Reindeer Cake Pops: The BEST Christmas Cake Pops!

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Christmas cake pops are such a fun and delicious holiday dessert! Perfect for making with kids or serving at a party. Everyone will love these festive reindeer cake pops!

This post is sponsored by Klarbrunn.

Reindeer Cake Pops

You know that moment when you walk into a coffee shop (I’m looking at you, Starbucks), see a beautiful and perfect cake pop and just have to have it? Is that just me?

The problem is that they just never live up to my expectations. These cake pops will though. That homemade vanilla cake with homemade frosting is SO dang good. Truly. You’ll love it.

Reindeer cake pops on a sheet of parchment paper.

I gave one of these to my nephew. He ate the antlers, then the eyes, then the nose. Then he popped the whole cake pop and his mouth and exclaimed “MMMMM” (high praise from this kid), but then he kept talking about the noses.

He really liked the noses. I used a chewy cherry flavored candy, and apparently it’s his new favorite thing because he keeps reminding me to “bring him a bag of noses” (seriously the funniest sentence ever when he says it!).

My point is, if you can find chewy cherry candies for the nose, I’d definitely recommend it!

A hand holding a Christmas cake pop.

I’ve partnered up with Klarbrunn to bring you this fun and festive Christmas recipe. I love pairing it with their festively colored Cherry Lime Sparkling Water! It’s one of my favorite flavors, and pairs especially well if you choose a cherry flavored candy for the nose. You can find out where to buy Klarbrunn here.

Reindeer cake pops next to a can of Klarbrunn Cherry Lime Sparkling Water.

How to Make Cake Pops

This recipe has a few steps, but the end results are so delicious and so adorable, so it’s definitely worth it.

  1. Start by making a homemade vanilla cake from scratch (this makes ALL the difference in the flavor!).
  2. Let the cake cool and then crumble it.
  3. Make a homemade whipped frosting.
  4. Mix the frosting and the cake crumbles together.
  5. Form the dough into cake balls and freeze them.
  6. Place the cake balls on a cake pop stick, dip them in chocolate, and decorate them.
  7. Let them dry.
  8. Enjoy!
Vanilla cake in a square baking pan.
Homemade vanilla cake.
Crumbled vanilla cake in a silver bowl.
Crumbled vanilla cake.

Can I Make the Cake in Advance?

Definitely! In fact, I recommend it. This recipe is easiest if you bake the cake a day in advance.

Homemade buttercream frosting in a silver bowl.
Homemade buttercream frosting.
Crumbled vanilla cake mixed with homemade buttercream to form a batter.
Buttercream frosting mixed with cake crumbles.

Why do I have to Freeze the Cake Balls?

The cake pops must be very cold when you dip them in chocolate, or the recipe won’t work. Because of that, it’s important to only take out 1 to 2 cake pops at a time (depending on how fast you work).

Undecorated cake pop balls on a baking sheet about to go into the freezer.

How to Make Pretzel Antlers

Make the antlers by cutting the pretzels in half. I found that the best way to do this was to use the tip of my knife to cut the middle of the bottom of the pretzel, which then broke the top in roughly the spot I needed. I then trimmed the top pieces to get the best antler shape.

I recommend having extra pretzels on hand. Sometimes they just don’t break in the right place, so it’s helpful to have more laying around in case some of your pretzel antlers end up too small.

If your pretzels are small enough, you could even use a whole pretzel for each antler!

A hand holding a Christmas cake pop against a red background.

What Kind of Candy Should I Use for the Nose?

I like to use red chewy candies, but any red candy will work. If you don’t like chewy candies, I’d recommend red M&M’s.

How to Make a Cake Pop Stand

I just used a leftover cardboard box from Amazon! Poke small holes into it, and it will make the perfect stand for your cake pops.

If you don’t have anything to hold the cake pops up while they dry, you can do the upside down version, where the cake is on the bottom and the stick is at the top. If you choose to do this version, it’s best to skip rolling them after they come out of the freezer, because the flat bottom will help in this scenario.

What Kind of Chocolate Should I Use?

I opted to use milk chocolate candy melts because they’re more affordable, but pure milk chocolate will taste better and has an easier consistency to work with. It’s totally up to you which you choose to use!

There is one caveat though: if you love white chocolate and plan to make this with white chocolate, I definitely recommend using pure white chocolate.

White chocolate candy melts are notoriously hard to work with. The chocolate tends to slip off of whatever you’re trying to coat and is prone to lumpy textures. That’s when the extra money on the real chocolate is 100% worth it.

4 reindeer cake pops against a red and white background.

Can I Double This Recipe?

Definitely! If you want to make more cake pops, this recipe doubles beautifully. The only difference is that there’s no need to add in an additional egg to the cake batter.

Can I Freeze Cake Pops?

Yes, but these are really best made an hour or two before you want to serve them.

If you need to make them in advance, you can store the cake pops in a hard sided airtight container in the freezer for up to a week. The antlers won’t hold up well in a bag though (they’ll break off).

If you freeze them, allow them to thaw for 15 minutes before serving.

Note: it’s not the cake pops that have a hard time freezing, it’s just really hard not to break the antlers when they’re stored together in a container.

Gluten Free Cake Pops

These can definitely be made gluten free! Just substitute the flour for a 1:1 gluten free flour replacement (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill), and use gluten free pretzels for the antlers. The gluten free pretzels are a bit more brittle though, so just be gentle when you’re cutting the antler shape.

Cake Pop Variations

There are two variations on this recipe that I think would be AMAZING! The first would be to use brownies instead of vanilla cake (oh my gosh – all that chocolate). The second would be to use red velvet cake instead of vanilla cake. Not only would that taste amazing, but the red color would be so festive!

Christmas Recipes

If you love festive Christmas recipes like this one, be sure to check out the rest of our holiday recipe section! We’ve got lots of themed Christmas desserts, and savory appetizers.

Some reader favorites are:

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image showing two pictures of Christmas cake pops with title text in the middle.
Yield: 20 Cake Pops

Christmas Cake Pops

A close up of reindeer cake pops against a white background.

Christmas cake pops are such a fun and delicious holiday dessert! Perfect for making with kids or serving at a party. Everyone will love these festive reindeer cake pops!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

Cake:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (scooped, 105 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (room temperature, 55 grams)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk (120 milliliters)

Frosting:

  • 3 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature, 50 grams)
  • 1 ⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar (105 grams)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Decorating:

  • 20 ounces milk chocolate candy melts (or pure milk chocolate)
  • 20 cake pop sticks
  • 40 candy eyes
  • 20 pieces of red candy (I think chewy candies work best)
  • 20 small hard pretzels
  • A stand to hold the cake pops (I used a cardboard box with tiny holes poked in it).

Instructions

Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Grease an 8” x 8” metal baking dish.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk, and stir to combine.
  4. Add in the flour mixture, a little at a time, and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for two minutes. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whole milk, turn the speed to low, and then slowly turn the speed up to high. Beat on high for 3 minutes (the frosting should be light and fluffy).

Cake Pops:

  1. Crumble the cake, making sure there are no large pieces. Add the cake crumbles to the frosting, and stir to combine.
  2. Using a small cookie scoop (roughly 1 ½ Tablespoons each), scoop the dough into balls onto a nonstick baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour (or refrigerate for 2 hours).

Decorating:

  1. Make the antlers by cutting the pretzels in half. I found that the best way to do this was to use the tip of my knife to cut the middle of the bottom of the pretzel, which then broke the top in roughly the spot I needed. I then trimmed the top pieces to get the best antler shape.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a 2 cup liquid Pyrex measuring cup using either the microwave method or the double boiler method.
  3. Remove 1 to 2 cake pop balls at a time. Roll the cake pop to round the edge that flattened during freezing. Poke a small hole in the bottom of the cake pop, then dip the edge of the cake pop stick in the chocolate, then place the dipped edge in the hole (using the chocolate to act as a glue to hold the cake pop and the stick together). Once the stick has hardened in place, swirl the cake pop around in the melted chocolate to coat. Wait a couple of seconds then add the candy eyes, the candy nose, and the antlers (being sure to gently press the antlers into the cake just a little bit - if you press too hard and the antlers will break, too soft and the antlers won’t adhere).
  4. Place on a stand to let dry for 1 hour.

Notes

This recipe is easiest if you bake the cake a day in advance.

The cake pops must be very cold when you dip them in chocolate, or the recipe won’t work. It’s important to only take out 1 to 2 cake pops at a time (depending on how fast you work).

I recommend having extra pretzels on hand. Sometimes they just don’t break in the right place, so it’s helpful to have more laying around in case some of your pretzel antlers end up too small.

If you don’t have anything to hold the cake pops up while they dry, you can do the upside down version, where the cake is on the bottom and the stick is at the top. If you choose to do this version, it’s best to skip rolling them after they come out of the freezer, because the flat bottom will help in this scenario.

I opted to use milk chocolate candy melts because they’re more affordable, but pure milk chocolate will taste better and has an easier consistency to work with. It’s totally up to you which you choose to use!

If you want to make more cake pops, this recipe doubles beautifully. The only difference is that there’s no need to add in an additional egg to the cake batter.

These are really best made an hour or two before you want to serve them. If you need to make them in advance, you can store the cake pops in a hard sided airtight container in the freezer for up to a week. The antlers won’t hold up well in a bag though (they’ll break off). If you freeze them, allow them to thaw for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1 cake pop (1/20)

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 13.4gCarbohydrates: 36.2gNet Carbohydrates: 35.9gFiber: 0.3gSugar: 29.7gProtein: 1.4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Tag @KeyToMyLime on Instagram so we can see your delicious meal!

Try making these Christmas Cake Pops for the perfect festive holiday treat!

A close up of reindeer cake pops against a white background.

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