Homemade Cake Pops

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

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

And guess what? Want to see the whole process from start to finish? Tune in on Facebook or Instagram LIVE on Weds at 1pm ET. (I’m LIVE every week at that time!) I’ll make a batch and answer all cake pop questions as we go along together!

So anyway! 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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make homemade cake pops on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

Besides lollipop sticks and the correct size cake pan, you don’t really need much else to get going!

Print
Homemade cake pops

Homemade Cake Pops

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 36 minutes
  • Total Time: 6-7 hours
  • Yield: 40 pops
  • Category: Cake Pops
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Homemade vanilla cake pops with vanilla buttercream from scratch- no cake mix or canned frosting!


Ingredients

  • 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)

Frosting

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

Coating

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

Instructions

  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.

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 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Measuring CupSpringform Pan | Silpat Baking MatHalf Sheet Baking Pan | Lollipop Sticks | Americolor Food Coloring
  3. Coating: 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.
How to make CAKE POPS from scratch with no cake mix! Homemade vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream cake pops! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

273 Comments

  1. Hi!
    Is there a way to make the frosting for the cake pops without butter?
    (I’m not vegan, I just ran out of butter)

    Thank you.

    1. It’s the best recipe ever!!!!!!!,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,!!!!! If you don’t like it your taste buds are garbage cause who would not like a cake cup lol use the recipe RIGHT NOW

    2. Hi Sally,I love all of your recipes!So good!Was wondering if you have a lemon cake pop recipe?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Gina, We haven’t tested anything but you could try replacing some of the milk with fresh lemon juice. Perhaps add the zest of 1-2 lemons, too.

  2. I’m going to make these today and I have everything except for candy melts or white chocolate. Is there anything else I can use?

    1. You can use regular chocolate like I do for my Chocolate Cake Pops.

  3. Elizabeth Zink says:

    I don’t know if anyone already asked this but could I use a cake box mix instead of the cake recipe from scratch? Will it mess up the cake pops?

    1. Jacqlene Arce says:

      I am making them right now and was wondering that also! is the cake equivalent to the amount of flour and sugar and everything to a box mix?

    2. Wondering this too

    3. Hi Elizabeth, I recommend finding a recipe with the proper frosting to cake proportion for using store-bought cake mix. This may be too much or too little frosting (as well as coating). But you can use this dipping method and all my success tips, of course.

  4. You forgot the step of adding the cup of milk into the wet ingredients in your instructions for baking the cake.

  5. Corryn clark says:

    Hi, I’m 11 and the only other things I made was peanut butter cookies and sugars cookies . And, they weren’t that good . I’m hoping that this will turn out great . But I have one question do you have any neat tricks or sum hacks that would help me bake this

    1. Hi Corryn, I recommend that you read through the entire blog post before beginning. Pay special attention to the section called “Cake Pop Tips” and have fun!

  6. I made these for my sisters gender reveal and they were absolutely perfect!! Everyone loved them so much that I was asked to make more. I am now going to try the chocolate ones!! Thank you!

    1. Hi
      Tried this recipe. Some of the cake pops started cracking after a while. Any tips on that?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Reshma, You can definitely help prevent that next time. If you keep the shaped cake pops a little warmer– aka don’t put in the freezer or refrigerator for so long before dipping– the coating won’t crack. OR make sure that the coating isn’t too hot. The coating is cracking because it’s so warm and the pop is so cold.

  7. Great Recipe!! One question- does it matter if the egg isn’t room temperature? Will it affect that cake pops? Thanks!

    1. It does! Here is why Room Temperature Ingredients Make a Difference. To warm up your eggs simply place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. I usually do this while I’m getting other ingredients ready.

  8. Really want to try it!
    But, how much frosting will it be in total ( ex. 1 cup, 2 cup), because I am using pre-made frosting!

    1. You need 1 cup of fairly thick frosting.

  9. Are you able to make this in a cake pop maker instead?

    1. You could use the cake batter in a cake pop maker – that bakes the cake in round shapes so no need to crumble the cake and mix it with frosting. Just bake the cake balls and coat!

  10. Yummy stuff! Im never paying 2.95 at starbucks for my kids cake pops ever again!

  11. This looks really easy!
    Although if we use chocolate melts with no cocoa will it still work?
    I need to make a few (15) so buying white chocolate will go to waste.
    If there is anything else we can use please let me know!

    1. Yes you can use plain white chocolate melts with no issues. Almond bark also works, see recipe notes.

  12. Can I just add lemon extract to the buttercream to get a lemon flavor?

    1. I don’t see why not!

  13. Hi there! Was looking for homemade cake pops instead of box cake. And you are the only few bakers who has this recipe. Thank you! 🙂 Do you have a video link to the tutorial? Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Jo, I don’t have a video tutorial for these, but I did record a Facebook Live video three years ago when this recipe was published. Here is the link for that: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1583117251752747&ref=watch_permalink

  14. Hi! I intend on making this 2 days before a huge birthday party. Is it possible to dip the cake pops prior, leave it in the fridge and take them out 1-2h before the party? I’m afraid it’ll condense and ruin the cake pop! Would like to add 3-4 tbsp of cocoa powder as well to make a chocolate sponge!

    1. Hi Crystal, You can keep the coated cake pops in the the refrigerator for up to 1 week and they will be just fine. For chocolate cake I recommend following my recipe for chocolate cake pops.

  15. Does this recipe make two 9 inch cakes?

    1. Hi Madison,
      Yes, if you double the recipe to the cake!

  16. I wanted to try these out and make these for my boyfriend’s birthday. Although really good, I do believe the cake pop has too much frosting to cake ratio. I made the recipe as is. It was TOO moist which is not necessarily a bad thing, since we all have our preferences. If this is 1 cup of frosting, I would probably half the frosting recipe to make only 1/2 cup next time. It also helps the recipe be not as sweet too!

    The cake is perfect as is. I love how dense it is. Freezing undipped cake-pops worked like a charm for when I was ready to dip a couple weeks later. Thanks!

    (I’ve made cake-pops multiple times before, but usually put only 1/4 cup frosting to 9x13in cake pan. Keep in mind that the cakes I make aren’t as dense)

  17. Hi Sally, your recipe looks delicious and very easy to follow, especially with your amazing tips! I’m planning on making funfetti cake pops for an upcoming birthday party. Would it be fine if I just add some sprinkles to the cake batter for that? Thanks:)

    1. Yes, absolutely! I’d start with 1/4 cup of sprinkles.

  18. Omg it’s so amazing! Tastes delicious! I made them with my cousin too!!!

  19. This looks perfect, one question though, how can I adapt this properly to make lemon cake pops?

    1. Hi Andy, I haven’t tested anything but you could try replacing some of the milk with fresh lemon juice. Perhaps add the zest of 1-2 lemons, too.

  20. Hi sally,
    Can I use cake flour in place of AP?

    1. Hi Galina, you can use cake flour in this recipe instead of all-purpose flour. No changes necessary, a 1:1 swap.

  21. Hi Sally!
    I made your yellow cake today and (although absolutely delicious) it stuck to the pans and created a crumbled mess. I don’t want to waste it, so I was thinking of making cake pops. I’ve made cake pops before, so I know what a proper dough looks like, so I was thinking of using this frosting recipe to mix with the cake. Do you think it would be enough?
    Thanks!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah! You can use this frosting for the cake pops, but you may need a little extra since the yellow cake is 2 layers. (Not necessarily a double batch of this recipe because this makes a rather large 1 layer cake.) I would start with this amount of frosting, then make a 1/2 batch if needed to get the proper consistency crumb.

  22. Barbara Komondor says:

    Hi. I am looking to use your receipe. About how many cake pops do you get out of one batch? I need over 100+ and trying to judge ingredients and time frame to make.

    I have to travel from Pa to Georgia with these in 2 weeks. Planning to freeze, put inside plastic container and then a cooler for the 11 hour drive. Package them up for guests in the hotel.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Barbara, one batch makes about 40 cake pops!

      1. Barbara Komondor says:

        Thank you. Someone told me they get about 15 out of a box mix. But, I am not putting them on sticks. placing inside a box with other sweets.

  23. Caitlin Civiello says:

    I made these using the buttermilk for the cake, skim milk for the frosting, and white chocolate for the topping and they are truly amazing. Best cake pops I’ve ever had!! A little bit time consuming to make the first time but once you have it figured out they are easy. It is pretty hard to mess them up. The white chocolate coating seems thick when you put it on but once it dries it’s actually not that thick. It’s perfect.

  24. Grace Simpson says:

    This recipe looks good but I haven’t got a springform pan. Is there any alternative you’d suggest?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Grace, If you don’t have a springform pan you can use an 11×7 pan instead.

  25. I don’t have a springform pan, could I use a 9×9 or 8×8 pan? Also, I don’t have a liquid measuring cup so a bowl would work to melt the chocolate, right?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anna, If you don’t have a springform pan you can use an 11×7 pan instead. A bowl would work but you want something deep and narrow enough to easily dip each cake pop – you can even try melting the chocolate and then pouring it into a large drinking glass for dipping.

  26. These were ok but I would recommend making smaller cake pops because after eating a whole one I felt very sick

  27. I did everything the recipe asked but the cake part tasted terrible. It would cook either so it was mushy even when overcooked. the frosting was good though.

  28. Hai!! I don’t know if you will actually answer to this, but i’m still going to try
    I want to make this for my parents while they are out on their surprise date. Last time I made these, I mde it with chocolate and there were big chunks. So do you have any advise cause it was a big fail.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Do you mean there were chunks in the chocolate coating? I recommend warming the chocolate a bit more until it’s fully melted and smooth.

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