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pumpkin spice cake balls

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Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls

Alright, you know how yesterday I mentioned that I was going crazy thinking about the pumpkin cake balls I made last year? But I couldn’t make them because they are so crazy delicious that I’d probably just shovel the entire batch into my pie cake ball hole and then crawl off and die the happiest/most painful sugar-fueled death ever?

Well, I did it anyway (made the cake balls, not die). Hiya, there, cake balls.

cake balls

I just couldn’t resist any longer. Plus, I figure, I can always pawn the majority of them off to my husband’s co-workers. Nothing makes working folk happier than a big, heaping plate of bite-sized sugar bombs.

cake balls

If you’re thinking that cake balls are probably a little bit out of the ballpark of the usual repertoire of this here blog, you’d be partially correct. Yes, I’m a total organic, local, whole foodie snob—so no, the boxed cake mix and artificially flavored candy coating doesn’t really make that part of my personality jump up and down with enthusiasm. But, on the other hand, part of my food philosophy is that being terribly restrictive with your diet is just bonkers boring. I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t eat cake balls.

cake balls

Of course, if I was really on top of my game, I could have made the whole recipe from scratch. But man, who has time for that? I am not a baker, and I bake cakes so infrequently that I totally rock the cake mix aisle of the grocery store when I need to. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love cake mixes. I can doctor up a cake mix with the best of them. For the 3-4 cakes I bake a year? When I really don’t like baking to begin with? Cake mixes are my savior. In this particular recipe, spice cake mix is where it’s at.

If you’ve only ever hit up the cake mix aisle to grab chocolate or white cake for birthday cakes, you might not know that these little boxes of fall-flavored deliciousness are there. You might have to look closely. It might be on the bottom shelf, but I promise, there will be a spice cake mix. Grab it. Buy it. Learn to love it.

cake mix

If you’ve never made cake balls before (or cake pops, if you put a stick in them), let me tell you, they are so fun to make. Basically, you bake a cake (see aforementioned cake mix), let it cool, then smash the crap out of it with your hands (fun!) and then mix in some frosting (we’re using cream cheese frosting here) until it is goopy, dense and totally delicious.

cake balls frosting cake

Then, you form that mixture into little balls, roll those balls in a candy or chocolate coating, decorate them and prepare yourself for the rapid-fire praises of all those who partake in cake balldom. Seriously. You’ll never hear more compliments than when you bring cake balls to a party.

cake balls

I really like the way these cake balls look with a little dark chocolate drizzled on top and some fall-colored sprinkles, but, take it from me, don’t be tempted to swap out the candy coating for chocolate. I’ve done them with chocolate before, and they’re still delicious, but the chocolate way overpowers the pumpkin spice cake and cream cheese frosting. Stick with the vanilla or white chocolate coating.

Enjoy! I’m gonna go eat a raw kale salad or something.

pumpkin spice cake balls

pumpkin spice cake balls

Yield: 3 Dozen
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1–15 ounce can pumpkin puree (or about 2 cups)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound vanilla candy coating
  • 1-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly-flour two cake pans, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, eggs, and pumpkin puree on medium-low speed until just combined. Then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.
  3. To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer. Add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth.
  4. To make cake balls, break up the cake into a large bowl, add in the frosting, and using clean hands, smoosh it together until well-mixed. Using damp hands, form the mixture into 1" balls and place them onto a baking sheet. Once you've finished with all the mixture, place the baking sheet in the freezer.
  5. While the cake balls are chilling, melt the candy coating in a saucepan over low heat, until smooth. Add in the vegetable oil, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is the thickness of a thin alfredo sauce. Do not try to thin out the coating with milk or water (it'll just make it clumpy). Turn off the burner.
  6. Remove the cake balls from the freezer, and working one at a time, gently drop a cake ball into the candy coating, and spoon more over top to coat. Fish out the ball with a spoon, and place it on wax paper to harden. Repeat with remaining cake balls, you should have just enough candy coating to do all the balls.
  7. For decoration: melt the semisweet chocolate in the microwave, using a spoon, drizzle it on the cake balls and then top with sprinkles.

More Fall Desserts

[one_fourth]pumpkin pie
Lighter Pumpkin Pie[/one_fourth][one_fourth]rice pudding
Maple Coconut Rice Pudding[/one_fourth][one_fourth]whoopie pies
Whole Grain Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies[/one_fourth][one_fourth_last]chocolate cake
Orange Chocolate Molten Cakes[/one_fourth_last]


What’s your favorite fall-inspired dessert?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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22 Responses
  1. Mmm… those look amazeballs! (*giggle*) I envy your boxed cake mix because I’d have to bake these and give them all away and, well, where is the fun in that! LOL Hmm… I may need to look for an easy-from-scratch alternative…

    My favorite fall dessert is anything apple! Apple pie, apple cobbler, caramel apples, you name it! I have an easy recipe for an apple cake that will likely get made this weekend. 🙂

  2. Angie

    Good for you! We all need to cave a little and just enjoy life. I told my doctor today that if cupcakes were making me overweight then so be it. Who wants to be super skinny and deprive themselves of cupcakes? Not this girl!

  3. Kristy

    they look amazing! I on the other hand love my cake pop maker but try to use the recipes and change them to be able to make this way too. Have you ever done this? If so how do you change the box recipe to fit? Anyone?

  4. Danielle

    In your comments you say my to use chocolate because it’s overpowering, is that for all chocolate? I was thinking of maybe trying white chocolate (though milk chocolate is my love affair) but wanted to get an opinion from someone who’s made and tried these first.

  5. RG

    Absolutely wonderful recipe. Tasted great, directions were easy and clear. My batch made about 4 dozen, I wanted small enough to put in mini muffin cups, to give out as gift. Down side is their too good, my kids were grabbing them as soon as they hit the wax paper….

  6. Kim

    Made these this weekend for my hubby to take to his office! Deeeeeelish! As a new-ish mom myself to a little one just a few months younger than yours, I’m always appreciative when a recipe calls for box mix but doesn’t look or taste like it came from a box. Total winner! Thanks again!

    1. Julie Grice

      It should be added when you are creaming the frosting ingredients together. I’ve updated the recipe card with this correction as well—thanks for the catch!

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