Holiday Treat Tutorial: Red Velvet Reindeer Cake Balls

by Lauren Romo (Madewell)

The table at my friend’s second annual Cookie Exchange Party.

Tired of bringing your tried-and-true chocolate-chip cookies to holiday parties? Well, I recently found myself in the same position when I was invited to a gal pal’s annual Cookie Exchange Party. Feeling uninspired by all the cookie recipes I came across—some were too complicated, some too boring—I finally decided to buck the trend and try Red Velvet Reindeer Cake Balls. The verdict? They look ridiculously cute, taste insanely delicious and couldn’t be easier to make. In other words, steal this recipe ASAP.


1 box red velvet cake mix
1 16-ounce container cream cheese frosting
2 12-ounce bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large bag thin pretzel twists
1 bag Sno-Caps or Holiday M&Ms


1. Prepare cake mix according to box. (Tip: I substituted applesauce for oil in mine, which makes for an even more velvety result.)
2. Remove finished cake from oven and let sit for five minutes.
3. While still warm, crumble cake into a large mixing bowl. (Caution: the middle may still be hot.)
4. Stir cream cheese frosting into cake crumbles with a fork until well mixed.
5. Using an ice-cream scooper or melon baller, form mixture into balls. Shape to your liking.
6. Set cake balls onto foil- or wax paper–lined pan.


1. Pour one of bag chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir chips and repeat until all chips are melted. (Tip: I prefer to work with one bag of melted chips at a time.)
3. Drop one cake ball at a time into melted chocolate and rotate with a fork until fully coated. (If chocolate begins to thicken, simply pop it back in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir.)
4. Place chocolate-coated cake ball onto foil-lined pan, place a Sno-Cap or M&M on as a nose and stick in two broken pretzel pieces as antlers.
5. Repeat until you have a complete herd of little reindeer.
6. Let chocolate dry (or pop them into the refrigerator if you’re short on time).
7. Enjoy!

Happy cookie-eating campers Jocelyn, Johanna and yours truly.