06 Nov Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls

Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.comKahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.com

We all know that chocolate cake is made infinitely better by the addition of coffee, right? Please tell me you know/love/live by this rule. If you haven’t been adding espresso powder and/or subbing dark, strong coffee for liquids in your favorite chocolate cake recipe, LISTEN UP. Do it, and do it now. Your favorite chocolate cake will go from good to next-level amazing. The coffee will make your chocolate taste chocolate-ier while adding a whole new depth of flavor to the recipe.

In fact, don’t just do this for cake, add a teaspoon of espresso to all your favorite chocolate recipes. Just trust and give into the chocolate-y tastiness. You’ll never go back.

Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.comKahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.comKahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.com

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’ve outdone myself with these Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls. They’re tops. The best cake balls I’ve made in a long time.

While I adore some of my latest CB creations (Hello, s’mores! Ciao Nutella!), this espresso-laden variety takes the cake. They’re inspired by my favorite java-spiked chocolate cake (God bless Ina), but turbo-charged so that the rich, dark coffee notes take a leading role. Fear not, the presence of chocolate is loud and clear (and OMG good) but instead of the coffee providing a subtle hmmm in the background, it adds a prominent, complex bite that adds a touch of fancy to the friendly, comforting chocolate base. The Kate to the Leo, if you will.

The best part? Chocolate. Covered. Espresso. Beans.

They’re the crack cocaine of the candy world. I advise you to take caution and impose strict CCEB snacking hours, less you end up like me – wide awake at 2AM, shaky hands, scrubbing my shower and cleaning out my closet as the result of reckless consumption. They pack a serious punch, and I like it. In the case of these cake balls, they are the crunchy topping that perfectly contrasts the soft, gooey cake interior while adding yet another layer of espresso piquancy. You could alternately use crushed Oreo cookies for a sweeter, milder topping, but you gotta have the crunch. Don’t skip it.

Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.comKahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.comKahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.com

Then of course, there’s the booze. Let’s not forget about the booze. Booze is fun (especially around the holidays) and boozy desserts only up your party game. There’s a generous amount of Kahlua in this recipe, however since it’s fairly low on the alcohol content spectrum it adds just a subtle, grown-up flare. A slight bite that is notably festive, but not strong enough to put off those who dislike the taste of alcohol. (<– those people exist, right?)

Are you sold yet? Seriously y’all, you gotta try these. And when you do, it’s highly likely that you’ll feel the urge to eat them for breakfast, alongside a tall cuppa joe. This is a good idea. Do this.

Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls // butterlustblog.com

A few notes about this recipe:

Prep is important when making cake balls. In addition to the ingredients you will need a parchment lined cookie sheet, more parchment to place your dipped cake balls on to dry, a microwave-safe bowl for heating the candy coating, and a spoon, fork and toothpick for the dipping process. 

To make an alchocol-free version: substitute the 1/2 cup of Kahlua in the cake with water, skip on brushing the cake with liqueur, and omit the Kahlua from the frosting instead adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. 

If you do not have Kahlua, you could substitute any other coffee-flavored or dark liqueur. Like Amaretto. THAT would be delicious. 

Enjoy! XO, Katie

Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls


    For the cake:
  • 1 chocolate box cake mix
  • vegetable oil, as called for on the box
  • eggs, as called for on the box
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup kahlua + 1/4 cup for brushing on the cooled cake
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • For the frosting:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Kahlua
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • For the assembly:
  • 1 package chocolate almond bark (also called candy coating)
  • 15-20 chocolate-covered espresso beans, finely chopped


  • Prepare the cake as instructed on the box, adding the coffee, Kahlua and espresso powder at the same time as the oil & eggs. Bake as instructed in a 13x9 inch pan and let cool completely.
  • Once cooled, brush top of the cake with the remaining 1/4 cup of Kahlua.
  • For the frosting:
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the Kahlua & espresso powder and mix until well combined.
  • Carefully add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and mix on low until well incorporated. Taste and add another 1/4 cup powdered sugar, if desired.
  • For the assembly:
  • Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and set aside.
  • In the pan or in a large bowl, use a fork (or your hands) to shred cake into crumbs.
  • Add about 1/2 of the icing and mix thoroughly with crumbled cake. Test your “dough” to see if it is sticky enough to roll into a ball without crumbling, almost like Play-doh. Add more icing as needed. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (you could also do this the night before) – it will make it easier to roll into balls.
  • Using your hands, roll cake mixture into 1 inch balls. Place on lined baking sheet. When done, place baking sheet in freezer and let cake balls chill for 30 minutes. This step is optional, but it helps the cake balls keep their shape and prevents crumbs from getting in the candy bark and thus, causing lumpy coating.
  • While cake balls are chilling, microwave 1/2 a package of the chocolate candy bark in a small bowl, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted.
  • It’s time to dip! Coating cake balls is kind of an art. It takes practice so if your cake balls don’t come out looking perfect don’t worry about it! It took me several tries to develop a successful method. Regardless of what they look like, they’ll still taste magical. Promise.
  • Place the cake ball into the bowl of melted candy coating and use a spoon to cover with coating. Lift the cake ball out of the coating with a fork and tap against the rim of the bowl to remove excess.
  • Use a toothpick to gently push the cake ball back on to your lined cookie sheet. Make sure you push the cake ball from the bottom so you don’t smudge your coating.
  • Once you have dipped all of your cake balls and the coating is dry, microwave one block of candy coating until melted. Scoop it into a plastic bag and snip off a very tiny piece of from one corner. Drizzle the mixture over the cake balls 2 or 3 at a time, sprinkling with chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans while the drizzle is still wet.
  • Let dry completely, trim off any excess candy bark and place in candy cups (or mini muffin cups) to serve.
  • cynthia
    Posted at 11:04h, 07 November Reply

    Lord these are incredible. I love that you amped up the coffee to take center-stage!! I love espresso and coffee in my chocolate too (SO GOOD) but I was just thinking it would be so satisfying if the coffee really asserted itself instead of playing second fiddle. These are AMAZING. Every one of your cake ball creations is more wonderful than the last, Katie!!!!
    cynthia recently posted…Bacon & mashed potato pizza // a How Sweet baby shower!My Profile

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 10:37h, 10 November Reply

      Thank you, Cynthia! You’re comments are always so thoughtful, I just love getting them!

    • Michele
      Posted at 15:28h, 03 December Reply

      How many does each recipe make

  • Megan @ My Bacon-Wrapped Life
    Posted at 13:01h, 07 November Reply

    OMG – these look seriously amazing!! Coffee and chocolate (uh and booze) are a match made in heaven. Definitely making these bad boys!
    Megan @ My Bacon-Wrapped Life recently posted…Foodie Favorites – November 5, 2014My Profile

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 10:38h, 10 November Reply

      Thanks, Megan! Boozy desserts are where it’s at!

  • Abby
    Posted at 15:10h, 07 November Reply

    these photographs are so gorgeous! love, love, love!
    Abby recently posted…Abby’s Travel Bucket List: EuropeMy Profile

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 10:38h, 10 November Reply

      Thanks, Abby!

  • The Blonde Chef
    Posted at 16:19h, 07 November Reply

    I just can’t get over how perfect these look! Wonderful job on the photography, these images are stunning!

  • Aysegul - Ice
    Posted at 17:04h, 07 November Reply

    These look so so so yummy. Coffee and chocolate.. A perfect duo!
    Love your photography!
    Aysegul – Ice recently posted…Red Lentil Soup with Urfa Chile and Butter DrizzleMy Profile

  • Mirta Porley
    Posted at 19:19h, 07 November Reply

    Irresistible , the would eat them.
    They look delicious

  • ami@naivecookcooks
    Posted at 19:58h, 07 November Reply

    OMG!! These are stunning looking cake balls!! Making them tomorrow!
    ami@naivecookcooks recently posted…Sausage, Kale & Quinoa Stuffed PeppersMy Profile

  • Thalia @ butter and brioche
    Posted at 22:26h, 07 November Reply

    These litle kahlua truffles look SO delicious. I can definitely see myself making them all throughout the upcoming Christmas period too!
    Thalia @ butter and brioche recently posted…Peach and Ginger Spelt Galette with Almond CrumbleMy Profile

  • Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com
    Posted at 23:41h, 07 November Reply

    Cake balls are OBVIOUSLY the breakfast of champions! And I love the coffee + chocolate cake trick–such an easy way to kick chocolate up a notch! These look gorgeous, as usual, lady!
    Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com recently posted…Clemen-Thyme Chocolate Chunk CookiesMy Profile

  • Weekend Links and Inspiration
    Posted at 07:55h, 08 November Reply

    […] oh man.. These Kahlua-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls.. So so so […]

  • Friday Food Love (on Saturday) | A Cookie Named Desire
    Posted at 10:55h, 08 November Reply

    […] Kahula-Spiked Mocha Cake Balls – Kahula + coffee + chocolate = total happiness. […]

  • Baby June
    Posted at 16:40h, 10 November Reply

    holy cow those look good. kahlua + chocolate is the BEST dessert combination, kind of, in some circumstances. Wish I could have one of those right now! 😀

  • Mariah@quirksandtwists
    Posted at 20:13h, 12 November Reply

    Oh my, these are going to be a must make for the Holidays!
    Mariah@quirksandtwists recently posted…Slow Cooker Chicken ChiliMy Profile

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 22:26h, 12 November Reply

      Thanks, Mariah!

  • Thea @ Baking Magique
    Posted at 15:45h, 13 November Reply

    Unfortunately I don’t like coffee so I can’t agree with you. Though I feel the same with lemon. If it’s a lemon cake it should taste like lemon!!! 🙂
    Thea @ Baking Magique recently posted…Earl Grey Tea GranolaMy Profile

  • Kahlua-Spiked Cake Balls | Logging
    Posted at 10:22h, 29 November Reply

    […] Kahlua-Spiked Cake Balls […]

  • Mandy
    Posted at 22:34h, 03 December Reply

    When you make cake balls, can you achieve a covered bottom? After much practice, that is the only thing I have yet to master! When I remove them from the pan (with the utmost caution) a piece of the “bottom” always manages to peel away. It makes them appear less professional. I would appreciate any tips if you have found the solution. Thanks so much.
    P.S. Do you use a food processor to crumble the cake? I never have but am wondering if it produces smoother cake balls…

    • Yvonne S
      Posted at 08:20h, 28 September Reply

      I set the cake balls on parchment paper, it keeps them from sticking and the bottom stays covered. Plus it makes clean up much easier.

      I have crumbled the cake by hand and have recently started using my food processor to do it. I don’t notice a difference in texture once its completed, however it does make the processor much quicker.

      I hope this helps! Happy cake balling 8-}

  • Shannon McD
    Posted at 14:58h, 14 September Reply

    If I wanted to make these, but did not want to use a box cake mix how would I achieve this?

Post A Comment