Basic Cake Pop Recipe

** Quick note! If you’re from the UK – you now have your very own UK version of this Basic Cake Pop Recipe that you might like to use instead **

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This is the US version of the basic cake pop recipe!

Many of these blog posts are going to relate to my trial and error methods for each stage of cake pop recipes and the cake pop making process. However, we have to have a starting point to tinker with, so all my posts will be based off the same basic cake pop recipe, i.e. cake pops, covered in candy coating and topped with sprinkles. So here’s how we do that…..

This basic cake pop recipe represents 48 pops which can be a lot especially with the time taken to decorate, so feel free to make a smaller batch by using smaller proportionate portions.

What you need:

18.25oz box of cake mix and necessary extras (such as eggs, oil etc)
9 x 13 cake tin
Up to 12oz of frosting (pre-made or make your own)
Lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block
Candy melts (roughly 3 lbs for 48 pops)
Microwave-proof bowl
Large tray
Wax paper
Wire cake rack


Pre-heat your oven to the temperature on your cake mix box.

Get your tray and line it with a sheet of wax paper.

Clear a space in your fridge or freezer big enough for your tray.

Get a styrofoam block. Cover it with cling film or foil. Punch holes in it with a lollipop stick at least 2 inches apart with enough holes for the number or cake pops you are making.

What you need to do:

Bake your cake according to the cake mix instructions.

Turn your cake out of the pan once it’s cool enough and then leave to cool completely on a wire cake rack.

Once thoroughly cooled, break your cake up and turn it into crumbs. You can use your fingers or a mixer.

At this stage, if you want to make fewer than 48 cake pops, you can weigh your cake crumbs and split them out into 2, 3 or 4 equal portions (to make batch of 24, 18 or 12 respectively). You can freeze the other portions for later use.

Next add a complementary flavored frosting to your cake crumbs. How much you use will depend on how moist your cake crumbs are to begin with. If they already stick together to form a dough consistency then you’ll only need to use a small amount of frosting. If they appear to be more like bread crumbs, you might need to add as much as 3/4 of a jar of the pre-made frosting (about 12oz).

The resulting dough should be moist enough to remain stuck together, but not sticky so that your hands feel tacky. If it is still crumbly and falling apart, then add a little more frosting.

So here is your dough ready for shaping. To get consistently sized cake pops, it really helps to use some form of measure like a melon baller or tablespoon measure. I have started using the OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoopbasic recipe product reviews general chat

(select the “small” from of the 3 available sizes) which is perfect. Your ideal cake pop should be about 1.5 inches in diameter. There are lots of different shapes you can mold your cake pop into, but for this basic recipe, we’ll stick to the traditional ball shape.

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Roll your a piece of dough between your palms to make a ball shape. Then place on a sheet tray lined with wax paper. Once you’ve rolled all of your cake balls, pop them in the fridge for at least an hour or two or the freezer for 15 minutes to set. You just want to chill them through, not freeze them.

Remove your cake balls from the fridge and melt your candy melts at 30 second intervals in your microwave, stirring after each zap until they all melt together. It depends on which candy melts you use as to how thick the mixture will be once melted. I’m going to try out a few different brands and methods so check out the blog posts on melting and dipping tips for more relevant advice, but if as a general rule, if you feel it’s too thick for dipping, please don’t add water or continue trying to microwave your melts. They are oil-based and this will ruin them. Your best bet is to add a small amount of vegetable shortening to the melted candy melts, bit by bit, until you reach the desired consistency.

Once ready, dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating and then push into your cake pop to about half way in. Do this for each cake pop, placing the cake pops back onto the tray with the stick facing directly upwards and pop back in the fridge to set for a few minutes. If your coating begins to solidify, you can pop it back in the microwave for short bursts, but no longer than 30 seconds. Whilst there is no limit to the number of times you can re-melt candy melts, it is possible to burn them, so please be careful.

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Once you have attached the sticks to all your pops and they have set in place in the fridge, you are ready to start the dipping process! Give yourself plenty of time for this stage as it can take quite a while! You might also want to pull up a chair, especially if you’re going for the full 48 cake pops!

Reshape the end of your cake pop slightly if it’s gone flat on the tray. There are a number of different ways I have seen to do the dipping on the internet, but the only one I’ve tried in practice so far is the dunk method, when you submerge the whole pop in one motion. So holding your stick carefully, point the cake pop straight down and make one smooth dunk into the coating mixture. Bring the pop back out, turn parallel to the bowl and rotate the stick to allow the extra coating to drop off. The thicker your coating is, the longer this will take.

Tapping the stick against a spoon or on the side of the dipping bowl can help get a smooth covering and allow the last excess drops to fall, but be sure to keep turning the stick between your fingers so the coating doesn’t clump in one area.

As soon as it stops dripping but before the coating dries, begin to coat with sprinkles, either by gently rolling your pop in a bed of your chosen topping or sprinkling them on from above. If you go for the sprinkle from above method, do it over the plate where you keep your sprinkles so you can reuse those that don’t stick to the pop.

Once loaded with sprinkles, transpose your freshly topped cake pop to a stand to dry. The easiest thing to use to hold your finished pops is a styrofoam block (or for UK cake pop fans, polystyrene).

And voila! Here are your delicious cake pops! (The finished article made up the banner at the top of this page and my profile picture pop!)

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Your cake pops will stay happily unrefrigerated for up to a week (assuming you / your children / spouse / pets / surprise guests don’t scoff them all!) or you can freeze them until you need them. Storing them in the fridge can result in an odd type of condensation on the candy coating so I wouldn’t recommend that.

So those are the basics!

Keep any eye for new blog posts where we can get into some of the detail to make our cake pops truly magical!

Happy popping!


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5 Responses to Basic Cake Pop Recipe

  1. Susie says:

    Awesome instructions.

  2. Denice says:

    Perfect instructions!!!!! I will make these anytime!!!

  3. Kelly says:

    I wanted to also add that the first time I make cake balls (before they became the popular “pops”) I mixed the cake mix w/ peanut butter and another batch w/ Nutella. I didn’t even know you used frosting. I made some this weekend using frosting and they were much too rich. I think I’ll stick to my peanut butter and nutella :)

  4. Janice says:

    I have a birthday party on oct 12th that I will be making 100 cake pops for .How far in advance would you recommend making them without having to for best in Los Angeles CA

  5. CP says:

    Hi Janice. Sorry this reply is so late! Just in case any one else has this question, I thought it might still be helpful if I replied. I would split up the process. You can bake the cake and roll the balls to start then freeze them. This will save you time closer to the event. It also depends how much time you have just before the party or event you are making the pops for. Ideally, you should dip them the day before, but for 100 pops that can take forever so maybe over the 2 or 3 days before the event. The day before dipping, move the frozen balls from the freezer into the fridge. You can do this in batches. Then dip, leave them to dry over night. Then place and dipped pops very carefully in an air-tight container (not in the fridge) until you need them, but max 4 or 5 days before the party.

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