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These chocolate cake pops are made with moist chocolate cake, delicious chocolate frosting, then coated in more chocolate and dipped in sprinkles! These can be made with a box mix or a cake made from scratch, and there are instructions for making it vegan or gluten free!
Chocolate cake pops have got to be one of the cutest desserts ever - there's just something about eating a little piece of cake on a stick, you know?
Cake pops are so great for kids or adults, and you can customize them with fun sprinkles for birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, weddings, or pretty much any event or holiday you can think of! While they are a labour of love, they are so worth it in the end.
Why These Chocolate Cake Pops Work
- These chocolate cake pops are completely from scratch using a delicious, moist, easy chocolate cake recipe, and a delicious fudgy chocolate buttercream frosting.
- This recipe also includes instructions for making the cake pops using a box mix chocolate cake if you're pressed for time!
- These cake pops cake be modified to fit your dietary needs - you can make them dairy free, vegan, gluten free, or using regular dairy ingredients!
- Cake pops are so much fun to make with kids, or to serve for parties and special events.
- Milk: You can use any kind of milk you'd like. If making dairy free or vegan, use a non-dairy milk alternative like soy milk or oat milk.
- Oil: the chocolate cake for the cake pops cake uses canola oil, but you can also use sunflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil. Oil is also used to thin out the chocolate (if needed), for dipping the cake pops in. For the chocolate coating, melted coconut oil also works.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend using dutch processed cocoa powder and measuring it with a kitchen scale. Over-measuring your cocoa powder can lead to a dry cake.
- Flour: This cake recipe uses all-purpose flour, and the best way to achieve a perfect chocolate cake every time is to properly measure your flour using a kitchen scale.
- Butter: You can use regular butter or a vegan/dairy free butter to make the chocolate frosting for the cake pops.
- Chocolate chips or chocolate candy melts: These are used for the chocolate coating that the cake pops are dipped in. You can use either candy melts or chocolate chips, but you may need to thin out the melted chocolate chips with a bit of oil before dipping, as they aren't as thin as the chocolate melts. You can use regular or vegan version of both, or you can even use white chocolate melts.
- Sprinkles: Sprinkles are optional, but they make everything more fun, and cake pops should be fun!
These cake pops are already dairy free, so to make them dairy free, simply use dairy free chocolate chips, and use this dairy free chocolate cake recipe.
To make the cake pops with regular ingredients, simply swap out the ingredients in the chocolate cake recipe with regular dairy ingredients, and do the same for the frosting. You can use any chocolate melts or chocolate chips for the coating.
To make Vegan Chocolate Cake Pops
To make vegan cake pops, use this vegan chocolate cake recipe, and use vegan butter and milk in the buttercream. For the chocolate coating, you can use vegan semisweet chocolate chips, or any vegan chocolate chips you'd like.
To Make Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Pops
To make a gluten free version of these cake pops, simply swap out the chocolate cake for your favorite gluten free chocolate cake from scratch or use a gluten free box mix cake.
Step By Step Instructions
Note: Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
STEP ONE: Begin making the chocolate cake. If using a box mix, follow the instructions on the box to make the cake. If making this recipe from scratch, follow the instructions here. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare an 8 inch round cake pan or 8x8 square baking pan.
STEP TWO: In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder together. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and oil, then add the milk. Pour in the hot water and whisk until smooth. Bake for 20-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
STEP THREE: Let the cake cool completely, then make the chocolate frosting. Mix butter and cocoa powder together in a large bowl, then slowly add vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and salt. Add milk if buttercream seems too thick.
STEP FOUR: Break and crumble the cooled chocolate cake into the bowl with the buttercream and use your hands or a standing mixer to mix it all together until the frosting is fully combined.
STEP FIVE: Form the mixture into 1 tablespoon - sized balls and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least two hours or freeze for about 1 hour.
STEP SIX: Once the cake pops have chilled, melt the chocolate candy melts or chocolate chips in a microwave-safe mug or liquid measuring cup or 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between intervals until melted fully. If using chocolate chips, you may need to thin out the chocolate with a little bit of oil.
STEP SEVEN: Dip the tip of one end of each cake pop stick into the chocolate then gently push it into one of the cake balls, not all the way through but further than halfway. Dip the cake pop into the cup of chocolate and turn it until it's fully coated, letting extra chocolate drip off. Dip in sprinkles if desired and place it in a styrofoam box or a large cup filled with rice or anything that would hold the sticks upright. Allow the chocolate to set for about 30-60 minutes.
FAQS and Expert Tips
Sure! I personally love to make my cakes from scratch, but this recipe works just as well with a boxed cake if you're short on time. Follow the instructions on the box for making the cake, then follow the rest of the instructions as written in this post.
Absolutely! Chocolate chips will be too thick when melted, so you'll need to thin out the chocolate before dipping. To do this, add a little bit of oil to the melted chocolate and stir. Add 1 tablespoon at a time until the chocolate is thin enough that a cake pop can easily be dipped, twirled, and pulled out without extra thickness and weight.
Yes! Instructions are outlined further up in this post, but I recommend using this vegan chocolate cake recipe, then using vegan butter and chocolate for the frosting and coating.
Yep! Simply use your favorite gluten free chocolate cake recipe (or gluten free box), then make sure that the remaining ingredients you use in the frosting and coating are gluten free as well.
There are a few ways to make a cake pop stand. You can either poke holes in a styrofoam block, or a cardboard box (like an old Amazon box) with the lollipop sticks, or fill a few cups with rice so that you can place the cake pops up right in the cups without them falling over.
Can I use white chocolate to make these cake pops?
Sure! Chocolate cake inside with a white chocolate coating is a delicious combination. You can even make some with white chocolate melts (or white chocolate chips), and some with semi sweet chocolate.
For a vegan version, I like to use these vegan white chocolate chips.
Why are my cake pops falling apart?
These cake pops should be moist, and if they are falling apart they are likely too dry. If you used our dairy free chocolate cake recipe and the cake was dry, you likely over-measured your flour. Regardless of which chocolate cake recipe you used, if it's dry you can make a bit more buttercream if needed, which will add more moisture.
Can I make these cake pops without cake pop sticks?
Sure! If you don't have any lollipop sticks, you can make these as cake balls!
Where can I get cake pop sticks?
I use these lollipop sticks and order them on Amazon, but you can also get them at craft stores like Micheals, or some grocery stores.
Why did my cake pops fall off the stick??
The cake pops will fall off the sticks if either:
a) the melting chocolate is too thick or
b) the cake balls are too big
The cake balls must be no bigger than 1 tablespoon or else they will be too heavy and fall off the sticks!
- If you are baking the cake from scratch, be sure to properly measure your flour and cocoa powder using a kitchen scale or using the proper scoop and level method. No one likes a dry cake pop!
- The cake balls should be no bigger than one tablespoon or they will be too heavy and fall off of the cake pop sticks.
- Melt the chocolate in a 2 cup glass liquid measuring cup, since they are tall and deep and easies to dip in. Avoid using a shallow bowl or dish since you want to be able to dip the cake pop and submerge it in chocolate.
- I cannot stress this enough - the melting chocolate cannot be thick or it will weigh down the cake pop balls and they'll fall off the stick. If it's thick, thin it out by mixing some oil with the chocolate.
- Tap off any excess chocolate from the cake pops after dipping by tapping the stick lightly on the edge of the cup.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
The chocolate cake pops can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 10 days. You can also make the cake balls ahead of time, store in the fridge for up to 3 days, then dip them in chocolate.
To freeze the cake pops, place in a ziploc freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. They can be thawed at room temperature when you're ready to serve them.
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Chocolate Cake Pops
- Handheld or Standing Mixer
- Baking Sheet
Chocolate Cake (see notes for boxed mix cake)
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup canola oil (or vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil)
- ¼ cup milk (regular or vegan)
- 1 egg (SEE NOTES for vegan version)
- ½ cup hot water
- 2½-3½ cup chocolate candy melts or chocolate chips (semisweet, milk, dark, or white chocolate)
- 1-4 tablespoon canola oil (or coconut oil, or other neutral oil) (if needed) SEE NOTES BELOW
- sprinkles (optional)
- Note that step by step photos of the instructions can be found in the post above.
Make the Chocolate Cake
- If using a box mix, follow the instructions on the box to make the cake. If making this recipe from scratch, follow the instructions here. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare an 8 inch round cake pan or 8x8 square baking pan (The shape won't matter since the cake will be crumbled up later), lining it with parchment paper on the bottom and a light coating of cooking spray on the sides.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk together then add in the egg, vanilla extract, oil, and milk. Pour in the hot water and whisk until the batter is smooth. Bake for 20-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely before proceeding to the next step.
Make the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Add butter and cocoa powder to a large bowl and mix until smooth. Slowly add vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and salt. Add the 1 tablespoon of milk if the buttercream seems too thick.
Assembling the Cake Pops
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Crumble the cooled chocolate cake up into the bowl with the buttercream. Use your hands or a standing mixer to mix it all together until fully combined.
- Form into 1 tablespoon - sized balls and place on the baking sheet. The balls should be no bigger than one tablespoon or they will be too heavy and fall off of the cake pop sticks. Refrigerate for at least two hours or freeze for 1 hour.
- Once the cake pops have chilled, prepare your cake pop holder. You can poke holes in a styrofoam box, an upside down cardboard box, or fill a few cups with uncooked rice to put the cake pops into.
- When the cake pops have chilled, remove them from the fridge or freezer and melt the chocolate melts or chocolate chips in a microwave-safe mug or glass liquid measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir between each interval until the chocolate has melted. If using chocolate chips, add in a little bit of oil at a time to thin out the chocolate if needed. If it's too thick, it will be difficult to dip and the cake balls will fall off of the sticks.
- Dip the tip of one end of each cake pop stick into the chocolate then gently push it into one of the cake balls about ¾ of the way through.
- Dip the cake pop into the cup of chocolate and gently turn it and twist until it's fully coated, letting extra chocolate drip off. Dip the cake pops in sprinkles, then place them in the cake pop holder to set. They should set in 30-60 minutes.
The calorie information provided for this recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.