Nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls

Nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls

Why didn’t I realize before that cake balls make an ideal party dessert? Serve them on pretty paper cups (yes, the kind you line cupcake pans with) and there is no need to cut and serve. That’s less work for any host and hostess, and that also means no dessert plates and forks to grapple with.

These nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon balls were what I brought to an early Christmas party with lady lawyer friends. I brought two sets of cake balls, actually — these and the coconut-pandan cake balls which I will post later. I had Speedy try both, he said they were good, and my friends echoed his judgment. According to their feedback, the cake balls are delicious.

I chose pili nuts to coat the cake balls with because pili nuts are soft (high oil content) with a subtle flavor. You can substitute whatever nuts your prefer but, of course, the resulting texture and mouth feel will be different depending on your choice of nuts.

Recipe: Nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls


  • 1/3 c. of lightly salted pili (or your preferred) nuts
  • 1 basic butter cake (get the recipe), cooled
  • 1/4 c. of butter, softened (NOT melted)
  • 1 c. of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp. of strong coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder


  1. Toast the nuts in an oil-free pan, tossing them often, until they glisten with their own oil. Transfer to a plate, cool, then crush (with a rolling pin, a mortar and pestle or a food processor).
  2. Crumble the cake; make sure there are no large chunks.
  3. Beat the butter and confectioner’s sugar to make a thick paste. Stir in the coffee, cinnamon and cocoa powder.
  4. Stir the butter mixture with the crumbled cake until the color and texture look even.
  5. Shape the cake mixture into balls about an inch and a half in diameter.
  6. Roll each cake ball in crushed nuts then drop into a paper cup.
  7. Nut-crusted mocha-cinnamon cake balls
  8. Chill the cake balls for at least an hour. If not serving immediately, keep the cake balls in the fridge (NOT the freezer) in a covered container until serving time.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 24 cake balls

  • natzsm

    I am just wondering whether you served these chilled straight from the refrigerator or did you wait till they were room temperature again?

    I figure that since you used butter cake plus some more butter for the paste, wouldn’t that sort of solidify when refrigerated? Unless of course you were aiming for that texture then when you pop it into your mouth, it starts melting. :)

    • Connie Veneracion

      Ideally, they should be taken out of the fridge about 5 minutes before serving. BUT room temperature is a HUGE variable. If you allow them to reach room temperature in the tropics, the butter would be melting. If you’re in a place where it’s winter, that 5 minutes may be stretched to 10. If you’re in the tropics and it’s summer, better serve it straight out of the fridge. :D