How to Make Cake Pops at Home

While a slice of cake or a cupcake can curb a craving, cake pops are a far more portable solution. These dainty treats offer a bite-sized way to enjoy cake and frosting, all wrapped up in a candy or chocolate coating. And there are no plates or utensils required.

There are a huge variety of flavor options to find the perfect bite. Plus, you can make them ahead of time and easily customize cake pops to fit any occasion from birthday parties to Halloween and Thanksgiving. And while these convenient confections take patience and some finesse to put together, you can still pull off making them at home.

Cake pop basics

Cake pops are made up of three main components — cake, frosting, and coating — which can each be customized to meet a variety of flavor profiles.

Cake: You can choose to use a boxed cake mix or bake your own cake from scratch. If you have leftover cake or a cake on the drier side, you can use that for your cake pops as well. Either way, it’s going to be crumbled up and mixed with frosting.

Frosting: Frosting provides flavor for your cake pops, but it also acts as your glue for structure. You can choose canned frosting, or you can make a batch of your own. Making homemade frosting allows you to better control the consistency and makes it simpler to switch up the flavor.

The amount of frosting needed will depend on your cake’s moisture content. If you’ve baked a very moist cake, you’ll need less frosting to hold the cake crumbs together. 

Coating: Candy melts are the easiest way to achieve a smooth exterior coating, and they come in a variety of colors. Using chocolate can be difficult because a glossy, snappy covering can’t be achieved unless you temper it.

You can avoid having to temper chocolate by using white almond bark or baker’s chocolate if desired. It’s just as easy to melt these chocolate options in the microwave as candy melts, and you’ll achieve the desired snap once dried.

Cake pop flavor and decoration ideas

Cake pops decorated like jack-o-lanterns displayed in a silver urn with a plastic spider on it

Cake pops are easy to theme for holiday parties.

RuthBlack/Getty Images


  • Pair carrot cake and cream cheese frosting.
  • Use chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.
  • Pair apple cake and caramel frosting for caramel apple pops.
  • Place candy eyes on the coating before it dries to make one-eyed monster cake pops.
  • Paint finished cake pops with luster dust to make them shimmer.
  • Use candy melts and sprinkles in your team’s colors for a tailgating party.
  • Use orange candy melts and black frosting to make jack-o-lantern cake pops.
  • Use red candy melts, a pretzel stem, and a fondant leaf to make apple-shaped cake pops for back to school.

Troubleshooting cake pops

The cake pops are falling apart. If the cake pops are too mushy, you’ll need less frosting. If the cake ball is too dry and falling apart, add more frosting to hold it together.

The cake pops are falling off the stick. Dip the cake pop stick in the melted coating before inserting it into your cake ball. This will act as glue.

The exterior is cracking. Pay attention to temperature during the dipping process. Avoid dipping cake balls that are too cold in hot coating.

How long do cake pops last?

If you don’t eat your cake pops right when they’re ready, you can save them. Because of their coating, you can keep cake pops in an airtight container at room temperature away from heat or light for one week. Keep them fresh in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for six weeks.

Insider’s takeaway

Cake pops truly are the life of the party, and they only require a few ingredients to put together. Plus, they’re the ideal way to use up leftover or overbaked cake. With a bit of patience, you can put together a batch at home that will last for days to come.

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