Beginner tips on how to make cake pops. Learn the basics from the best type of cake, frosting, candy melts, and tools to use to tips on making the process frustration-free and smooth.

Pink Decorated Cake Pops

Originally posted on Live Party Love – moved to Northern Yum

If you want to start with the very basics of how to make cake pops, you’ve come to the right place! Follow this basic process, and you’ll be making intricate designs in no time.

As much as we love these delicious treats, we’ll admit they are super time-consuming and can be frustrating at first. So be sure to set aside a good amount of time. Rest assured, we’ve put together a list of supplies and tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake (we used white cake)
  • Sprinkles (or use funfetti cake)
  • 1 can frosting (any flavor, we used vanilla)
  • Any ingredients you need to bake the boxed cake according to the box instructions (eggs, oil, water)
  • Candy melts (we recommend Wilton’s)
  • Candy melt thinner (coconut oil, for example) – if needed, optional
  • Edible decorations – sprinkles, drizzled or whole candy melts, other candy, edible marker

Supplies

  • Cookie scoop
  • Cake pop sticks
  • Cake pop stand
  • Drizzle tool or plastic zip-lock bags
  • Vase or container to display pops
  • Craft foam to hold the pops in place
  • Candy, tissue paper, or shredded paper to hide the foam
  • Decorative paper straws to place cake pop stick in – optional

How to Make Cake Pops

Here are the tricks we’ve learned along the way. We’d love to hear about any tips you have in the comments.

Plan Two Sessions

Please note these treats are time-consuming, so breaking up the process will make it seem less daunting (#1 bake, #2 decorate). Bake the cake the day or night before you plan to shape and decorate the pops. Make sure to cover the cake so it doesn’t dry out.

We’ve made our best cake pops with a boxed cake mix. Our favorite is white cake with sprinkles, but you can use funfetti cake or any flavor. Just follow the directions on the box.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - mix cake
Learn the basics of making cake pops - bake cake

Crumble Cake

If you decide to form and decorate the same day, make sure the cake is completely cooled. We slice off the top and sides of the cake. Remove the inner cake, leaving the very bottom, which will make it easier to crumble.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - slice cake

Crumble the cake into small pieces in a medium-sized bowl.  Make sure there are no large chunks. It will make it harder to keep them together.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - crumble cake

Fold in Frosting

Our favorite is the canned vanilla frosting. Mix 2/3 can of frosting (3/4 if you didn’t cut off the sides of the cake) of any flavor you choose into the cake crumbles. The cake should stick together well.  If it doesn’t, you’ll need to add more frosting until it does.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - mix frosting

Form Cake Pops

For basic round pops, use a tablespoon or cookie scoop to measure the cake and roll them into balls.  However, we’ve also made shapes with a silicon mold or handheld tong mold. They tend to turn out really well.

After forming, place cake pops onto wax or parchment paper. We like to use 2 separate plates with wax paper. That way, half of them can stay in the freezer while you’re dipping the others.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - form

Freeze Before Dipping

Place the cake balls in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Don’t freeze too long, or they will expand after you coat them and ooze out the sides. Trust us on this.

Quality Candy Melts — Temperature & Consistency Are Key

Buying quality candy melts will help immensely. We use Wilton’s candy melts. Melt, and only if needed, add coconut oil (or other candy melt thinner) until the candy is a thinner consistency.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - candy melts

Dip the end of each cake pop stick into the melted candy and insert it into the cake pop.  Let the pops sit for a few minutes before dipping.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - dip

Make sure the melted candy isn’t too hot when you dip. If you have problems with the cake falling off into the candy—make sure the melts are thin, not too hot, and you might have to put your cake balls back in the freezer for a while. Set the cake pops into a cake pop stand to dry.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - dip cake pops

Dip First, Then Sprinkle, and “Glue” on Details When Dry

If you are using sprinkles, then sprinkle right after dipping. However, if you are adding details, then dip first, let dry, and then add the details using the melted candy as glue.

You can also drizzle the cake pops with candy melts, as shown below, using a plastic bag or drizzle tool. Again, you may need to thin the candy melts with coconut oil or other candy melt thinner.

Learn the basics of making cake pops - decorate cake pops

Pipe Your Own Details

Making your own shapes with the melted candy is a great way to decorate cake pops. Lay out wax paper and pipe candy melts into different shapes. You can even print templates to put under the wax paper as a guide.

Pipe “2s” for a 2nd birthday, “50s” for an anniversary, or motorcycles for your child’s birthday. “Glue” them on with melted candy. So many fun options.

Create a Fun Presentation

Your cake pops will look amazing when you add them to a fun vase or container.  Add craft foam to the bottom and arrange the cake pops by sticking them into the foam.  Use candy, tissue paper, or shredded paper to cover the top and sides of the foam.

Fun tip: we’ve used paper straws on the top of a cake and placed the cake pops into the straws—a fun way to dress up any cake.

There you have it: basic tips on how to make cake pops. Have you made them before? Love them or hate them? Leave us a comment below.

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Pink Decorated Cake Pops

How to Make Cake Pops

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Learn all the basics of making delicious cake pops. A fun and festive party dessert.

  • Yield: 3648 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 box cake (we used white cake)
  • Sprinkles (or use funfetti cake)
  • 1 can frosting (any flavor, we used vanilla)
  • Any ingredients you need to bake the boxed cake according to the box instructions (eggs, oil, water)
  • Candy melts (we recommend Wilton’s)
  • Candy melt thinner (coconut oil for example) – if needed, optional
  • Edible decorations – sprinkles, drizzled or whole candy melts, other candy, edible marker

Instructions

  1. Bake cake — we’ve made our best cake pops with a boxed cake mix.  Just follow the directions on the box. Our favorite is white cake with sprinkles, but you can use funfetti cake or any flavor.

  2. Crumble cake — if you decide to form and decorate the same day, make sure the cake is completely cooled. We slice off the top and sides of the cake. And remove the inner cake leaving the very bottom. Which will make it easier to crumble.

  3. Fold in frosting — mix 2/3 can of frosting (3/4 if you didn’t cut off the sides of cake) of any flavor you choose into the cake crumbles. Our favorite is the canned vanilla frosting.  The cake should stick together well.  If it doesn’t, you’ll need to add more frosting until it does.

  4. Form cake balls — for basic round cake pops, use a tablespoon or cookie scoop to measure the cake and roll them into balls.  However, we’ve also made shapes with a silicon mold or handheld tong mold. They tend to turn out really well.

  5. After forming, place cake balls onto wax or parchment paper. We like to use 2 separate plates with wax paper. That way, half of them can stay in the freezer while you’re dipping the others.

  6. Freeze before dipping — place cake balls in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Don’t freeze too long, or they will expand after you coat them and ooze out the sides.

  7. Dip the end of each cake pop stick into the melted candy and insert it into the cake pop.  Let the pops sit for a few minutes before dipping.

  8. Dip First, Then Sprinkle, and “Glue” on Details When Dry — if you are using sprinkles, then sprinkle right after dipping. However, if you are adding details, then dip first, let dry, and then add the details using the melted candy as glue.

Notes

  • Read the entire post for more tips and tricks!
  • Use any flavor of box cake! White, funfetti, cherry chip, strawberry, chocolate, red velvet, yellow cake, etc.
  • Author: Kelsey Restemayer
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about making cake pops.

How many cake pops does this recipe make?

Expect about 3 to 4 dozen cake pops. It really depends on how large you form your cake pop balls.

How do you make chocolate cake pops?

Easy! Follow this same process to make chocolate cake pops. Just use your favorite chocolate box cake mix. For double chocolate – use chocolate frosting as well. Otherwise, the vanilla frosting will work great too.

How do I make smooth cake pops?

Quality candy melts are essential to smooth cake pops (and rolling your cake balls into a smooth ball, of course, helps too). We suggest Wilton’s candy melts. Also, make sure the temperature and consistency of the candy are just right. Too hot will melt the cake pop off the stick, and too cool will cause the coating to be less smooth and chunky.

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