I’ve had a side gig of making custom cakes for years, and nothing drives me crazier than wasting the leftover scraps that inevitably result from leveling or carving a cake. Rum balls are an often-discussed solution among chefs, though I never had a great recipe from pastry school for some reason. I like the Scandinavian interpretation of using raspberry jam instead of the American version that relies on sweetened condensed milk for the sticky sweetness, and I always have a jar of that around. I also tend to use rum a lot in baking but not for drinking, so why not use that up as well? The result are dense, boozy and truffle-like confections, and no one would ever guess they resulted from cleaning out your fridge. These are definitely an adults-only treat and pack quite a punch, so I recommend cake balls with frosting if there are going to be a lot of children around.

Makes 16-20 balls


  • 2 cups (200 grams) leftover chocolate cake crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (114 grams) confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • ½ cup (50 grams) walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum


Make the Rum Balls:

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar and walnuts and stir to combine.
  1. Add the raspberry jam and rum, mixing until uniform. If the dough mixture feels too dry, you can add a little more jam and likewise, if the mixture is too wet, add more cake crumbs. It should come together easily if you gently squeeze some of the mixture with your fingertips. Refrigerate for a half hour or so to make it easier to roll.
  1. In a small shallow bowl or plate, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar or cocoa and set aside.
  1. Using a small cookie scoop or by sight, roll the mixture into 1-inch round balls. Roll them in the mixture of your choice and then place them on a parchment lined sheet pan. Once you are done rolling, refrigerate the balls until ready to serve. They can remain covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


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AnnMarie Mattila
AnnMarie Mattilahttps://pastryathome.com
AnnMarie Mattila is a writer for Pastry Arts Magazine, as well as a freelance baker and pastry chef in New York. She has a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University and is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education.

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