This step-by-step recipe for gluten-free vanilla cake pops proves that moist and fluffy cake pops can be made successfully at home. These cake pops are made using my favorite vanilla cake and frosting, and then dipped in a chocolate coating of your choice: white, milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate. They are the perfect fun, festive two-bite dessert!
How to Make Cake Pops, Step-by-Step
You could use a cake mix and ready-made frosting for cake pops. But a regular cake mix will give you A LOT of cake pops (usually 4 doz). Maybe you need that many? If not, this is a cake pop recipe that will make 20 large or 30 medium sized pops with an easy gluten-free vanilla cake and a 3 ingredient vanilla buttercream frosting.
- Make the cake and cool.
- Make the buttercream frosting
- Use a serrated knife to shave off any edges that are crusted on the cake. These dry pieces will make your cake pops lumpy.
- Place the cake in a large bowl and break it up to crumbs.
- Add buttercream frosting and use hands to combine well. It should be the consistency of play-doh.
- Use a cookie scoop (this cookie scoop is a perfect size) or 2 Tbsps to scoop out balls of the mixture.
- Roll them round.
- Melt chocolate chips or melting wafers with coconut oil.
- Use a cake pop stick to make a hole in each cake ball, fill with melted chocolate and insert the cake pop stick.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
- Pour the melted chocolate into a tall glass.
- Dip the cake balls in the chocolate then hold over the glass to let the excess drip off.
- Let them set using these styrofoam blocks or place in a glass (2 per glass).
- Decorate with sprinkles, nonpareils or a contrasting chocolate drizzle.
This recipe includes a rich, moist vanilla cake which uses King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. I have also tested the recipe with Pamela’s All Purpose Artisan Blend. Both of these flours are certified gluten-free.
If you are looking for other cake flavors, my gluten-free red velvet cupcake recipe or gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe (bake as a whole cake in 8″ pan), or half recipes of my gluten-free lemon cake, gluten-free coconut cake and my gluten-free spice cake will work very well too. For something delicious, new and different, try my butternut squash cake (half recipe) filled with warm spices.
The vanilla buttercream frosting is just butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks if you prefer a dairy-free frosting. Check out my full collection of frosting recipes for more flavors.
Melting Chocolate for Cake Pops
The possibilities are endless for decorating cake pops. Making them is a long process so I keep it simple. White chocolate, semi-sweet, dark and bittersweet chocolate are good options for coating the pops. But which chocolates are gluten-free?
Ghirardelli makes easy chocolate melting wafers that do not require tempering. Most Ghirardelli products do not contain wheat warnings, but be sure to check the nutrition information. These Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melting Wafers are super convenient. I add a little coconut oil or vegetable shortening to thin out the melted white chocolate. If you prefer dark, semi-sweet or milk chocolate, use these Ghirardelli chocolate melting wafers.
If you need certified gluten-free, allergy-free chocolate for melting, Enjoy life and No Whey are both good options (vegan and free of 9 top allergens). They have bars of semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate and milk-free chips and more.
How to Decorate Cake Pops
Sprinkles and nonpareils make for a pretty and festive easy decoration. Allow the chocolate coated pops 2-3 minutes to set before coating in sprinkles or nonpareils. If you dip in the sprinkles right away, they will drip off and pull the chocolate with them.
See my funfetti cookie recipe for gluten-free information on sprinkles.
This is how I do it:
- Dip 3 pops in the coating.
- Go back to the first one and coat with sprinkles.
- Dip 3 more and go back to the 2nd one and coat with sprinkles.
- Dip 3 more. Go back to the 3rd one and coat with sprinkles.
If it’s on the warm side in your house, give them another minute to set. If it’s cold you might be able to dip 2 in between,
Once the chocolate coating is completely set (no sheen), a drizzle of contrasting chocolate will add the perfect finishing touch. Melt chocolate chips or wafers and drizzle using a squeeze bottle or piping bag with a small round tip.
For colored coatings, use colored melting wafers or add color into melted white chocolate. These powdered colors from Color Kitchen Foods use plant-based dyes and won’t cause the chocolate to seize.
DIY Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Pops
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
- 1¼ c gluten-free flour blend
- 3/4 c + 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 c unsweetened whole milk yogurt or vegan yogurt Kite Hill Almond Milk
- 1/2 c oil avocado, sunflower, canola, vegetable
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 4 tbsp room temperature unsalted butter or vegan butter Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- ¾ c powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
Cake Pop Coating and Decorations
- 6 oz or 1 c white, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips also, baking bars or candy melts
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ c sprinkles, or
- ⅓ c nonpareils
- 5 chocolate melting wafers for drizzle
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8" cake pan with parchment
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Beat the eggs, oil, yogurt and vanilla together in a small bowl.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir (or use a mixer) to mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is set and bounces back from a gentle tap,
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely (about 2 hours)
Make the Buttercream Frosting
- Use a stand or hand mixer to beat the butter until creamy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined.
- Add the remaining sugar, vanilla and salt and mix on low until the sugar is moistened. Then mix on high for 10 or 15 seconds or until creamy.
Make the Cake Pops
- Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup and heat on high for 45 seconds. Stir. Add the coconut oil or shortening. Heat on high for 30 seconds more and stir. Continue stirring until smooth. If the residual heat is not melting all of the chips, heat another 15 seconds.
- Optional: Add color to your white chocolate. These powdered colors from Color Kitchen Foods use plant based dyes and are perfect for coloring white chocolate.
- When the cake is cooled, use a serrated knife to shave a thin layer off the edges, top and bottom. Remove any areas that are crusty. These parts will not break down well and will make the cake pops lumpy. See below for an idea to use these discards.
- Place the cake in a large bowl and use clean or gloved hands to break apart into crumbs.
- Add ⅓ cup of the buttercream frosting to the cake crumbs and combine using your hands. Be sure that it is well combined and all of the cake is moistened. You can press handfuls of it together to be thorough. It should be almost like play-doh.
- For a small cake pop, use this cookie scoop or 2 tablespoons of cake mixture (you'll get 30 pops). For larger pops use 3 tablespoons of cake mixture (this makes 20 pops). Use your hands to roll it round. Cup both hands as you roll to get an even sphere.
- Place the formed balls on a tray or baking sheet while you work.
- Use the cake pop stick to gently poke a ¼" (approximately) deep hole in the cake balls.
- For this step, I work with 5 at a time. Use a small spoon or piping bag to drop a little bit of melted white chocolate into the holes. Insert the cake pop sticks and set on a styrofoam block or in glasses filled to the top with dry rice or beans (4 pops per glass).
- Once they are all on sticks, refrigerate for 5 minutes.
- Briefly reheat the white chocolate if it has firmed up but do not heat until HOT, just gently warmed. I find that 10-15 seconds in the microwave is enough,
- Transfer the white chocolate to a tall, narrow glass or cup.
- IMPORTANT: If you are planning to coat the cake pops in sprinkles, nonpareils or other decorations, DO NOT do immediately after dipping in the white chocolate. Give them about 2 minutes to set (depending on the temp in your kitchen you may need longer if it's warm). I usually dip a few in white chocolate, then go back to the 1st one and coat with sprinkles. Dip a few more, go back to the 2nd one, and so on.If planning to drizzle with dark chocolate, let the white chocolate set completely (no sheen on the white chocolate) before drizzling.
- Dip the cake balls one at a time and allow the excess to drip off over the cup. Tap the stick gently on the edge of the cup. This takes a few seconds, be patient. Set it in the block.
- Decorate as desired. See above for decoration ideas.
- These cake pops will stay fresh at room temp for 10 days. If you don't plan to eat them all in that time, wrap individually in plastic wrap, place in a zip top bag and freeze.