Homemade Cake Pops

vanilla cake pops on a sprinkle plate

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.

vanilla cake pop with a bite taken out showing the center

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.)

vanilla cake batter in a glass bowl with a metal whisk

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!

2 images of vanilla cake in a cake pan after baking and vanilla frosting in a glass bowl with a paddle attachment

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. 

2 images of cake crumbled into glass bowl of frosting and cake and frosting mixed together in a glass bowl

2 images of cake pop balls on a baking sheet lined with a silpat baking mat

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!

2 images of cake pop balls on a baking sheet with a lollipop stick and melted white chocolate in a glass measuring cup and dipping a cake pop on a lollipop stick into a glass measuring cup of melted white chocolate

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.

vanilla cake pops stuck into a cardboard box to dry

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.

vanilla cake pops on a sprinkle plate

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

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vanilla cake pop with a bite taken out showing the center

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


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


  • 1 and 2/3 cups (209g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk (or buttermilk)


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


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


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


  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.


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

    1. Glad they were a hit, Fabienne! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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

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

    1. They’ll definitely survive the journey 🙂 I would refrigerate just to set the chocolate, then maybe take them out and carefully package them for the trip 🙂 They will be great!

  4. Hi Sally,

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

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

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

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

  7. Delicious and so pretty! Moist and chocolate hardened beautifully! My sister had one and couldn’t resist another!

  8. Busy mom running after a little boy…. great cake recipe… for sake of saving time I used a store bought icing and it worked out well. I cut back on the sugar of the cake though because the store bought icing is very sweet and same with the candy melts.

  9. Lillian Boudreau says:

    When using sprinkles, do you just sprinkle them on after they are dipped?
    Also how can they be displayed? I am making 100 cake pops for my granddaughter’s wedding and I need ideas for displaying them. Can the recipe be doubled? I will probably have to make three recipes for that many pops
    Thank you

    1. Hi Lillian! Thanks for checking out my recipe for homemade cake pops.
      1) Add the sprinkles when the chocolate/coating is still wet.
      2) I find it’s easiest, especially if you have dozens, to have the cake pops all laid out on a large serving platter rather than right side up or upside-down.
      3) For best results, I suggest making the recipe twice or 3x, separately, instead of doubling/tripling.

  10. Hey! I’ve made these and the chocolate many many times! Most recently for a gender reveal, it was reallly exciting. But every time I make them, I find that no matter what I do, the chocolate cracks. I’ve used the Ghiardelli chocolate melting wafers and the chocolate baker bars you recommended. I’ve tried adding some oil, no oil. But still half of them have a crack by the time I serve them. Any tips?

    Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!

    1. Hi Emily! Cake pops are so much fun for a gender reveal! The cracking is from the COLD cake ball and the HOT chocolate. The solution is to allow the chocolate to cool down for several minutes before you dunk.

  11. Regarding the cracking; if you allow the cake pop to get close to room temperature before you dip, you will not have this problem. Also, you have to tap your wrist at the same time your twirl pop to remove most of the excess chocolate to ensure no drips at the end of the process. Hope this info helps out.

  12. Keshani Moodley says:

    Can we halve this recipe?

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  13. Can i half this recipe if i only want to make 20 instead of 40?

    1. I can’t see why not!

  14. What is the difference between candy melts and chocolate? How do the candy melts taste?

    1. Hi Kimmy! Chocolate and white chocolate baking bars are pure chocolate/white chocolate made with cocoa butter. Candy melts are produced to emulate white chocolate– they’re made with vegetable oil. You can taste the difference between the real stuff and the candy coating stuff!

  15. Hello ! Is it ok if they stay for 1 day outside fridge.? I want to to them for schools Christmas festival but they want it from Friday.The party is on Saturday?Thwy look great !

    1. Cake pops will be just fine at room temperature for 1 day. 🙂

  16. Susan Rosenthall says:

    I wanted to use different Frosting recipe instead of yours. Since the ratio is so important- how many cups of frosting should I add to the cake crumbs to get the proportions right
    Or, in other words, how many cups does your frosting recipe yield?

    1. Hi Susan. It’s about 1 cup of frosting.

  17. Do you have any tips on displaying these?? It looks so messy when I put them on a platter.

    1. Hi Katie! I like to stick them upright in glasses of sprinkles and candies, as pictured at the very bottom of this post: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/chocolate-cake-pops/

  18. Hi Ben! Chocolate chips are not ideal for melting and coating candies/cake pops. Use pure chocolate or candy melts/candy coating.

  19. Can I just melt milk chocolate to use for dipping my cake?

    1. Hi Lexi, Bittersweet, white chocolate, or milk chocolate work as well. Coarsely chop and melt down with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to thin out and keep it warm over a double boiler.

  20. Amelia Angeli says:

    Hi Sally,

    I’m not much of a cook, either food or sweeties, but i’m going to attempt them for my daughters 8th birthday party. I’m hoping i’ll find green and lilac candy melts to match the theme (princess and the frog).
    Anyway any tips for a beginner so i don’t screw up? 🙂


    1. Be sure to read through the entire blog post before beginning! I have all of my tips and tricks listed out for you 🙂

  21. Any tips from keeping the balls feom cracking? I had several crack. I also hadissues with the candy melts being so runny. They are dripping all down the stick. Did I microwave it too long maybe?!

    1. If they are cracking they might be too dry. Try adding a little more frosting. When you dip them make sure you go slowly and allow the excess candy melts coating to drip off before completely (you can gently tap them to help), this should stop it from dripping down the stick.

      1. ASHLEY OUTTEN says:

        Thank you! It is actually the outer shell that is cracking but I saw on the chocolate cake pop recipe it says to let the candy melts cool before dipping which I did not do. I will try that when I do this again. Thanks again!! The center is so delicious!!

  22. This is my second time making these cake pops! They are so delicious!!!

    Sally, do you think if I put two tablespoons of vanilla in the frosting, will it be too moist?? I may have accidentally put two tablespoons instead of 1 and I’m afraid they aren’t going to work out.

    1. Do you mean 2 teaspoons? Because that would be fine. 2 Tablespoons would be a lot of excess liquid. Let me know how they turn out!

  23. Hi there,
    I’m planning to make cake pops for my twin daughters’ birthday party tomorrow but I also have to make cupcakes because only one of my daughters likes cake pops (insert eye roll lol). Anyway, I was wondering how much I would have to multiply your cake recipe in order to get 4 dozen cupcakes and what the baking/cooking time would be for cupcakes. Thanks!

  24. Cream cheese frosting on the inside should work as long as you keep the same cake/frosting ratio. You want a coating on the outside that will dry hard. You can use melted chocolate (I recommend real chocolate instead of chips) see my recipe note!

  25. I love the recipe is good

  26. Shery Sullivan says:

    I made these for our bake sale, to benefit our park’s yard sale. They were very easy. I didn’t have vanilla so I used almond extract and everyone loved the flavor. It’s the first time I made cake pops, but won’t be the last. Thanks for all your tips. They really helped.

  27. Hi Sally just wanted to say your cake pops look amazing! I’ve been doing cake pops for quite a while and yes I agree box cakes are not great they can be practical in a pinch yes but I find that they taste too artificial especially the frosting but I did notice when I started making homemade cakes they don’t roll as smooth I also noticed there are a lot more oily than the box cakes is there anything I can do to remedy this and some of them did fall off the stick when Dipping uggh! And I do after dipping them with the stick put them in the refrigerator so the little candy melt will set so they don’t fall off but with cakes from scratch I noticed sometimes they still do

    1. Made them last night and I agree, they were very oily. I have them in the freezer for now so hopefully when it comes time to dip them, they’ll taste fine!

  28. These were quite time consuming but delicious!! I would definitely recommend using this recipe. I did modify it a bit by using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour to make them gluten free. I sifted the flour which helped with the texture. Everyone that ate them loved them!!

  29. Hi, Sally! Would paper straws work in place of the lollipop sticks?

    1. Hi Taylor! Yes, those are a wonderful alternative to lollipop sticks.

  30. Angela Pollizzi Varlotta says:

    will try and post a picture =made for daughter 25th birthday . placed them in a styrofoam ring with green floral moss covered over the ring. added fake double knot out roses in the center. Recipe was exactly on point , and of course delicious. thank you for making me an amazing baker

    1. How fun! Happy birthday to your daughter 🙂

    2. Can you substitute 2% milk for whole milk in the cake?

      1. Hi Ann! That shouldn’t be a problem.

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