Part lollipop and part cupcake, cake pops are a fun, portable dessert that’s a clever gift or party favor at bridal or baby showers and children’s parties. They’re also a great way to use up leftover cake scraps and frosting. Start by mixing the cake crumbs and frosting into a soft dough and molding it into balls. Place the balls on lollipop sticks, dip into an easy-to-make candy coating, and cover in colorful sanding sugar. Customize them using your favorite cake flavor, frosting, and sugar colors.

Special equipment: You’ll need 16 (6-inch) lollipop sticks for this recipe.

What to buy: Candy Melts are disks of sugar and oil that, when melted down, are used as a coating for sweets. They can be found in gourmet grocery and cooking stores or sometimes at craft stores.

Sanding sugar, sometimes labeled as pearl or sparkling sugar, can be found in gourmet grocery and cooking stores. It’ll give a bright sparkle to the cake pops.

Game plan: You can use any type of cake, including boxed cake mixes, for the cake crumbs. Half of a 13-by-9-inch cake or 1 (8-inch) round cake will give you just about the right amount of cake crumbs needed for this recipe.

You can use any type of frosting for this recipe except whipped cream frosting.

  • Yield: 16 cake pops
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 mins 
  • Active: 30 mins 

Ingredients (6)

  • 4 cups cake crumbs (about 14 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup frosting (not whipped cream frosting), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sanding sugar
  • 8 ounces Candy Melts
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 16 (6-inch) lollipop sticks (see Special Equipment note)


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Place the cake crumbs and frosting in a large bowl and mash them together with a spoon just until a dense, moist dough forms and the frosting is evenly incorporated with no visible lumps. Using your hands, roll the mixture into 16 (1-1/2-inch) balls (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cake balls are firm but not frozen, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sanding sugar in a small bowl and set it and the baking sheet aside.
  4. When the cake balls are ready, place the Candy Melts in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. (The mixture should be the consistency of softly whipped cream.) If it’s too thick, add vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. (Alternatively, fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low so the water is just simmering. Place the Candy Melts in a heatproof bowl large enough to sit over the water without touching it. Stir until melted.)
  5. Remove 2 of the cake balls from the freezer. Dip 1/2 inch of a lollipop stick into the melted candy, then insert it about 1 inch into a cake ball. (The melted candy coating helps the cake ball stay on the stick.) Immediately dip the cake ball into the melted candy and turn to coat completely. Gently tap and twirl the stick several times on the edge of the bowl to form a thin, even coating, letting the excess drip off.
  6. Immediately dip the cake pop into the sanding sugar, turn to coat, and sprinkle additional sugar as needed to coat the pop completely. Hold the cake pop upright until the coating starts to set, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Place on the second prepared baking sheet. (Don’t worry, the coating will be set enough that the pops will retain their round shape after you lay them down.) Repeat with the second cake ball, then repeat with the remaining cake balls, coating 2 at a time. (If the melted candy starts to cool and thicken, reheat until it’s melted again.)
  7. Let the cake pops sit at room temperature until the candy coating is completely set and hardened, about 15 minutes. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.