Learn how to make cake pops the easy way using cake mix with these step-by-step instructions and photos! You can use any flavor of boxed cake mix and frosting to make these homemade cake pops.
Today, I am sharing my cake pop recipe made using cake mix. These little nuggets of cake dipped in chocolate have become a huge trend. Kids love them, and it is easier to hand out cake pops at a party than to deal with the mess of slicing, placing, and serving a cake.
My husband, Charles, loves this bite-sized dessert because he can have just a taste of dessert without committing to eating an entire piece of cake or a cupcake. (My opinion? Life is short, eat a whole piece of cake!)
To quickly summarize, cake pops are prepared by baking a cake, mashing it up, stirring frosting and the crumbled cake together, rolling the cake mixture into balls, placing the balls on cake pop sticks, freezing, and dipping in chocolate. The flavor combinations are endless since you can use any cake flavor and frosting flavors. You can decorate the pops with colored sprinkles or dunk them in white chocolate dyed with gel food coloring to match any party color scheme. The process takes a little time and effort, but the end result is perfect cake pops.
In my opinion, it’s easier to make a cake, but I do appreciate how adorable these are. These are the perfect treat to serve at a baby shower or birthday party.
I can understand why cake pop have become a huge trend – they are really pretty!
Learn how to make Cake Pops the easy way with these simple instructions:
You can use any box cake mix and frosting flavor to prepare this recipe – this example is made with chocolate cake mix and caramel frosting. If you want to keep things simple, you could buy cupcakes at the grocery store and then mash them up frosting and all to make cake pops. Alternatively, you could use homemade frosting and a from-scratch cake recipe to make cake pops. If from-scratch baking is your thing, you might want to try my friend Jocelyn’s chocolate cake recipe. I’m just here to teach you my easy cake pop recipe.
This method of preparation doesn’t require any special equipment. You could use a cake pop maker, stand mixer, or cake pop stand to prepare this recipe, but none are necessary. The only supply that you need, in addition to the cake pop ingredients, are cake pop or lollipop sticks. You can buy these online, at some grocery stores, Target, or craft stores.
Cake pops need to dry standing upright, so plan for that before baking. I have found that simply taking the box of cake mix and poking holes in it works just fine. If you have a styrofoam block, that will work perfectly.
First, you need to bake a cake following the directions on the back of the box cake mix (usually, this involves adding eggs and vegetable oil). Let the cake cool, and then break the cake up and place in a bowl with some room-temperature frosting. Every cake and frosting is a bit different, you might want to add the frosting gradually so that you don’t accidentally add too much.
Mix the frosting into the cake to create small cake crumbs. You will end up with soft cake that can be easily formed into balls.
Roll the cake into balls; you want them to be about the size of a ping-pong ball. I like to use a small cookie scoop to form evenly sized balls. To place the cake balls on sticks, dip the tip of a lollipop stick in melted chocolate and place them in the cake balls. The melted chocolate holds the stick in place – this isn’t a step you want to skip. While I use a double boiler to melt the chocolate for dipping the cake pops, you can just carefully microwave a small amount of chocolate for this step.
At this point, arrange the cake balls on a small baking sheet, and place them in the freezer until they become solid. This is very important. If you try to dunk room temperature cake balls in melted chocolate, they fall apart and make a mess. Trust me on this one. This is the best tip I have for successfully making cake pops.
Once the cake balls have frozen, use a double boiler to melt the chocolate or candy melts so that it doesn’t overheat or burn. Keep the burner temperature as low as possible and stir frequently, being careful to wipe the sides of the bowl – if you overheat the chocolate it becomes brittle and hard to work with. Once the chocolate has melted, gently dunk each individual cold cake pop, coating it completely. If you like, you can add sprinkles.
Note: Look for melting chocolate, almond bark, candy melts, candy wafers, or candy coating at the grocery store. These products can be found with the chocolate chips, and they are made to melt easily and dry hard. It’s ideal for dipping cake pops. You don’t want to use chocolate chips – they are much harder to work with. If you are looking for a specific color, you can find a wide variety of Wilton candy melts on Amazon. If you need a precise color that you can’t find online, I recommend buying white chocolate melts and adding a bit of food coloring to create the color you want.
The final step is to let the cake pops dry standing upright. The best way to do this is to place them in a box with small holes poked, a block or styrofoam, or a cake pop stand to dry. Candy melts and chocolate harden when they dry, so once dried, cake pops can be stored in an airtight container.
Voilà! You have Cake Pops!
If you are looking for an easy but beautiful way to display your cake pops, I like to place them in a pretty glass and to display them like a bouquet of cake pops.
I loved how these chocolate cake pops turned out. You can really taste the caramel frosting, and I liked the way the nonpareils gave added crunch.
I used the cake mix to bake two 8-inch round cakes. Then I used about 1/4 of that cake to make Cake Pops (I didn’t want to make too many because I knew I would end up eating all of them).
The instructions below are for a full batch, which would yield about 60 cake pops. I realize that 60 might be more than you need. You can prepare the cake pops up to the point when they are placed in the freezer, and then keep them frozen for up to 3 months before coating them in chocolate and sprinkles and serving. I love this idea since you could make one batch and serve the pops at two birthday parties months apart!
Pro Tip: Save the cake mix box and use it to stick the cake pops into while the chocolate dies. Or if you want to be fancy, cake pop stands exist.
How to Make Cakes Pops:
- 1 box of Cake Mix
- All the ingredients called for on the box of cake mix
- 1 carton of Frosting / 2 cups Homemade Frosting
- Sticks for the Cake Pops
- about 2 1/4 cups Melting Chocolate or Almond Bark
- Nonpareils or Sprinkles
Start by preparing a cake using the cake mix and following the instructions on the box. Bake the cake and let it cool. Save the box from the cake mix - you will need this later.
In a large bowl, combine the cake and the frosting. I recommend gradually adding the frosting until the cake pops are moist and easy to form into balls.
Stir until small crumbs form.
Then form the crumbs into small balls.
Next, melt about 1/4 cup of the almond bark or melting chocolate. Dip the sticks in the melted chocolate and then stick them in the cake balls, being careful not to go through the balls.
This is the most important step: freeze the cake balls. You need to freeze the cake balls, otherwise, they will break up when you dip them in the melted chocolate. Freeze the cake balls for at least 1 hour. I left them in the freezer for two days because I got busy with other things.
Before you melt the chocolate, take the box from the cake mix and use a knife to gently poke small holes in the box. You will be placing the cake pops in the holes while the chocolate dries.
Melt about 2 cups of melting chocolate or almond bark. It works well to melt it in a mug placed in the microwave.
One by one, dunk the cake pops in the melted chocolate, very gently shake off the excess, and sprinkle with nonpareils.
Carefully place the cake pops in the box to dry. Once the chocolate sets it is time to eat!
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