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!

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


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


  • 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)


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


  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 🙂

  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’s 🙂 my sister and I are making a bunch for her wedding in August! Yay. Question: a bunch of our cake pops are cracking after being coated. Why is this happening? Do you know? We want them to look super pretty obviously and with out cracks! 
    I’ll email you a picture when we are all finished 🙂 

    We were also wondering if you have any ideas on how to display/present!!! We are making about 150! So many cake pops! 

    Thanks 🙂

    1. The super hot chocolate/coating + super cold cake ball. I’d let the coating cool down slightly before dunking. Should help. Have so much fun prepping all of them!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. I’m starting to think about Christmas baking and want to include these. Every year we take trays of cookies to the hospital for the nursing staff and am always looking for new ideas for our trays. I am looking forward to checking out the Christmas cookie recipes! Is anyone else planning their holiday baking?

  7. Hi Sally,
    I want to make chocolate cake pops using this recipe so what ingredients would you need to add/change to make it chocolate flavoured?

      1. Hi Sally, I’ve made cake pops using your recipe and they have worked perfectly fine! However, everytime I rolled out a ball using the crumbled cake/frosting mixture, the surface with look really crumbly with cracks in it, not like yours in the image above. Is this because I didn’t put enough frosting into the crumbled cake mixture? Also, are there any tips and tricks to making your cake pops looking like round because mine seem to look irregular instead of spheres.

      2. Hi Jacinta! It seems like there isn’t enough frosting– did you follow the recipe to make enough? Try your best to roll into smooth round balls. Refrigerating then smoothing out trick helps!

  8. 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! 🙂

  9. 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!

  10. Hi I have never made cake pops before
    these look good but. I have a dumb question.
    Would chocolate cake and chocolate frosting
    work as well ? Do you have a chocolate cake 
    Pop recipe on your website?
    Please let me know. Please e-mail me 
    A response at the e-mail address I am providing 
    In the contact information.
    Thank you.

      1. Hi sally thank you for your reply. Can I use chocolate cake and chocolate frosting here to make these cake pops?

      2. everyone loves these cake pops – thank you Sally for sharing, hoping that you will have a chocolate cake pop recipe for us soon

  11. Hello Sally,

    Do you have a recipe for chocolate cake pops? I made these last month and they were a huge hit, but I would really like to try a chocolate version. I tried looking for a solid chocolate cake pop recipe, but most of them use a box mix.

  12. Hi,

    I have a 8″ square pan and a 6″ round pan. Can I divide the batter between them and use?
    Urgent help required as I need to do it tomorrow.

  13. Hi sally
    I am planning to make cake pops for my daughter class tomorrow.
    I have leftover cream cheese frosting from red velvet cupcakes and I was wondering if I can use tht as a frosting?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Humera! I can’t see why cream cheese frosting would be problematic. Use only enough to moisten the cake crumbs.

  14. Hi Sally –
    I can’t wait to try this cake pop recipe! I was wondering if the sprinkles you used in your photos came from Sweetapolita?

  15. Hi Sally – Would I be able to add sprinkles to the cake batter to make it more of a confetti cake? If so, how much would you recommend? Thank you!

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

  17. Hi Sally. I am making about 50 for my family and friends but I couldn’t find out how many cake pops your recipe makes. Just wondering in case I need to double it.

  18. 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.

  19. Will these still work after freezing if the balls were a little too moist when putting them in the freezer? Will they harden up enough to be usable?

  20. 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.

      1. Did I see in one of the comments these pops can be frozen after they are dipped or is it better to freeze them first.How long do they need to be out of the freezer before dipping?

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally