This cake pops recipe is a copycat of Starbucks’ birthday cake pop. If you’ve ever been to Starbucks you most likely saw their famous pink “birthday cake pops” through the glass of sweet goodies or on their official menu. This little treat is a combination of vanilla cake, frosting, and pink candy coating. If you’re planning to make these bite-sized treats for a party, be sure to try my easy red velvet cake pops (VIDEO) or my no-bake oreo cake pops (VIDEO)!
This easy to follow video tutorial will help you learn all the tips and tricks on how to make the best copycat Starbucks Birthday Cake Pops right at home. Or you can always refer to my ultimate cake pop guide for more tips!
This recipe was originally posted on Apr 30, 2015, we’ve tweaked it a bit since then.
How to Make Cake Pop Recipe
- Bake the vanilla cake, let it cool and remove the outer brownish layer with a knife.
- Crumble the cake into small pieces and mix it with the frosting.
- Form the crumbs into cake balls. Dip the end of a cake pop stick into melted candy melts and insert the stick halfway through each cake ball.
- Freeze the vanilla cake pops for 15 minutes.
- Pour melted candy melts into a tall narrow cup and dip each cake pop into the candy melts. Then tap off excess candy and sprinkle with nonpareils.
- Place the finished vanilla cake pops into a block of styrofoam so that it can cool and stiffen.
What is a Cake Pop
- A cake pop is pretty much a baked cake that is crumbled into fine pieces, then it is mixed with frosting. After that, it is compressed into a cake ball. Then it is placed on a stick and dipped in melted candy melts.
TIPS to make perfect Starbucks cake pops
- A good way to know if the frosting and cake crumbs are well combined is by compressing a handful and checking to make sure there’s no more marbled frosting visible.
- Remove and discard the outer layer of the baked cake. It tends to be drier than the rest of the cake, therefore it can cause the cake ball to fall apart.
How to melt Wilton candy melts
- If your candy coating is too thick after melting, add some kind of shortening such as Crisco or coconut oil to thin it out.
TIPS on dipping the cake pops
- When you dip the cake pop into the candy coating, don’t swirl the cake pop around. Instead bring it straight down, dip, and slowly bring it back up, so it doesn’t break apart.
- After the cake pops have been dipped into the melted candy, quickly tap the hand that’s holding the cake pop to help release any excess candy melt.
Ingredients to make cake pops
- white cake mix (requires eggs, water, and oil)
- vanilla frosting
- candy melts
- Crisco shortening
Equipment for cake pops
- cake pop sticks
- cake pop former 11/4 inch in diameter (or small cookie scoop)
How to store cake pops
Store the cake pops at room temperature in an airtight container. Refrigerating will cause condensation to form over the cake pop.
Full Recipe Instructions
Vanilla Cake Pops
- 24 cake pop sticks
- cake pop former 11/4 inch in diameter or small cookie scoop
- deep narrow cup
- white sprinkles
- 1 box Pillsbury classic white cake mix
- 2 tbsp Pillsbury creamy supreme vanilla frosting
- Candy coating:
- 1 12 oz bag Wilton candy melts
- 1 1/2 tsp Crisco shortening
- Bake the cake according to the package and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Cut the cake into 4 pieces and peel away the browned outside layer of the cake. I peel off the outer layer because it tends to be too dry to form the cake pop.
- In a large bowl, crumble the cake with your hands. Add 2 tbsp of frosting to the crumbled cake 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 extra cake from the sides and roll the ball with your hands to smooth any imperfections.
- Melt about 1/4 cup of candy melts in a small bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals to avoid overheating the candy.
- Dip the tip of each cake pop stick into the melted candy and poke it into to ball about half way through. Place each cake pop onto a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for about 20 minutes.
- 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 and mix well with a whisk or fork. Then pour the melted candy into a tall narrow cup.
- Once the cake pops have been in the freezer for 20 min, 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.
- Sprinkle the pop right away so that the sprinkles stick to it before the candy hardens.
- Place in a Styrofoam block and let it stand for about an hour.
Ps: We’ve updated some of the photos in this recipe, here are some of our old images.
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Hello! I made these last summer for my daughters party and they are SO delicious! I was going to make a bobber using this same recipe. Would you recommend dipping it all in one color and letting dry then half dipping in the 2nd? I’ve never tried 2 diff colors before.
I am so thrilled to hear that you loved this recipe! Yes, I would dip it all in one color, let it dry, then dip half of the cake pop in the other color 🙂 I hope they turn out amazing!
Typo. Should be “let” instead of “leg”.:
Bake the cake according to the package and leg it cool down to room temperature
Thank you for catching that Sharon. I just fixed it 🙂
The cake pop will not stay on the stick, even after dipping the stick in the chocolate before inserting into the cake pop. Could it be the chocolate I’m using? I even tried refrigerating it before coating.
Hi Gina 🙂 Not sure if the chocolate you used would do that or not. It may be the cake balls. If you use too much frosting it may make them too heavy. If you refrigerate them too long the chocolate may be too dry to stick to the cake ball to hold them. I hope that helps 🙂
Carla Mastracci says
Can you freeze the cake pops after they are dipped in the candy melts? Is it better just to make the cake pops freeze them and dip them just before my party?
Hi Carla, you can freeze them after they are dipped in the candy coating. Just make sure they are fully set and dried. Then place them in a zip lock bag and keep them frozen for up to 6 weeks. I hope everyone at your party enjoys these delicious treats! 🙂
I tried to make these for a baby shower .
It was a fail. I did not have a ball former, so tried my best with my hands to form the ball. Everything seemed to be going good until the point of dipping them in the candy melts. Most of them fell off the stick. Oh well, maybe I’ll have better luck next time with a ball former? Is it okay to add more Crisco than called for? It still seemed too thick . I will say, they taste delicious though! Glad I made cupcakes before the cake pops not knowing how it would turn out.
Hi Christine, I am so sorry to hear that the cake pops didn’t work out. Often times the candy coating is the culprit. You can definitely add as much Crisco as needed to help thin out the candy coating. I hope you give this recipe another shot! 🙂
Jennifer Mance says
What else can be used to thin the chocolate if I don’t have Crisco on hand?
Hi Jennifer, you can use a little bit of coconut oil to thin out the candy melts 🙂
One of my tricks is to dip the tip of the lollipop stick in the candy melt before inserting into the cake ball, then I will put in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. As I’m preparing the candy melt for dipping, It’ll give time for the pops to set for room temperature.
Can you freeze the pops after coating with chocolate to keep for a week or 2? I’ve seen other recipes that say no problem up to a month.
Hi Nadine, I have never tried freezing the cake pops after the candy coating is on so I can’t really say much until I test it out myself. I usually refrigerate them before I dip them. They will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
I made these for an anniversary party, sooo easy to make! The tutorial video helped a ton! Thank you! Two questions tho, can I add food coloring to the candy melts? And also, can I use sugar free frosting? Would either of these adjustments effect binding? Thanks!
Hi Trish 🙂 So happy to hear you loved these cake pops and that the video helped you 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your feedback!
I wouldn’t use food coloring. Chocolate doesn’t like moisture or liquid food coloring. It can seize up your chocolate. I haven’t tried it personally though. Sugar-free frosting should be ok. It will alter the taste a bit so I am not sure how it will turn out. Hope that helps 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
I have used this recipe at least 3 times with different flavors and I always get so many compliments! Thank you so much!
You are very welcome Andrea 🙂 So happy to hear everyone loves my cake pop recipe! Awesome to see you are experimenting with different flavors 🙂 What else have you tried?
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this awesome review! 🙂 I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my blog 🙂
I would leave out the shortening
Otherwise I’m sure when I made mine it would of tasted just like starbucks’
Hi Meli 🙂 Glad to hear you enjoyed these cake pops! Shortening is an alternative if you don’t have dipping aid. It isn’t my first choice but not all people want to buy it. So I gave this as an alternative to the main recipe ingredients. I hope that helps clarify 🙂
what dipping aid would you use ?
Hi 🙂 I use ‘wilton candy melts ez thin’. Hope that helps and I hope you love this recipe!
What is the shelf life on the cake pops without changing flavor?
Hi Ingrid, these cake pops can last about 5-7 days if sealed in an air-tight container. I hope you love these cake pops 🙂
Hello! So I have to make these for a party this coming Sunday, but I’m only able to make them tomorrow. (Thursday). A few people told me to make them and dip them, and leave them set out until Friday, and then wrap them with the gift bags. Would that be okay for them? The problem is I have to dip and do everything tomorrow. Thanks! 🙂
Hi Miles, you can actually wrap them an hour after they have been dipped. They set really fast 🙂
loved making it! made it for the superbowl last year and doing it again!
So happy that you enjoyed making these cake pops Brady! Glad to see this recipe is a repeat for you 🙂 Thank you for your feedback and I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my blog 🙂
Just wanted to say thanks for posting an easy step by step recipe. They came out perfect and tasted just like Starbucks. Can’t believe it only cost me 10 bucks to make 18 of them. I skipped shortening in the glaze and they came out perfect.
You are very welcome Marta! So happy to hear you loved the easy to follow recipe 🙂 Thank you for your feedback and I hope you find many more delicious recipes on my blog 🙂
Do you have any experience with keto recipes? I would love if you could figure out the keto substitutions! These sound amazing!
Hi Christy, I have done the keto diet a few times so I had my fair share of keto baking. I have never made keto cake pops before, but I think all you would need to do is find a good keto vanilla cake. Bake it, crumble it and mix it with cream cheese and swerve. Then round the cake balls and dip them in melted keto chocolate. I know choc zero and lilys are great options 🙂 I hope this helpd!