Nov 21

Red Wine Cake Balls

Chocolate and red wine were born to be paired together.

Like peas and carrots.


Last week I wrote a post with the following “mystery” picture and asked you to guess what it was.

It wasn’t cranberry sauce!

It was red wine!  The above reduction was used in the red wine icing below.


After making Sparkling (Wine) Cake Balls, it dawned on me that red wine would also make a tasty dessert.

Rolled out and ready to dip in chocolate


Red wine and dark chocolate are one of life’s little pleasures.


When I drink half a bottle a glass with dinner, I often save a sip or two to enjoy with a chocolate-y dessert.  The tannins and notes of dark fruit possessed by bigger reds (think Cabernet and Zinfandel) bring out the bittersweet richness of dark chocolate.


A few rules of thumb for pairing chocolate and wine:

  • The darker the chocolate, the bolder the wine (ex: Riesling with white chocolate Cabs with dark)
  • Never choose a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment; there are no “rules” – everyone’s palate is different
  • Branch out!  Port, sherry, and sparkling wine pair exceptionally well with chocolates



Now that the seriousness is out of the way, let’s talk balls.

Admittedly, the process of making chocolate red wine cake balls isn’t quite as “easy” as the Sparkling Cake Balls.  The extra effort is well-worth it though.


These balls were actually inspired by a kitchen fail.

I decided to try out Smitten Kitchen’s Red Wine Chocolate Cake.  It came out dry on the bottom with a thin top layer that was too moist – weird!  I had just been rolling Sparkling Cake Balls and had already made this red wine frosting from Sprinkle Bakes, so it was a sort of happy realization that cake balls were the only way to save the cake.

The result was a fantastically fruit-forward, fudge-like cake ball.  #winning


These will be making an appearance on my Thanksgiving dessert table and in heavy holiday-party rotation.

You could try to make a simpler cake with the boxed cake + booze method I used here with the Sparkling Wine Cake Balls or here with the S’mores Brownies; however, I’m not sure it will work without the carbonation.  If you try it, let me know!  Bonus points if you also use boxed wine. :)

“Recipe” after the weekly recap…


Running slowed this week in anticipation of the Thanksgiving Half, but I amped up the weights.  I’m noticing a lot of progress in my shoulders and legs.  The 100 Workout is going to be a staple in my rotation – it’s a great workout to do when you only have a few minutes in the morning!


Workout Recap (11/14-11/20)

  • Monday – 30 mins stationary bike intervals, Shoulders/Glutes, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – 4 mile run, Ab Ripper X, 100 push-ups 
  • Wednesday – Kickboxing100 Workout
  • Thursday - 30 min core class, Body Pump, 100 push-ups 
  • Friday - 5K run100 push-ups
  • Saturday - 45 min full-body workout with trainer, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday – 8 mile run


Red Wine Chocolate Cake Balls*

  • 1 red wine chocolate cake
  • 1/2 C red wine icing
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • Sprinkles


Preheat oven to 325.

Prepare chocolate cake according to the Red Wine Chocolate Cake recipe here.  Bake ~20 mins and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare red wine icing according to instructions for this red wine frosting from Sprinkle Bakes.

Crumble the cooled cake into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of frosting and stir to combine (feel free to use your hands).

Roll into balls approximately 1T in size.  Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet and allow to firm up in the fridge.  Once chilled, melt chocolate and dip cake balls until covered.  Dust/roll in sprinkles, if desired, before chocolate hardens.  Return to refrigerator on wax paper lined cookie sheet to harden.

Makes ~ 30 balls.

Note: The red wine I used was a 2008 California blend called The Sum from Seventy-Five.  


I tried to make the cake one more with the same result (maybe the wine is too drying?).  No sadness – when life hand you dried cake, roll with the punches ball-style.

What was your last kitchen fail?

Have you tried the 100 Workout?



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  1. Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense

    This is such a creative idea! Red wine reduction — I never thought of this before! And mixing w/ dark chocolate is brilliant… I love it!! It must taste heavenly =)

    1. Laura

      That reduction was awesome – I am thinking you could just pour it over ice cream or pound cake!

  2. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family

    Oh I think I like the looks of these better then the sparkling cake balls (just prefer dark chocolate).
    I loved the wine lesson too, as I know NOTHING about wine.
    Great job Laura!

    1. Laura

      Thank you! I’m glad it was informative. The best advice about wine is to drink what tastes good to YOU. :)

  3. Kiri W.

    Haha, your cake ball obsession will make me give in so very, very soon…

  4. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Red Wine and Cake – now that’s a great combination. Turning them into cake balls is a fabulous idea! :)

  5. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

    I had a major kitchen fail when I tried to make lowfat whole wheat pumpkin ginger snaps – they were incredibly dry! I just refuse to use 8-10 tablespoons of butter! ;)

  6. Professor Vegetable

    I am in love with cake balls because of you. Also, when I drink a “glass” of wine I like to sometimes save some and drink it with a bit of dark chocolate that has chiles in it. I find the combo quite intoxicating!!!

    1. Laura

      “Glass” is right! LOL! Spicy chipotle dark chocolate is my favorite. Those balls need to happen too!

      1. Professor Vegetable

        Collaboration? LOL! If you make Spicy dark chocolate chipotle cake balls then I am going to have to also make them. I don’t usually bake!!!

        1. Laura

          Sounds like a challenge to me!!! :)

          1. Professor Vegetable

            I think…it is…

  7. Christin@purplebirdblog

    I had a funny mental switch up when I read “boxed cake”… I read it as “boxed wine” which reminded me of a time long ago at the lake when we took the wine out of the box and sat on a floatie in the middle of the lake drinking wine out of it’s own Camelbak-like contraption that comes in the box… good times. :)

    1. Laura

      Bwhahaha! That reminds me of when I snuck an entire box ‘o on a cruise ship. Camelbak = genius.

  8. A Brown Table

    I love cake balls in general and always try and get them at my corner shop bakery but the extra shot of wine in here sounds absolutely divine!

  9. Julie at Burnt Carrots

    Seriously, you need to start shipping these!! They look and sound so tasty!

    1. Laura

      I thought of that, but I’m worried about the chocolate coating melting. Do you think it would survive?

  10. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.

    Omg, yes, chocolate and red wine are soulmates! I think I love these more than the sparkling cake balls!! I’m having a serious chocolate craving now!

    1. Laura

      I’ve received mixed votes. It seems to come down to if your palate prefers white and sweetness or dark and rich. ;)

  11. Baking Serendipity

    This is a fantastic holiday dessert! I am a huge red wine and chocolate lover…and I’d bookmarked that red wine cake to make too. These might be my first choice now though :)

    1. Laura

      If you try the cake let me know how it turns out! I did it twice and “had” to make it into balls both times.

  12. sportsglutton

    There you go again with balls and corks. :-)

  13. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi)

    Oh balls, let’s wax poetic about them for a minute. Your balls are seriously the tastiest and most creative balls on the web. I’m impressed.

    1. Laura

      LOL! Best comment yet. Thank you for making me snort my drink. :)

  14. Baker Street

    Red wine and cake! Yes, please! These are absolutely perfect Laura! :)

  15. Jason Phelps

    Bravo on the ball jokes and incorporating wine in baking! I’m not a huge baker but I might need to take this recipe for a spin just to see how some homemade red wine might due under these conditions.


    1. Laura

      Why thank you, Sir. I think it would be a worthy experiment. Do let me know!

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