Halloween is a favorite holiday of mine and these pumpkin cake pops are the perfect sweet treat for the spooky season!
These pumpkin cake pops are perfect for your next Halloween party. They’re also great for Thanksgiving treats, an Autumn / Fall themed dessert or party food idea. You can even hand them out to trick-or-treating kids if you’re feeling generous.
You can also choose to add pumpkin spice syrup to make pumpkin spice cake pops shaped like pumpkins – so much pumpkin joy, right?! Or you can keep things deliciously vanilla using the buttercream in the recipe. Check out the notes on this below.
✏️ Recipe creation
To me, pumpkins just scream Fall and the spooky season, so I thought they’d make a great Halloween cake pop.
I wanted to create an easy recipe for pumpkin cake pops. With these, there’s no need for a cake pop maker, mould or anything fancy to shape them. The only extra bits this cake pop recipe needs are lollipop sticks and something to stand them in.
I’m a big fan of themed cake pops. Cake pops, cakesicles and cake balls are all super easy to customise and make into fun designs. You can easily change the colours and toppings to suit your needs. They’re also delicious bite-sized treats!
This cake pop recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- Caster sugar (white finely granulated sugar)
- Plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- Baking powder
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter
- Icing sugar (powdered confectioners’ sugar)
- Vanilla extract
- Pumpkin spice syrup (optional)
- Orange candy melts
- Pretzels (broken into pieces)
- Vegetable oil (or canola, sunflower, etc.)
See the recipe card for quantities.
This recipe is for pumpkin cake pops from scratch, but you can also swap the cake for a boxed cake mix of your choice.
Alternatively, you can use leftover cake and offcuts to make your cake pops. You want roughly a 3:1 ratio of cake sponge to buttercream, but this varies depending on how moist your cake is and how runny your frosting is. I usually mix frosting into crumbled cake 1 tablespoon at a time and stop when it holds together as a soft dough.
Another cheat is using a store-bought tub of frosting in place of the buttercream recipe here. No judgement, you do you! It also means you can pick some fun flavours to mix it up if you fancy.
You can swap the plain flour in the cake recipe for self-raising flour of the same quantity. If doing this, exclude the baking powder too.
Pumpkin spice flavour:
To make your pumpkin cake pops a pumpkin spice flavour, you have a few options. The easiest is to use 3 ½ tablespoons of pumpkin spice syrup (the kind you'd use for a pumpkin spice latte coffee) instead of your buttercream.
Another option is to use pumpkin spice cake instead of vanilla sponge cake. You can check out this pumpkin spice cake recipe by Liv for Cake. I’d recommend using half this cake recipe for a standard batch of cake pops.
Cake pop coating:
If you can’t find orange candy melts, you can instead use white candy melts or white chocolate with orange food coloring added. Add your food colouring a drop at a time until you get the right colour. It’s best to use oil-based colouring. I’m a big fan of Colour Mill food colouring, it’s perfect for chocolate!
If I’m honest, a white chocolate coating usually tastes better than a candy coating and doesn't need thinning. However, chocolate is harder to work with so I like using orange candy melts for the easiest Halloween cake pops.
- Room temperature ingredients mix together better than cold ones. Take your eggs and butter out of the fridge to come up to room temperature before you start baking. For me, this takes about 30mins to warm up.
- Using unsalted butter lets you control the amount of salt in your cake and buttercream. I like mine to be low salt so I don’t add much, but you can add an optional ⅛ teaspoon or a pinch of salt to taste in the batter and frosting.
- I recommend sieving your flour, baking powder and powdered sugar (a.k.a icing sugar or confectioners’ sugar) for a smooth cake mixture and frosting.
- I prefer using vanilla extract to vanilla essence. As it’s less processed, it has a purer vanilla flavour.
- Depending on the brand, you’ll probably need to add oil to your melted candy melts. This will make them easier to work with and cover your pumpkin cake balls better. I usually use PME or Wilton candy melts, and stir in roughly 1-3 tablespoon of oil (e.g. vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil or soybean oil).
- To make the pumpkin stalks, I like to use plain salted pretzels (hard, not soft). Break them into small pieces, roughly 1-inch (2-3cm) long. Don’t worry if there’s curves or branches in your pretzel stalks, if anything it adds character!
I use the following equipment for this recipe:
- 8inch / 20cm round cake pan
- Parchment paper (greaseproof paper)
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer (or whisk / fork)
- Large and medium mixing bowls
- Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- Weighing scales
- Measuring spoons
- Wire cooling rack
- Flat plate, tray or baking sheet
- Lollipop sticks
- Cake pop stand (or Styrofoam block)
- Microwaveable jug, cup or bowl
I usually use an 8-inch round cake tin for the cake. Instead, you can swap this for a 6-inch tin and bake for an extra 5-10mins.
I usually melt my candy melts in the microwave (at 20 second intervals), but you can use a double boiler or bain-marie if you prefer.
You can get different sizes and materials for your cake pop sticks. I like to use either the 4inch or 6inch length sticks. I also prefer using recyclable paper sticks so they’re more environmentally friendly.
If I’m feeling lazy, I usually just eyeball the amount of cake pop mix I grab to roll into walnut-sized balls. For more consistency, use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop / ice cream scoop instead.
Standing up your cake pops can be difficult because they’re top-heavy. If you don’t have a cake pop stand, you can use a block of Styrofoam or a short cardboard box. Simply stab the bottom of your cake pop sticks into the Styrofoam or cardboard to hold them.
If you don’t have access to a stand, Styrofoam block or cardboard box, place cake pops stick-side-up on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a plate or tray to set. They’ll have a flat side and you’ll need to put the pretzel stalk in next to the cake pop stick, but they’ll still look cute and taste amazing.
- Before I start baking, I like to prepare my cake tin first. Grease your pan with butter or cooking oil spray, then line it with greaseproof paper (baking parchment).
- To measure your ingredients, it’s best to use weights rather than cups for better accuracy.
- I like using digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easy and accurate. I quite like KitchenAid or Salter scales.
- It’s best to use actual measuring spoons. Cutlery teaspoons and tablespoons aren’t actually the correct volume - I never knew it before! I’d also recommend levelling off any heaped scoops for a more accurate measurement.
- When using a stand mixer, I use the paddle attachment and low speed for the cake batter but a medium speed for the buttercream. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl for a more even mix.
- Melting your candy melts into a tall and narrow heat-proof jug or cup is best for dipping cake pops. That way you don’t need to use as much candy or use a spoon to help fully coat your cake pop.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F.
Step 1 - In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
Step 2 - Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Step 3 - Sieve in the flour and baking powder.
Step 4 - Fold in gently.
Step 5 - Stir in the vanilla extract and milk until only just combined.
Step 6 - Pour your batter into a greased and lined 8-inch round cake tin and bake for 25-30mins until risen, springy and a skewer comes out clean. Allow cooling for 20mins before transferring to a wire rack.
Step 1 - While the cake cools, beat the butter, by hand or hand mixer in a medium bowl (or using a stand mixer), for several minutes until pale and fluffy.
Step 2 - Sieve in half of your powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Repeat with the other half of your powdered sugar.
Step 3 - Add the vanilla and milk.
Step 4 - Beat together until smooth.
Cake pop filling
Step 1 - 2 - Once the cake has cooled, break it up into large chunks and blend it using short bursts in a food processor. Or crumble your cake by hand into a large bowl.
Step 3 - 4 - Mix in your buttercream (or pumpkin spice syrup) using a wooden spoon or fork until it comes together like a soft dough.
Step 5 - Scoop a walnut-sized amount of the filling (using your hands, a tablespoon or cookie scoop).
Step 6 - Roll it into a ball in your hands.
Step 7 - Flatten the cake ball very slightly and place it on a plate or tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Step 8 - Repeat until you’ve used all the filling and then refrigerate the balls for 45mins.
Step 9 - Using a cake pop stick, press a furrow from the top to the bottom of one cake ball. Leave roughly a ½-inch gap and then repeat, continuing all the way around until your cake ball has roughly 5-7 deep furrows all the way around it like a pumpkin. See the video below for a helpful demonstration!
Step 10 - Place back on the lined tray and repeat until all cake balls have furrows, then refrigerate for a further 15-30mins.
Cake pop assembly
Step 1 - In a narrow heatproof jug, melt the candy melts in the microwave, 20secs at a time, stirring in-between until smooth.
Step 2 - Stir in the oil until you have a thin melted chocolate consistency.
Step 3 - Take 4 cake balls from the fridge. Dip one end of a lollipop stick into the melted candy before pushing it halfway into the middle of one of the flatter sides of a cake ball. Repeat for all 4 cake balls.
Step 4 - Dip a cake ball into the melted candy, covering it completely. Gently tap off any excess back into the container before pushing a broken piece of pretzel into the top.
Step 5 - Place the pumpkin cake pop into a stand or styrofoam block to set (roughly 5-10mins). Repeat until all 4 cake balls have been dipped and pretzeled.
Step 6 - Repeat this process until you've turned all the cake balls into pumpkin cake pops and enjoy!
You can store your finished cake pop pumpkins at room temperature in an airtight container (such as a plastic storage box). They should keep fresh for up to 5 days.
If it’s quite hot where you live, it might be better to keep your cake pops in the fridge, as otherwise, the candy shell might melt! They should stay fresh for roughly a week in the fridge.
You can also freeze your cake pops, wrapped in plastic wrap or a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost and enjoy as normal!
💭 Top tips
- It’s easier to dip cold cake balls into your melted candy melts. They’ll hold their shape better and are more likely to stay on your lollipop stick.
- For a better pumpkin shape, push quite hard with your lollipop stick into the cake ball, as otherwise you might not be able to see it once it’s been coated.
- Thinning your melted candy melts more than normal also helps to give a more obvious pumpkin shape. I like add oil to the candy melts until it’s a consistency slightly thinner than melted chocolate.
- It’s best to work with only a few cake balls at a time when coating and decorating them. Otherwise, the other cake balls might warm up while they’re waiting their turn. Take out only 4 pumpkin-shaped cake balls at a time and leave the rest chilling in the fridge.
- Dip your lollipop stick in the melted candy first before pushing it into your cake ball. This helps stick your cake ball to your stick.
- Your candy melts set quite fast, so work quickly to tap off any excess candy so can push in your pretzel stalk before the candy sets.
- If it’s hot where you live, you might need to place your cake pops in the fridge to set the coatings.
- Your candy melts might start to solidify before you get a chance to dip all of your cake balls. If so, pop the jug back into the microwave for another 10-15secs burst to melt the candy back to dunking consistency.
- Your pretzel pieces will soften over time, so if you want them crunchy it’s best to serve them the same day you make them.
Cake pops are basically small cake balls on lollipop sticks, coated in candy melts or chocolate. The cake balls usually consist of crumbled sponge cake mixed with frosting such as buttercream.
However, you can also use balls of cookie dough, brownie, or other great treats and fillings to make your cake pops.
Your cake pops should last for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.
Yes! You can freeze your cake pops wrapped in a few layers of cling film or in a plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Yes, you can make your cake pops ahead by either making the cake sponges and / or buttercream frosting in advance.
Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and foil then freeze. Store the frosting in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze. Both will last for up to 3 months. Defrost and use per recipe.
You can also make the cake and/or buttercream 1-2 days in advance before you turn them into cake pops. Keep the cake at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap. Store the buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, using your leftover and offcuts from cakes is a great way to make cake pops. I usually freeze my offcuts for future cake pop use!
You’ll need roughly a 3:1 ratio of cake to frosting to make cake pop filling. Mix in your frosting 1 tablespoon at a time to your crumbled cake and stop once it holds together like a soft dough.
I use roughly 175g (¾ cups) of candy melts to coat 16 cake pops. Make as many cake balls from your filling mix as you can and adjust the amount of candy melts based on this number.
No, cake flour is actually different to both plain flour and self-raising flour. It has a different composition and your cake will have a different consistency if you use cake flour.
If you’ve got any specific questions on making these fun Halloween cake pops, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
Alternatively, you can get in touch via my Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest – I’d love to hear from you!
I usually make these pumpkin shaped cake pops as a vanilla flavoured treat because it’s a real crowd-pleaser. One of the great things about cake pops is that you can easily mix and match your flavours!
As mentioned above, you can make a pumpkin spice cake pop by adding pumpkin spice syrup (or pumpkin pie syrup). Use this syrup instead of the buttercream.
You can also use a pumpkin spice cake instead of vanilla cake. I also like to swap in cream cheese frosting when I’m using pumpkin cake as it tastes delicious!
Another flavour option is to make them into chocolate cake pops. You can swap either the vanilla cake for chocolate cake or the vanilla buttercream for chocolate buttercream (or both!).
You can use the chocolate cake recipe and / or chocolate buttercream recipe in my poorly pumpkin patch Halloween cake for this. I’d recommend using only half the buttercream and the same amount of cake but baked in an 8-inch cake pan for 25-30mins instead.
I usually keep these pumpkins simple with just the pumpkin shape and a pretzel piece as the stalk. However, you can also add more fun details for your cute cake pops if you’d like.
For example, you can crush Oreos or crumble chocolate cake to make a soil for your pumpkins to sit on instead of using a cake pop stick. If you make a chocolate sheet cake, you can top it with these pumpkin cake balls for a full spooky pumpkin patch effect!
Another idea is using a piece of green fondant icing (modelling icing) to roll into thin green vines. Wrap these around your pumpkin stalks and connect the pumpkin cake pops together. This is what I used in my poorly pumpkin patch cake!
To up the creep factor of your fun Halloween cake pops, you can draw spooky faces on them. You can make them look like carved pumpkins using black candy melts. Melt the candy and add it to a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle then draw away onto your set pumpkin pops.
Alternatively, you can buy pre-made candy eyes to stick onto your spooky cake pops using melted chocolate or candy melts.
To make gluten-free Halloween cake pops, swap the plain flour for gluten-free flour. I recommend using a gluten-free plain flour blend, such as King Arthur's measure for measure flour or Freee from Doves Farm.
You should also add ½ teaspoon of xantham gum to the cake batter if your flour blend doesn’t already include this in the ingredients.
For gluten-free cake success, add an extra 1 teaspoon oil and 1 tablespoon milk to the batter. Beat your batter really well and let it stand for 30mins before pouring it into your cake tins and baking. You might also need to bake your cake for an extra 5-10mins.
Be sure to swap the pretzel for a gluten-free variety too.
🧁 Other goodies
Looking for some other goodies to make?
If you’re after more delicious Halloween cake pops, you might like my scary unicorn cakesicles or spiderweb orange cakesicles. You can also check out this collection of the best Halloween cake pop ideas.
Or for other spooky treats, why not take a look at my tequila rose white chocolate skull cake (it’s gluten-free!) or vanilla orange spiderweb mini cake.
If you’re looking for an easy cake pop recipe, why not check out my simple vanilla cake pops, which are a Starbucks copycat.
Looking forward to some new recipes? Check out my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages for a few sneak peeks and some sweet inspiration!
Or if you’d like to hear about our latest recipes, why not subscribe to our newsletter?
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Pumpkin Cake Pops
Rate this recipe here:
- Cake pop stand, Styrofoam block or short cardboard box
Cake for filling:
- 115 g (½ cups) unsalted butter room temp.
- 115 g (½ cups) caster sugar granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 115 g (1 cups) plain flour ** all-purpose
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon milk whole or semi-skimmed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Buttercream for filling: ***
- 60 g (¼ cups) unsalted butter room temp.
- 130 g (1 cups) icing sugar powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk whole or semi-skimmed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coating and topping:
- 175 g (¾ cups) orange candy melts
- 2-3 tablespoon oil e.g. vegetable, sunflower or canola
- 1 - 2 tablespoon pretzels broken into 16 1-inch pieces
Cake for Filling:
- Pre-heat oven: 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, then beat in the eggs until fully combined.
- Sieve in the flour and baking powder, folding in gently. Then stir in the vanilla extract and milk until only just combined.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased and lined 8-inch round cake tin and bake for 20-25mins until springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 20mins before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling while you make the buttercream.
Buttercream for Filling:
- Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy.
- Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of the icing sugar.
- Add in the milk and vanilla extract mixing until only just smooth.
Cake Pop Filling:
- Crumble up your cooled sponge into a large bowl, either using your hands or a fork.
- Using a fork or spatula, thoroughly mix in the buttercream (or pumpkin spice syrup) to the crumbled cake. Your cake pop filling should be able to hold together like a soft dough.
- Scoop a walnut-sized amount of the filling mix (using a tablespoon or cookie scoop) and roll it in your hands to make a ball, then flatten very slightly and place on a flat plate or tray lined with greaseproof paper. Repeat until you’ve used up all of your mix then refrigerate for 45mins.
- Take the cake balls out from the fridge. Using a cake pop stick, firmly press a deep furrow into a cake ball, from along the top to the bottom in one line. Leave roughly a ½-inch gap and then repeat, continuing all the way round until your cake ball has roughly 5-7 deep furrows like a pumpkin.
- Place back on the lined tray and repeat until all cake balls have furrows, then refrigerate for a further 30mins.
Cake Pop Assembly:
- In a narrow heatproof jug, mug or other container, slowly melt the candy melts in the microwave for 20secs at a time, stirring between bouts until smooth then stir in the oil (½ tablespoon at a time) until you have a thin melted chocolate consistency.
- Take 4 furrowed cake balls from the fridge and dip one end of a lollipop stick into the melted candy before pushing it halfway into the middle of one of the flatter sides of a cake ball. Repeat for all 4 cake balls.
- Holding the stick, dip a cake ball into the melted candy, covering it completely. Gently tap off any excess back into the container before pushing a broken piece of pretzel into the top.
- Place the pumpkin cake pop into a holder (e.g. cake pop stand or styrofoam block) to set at room temperature (takes roughly 5-10mins). Repeat the process until all 4 cake balls have been dipped and pretzeled.
- Repeat steps 2 – 4 until you've turned all the cake balls into pumpkin cake pops, then enjoy!
- If your candy melts start to solidify before you've finished dipping your cake balls, reheat them in the microwaveable jug for a short burst (10-15secs).
- For help on how to make furrows in your cake ball, you can check out the video in the post.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.
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Hi! Do you think I can still get some good grooves for the pumpkin if I’m using a sphere cake pop mold?? If not, any suggestions to get that pumpkin look when using a mold?
Sweet Mouth Joy
Hi Kira, you can give it a try using the cake pop stick but I'm not sure that would work on a ball of pure cake without it crumbling (but fingers crossed!). If it doesn't work, you can try using a sharp knife to cut out vertical slices to make the same shape. Happy baking!