Recipes

Vegan Holiday Cake Balls

Vanilla Peppermint and Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Balls

I’ve never tried a cake pop before but I’ve always wanted to. Every time I walk into that certain coffee shop that always has them, I desperately wish they were vegan! The holidays are the time for specialty baking so I decided this was the year to try them. I was really ambitious and got the idea to try 3 different styles of decorations and, I’m not going to lie, it was intensive and I did regret it a few times! Overall, my first attempt at cake balls was mostly successful and now I know what to do and what not to do after one failed attempt.

First is the ‘Ferrero Rocher’ Like Cake Ball. I used to love them before going vegan so this was the perfect oppourtunity to recreate something similar. The taste of these is spot on and I can’t get enough!

Next to that is what I’m calling a Snowball Cake Ball made from the Vanilla Peppermint cake. My favourite holiday song is ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ so I wanted to create a winter themed cake ball. This one is covered in blue sugar to get that ice and snow kind of look.
For Rudolf, I had to try a few times to get the icing into the colour and thickness I needed it to be so this one was a little bit harder than the others to make. The antlers are pretzels, the eyes and smile is chocolate and I made the nose out of vegan marshmallow covered in red sugar. You could also use bits of cherry or any other red vegan candy. Rudolf is also made from the chocolate and hazelnut cake. 
I’m calling them cake balls instead of cake pops because they are coated in icing instead of candy melts which is what gives cake pops that smooth and solid coating. I’m not sure if vegan candy melts exist unfortunately. For the vanilla peppermint ones, it would have been awesome to use vegan white chocolate but I don’t have access to that in my area. For the ‘Ferrero Rocher’ like Cake Ball, I could have used dark chocolate instead of chocolate icing as the coating so you can definitely try that if you wish.

I didn’t have lollipop sticks when making these, I only had skewer sticks. They worked just fine but you definitely don’t have to put them on sticks. If you wanted to gift these it will probably be much easier to keep them in mini muffin paper cups.

I know the holiday is right around the corner but there’s still time to try these out! If you do, let me know in the comments below or if you post it on instagram, make sure you tag me @nicolemgallant 😊

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Balls Recipe (Oil Free, Soy Free)

Makes 18-20 Cake Balls

What You Need

Food Processor (optional)
2 mixing bowls
Whisk
9×9 baking dish
Parchment Paper
Hand Mixer
Baking Sheet
Wax Paper
Airtight container for storing

Ingredients

Cake

3/4 cup hazelnut meal
*I made my own from raw hazelnuts but if you can buy hazelnut meal it will save you time. Instructions for making your own hazelnut meal are at the end of this recipe.
3/4 cup cake & pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup aquafaba 
1/3 cup coconut yogurt
1 cup coconut sugar
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting

Using 1/4 cup of a store bought chocolate frosting will save you time but it might not keep the recipe oil free.
I made a chocolate hazelnut frosting:
2 tablespoons raw hazelnuts, skins removed
2 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons chocolate chips
2 tbsp icing sugar
To make this icing, put all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender (I used the single serve cup of my Ninja) and process until thick and smooth. 
Ferrero Rocher Icing:

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp almond milk
1/2 cup chopped raw hazelnuts to sprinkle on top

*This will cover about 10 cake balls so you can double to make 20 Ferrero Rocher cake balls. 

Rudolf Icing:

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar’
1 tbsp almond milk
Pretzels for the antlers
Red candy for the nose or roll small bits of marshmallow into red sugar.
Chocolate chips for the eyes and melted chocolate for the smile
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix on a high speed with a hand mixer.
*For the Rudolf icing you want it to be very thick to get the solid coating look. You can add another teaspoon of cornstarch to help it thicken and you can add more brown sugar to adjust the colour.

*This will cover 10 cake balls so double to make 20 Rudolf cake balls.

Optional:

Melted dark chocolate for the sticks (about 1 tablespoon)
Instructions:

1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350℉ and line your 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. 
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the hazelnut meal, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. In the other mixing bowl, whisk together the aquafaba, coconut yogurt, sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract until combined. 
3. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until combined. 
4. Transfer the cake mix into the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the centre with only a few crumbs.
5. Once it’s done, transfer out of the pan to a wire cooling rack. It’s very important to transfer it out right away because it won’t cool and set as fast in the pan. You can cut it into squares to help it cool even faster. 
6. In a mixing bowl, crumble the cooled cake up into crumbs and small bits. It has to be completely cooled before you mix in the frosting or the frosting will be melting as you try to make balls and they might be too ‘gooey’. Add in the frosting and stir to combine. 
*If you’re going to put them on sticks, you’ll want to melt the dark chocolate at this point. 
7. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Squeeze and roll the cake mix into balls and place on the baking sheet. I didn’t measure them but it’s about 1-1 1/2 tablespoon for each ball. If you’re putting them on sticks, dip one end of each stick in the chocolate and them press into the balls. This helps them stay on the sticks. Place the sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up (whether or not you put the sticks in, you’ll want it to set in the fridge).
8. Once the icing is ready, you can dip each ball in and then place them back onto the wax paper. For the Ferrero Rocher, you’ll want to sprinkle on the chopped hazelnuts right away so they stick. For the Rudolf cake ball, you can place the decorations on now or later. Place the sheet back into the fridge to help the icing set. After about 15 minutes, you can either serve or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. 

How to Make Your Own Hazelnut Meal

To make your own, you need 3/4 cup of raw hazelnuts and you’ll need to remove the skins which are bitter. The best way is to boil them in water and 3 tablespoons of baking soda for 3-4 minutes. Make sure you don’t walk away from the pot because it can bubble over and spill very quickly. Strain them and then put them in a bowl of ice water. You should be able to easily peel the skin off. You can also wrap them up in a towel and rub them around (it will leave some dark marks on your towel but should come out in the wash). Once you get most of the skins off you can roast the hazelnuts to dry them out again. Roast at 350℉ for 20 minutes. Once they are cooled, you can process in a food processor. You’ll only need a few pulses to get them into a flour like consistency. It’s okay if there are some small lumps. You don’t want to process too much or it will start to turn into nut butter. This whole process will take about 1 hour.

Vanilla Peppermint Cake Balls Recipe (Oil Free, Nut Free)

Makes 18-20 Cake Balls

What You Need

2 mixing bowls
Whisk
9×9 baking dish
Parchment Paper
Hand Mixer
Baking Sheet
Wax Paper
Airtight container for storing

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cane sugar
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 5 tbsp of water)
1/3 cup coconut yogurt
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Frosting

Using 1/4 cup of a store bought vanilla frosting will save you time but it might not keep the recipe oil free. If you do use it, add in 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract.
I made my own vanilla peppermint frosting:
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp Daiya Vanilla Greek Yogurt
2 tsp soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1-2 tsp cornstarch to help it thicken (optional)
Using a hand mixer, combine all the ingredients on a high speed until it thickens. I added 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to help it thicken. Mine didn’t get to the same thickness of a real frosting but it still worked for this recipe. 
Icing

1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup blue sugar to sprinkle on top
Optional

Melted dark chocolate for the sticks (about 1 tablespoon)
Instructions:

1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350℉ and line your 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. 
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In the other mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut yogurt, sugar, flax eggs, soy milk and vanilla extract until combined. 
3. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until combined. 
4. Transfer the cake mix into the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the centre with only a few crumbs.
5. Once it’s done, transfer out of the pan to a wire cooling rack. It’s very important to transfer it out right away because it won’t cool and set as fast in the pan. You can cut it into squares to help it cool even faster. 
6. In a mixing bowl, crumble the cooled cake up into crumbs and small bits. It has to be completely cooled before you mix in the frosting or the frosting will be melting as you try to make balls and they might be too ‘gooey’. Add in the frosting and stir to combine. 
*If you’re going to put them on sticks, you’ll want to melt the dark chocolate at this point. 
7. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Squeeze and roll the cake mix into balls and place on the baking sheet. It’s about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons for each ball. If you’re putting them on sticks, dip one end of each stick in the chocolate and them press into the balls. This helps them stay on the sticks. Place the sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up (whether or not you put the sticks in, you’ll want it to set in the fridge).
8. Once the icing is ready, you can dip each ball in and then place them back onto the wax paper and sprinkle on the blue sugar. Place the sheet back into the fridge to help the icing set. After about 15 minutes, you can either serve or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

These are a time consuming project but worth it in the end! If you make them, I’d love to see your recreation! Tag me on instagram @nicolemgallant. Feel free to decorate in your own way and get creative with them 😊

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