Chocolate Cake Pops

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

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 from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. ♥

CAKE POPPING PROCESS

  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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

SINGLE LAYER CHOCOLATE CAKE

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!

Homemade chocolate cake for chocolate cake pops on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 for chocolate cake pops on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make chocolate cake pops on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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?

DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

3 EASY TRICKS

  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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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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

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 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

Coating

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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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 from scratch! Homemade chocolate cake and chocolate frosting with sprinkles! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

307 Comments

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  1. MARILYN MARIGNA says:

    Can you use cream cheese frosting instead of the recipe you used?
    Can you use a mocha frosting instead of the recipe you used, especially if you use strong coffee instead of the water?

    1. Absolutely! You need about 1 cup of frosting.

  2. Have you ever tried a petit four icing to dip the cake balls in instead of chocolate for a delicate truffle? I haven’t tried it but it seems like a possibility.

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem– I personally haven’t tried it for these.

  3. Can you use melted chocolate chips for the coating?

    1. Hi Ruth, I don’t recommend chocolate chips as they contain stabilizers that help them to maintain their shape. Perfect for cookies but it prevents them from melting evenly.

  4. Is this supposed to be 2-3 TABLESPOONS of milk or heavy cream for the frosting? it says teaspoons

    1. Teaspoons is correct. This makes a very small amount frosting.

  5. Thank you Sally. I made cake pops for the first time ever and I used this recipe, I made it for a baby shower and it didn’t even last 5 minutes!!! It melts in your mouth and its so moist, the people loved it. I got so many compliments, I will definitively make it again. xxx

  6. Yum!!!
    This look so TASTY,
    I’m so going to make this.
    Thank you Sally

  7. Hi Sally,

    Thanks for the recipe, I’ve been watched Nailed it! On Netflix, and have been inspired to do some baking

    Just wondering, do you think Chocolate ganache would work as the topping or do you think it would be too heavy?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Sam! Thank you! Chocolate ganache won’t set on these chocolate cake pops. You need just the pure melted chocolate (not mixed with cream).

  8. Hi Sally.. I wanna try these. In general what’s the ratio of cake to frosting for cake pops. Am asking cos at times I may have leftover cake or frosting, so what would the ideal or approximate ratio of cake to frosting be.

  9. Hi Sally, these chocolate cake pops are out of this world delicious, best I’ve ever tasted … If I wanted to make a red velvet version with cream cheese frosting, what cake to frosting ratio would I use? Many thanks

    1. Hi Fay! I don’t have a 1 layer red velvet cake recipe, but you could try my crumbling my red velvet cupcakes and using 1 cup of cream cheese frosting.

  10. How long do the thawed cake pops last?

    1. Up to a week, just as the fresh ones!

      1. Thanks! How long can they stay unrefrigerated? Some recipes indicate cake pops can just be stored in an airtight container, but you indicated to leave them in the refrigerator.

      2. Hi Cara, They should be fine covered at room temperature for a few days. I like to store them in the refrigerator so that the chocolate coating doesn’t melt but if you kitchen isn’t warm they should be just fine.

      3. How long do undipped cake balls thaw in the fridge before being able to dip them? Overnight or a few hours?

      4. A few hours is typically enough.

  11. I required a bit more frosting than mentioned in the recipe (it was kind of falling apart when rolling them into balls). I also recommend adding 1/2 cup of reeses pieces candy in for extra flavour! If baking in a 13 x 9 pan, perfect timing is around 20-22 minutes.

  12. How do you freeze these? I want to make them ahead of time for my sons first birthday!

    1. Hi Nicole! I usually individually wrap the ball end of the pops with a very small amount of plastic wrap and place into a large freezer-friendly container. You can skip the plastic wrap, if desired, as well.

  13. Hi Sally,
    I noticed Dutch processed chocolate is used as an option for the frosting (that’s what I have in my cabinet at the moment) but what about using it in the cake instead of the unsweetened natural cocoa powder?

    1. Hi Anesha, Since there is no leavening occurring in frosting, you can use either natural or dutch-process in the chocolate buttercream. However for the cake you need to use natural cocoa powder, not dutch-process. (See dutch-process vs natural cocoa powder for more information.)

      1. Hey sally, i am really excited to try this recipe, but i just wanted to ask that is it okay if i keep the cake and frosting aside for an hour or 2 and then continue the rest of the process of mixing the cake and frosting instead of keeping it overnight?

      2. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Alveera, You can use the cake as soon as it’s completely cool, no need to wait overnight.

    2. Hi Anesha, since there is no leavening in the frosting– you can use either dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder. You need natural unsweetened cocoa powder (an acid) in the cake since it’s made with baking soda. See Dutch-process Vs Natural Cocoa Powder for more detail if you’re interested.

      1. Thank you SO MUCH SALLY! The cake is so delicious that I’m going to have to make a second for the cake pops I initially looked the recipe up for 😉

  14. Doly Salprakash says:

    Hi Sally!!
    My family absolutely loves these cake pops! I have made them twice already and I keep coming back!
    I have a question though. The previous two times I made this recipe I made fresh frosting. But this time I want to use up the home made buttercream frosting that I have lying in the freezer. Left it overnight on the countertop.

    So how much frosting will I need for this recipe?

    1. Hi Doly! You need about 1 cup of frosting.

  15. Meredith McCusker says:

    I made these yesterday and they were delicious! First time making buttercream, which was deliciously rich by itself, and first time making cake pops. I used semisweet morsels and white chocolate morsels. The trick is to add about a tbsp canola oil to every cup of chips. Add the oil after you’ve melted the chips in the Pyrex measuring cup. I say “about” because I added the oil gradually until I got a thin enough consistency to dip, but not too thin. I tried it with white chips and coconut oil and it was too thin! I was worried the cake would be dry because my formed balls started to crack in the fridge, but the end product was moist, rich, and decadent. I will definitely do this again! Thank you, Sally!!

  16. Although my Cake pops tasted wonderful, every ball was completely cracking all over and I never could get them to be completely smooth. Also, after dipping each cake pop the chocolate just fell off of them. I was extremely disappointed with them 🙁

  17. Everyone absolutely went nuts for these cake pops!!! I’ve made them multiple time now! Love this recipe 10/10 recommend!

  18. This recipe totally rocks! I have gotten so many compliments, and actually have someone asking if they can pay me to make them for a baby shower! Do you have a link for the vanilla cake and homemade frosting like this recipe?

    1. I’m thrilled these were such a hit, Anesha! Here is my recipe for Vanilla Cake Pops.

  19. Hi Sally! Can I halve this recipe and bake in a 6 inch pan, and add some cream cheese to the frosting? I want 40 cake pops but I want to do half chocolate and half vanilla, and I think frosting without cream cheese is just not that good. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Talia, You should be able to cut this in half and use a 6 inch pan. Enjoy!

  20. Heather M. Whipple says:

    Can I use baking powder in this recipe instead of the baking soda?
    Please let me know.

    1. No, I recommend sticking with the recipe. If you’d like to play around with the recipe, baking soda is usually about 3-4x stronger than baking powder so you’ll have to adjust.

    2. Hayley Lawrence says:

      I used baking soda for this recipe and it turned out sooo amazing! These were literally the best cake pops I’ve ever made.

  21. This was my first time making cake pops. I love the Starbucks pops which seem to have a fudgy taste, so instead of mixing the crumbled cake with icing, I mixed with a little over a cup of Hershey’s fudge sundae topping and coated with the candy. It was amazing!

  22. Hello, I have a question. With my cake pops, no matter how long I refrigerate them, they fall apart/off the stick when I try to dip them in the chocolate, even when I thin the chocolate with oil. Out of my whole batch I got one cake pop. Do you have any suggestions? Would too much frosting in the cake do this? Or sticking the stick too far in? Or not enough chocolate on the stick to keep the cake on the stick? Maybe I need to stick to melting candy and not pure chocolate?Thank you for any help!!

    1. Hi Lauren, If they are falling apart and seem a bit greasy there is probably too much frosting mixed in with the cake. If they are staying intact but falling off the sticks then they are too heavy – only use one scant TBS per cake pop!

  23. These were so amazing! I’m usually not the best cook but these turned out so good!:) My family absolutely loved them Love it.

  24. I’ve tried cake pops befor and these are a lot better than the other ones I have tried . These tasted so delicious every time I make something I will use “Sally’s baking addiction “

  25. Can you double this recipe without problems or should I make two separate batches? I’ve made this recipe before and loved them, so now making for a graduation party.

    1. Hi Hailey, For the best texture I recommend making two separate batches.

  26. Hi Sally,
    My daughter and I want to make this recipe, but we have a question. We plan on using your chocolate recipe for coating your vanilla cake pops. However, we may only wish to make half of the cake pops and freeze the other half. At what point do you freeze the remaining pops? Is it once you’ve rolled the cake and frosting together or do you freeze the completely finished product? If it’s the former, do you recommend cutting the coating mix in half, so as not to waste any?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Michelle, You can freeze cake pops before or after dipping! See recipe notes for details and have fun 🙂

  27. Emmelyn Caldwell says:

    These are soooooooooooooooooooo yummy. My fam. absolutely loves them each time a make them. I here that some people are having trouble with them staying on their sticks, or with them falling apart/cracking . I have found a great way to use no sticks so that they are like cake balls instead of cake pops. what you do is you make them in to the balls like the recipe says to do and put them in the fridge and then instead of putting the sticks in them take a pipping bag and fill it with icing and put a little dollop of icing on each one so that it is like a little cake ball that you pic upp with your hand.

  28. Amazing recipe! The cake pops turned out so perfectly!! They look beautiful and taste delicious- and that was with a 7 and 9 year old making/decorating them. We used dark chocolate and white chocolate Ghiradelli melting discs, and found that we didn’t need as much as was listed in the recipe. This will be a go to recipe for teacher gifts, baby showers, or birthday parties because they look so professional. And they taste way better than any you can find in a coffee shop. I was so impressed!

  29. I halved this recipe because it was just for me and my husband but it came out AMAZING! The only thing is about an hour after I had dipped the balls the chocolate was still soft so I put it in the fridge. Do you know why they wouldn’t have hardened out of the fridge?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We are glad you enjoyed them, Ann! If your home is warm (like it is here in the summer heat!) then it would take the chocolate longer to set at room temperature. Placing them in the refrigerator to set is what I would have recommended 🙂

  30. Dude. This is how recipes should be done. Every possible question I had was answered in the article. The pictures and detail were SO helpful. This was my first time making cake pops and this made it SO easy, and they taste AMAZING. Thank you!

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