Nut Butter Vegan Cake Balls (No Frosting Needed!)


These vegan cake balls were a bit of a happy accident. It was my husband’s birthday, and he requested vanilla cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting – a treat I had made for him in the form of a cake two years prior. Unfortunately, I made two major mistakes.

First, rather than using my tried and true recipes for the vegan white cake and chocolate fudge frosting (both recipes in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook), I decided to try someone else’s recipe for the cupcakes – a recipe I had never made before. Second, I forgot to consider the altitude here and the differences in baking. Baked goods rise here really well, in fact too well at times. Vegan cupcake recipes are even more fragile. They rise quickly and burst, ending in concave 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. But neither my husband nor I likes waste. So rather than tossing the cupcakes, I turned to a classic concept: vegan cake balls.

Nut Butter Vegan Cake Balls - No Frosting Needed! Can use peanut butter, seed butter, or any nut butter

Nut Butter Vegan Cake Balls (No Frosting Needed!)

They weren’t the best cupcakes, but made seriously delicious and decadent vegan cake balls! They couldn’t be easier to prepare either. Simply crumble up a batch of cupcakes or a cake, mix it with 16 ounces of frosting, and roll into balls. Finally, dip into some chocolate, let set, and then dig in!

One day, I wanted to make some vegan cake balls, but didn’t have the ingredients for frosting, or a premade tub, on hand. So I came up with these delicious nut butter vegan cake balls. They work with failed cupcake experiments, but also come together easily with quick pantry recipes like Wacky Chocolate Cupcakes or even with a Dairy-Free Cake Mix. I originally posted this recipe back in 2009, but have updated it!

Nut Butter Vegan Cake Balls - No Frosting Needed! Can use peanut butter, seed butter, or any nut butter

Special Diet Notes: Nut Butter Vegan Cake Balls

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Nut Butter Vegan Cake Balls (No Frosting!)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe based on how many cupcakes you have on hand. They freeze well, so don't be afraid to make extra. This is a great way to use up cake flops, especially when you need to keep your frosting for the cake success!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 vegan cupcake (gluten-free, if needed; see Flavor Notes below)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut, nut, or seed butter (see Flavor Notes below)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1 ounce dairy-free dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Crumble the cupcake into a large bowl. You can do this using your fingers, or blend it up. I pulsed the cupcake in my spice grinder to get an even crumb.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the nut butter and powdered sugar. Add the cupcake crumbs and mix well to combine. If the mixture is too gooey to handle, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up.
  3. Melt the chocolate.
  4. Scoop out the cupcake mixture by the tablespoonful and shape into balls. Drop each ball into the chocolate to coat. Remove and place on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.
  5. Place the chocolate-covered cake balls in the refrigerator 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.
Flavor Notes: Feel free to use whatever cupcake flavor you've got on hand. Classics like vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry go great with peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. Bolder flavors, like lemon or spice cake, are delicious with cashew butter or almond butter.

Cake Pops Option: Poke a stick through each formed cake ball. Dunk the balls in chocolate to coat, and prop the sticks up, if possible, while they set in the refrigerator.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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