th birthday and while browsing the web found your recipe and decided to give it a try. My cake pops have turned out so well (Yay) I feel like a professional. Thank you very much! Looking forward to trying out your other recipes

      1. Thank you so much for your kind comment!! Thrilled these were a hit for your son’s 13th birthday- what a treat!

  17. Thank you for the in depth cake pop recipe. These were great!

  18. Diane Fleming says:

    I’ve made these cake pops a number of times for a number of events. They’ve been a hit each time. The directions are easy to follow. The tips were very useful.

    1. I’m so glad they have been a hit, Diane!

  19. Sally, these cake pops are amazing! Sooooo good! The cake was so easy to mix together, and it rose beautifully. Tasted good, too (I ate some as I was crumbling it into the frosting. How could I resist? Chocolate cake is one of my weaknesses). I added around 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the frosting. I love mint and chocolate together, and added a bit of the peppermint extract to the chocolate coating as well. It all came together beautifully, and I decorated them with crushed candy canes (because of the peppermint flavouring). Everyone at our connect group LOVED them! One person ate three all by himself! They received rave reviews, and my mother is already asking when I’m going to make them again. I can’t wait to try your vanilla version! And I was thinking that red velvet cake pops would be fabulous also! Any idea over how I could do that? Thanks!

    1. Red velvet cake pops are fantastic! I’ve been working on a completely from-scratch recipe for those and hopefully I’ll get it right soon. Thanks for trying these! 🙂

      1. Yay! I’m so excited for red velvet cake pops! I hope you get them right soon! 😀

  20. Hi Sally!

    Could I double this recipe to make a two layer 8” cake?

    1. Hi Jen! I don’t recommend it. Here is my two layer chocolate cake recipe:

      1. I love this recipe! And so does everyone else! I’ve had to make like 100 of these little guys in the last two weeks and I practically have it memorized. Definitely going to try your vanilla version too. Can’t wait to see more flavors! I saw you’re working on Red Velvet??
        Thanks so much!

  21. Can i use olive oil or butter instead of coconut or vegetable oil

    1. If you don’t have vegetable or coconut oil, you can try olive oil or melted butter.

  22. Hi Sally! OMG, this recipe seems so easy to make, but could you please make a youtube video about these cake pops since I like to watch a video on the recipes I will make! Thanks!

  23. Hi Sally:
    Can I make half the recipe and half the frosting? I don’t want to end up with 40 pops! Freezer already full 🙂

    1. Definitely!

  24. Tanya Cronau says:

    Hi Sally,

    This may be a silly question! Can you cover these with white candy melts? I’m worried about the rich chocolate color showing through.

    Thank you!

    1. You can, yes, but you may be able to see some chocolate cake underneath. But if it’s a thick layer of coating, you should be fine!

      1. Hi there! These look awesome! I am curious if special dark 100% cacao dutched cocoa powder would taste right in place of the cocoa powder in the cake? I noticed dutch chocolate is an option in the frosting .

  25. Any luck on your red velvet cake pop recipe? My daughter turns 30(!) this weekend and wanted red velvet cake pops. TIA!

    1. Not yet! I hope to nail it sometime soon. 🙂

  26. Hi Sally,
    Hope you are well wanted to ask can you dip the cake pops in any chocolate with a bit of oil added to thin it out without tempering it?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Nas! I recommend pure chocolate baking bars such as Baker’s brand, Ghirardelli, or Nestle.

  27. Hi, this seems like a great recipe. However, I do not need that many cake pops. Could you just use half of the amount of all of the ingredients instead?

    1. You can absolutely cut the recipe in half and bake the cake in either a 6 inch pan or a loaf pan. Enjoy!

  28. Hi,
    This was delicious! I used Bob’s one to one gluten free and milk chocolate chips. I didn’t have a box or a styrofoam so I Mc Guyvered a set up by setting two cooling racks at right angles to make squares. Not perfect but good enough. The chocolate took quite a bit of oil to make it thin enough to work with but they are nice and shiny and above all, taste great!
    Keep up the good work. I love your recipes.

  29. Hi Sally I was wondering how long you have to wait to be able to eat these cake pops. Can you eat it on the spot? Does it need chill time first?

    1. Hi Sarah, There are no rules here 🙂 After you coat them with the chocolate it can take up to an hour for the coating to harden. It would be a bit messy to eat them with the soft chocolate but no less delicious!

  30. Aashima Jain says:

    Hi Sally,

    Awesome recipe.. I was wondering if I could use couverture white chocolate chips instead of candy melts to coat?? Also can I colour it with powdered colour?? Thanks

    1. Yes, I believe couverture white chocolate is made specifically for melting unlike other types of white chocolate chips. I haven’t tried coloring it with powdered color but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

      1. Thanks a lot.. I’ll try and colour a bit with powdered colour and some with gel colour and see how it turns out.. thanks again..

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