Cake Decorating Blog

The Secret to Making Perfectly Shaped Cake Pops

Custom-shaped cake pops are like tiny edible masterpieces on a stick. Unique, and fun to look at, yes. However, it’s no secret that cake pop making can go from fun to frustrating in no time flat. Trust me, you’re not alone if you feel like the cake pops are conspiring against you! I have definitely been in that position. Making cake pops had probably given me as many wrinkles as they have given smiles to the people enjoying taking bites of them! I’ve learned quite a bit over the few years I’ve been making them and now I’m here to rescue and resuscitate you from the cake pop conspiracy situation in your kitchen.

Today, let’s take a good look at how to make custom-shaped cake pops.

How to Make Shaped Cake Pops - Tutorial on

Let’s review how to make shaped cake pops.

The secret to making shaped cake pops is in the dough. Not in the dough, but the actual dough itself.

Here’s something nobody else will tell you: making cake pops is not a consistent one-size-fits-all situation. Cakes are just like people, they’re all different, 100 percent of the time. Handling cake for cake pops will be different each and every time. In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to achieve this perfect cake pop dough texture, using your personal judgement and very little actual measurement. The right texture will easily give you the results you’re looking for when you’re shaping anything from a basic round ball to a whimsical mermaid tail!

 Making the Dough for Cake Pops

Step 1:

Bake the cake. You’ll need a completely cooled cake. A  whole cake, a half a cake, the amount is up to you. I say this because the texture of the dough is what matters, not specific amounts added to one another. Pictured here is half of my mouthwatering snickerdoodle cake in my stand mixer. For cake pops, recommend cakes without any added textures, like nuts or chunks of fruit.

 Crumbles for Cake Pops

Step 2:

Crumble the cake until the crumbs are fine and mostly even, about 3 minutes on a low speed. Using a stand mixer will help the dough-making process go faster, but it’s not necessary. Using your hands and good ol’ elbow grease works just as well! Remove about 1 cup of crumbs (per whole cake) and set aside.

Cake Dough Crumbled in a Stand Mixer

Step 3:

Add a binder to your crumbled cake. A binder is the paste that will help hold the crumbs together to form a dough. Common binders used are buttercreams, store-bought creamy-style icing, or even just cream cheese alone. My personal favorite is the thick texture of homemade cream cheese icing. I found that slightly chilling the binder helps bind the cake crumbs faster. If your binder is at room temperature, pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes. The flavor of the binder won’t matter much because you’ll be using such small amounts that it will hardly affect the taste.

Here’s the trick. Add the binder a tablespoon at a time to your crumbled cake. My general rule of thumb is starting with 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of binder for a 9″ x 13″ cake, then adding more along the process. The total amount of binder you will use depends on the kind of cake and amount of cake you’re using. Cakes baked from scratch are denser and will use more binder than box mix cakes.

Crumbled Cake Dough for Cake Pops

Step 4:

Mix on the lower speeds of 2 or 3, for at least 3 minutes, then check the texture. If it looks like this, you’re almost there. Add another tablespoon or 2 of binder and let it whirl for 5 minutes.

Continue this stop-and-check process until your dough has reached a play dough or clay texture. The dough should feel sturdy, not tacky or crumbling when you handle it with your fingers. It shouldn’t fall apart when you place it in between your fingers and squeeze. If you feel it’s too wet or tacky, don’t worry! Remember that cup of crumbs you put aside earlier? This is where that will come in handy. Mix in a little bit at a time until your dough is no longer tacky and can be handled like play dough or clay. Remember to add only 1 tablespoon of binder at a time if you find it’s too dry once again.

Mixing Dough for Cake Pops

When your dough looks like this, you’re done. Gather it, ball it up and cover in wrap plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry up. Open only as you scoop your portions using a cookie dough dropper. Scoop one, form it and repeat.

Shaping the Dough for Cake Pops

This process may take more time than you’re used to, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a breeze.

You might also enjoy our posts on how to make cake pops and how to make smooth cake pops.

Do you have any tips on how to make shaped cake pops? What kind of shaped cake pops will you make?


Luis Miguel Herrera

hello habla castellano? no se cocina por favor x mensaje privado la enviaria gracias.

Luis Miguel Herrera

hello habla castellano? no se cocina por favor x mensaje privado la enviaria gracias.


Thanks alot for the tips,am going to try.


I have small cookie cutters would that work to shape them?


I don’t have a problem in making the cake pop itself. My problem comes when dipping them in chocolate/white chocolate after all is done, they crack how do you prevent cracking?


I always have that problem, too!


If they are cracking they’re probably too cold when you’re dipping them…I usually take my pops out of the fridge 5 at a time, let them sit at room temp for a few minutes to get the chill off then dip them….if I let them sit for a bit before dipping they don’t crack.

Kris Galicia Brown

Cracks are tricky, but when cracks happen, you know you’ve got a temperature issue. Humidity can also be the culprit. Either the balls are too cold and the coating too warm. let the balls sit for 5 minutes and let the coating sit for a couple of minutes before dipping. The temperature of your work space is also a factor. A fan or AC vent blowing in the direction of your work space isn’t ideal, as the cake pops are being cooled in a faster manner– just make sure too much air is not being forced your way. Your body temperature also plays a factor. Notice that the side away from you is almost always the side that cracks. If you notice this is happening, just place your cake pop stands about an arms length away from you and your bowl of warm coating. Hope this helps. I’m sorry I can’t be too specific since all of our work areas differ. I’ve also included two links below that might help with other trouble shooting problems you may have! 🙂


Your coating might be too heavy, also. When you melt the coating, add a tablespoon or two of paramount crystals (found in the candy making aisle of craft store). It thins out the coating and helps speed up the set up time.

Vanessa James

Cracking can be so frustrating, but you can resolve this with a bit of temperature control. It’s always a good idea to chill your cake balls for a good 30minutes before decorating. I also ensure that the melt is hot but not too hot. I dip the end of the pop stick into some melt and then into the cake pop, then mount it in the stand. Repeat with the remaining pops. By the time I have done all of the pops, the first few may show signs of cracking as they reach room temperature from where the stick is inserted. If there are any cracks, I use a cocktail stick to fill the gaps with candy melt. The pops are not quite as cold but still safe on the stick, so are ready to dip and decorate without any further cracking happening.


This was SUCH a lifesaver. Thank you!! I normally mix it by hand and was NEVER happy with the unsmooth results. But this time (fed up) I decided to use my kitchen aid. And hands down these are my best pops yet!

Ellon St. Croix

but how did you make those shapes?? especially the heart and the whale tail? they are so perfect!!


can we get your snickerdoodle recipe??

Id love to try this for my upcoming babyshower

Angela Boyd

I am going to try to make houses cake pops and was wondering if you share your mouthwatering snickerdoodle cake ? If so, I would love to have it.
Thank you

Kris Galicia Brown

Hi! My snickerdoodle recipe (along with three others and 40 cake pop designs) is available in my book- Pop Art: Decorating and Shaping Custom Cake Pops. It’s available at Barnes & Noble stores, Amazon, iBooks and other eReader stores. 🙂 I’d love to see your houses!! Tag me on Instagram (@kcreative) or on if you post photos! 🙂

jennah b

When I made my red birds last night some of the birds came apart and weren’t very sturdy on the stick. Would that mean they were maybe too dry?


My dough is cracking when I try to roll it and make shapes, does this mean that I need to add more frosting? It’s only on a few of them, not all…


can I use a previously frozen cake or can I mixed everything together, freeze, and then thaw out when I want to make the cake pops. Thank you

Susanna Denis

I’m making monster trucks for a set of twins. How will I shape them and add wheels before dipping them in white chocolate? Then I guess I could paint them with food coloring. I’ve never make cake pops before ?


Thanks for Sharing


So I’m a beginner at making cake pops this way (previously, I used my cake pop maker, but don’t like the uneven balls it makes…also they don’t taste as good as some others I’ve tried that made it this way). Is it unreasonable for me to think about attempting fleur de lis shapes for my first go at these?


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