Learn how to make cake pops right at home! This easy and fool-proof cake pop recipe is guaranteed to come out perfect every time! These delicious candy-coated cake balls make a great party favor for just about any gathering.
Whether you’re making my Starbucks copycat vanilla birthday cake pop, red velvet cake pops, or no-bake oreo cake pops, this simple guide will make you a master at cake pop making in no time!
Table Of Contents
- What are cake pops made of?
- Supplies you need to make cake pops
- How to make cake pops
- Tips to melt the candy melts
- How to Keep the cake balls on the stick
- How to make the EASY version of cake pops
- What can I use instead of candy melts?
- Why are my cake pops cracking?
- Make them ahead of time
- Storing cake pops
- Full Recipe Instructions
What are cake pops made of?
Cake pops are very simple to make because they only require only a few ingredients like baked boxed cake mix, vanilla frosting, and of course they are dipped in melted candy melts (the kind you can pour into molds).
Supplies you need to make cake pops
For cake balls– When making cake balls all you really need is a baked cake made with cake mix, frosting, and candy melts to coat the outside of the balls. You can shape the cake balls with your hands or use a meatballer to get the perfect shape and size each time.
For cake pops– you will need the same ingredients here but you need to add cake pop sticks and a styrofoam block to keep the pops upright until they harden.
How to make cake pops
Here is a quick rundown on how to make these addictive and delicious treats. You can find the full detailed recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Bake the boxed cake, let it cool and trim off the dry outer layer. Then discard those pieces or set them aside to munch on later.
- Crumble the cake into very fine crumbs and mix it with the vanilla frosting. Then shape the mixture into balls using your hands or a cake pop former.
- Insert the cake pop sticks into the cake balls– You’ll need to dip the ends of the sticks into some melted candy melts before inserting them. Then freeze for 15 minutes.
- Dip the cake balls into the candy melts– Once the candy melts are nicely melted and thinned out with shortening or dipping aid chips, you can dip the cake balls and let them sit upright in a styrofoam block.
Tips to melt the candy melts
Overheat– When melting candy melts, be careful and make sure you do NOT overheat the candy coating. If this happens it will harden up too much.
Thin it out– In order to get a smooth candy coating that will ensure that your cake balls have a gorgeous outer shell you need to thin it out. You can mix in Crisco shortening, coconut oil, or EZ-thin dipping aid for a runnier consistency.
How to Keep the cake balls on the stick
The best way to prevent the cake balls from falling off the stick is by making sure you added enough frosting to the cake balls and thinning out the candy coating. If the chocolate coating is too thick it will be heavy and way down on the cake balls.
TIP: If you want to avoid using the stick, just make cake balls instead! I have an easy recipe for red velvet cake balls and no-bake oreo cake balls right here in my blog.
How to make the EASY version of cake pops
If you’re looking into a super fast and easy version of my original vanilla cake pops, you have to try my no-bake oreo cake pops (VIDEO). All you need is Oreos, cream cheese, and candy melts. That’s it!
- Crush up the Oreos in a food processor with cream cheese.
- Roll the dough into cake balls and add the melted candy-dipped stick inside. Then freeze for 15 minutes.
- Now dip the cake pops into melted candy melts and gently insert the sticks into a styrofoam block to set. Add dipping aid chips to the candy melts if they are too thick.
What can I use instead of candy melts?
The only substitute for candy melts would be chocolate. If you set out to make cake balls without candy melts, you will need to mix 1 tbsp vegetable oil for every 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Why are my cake pops cracking?
There are usually two reasons why they can crack. Before dipping the balls you want to set the stick by placing the cake pops in the freezer for 15 minutes. If you dip them and the candy melts are too hot, they will crack because of the sudden temperature change. Or the cake balls were too cold if you kept them in the freezer for over 15 minutes. Again, the drastic temperature change can cause the cracking effect here as well.
Make them ahead of time
I make them a few days ahead of time and then keep them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Storing cake pops
- Room temperature– You can store them already dipped at room temp for up to a week.
- Fridge– Keep the undipped cake balls in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days
- Freezer– or you can store the undipped cake balls in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Don’t forget to thaw them in the fridge though.
Full Recipe Instructions
How to Make Cake Pops (easy and fool-proof)
- 24 cake pop sticks
- cake pop former 11/4 inch in diameter or small cookie scoop
- white nonpareils (optional)
- Styrofoam block (to set the dipped cake pops)
- Bake the cake as instructed on the boxed cake mix and allow it to cool down to room temperature.
- Now trim off the outer golden layer because it tends to be too dry to form the cake pop.
- In a large bowl, crumble the cake into fine crumbs using your hands. Add 2 tbsp of vanilla frosting and mix with a spoon or your hands.
- Shape the cake into balls and place them into the cake pop former. Make sure the cake ball is a little bit bigger than the size of the press. Once the cake ball is pressed tightly, remove the extra cake from the sides and roll the ball with your hands to smooth any imperfections. This step is optional. You can always just round it out with your hands alone.
- Insert the sticks – Melt 1/4 cup of candy melts in a small bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals to prevent the candy from overheating.
- Dip the tip of each cake pop stick into the melted candy and insert it into the cake ball about halfway through. Place each cake pop onto a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for about 15- 20 minutes. Don’t keep them there too long or they will become too cold and cause the hot melted candy to crack after you dip them.
- Thin out the candy melts before dipping– Meanwhile, melt the rest of the candy in a bowl. Make sure you melt them in 30-second intervals with mixing in between. Once it's melted well, add 1 1/2 tsp Crisco shortening or melting aid chips (preferably) and mix well with a whisk. Then pour the melted candy into a tall narrow cup.
- Dip the cake pops– Now remove the cake balls from the freezer and dip each into the cup and tilt to the sides slowly to make sure the entire cake pop is covered. Then slowly pull up the cake pop. (Don't swirl the cake pop) Hold the cake pop in one hand and tap your wrist so that all the extra melted candy drips off.
- Now decorate the dipped cake pops with sprinkles or nonpareils while the candy coating is still wet. That way the sprinkles adhere well.
- Place in a Styrofoam block and let it stand for about an hour. Store at room temperature.
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Hi. Can you make the chocolate dip ahead as well and store? Do you know how long it would keep?
Hi Mai, I would not recommend making the chocolate dip ahead of time since it will harden as one large block of chocolate. This will make it very difficult to melt again later.
they are very goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you Mariah!
Thank you very much for the recipe and the helpful information about prepping in advance. These turned out perfect for my son’s birthday party!
That’s awesome Erika! I am so happy to hear that these cake pops turned out so well! Thank you for the kind feedback 🙂
Kelly B says
I am wanting to make my cake pops ahead and freeze them. Can I freeze them without the sticks and insert the sticks after they thaw a bit? I need to make three dozen and I just don’t have room in my freezer with the sticks already inserted. Thanks
Hi Kelly 🙂 I have not tried freezing the cake pops without the sticks and then trying to insert them later. So I can’t say for sure how they will turn out. I am afraid that they may crack that way. If you give it a try let me know how it goes. 🙂
Thank you. I was afraid that would probably be what could happen. Hopefully I can make room in my freezer to fit them all.
You are very welcome Kelly! I hope you are able to make it work! Let me know how it turns out! 🙂
school 123 says
love it used it as a class project
Glad to hear everyone loved it! Thank you for your feedback! 🙂
Evelyn Lade'va Dickie says
Can’t wait to try this an absolutely love how this is so detailed cuz I surely need that! When making the fast and easy cake pops, I know URS is Oreo but is there anything else or another cookie/candy that you can mix with the cream cheese and follow ur direction?
Hi Evelyn 🙂 Glad to hear you found my food blog and I hope you love my recipes! I am guessing you are referring to my oreo cake pops (I have several similar recipes). I have not tried making this recipe with different cookies, yet! So I am unsure of how it will turn out. It may have to be adjusted a bit since the Oreo filling changes the recipe a bit compared to other cookies. I hope that helps clarify. If you give this recipe a try let me know how it goes! If you have further questions post them under the recipe itself so I know which recipe you are referring to. Thank you! 🙂
Use nutter butter cookies! Delicious!
Hello, I am planning on making your Oreo cake pops. Candy melts are not available. My understanding is to melt white chocolate (1 bar) and add 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Would that be okay ?
Also thank you so much for an amazing website and such easy access to recipes! Most of all sharing them with all of us 🙂
Hi Maheen 🙂 You are very welcome and I hope you find many recipes to enjoy on my website! Yes, you can use white chocolate with coconut oil. I just don’t know the ratio for you since you are using a chocolate bar and I use chocolate chips. I would start with a little less oil and work up from there just in case. Start with a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon and see how that goes. Also, I have a detailed recipe for Oreo cake pops on my website but you are commenting on the post ‘how to make cake pops’. Just wanted to point that out just in case. I hope you love this recipe! Let me know how it goes 🙂
Cinda Cox says
Can you freeze them after they are dipped in the frosting?
Hi Cinda 🙂 Do you mean after they are dipped in the chocolate coating? I have not tried freezing cake pops after they are dipped so I am not sure how it will turn out. You can freeze the cake pops before they are dipped in the chocolate coating though. I hope that helps. Let me know how it goes 🙂
U have it holds the shape but guve it super bad taste😏 and for some reason it has that freezer smell..i followed ur instructions but i cannot seem to keep them from ckarking😭😥
Hi 🙂 You only need to hold them in the freezer for a little just to hold the shape. About 15 minutes. If you hold it too long then they can freeze and crack when you put the warm chocolate on the. If your freezer runs a bit colder then you may do less than 15 minutes. Hope that helps clarify 🙂
Joanne Stribling says
Dina, thank you so much for the helpful advice. I am making cake pops for a bridal shower and I want them to be perfect. I have a cake pop maker, and the little balls came out beautifully, after adjusting the recipe. I then dipped the sticks and froze the pops until I was ready to try coating them. My first attempt was using sugar free white chocolate chips. I used my wilton chocolate melter, but the chocolate crystalized plus the color was too yellow and didn’t look good with tbe pink food coloring. I didn’t have anymore so I switched to regular white melting chips on the microwave. That worked a lot better, but the candy was too thick and I couldn’t make the outside smooth looking. Right now I have the coated pops in the freezer to see how well they do when defrosted. So many things to go wrong! Ugh! Tomorrow I will buy more melting chips and this time add a thinning agent. Wish me luck. If I get this figured out I’ll have to sell them so I don’t forget the process next time.
Hi Joanne, I know cake pops can be a bit finicky. I highly recommend adding coconut oil to the candy melts to help thin them out. It will make dipping so much easier! 🙂
Betsy Shepler says
How do I prevent the melted chocolate from dripping down the stick?
Hi Betsy, if there is melted chocolate dripping down from the stick, there is a chance that you did not tap off enough of the chocolate. If you tap well, there should not be any extra chocolate dripping off.
How long do they stay good at room temp and in fridge
Hi Ashley, the cake pops can sit at room temperature for 1 week and refrigerator for 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Hi there, I’m wanting to try these for my daughters birthday next week and I’d like to make them ahead of time. However, I live in the tropics and know that there is no way that I can leave these out or they will melt. Our room temp during the day is on average 40c. Can I store them in the fridge once coated? Or will that be a disaster?
Hi Evi, you can place them in the fridge in an airtight container. Just give them plenty of time to come to room temperature before serving 🙂
HELP!! You may not read this as tomorrow is July 4th, but as I lay awake not able to sleep I realized I forgot to add the food coloring and chocolate chips to the “watermelon” cake pops, which are already formed and currently in my freezer. I am making them for a cookout tomorrow!! Can I thaw them and mix in color and reform the balls??? I looked everywhere online and couldn’t find any info, but your blog was the most recent so I’m asking here! PLEASE help of you read this in time! Thank you!!!
Hi Ginny, I am so sorry I was away camping with my family for the 4th of July weekend. I hope you found a solution for the cake pops! I have never tried this but I think it would have worked to reform them.
I have made these so many times and they are always such a crowd pleaser! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes 🙂
So happy that you loved these cake pops Annable! Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback 🙂 I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my blog! I also have Oreo cake pops and red velvet cake pops 🙂
LaQuita C. says
My daughter and I absolutely love Starbucks Birthday Cake Pop and I was so excited when I ran across this recipe. I made these cake pops for treat bags over Christmas and people loved them. However, the next time I will make the cake pops slightly larger and thin out the chocolate more because the stick came through the top of some of the cake balls after they were dipped and placed in the styrofoam to harden. Otherwise, this is an easy and great tasting recipe.
So happy to hear you loved these cake pops! It is so awesome that you and your daughter were able to enjoy these together 🙂 Thinning out the chocolate does make it a little easier to work with. The cake balls should not fall down on the stick. After you dip the stick with some frosting into the cake balls, did you place them in the fridge for a bit?
Thank you for your feedback 🙂
I made these for a baby shower, and they were a huge hit! They were so delicious. I used a white cake mix with cream cheese frosting. The best way to get fine crumbs is to use a food processor. Most likely you’ll need more than 2 Tbsp of frosting. Maybe 1/4 cup. But start with 2 Tbsp, and add more if necessary. You can always add a bit more, but you can’t recover them if you add too much. It’s best to use your hands to mix and get a feel for how much you need for them to hold together.
Hi Janice, so happy to hear that everyone at the baby shower loved these cake pops! Some cakes may require more or less frosting if they are drier or more moist. Thank you for your feedback 🙂
Janel Austin says
Hello! can i use other cake mixes for the starbucks copycat recipe or will it not taste the same?
Hi Janel, I have tried using other cake mix brands and found that the Pillsbury brand seems to have the closest taste to Starbucks. So brands do matter 🙂
Caryn Gibson says
Hello! I had a question about freezing for future use. When you thaw the undipped cake pops, how long should you thaw them before dipping? Should they thaw completely to room temp or still be cold? I’ve never made cake pops and testing these out for my kiddos birthdays in a few weeks 🙂
Hi Caryn, if you thaw the cake pops, don’t let them come to room temperature. You still want them to be cold. Let me know how it goes. And happy early birthday to your little one 🙂 I hope you guys have a wonderful birthday party!
Could you use homemade buttercream frosting? Would that change the texture in anyway?
Hi Carely, yes you can use homemade frosting. The texture should be pretty much the same.
Shereena Sidhu says
Hi, yeah that is what I thought so too. I used dark chocolate not candy melts. Could it be because the chocolate needs to be tempered ?
Hi Shereena, I think that tempering the chocolate could help prevent that issue 🙂
Shereena Sidhu says
Hi I wpuld like to try out your recipe on cake pops however I have two questions !
1. If using candy melts for the cake pops, will the cake pops melt at room temperature if I were to store them in an airtight container?
2. If I were to usw chocolate for dipping, would the cake pops coated in chocolate melt at room temperature if I were to store them in an airtight container?
I am thinking of doing postal orders and I am worried whether the cake pops will melt during delivery. Thank you !
Hi Shereena, Candy melts and chocolate should not melt at room temperature. As long as they stay away from heat and direct sunlight during the shipping process, they should be ok 🙂
Shereena Sidhu says
Ahh I see because I have tried making cake pops before and I am a bit skeptical as mine have melted even after letting it sit in the fridge once dipped. Could this be because during the dipping process, the cake pop and chocolate dip are not at the same temperature?
Thats really odd Shereena. How did you melt the candy melts? Did you add anything to them to thin them out too much? They should stiffen back up after they have cooled.