Pumpkin Cake Pops

Pumpkin Cake Pops

October 31: Halloween

From food flops to our first cake pops, we transformed ugly muffins into pretty pumpkins! We were about to trash the cracked, overflowed tops that were stuck to the baking pans but were conscious about wasting food, time and effort. So we tried to salvage them by making one of the trendiest treats today—cake pops! After some trial and error (and a few more food flops that necessitated the creation of a separate blog page), we finally figured out a technique that worked for us (see Notes below). While they all don’t look like The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, it seems like Jack’s crumbly cake innards have a good enough candy-coated costume for Halloween!


(Adapted from Bakerella)

Ingredients and materials

  • 1 box (18 ounces) cake mix (enough to make a 13×9-inch cake or many mini muffin mistakes)
  • 1 can of frosting
  • 2-3 bags of orange candy melts (we used Wilton brand)
  • 1 tube of black frosting fitted with a small round tip (we used tip 3)
  • 1 tube of green frosting fitted with a star tip (we used tip 21)
  • lollipop sticks
  • styrofoam block
  • wax paper


Bake the cake, let cool completely and crumble finely into a large mixing bowl. Dump the canned frosting into the bowl and mix well until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up the mixture.

Pumpkin Cake Pops

Scoop or pinch out 1 – 1 ½ inch of the chilled mixture and roll into balls. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate again to firm them up. Microwave the candy melts in a small bowl according to the package directions. Stir until smooth. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to keep it tempered. Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted candy. Insert it at least halfway into the cake ball. Refrigerate again to set the candy and secure the lollipop stick in place.

Pumpkin Cake Pops

Dip the chilled cake balls into the melted candy, working quickly to cover the surface. Allow the excess to drip back into the melted candy bowl. Stick into a styrofoam block in the refrigerator. Cool to set the candy coating. Pipe in the pumpkin face with black tube frosting. Crown Jack with a stem using the green tube frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Cake Pops


  • The cake and frosting may be made from scratch. We used a butter recipe golden cake mix for our first cake pop experiment but a pumpkin-flavored one would have been more festive. The frosting binds the cake crumbs well but we found it made the candy-covered cake balls even sweeter for our tastes, even though we used 2/3 of the canned content. Whipped cream cheese could be an alternative to frosting.
  • Cake pops are best made when chilled, which is a challenge in warm kitchens with a hot flashing chef! Refrigerate (or freeze) them frequently between decorating steps. However, much like a hormonal imbalance, they do tend to “sweat” (the condensation happens when the outer candy coating comes to room temperature while the inside cake pop is still cool).
  • Size does matter. Big cake balls are heavy on the lollipop sticks and can slide through (see our Food Flops page). Roll them no larger than 1 ½ inches for a lighter and more manageable weight.
  • A double boiler or fondue dish would temper the candy evenly and smoothly, unlike our first attempts to coat the cake balls when the candy “siezed” into a lumpy melted mess. Oh, Great Pumpkin, heed our wish list, which now includes a chocolate melting pot!
  • Pre-poke the styrofoam block to make it easier to stick the cake pops during the preparation process. For a decorative display, wrap a Halloween ribbon around the base.
  • Food writing pens and edible icing markers left lighter facial impressions/expressions on our pumpkin cake pops. So we just piped in darker details with a black tube frosting. Melted chocolate in a small pastry or plastic bag would work well, too. (Compare the difference of Jack’s facial features on our Food Flops page.)
  • Four-inch lollipop sticks are okay but six-inch lengths are better for handling. Serve them from a decorated styrofoam block or present them on a treat stand (which is also on our wish list).
  • Handle the cake pops with care as they can crack!