These Russian chocolate cake balls are made with moist sponge cake, cocoa powder, and condensed milk. Perfect for your next dessert tray or potluck!
These Russian chocolate cake balls are so moist and rich. They’re somewhere in between a Russian cake truffle and cake pop. Whatever you want to call them, you’re bound to include the word “delicious”. Not only do they have a deep chocolate flavor, but they also have a little kick from the coffee liqueur. What’s better? They are super simple to make and only require a bit of light assembling.
In Russia, these truffles are lovingly referred to as “kartoshka”. In English, this translates to “potatoes” and refers to their cute, little spud-like shape. Although the cake balls definitely don’t have any potatoes in them, the nickname is adorable and has been around forever.
Note: You’ll need sponge cake for this recipe. Make it a day or two ahead of time to make the process that much more simple, or pick some up from your local bakery.
How to Make Russian Chocolate Cake Balls (Kartoshka)
Making these cake balls only requires 5 ingredients and a little bit of assembling. Below, find a step by step rundown of the recipe before you dive in.
- Crumb the Cake: In a large bowl, crumble the sponge cake into tiny pieces.
- Make the Batter: Using a spatula, mix the softened butter, cacao, sweetened condensed milk, and coffee liqueur together. Next, add the crumbled cake pieces and mix until combined.
- Shape the Cake Balls: Using an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, portion out the batter and roll it into tiny balls. Next, dip each ball into a bowl of cacao powder. Repeat until you run out of cake balls.
- Refrigerate the Cake Balls: Refrigerate the cake balls until you’re ready to serve them. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
Here you’ll find a couple of tips and tricks to help you make the best Russian chocolate cake balls.
- Prep the sponge cake a couple of days ahead. Letting the sponge cake get a little stale will make for better cake crumbs. It will also cut down on your day-of prep time.
- Use room temperature softened butter. Before you get to work, allow the butter to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will make it so much easier to incorporate into the batter.
- Refrigerate the cake balls before you serve them. Refrigerating the cake balls for at least 30 minutes before you serve them will allow the flavors and texture to set.
Storing Cake Balls
Whether you plan to eat the cake balls within a couple of weeks or freeze them to have on hand for later, find all the storage tips you need here.
- Refrigerator: If you plan to eat the cake balls within 2 weeks, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Freezer: To freeze the cake balls for last minute parties or on-demand snacking, assemble them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop the baking sheet in the freezer uncovered until they are completely frozen. Next, transfer the cake balls into a freezer-safe bag and store them for up to 3 months. To thaw them, place them on the counter for a couple of hours.
What are kartoshka cake balls?
Kartoshka cake balls are made with sponge cake, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and coffee liqueur.
What does kartoshka translate to in English?
Kartoshka translates to “potatoes” in English. While these cake balls don’t have any potatoes in them, they have acquired this nickname for their mini potato shape.
Do I need to keep Russian chocolate cake balls refrigerated?
While you don’t have to refrigerate these cake balls, It makes them taste much fresher and is highly recommended.
How long do Russian chocolate cake balls last?
These cake balls will stay fresh for up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to keep them in an airtight container so they don’t absorb any lingering smells in your refrigerator.
Can I freeze cake balls?
Yes, you can freeze cake balls and store them for up to 3 months. This is perfect for last-minute parties!
Other Truffles To Try:
- Chocolate Raspberry Truffles – Tart and decadent chocolate truffles
- No-Bake Cheesecake Truffles – No-fuss cheese cake balls
- Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles – Sweet and salty chocolate truffles
- 1 sponge cake
- 200 g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp Bailey's Coffee Liqueur (optional)
- In a large bowl, crumble the sponge cake into tiny pieces.
- Using a spatula, mix the softened butter, cacao, sweetened condensed milk, and coffee liqueur together.
- Add the crumbled cake pieces into the bowl and mix until well-combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the batter and roll it into small balls.
- Fill a shallow bowl with the cacao powder and roll each ball in it until evenly coated. Repeat until you run out of cake balls.
- Refrigerate the balls until you're ready to serve them. Enjoy!
Hello 🙂 if my boyfriend doesn’t like chocolate could I leave out the Cocoa powder and roll in confectioners sugar instead of chocolate?
Hi Elizabeth - First off, I'm jealous of your boyfriend's will power! I can't keep my hands off of chocolate LOL. To be honest, I've never tried to make these cake balls without it, so I'm not entirely sure if the flavors would be balanced. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. Thanks for reaching out!
We really loved these! Perfect bite sized snack!!
Hi Laura, I am so glad you loved the recipe, it really is the perfect bite-sized goodness 🙂
I'm Russian and I grew up eating Kartoshka as my Mom used to make them when I was little, but haven't tried making them myself until I found this recipe. I found it on Pinterest, and these are exactly as how I remember them. So good! Thanks for the great recipe!
Hello Diana, I am so glad you found a copycat of your mom's recipe! They really are a delicious treat, thank you for taking the time to comment and share your feedback!
So incredibly easy to make and everyone loved them! I am making them again for Christmas!
I am so glad to hear that! They really are a perfect addition to any holiday dessert table!
How small do i make the cake pieces?
The smaller the better, crumb pieces. They turn into cream texture with the mixture.
Hi =) so you don't put then in the oven? and on gotovim-doma.ru they are using коньяк is that better then coffee Liquor I have both of them which one is better to use?
I prefer liquor but it's all up to a personal preference 🙂
Is it condensed milk or sugar that we beat together with butter and cocoa?
Oh sorry dear 🙂 Yes condensed milk
Those look good!
Thank you Vera!!