Chocolate-Covered Cake Balls

Posted by on March 7, 2010 | 26 Comments

This is what I refer to as a “Waste Not Want Not Recipe.” You see, it was my husband’s birthday this past week, and he requested vegan vanilla cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting – a treat I had made for him in the form of a cake two years ago.

Unfortunately, I made two major mistakes:

  1. Rather than using my tried and true recipes for the vegan white cake and chocolate fudge frosting (both recipes in Go Dairy Free), I decided to trial someone else’s recipe for white vegan cupcakes that I had never tried before. (When they wrote the recipe only worked for cupcakes but not cake, that should have been my first performance red flag!)
  2. I forgot where we lived. Having not baked a cake since moving back to the mountains … at 6000+ feet, I completely forgot about the differences in baking. Baked goods rise here really well, in fact too well at times … and vegan cupcake recipes often rely a bit too heavily on leaveners. And, well, you know the old saying, what goes up, must come down …

 sunken vegan cupcakes

A simple deflated cupcake might not have been a huge problem, but these quite frankly were not a success all around. Both the taste and texture was strangely reminiscent of cornbread. Yes, vanilla cupcakes turned to cornbread … don’t ask me how. Had we been big cornbread lovers, perhaps they would have flown, but we both wanted cake and were sorely disappointed.

However, even more than failed cake, both my husband and I hate waste. So rather than casting aside the cupcakes, I turned to one of those old throw together recipes, cake balls.

Traditional [Vegan] Cake Balls

As mentioned, I used white cake and chocolate frosting, but feel free to use whatever flavor combo excites you! This recipe is optionally Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, and Vegan – depending on the cake and frosting you use.

  • 1 Prepared Cake or Batch of Cupcakes
  • 16 Ounces Frosting (I prefer homemade)
  • 6 Ounces Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Crumble the cake or cupcakes into a large bowl. You can do this using your fingers, or blend it up. I pulsed the cupcakes in my spice grinder to get an even crumb on the second batch.

Add the frosting, and mix well to combine. If the mixture is too gooey to handle, place it in the fridge for a few hours to firm up.

Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave (do not overcook! Simply cook on high for 30 seconds, stir virorously. If chunks remain, heat in 15 second intervals, stirring between each, until you have a nice smooth chocolate).

Scoop out the cake mix and shape into balls. Drop each ball into the chocolate to coat; remove and place on a cookie sheet lined with silpat or wax paper.

Place the chocolate covered cake balls in the fridge or freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes. Once firm, these can be popped in a baggie and stored in the freezer for a treat anytime.

Note: This makes loads of cake balls. I prefer to make just some this way, and experiment with others using different flavors, like the nutty version below.


Nutty Cake Balls (I swear this is a family blog!)

Since I ran out of frosting, I began experimenting with pantry items. This version did not come out super-sweet, and they came out a bit cakier (no refrigeration was needed before shaping the mix into balls). For a nuttier and sweeter treat, feel free to up both the nut butter and sugar in this recipe. I simply ran out of cake to experiment with. Go ahead, taste test as you go and see how you like them!

  • 1 Vanilla Cupcake
  • 2 Tablespoons Nut Butter (ie peanut, almond, etc.)
  • 2 Teaspoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Ounce Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Follow the directions above, but use the nut butter and powdered sugar in place of the frosting.

Yields about 8 to 10 nutty cake balls

nutty vegan cake balls


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes

Comments (26)


  1. Joanne says:

    You are kind of making me hope that my next cupcake recipe fails so that I can make these! They look delicious.

    And yeah. I’ve never seen a cupcake recipe before that didn’t work as a cake recipe. That’s just weird.

  2. Ricki says:

    I might have to bake cupcakes just so I can make these! They sound like a mixture of truffles and rum balls (sans rum)–fabulous! And they look pretty enough to serve to guests, too. 🙂

  3. I haven’t been here in a while … you have a new look! 🙂 I have to agree with Joanne … you’re going to have a ton of folks hoping for failed cupcakes. LOL Thse look AMAZING!


  4. Sarah says:

    I actually made these but with peppermint. They were so good. I love having more “ball” recipes to bring to parties. It would be a nice platter of different flavors that I am sure would be a crowd pleaser.

  5. Hahaha, love the name. 😉 These look amazing!! Love the addition of nut butter, of course!

  6. Christina says:

    Oh I love that you turned waste into a yummy treat! How resourceful!

  7. Michelle says:

    WOW I would have never guessed you made those balls from ANOTHER finished product!! Goodness it looks amazing. I’d be honored to be served one of them…I can imagine how amazing they taste already. I love your creativity!!

  8. What a frugal thing to do .. I love this idea!

  9. I probably would’ve just slapped some chocolate frosting on the fallen cupcakes and eaten them anyway. But wow! those chocolate cake balls look really, really good. I keep cupcakes in the freezer for the kids to take to unexpected birthday parties at school. I think I might have to steal some from the freezer to try making these instead.

  10. Necessity is the mother of invention:
    i.e. I am frugal and I hate to waste so i better come up with something to use this up!
    That’s me talking about me, and you 🙂

    And come up with something faboosh did you ever!
    I have actually seen this done on a non vegan girl’s blog pre xmas, she bought a storebought cake, mixed it w/ a jar of frostng, and then dipped it all in choc sauce. They looked heavenly and I appreciate this little reminder 🙂

    Oh and remember us talking about people submitting recipes that don’t work…this little story reminded me of that. grrr. I feel your pain but you rocked it out!

  11. Wow, now I see what you were saying about how my German Chocolate Cake recipe would make nice cake balls… Those look awesome!!!

  12. MMM cake balls 🙂 they sound dirty 😉 look DELICIOUS!!!! I kind of want my next batch to fall like that so I can make this recipe MMMMM so good!!

  13. Shannon says:

    ooh, i’ve been meaning to try these, but haven’t gotten around to it! glad they turned out after the fall 😉

  14. Woman…you said cake balls!!! I love using things up that “go wrong” in different ways! I do not throw things away. Normally I suck it up and eat them, but I really like it when I can make something else with it so everyone will help me eat the failure! Trifle is what I turn to in a failed cake event. Sorry the baking did not go so well, but your recipe in the book really is spot on!

  15. jenna says:

    oh wow these look stunning!! YUMMY!!

  16. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by GoDairyFree: Chocolate-Covered Cake Balls

  17. Jennifer says:

    Your idea to use nut butter in place of frosting is brilliant!

    I have vegans coming to my son’s birthday on Sunda and I’ve been frantically trying to figure out something fun to make. Now I have it, black cake balls with almond butter dipped in chocolate!

    Ooh, I’m going to look like such a cool mommy now.

    Thanks so much for the fantastic tip!

  18. I’m just now catching up on blogs…yikes…from March! But I’m so glad I did. This is a wonderfully inventive way to salvage cake recipes gone awry. I too have had vanilla cupcakes turn to cornbread. So bizarre.

  19. Oh wow, these look so much like Buckeyes! Very yummy! Certainly going to try out this recipe! Thanks for the great post 🙂

  20. I tried your chocolate cake recipe few hours ago but somehow couldn’t achieve the same result as you, my cake really wasn’t looking that good (atleast it tasted good). What kind of chocolate do you use? Maybe it’s because of the flour I used, i’m gluten intelorant so I used quinoa flour instead of usual wheat flour.

  21. alisa says:

    Hi Georgiann – Yes, it is the flour you used. You can’t always sub gluten-free flours for wheat flour without a problem. Also, you will want to use a flour blend (look for an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend that you like, there are many) and some xanthan gum. Substituting all quinoa flour won’t typically work. Keep in mind too, even with a good all-purpose sub, gluten-free baked goodies are still a bit different in taste and texture than wheat-based ones.

  22. […] Chocolate-Covered Cake Balls from Alisa Cooks (be sure to use gluten-free cake mix) […]

  23. […] The combinations for these are endless!  Here are some blogs that gave me inspiration.The Wheat Free FamilyGluten Free GirlGluten Free DivaDelightfully Gluten Free Alisa Cooks […]

  24. […] The combinations for these are endless!  Here are some blogs that gave me inspiration.The Wheat Free FamilyGluten Free GirlGluten Free DivaDelightfully Gluten Free Alisa Cooks […]

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