Dulce de Leche Cake Balls with Smoked Sea Salt

dulce de leche cake balls

You’d think after all these years of blogging that my cake ball-making skills would have improved.

But no, my cake balls are still rustic looking as ever. Slightly lumpy, unevenly coated, with some fork marks. Except when I brought these to a party, no one seemed to care about how they looked.

I said the words Dulce de Leche Cake Balls with Smoked Sea Salt and people’s eyes immediately widened. One bite and they grinned. Someone said they should be called Crack Balls instead. Lumpy cake balls for the win.

I brought these little bonbons to a barbecue/engagement party earlier this month (congrats, Kathy!) and it was pretty well-received. What’s not to like? Tender yellow cake, sweet and sticky dulce de leche, almost bittersweet dark chocolate, and smokey salt on top.


I may have used too much dulce de leche, resulting in slightly mushy cake balls, but hey, who’s going to complain about extra caramel?

I added a little olive oil to the chocolate so that it won’t be too thick, which made the dipping and coating process easier. This means that the only hard part about this recipe is stopping yourself from eating dulce de leche by the spoonful.

dulce de leche cakeballs

I really like this recipe because it’s very simple: make your favorite yellow cake (I used Cherrybrook cake mix – peanut free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free. All I needed to add were butter and water), mix with a jar of dulce de leche to make the cake balls and chill (so it doesn’t crumble when dipped into chocolate). Then melt a bar of dark chocolate with olive oil, dip and coat the cake balls, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. I like smoked sea salt because the flavor adds a different dimension to desserts (like these Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Smoked Sea Salt)

People tend to like the idea of cake balls or truffles or bonbons. They’re cute! They’re individually sized! The smoked sea salt almost looks like gold! (Thanks to the beautiful gilded platter.) Switch out the word lumpy to rustic and you have the perfect little dessert to bring to parties.

An added bonus: unlike an actual cake, you can help yourself to a cake ball or two without hard evidence of your taste test.

salted caramel cake balls

Yield: 30 cake balls

Dulce de Leche Cake Balls


9 in yellow cake (use your favorite cake mix or make your own)
16 oz dulce de leche (I used La Salamandra)
12 0z dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus dark chocolate bar)
2 tablespoon coarse smoked sea salt (or any other coarse or flaky salt you have)
2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Make cake according to package directions. Let cool completely.
  2. In a big mixing bowl, crumble cake and combine with dulce de leche. You can microwave dulce de leche for 30 seconds up to a minute if it's too thick. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Make cake balls by using a standard cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon of dough. Chill cake balls in freezer for at least 45 minutes.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine dark chocolate and olive oil. Heat for one minute and stir, and continue heating in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.
  5. Dip each cake ball in chocolate (I used two forks to dip) and place in a parchment paper0lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. I did this in increments of 5, so that the chocolate doesn't harden before I had the chance to sprinkle sea salt on top.
  6. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

salted dulce de leche cake balls

Interested in more dulce de leche recipes? Here are a couple of my favorites from earlier this year:

chocolate rum dulce de leche pie

Chocolate Rum and Dulce de Leche Pie

chocolate guinness float

Chocolate Guinness Beer Float with Salted Dulce de Leche Sauce

And here’s another easy truffle recipe that’s also going to be a sure hit at any party:

dark chocolate nutelle cherry truffles

Dark Chocolate Cherry Nutella Truffles

Do you have a favorite dulce de leche recipe? Any tips on how to make cake balls look less rustic?




37 Responses to “Dulce de Leche Cake Balls with Smoked Sea Salt”

  1. #
    Christina Orso posted September 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

    i think you need a roommate. i think it needs to be me.

  2. #
    Leng @ The Girl Next Shore posted September 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Bianca, your posts always makes me want to lick my screen. Gorgeous!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 25, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Thank you, Leng! I’m prone to wanting to lick my screen all the time, too ;)

  3. #
    Kathryn posted September 25, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Whoa….these sound pretty darn incredible!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 25, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Thanks, Kathryn! I already had another friend request this for the next party :)

  4. #
    Sues posted September 25, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Honestly, I think a messy cake ball is so much more delicious looking than a perfectly smooth one. I would probably eat about 20 of these in a row :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 25, 2014 at 11:34 am

      You’re right, and messy-looking foor is more fun to eat anyway!

  5. #
    kathy posted September 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

    SO good! I was definitely in love :) Thanks Bianca!

  6. #
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com posted September 25, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Bianca, I for one would never complain about too much caramel! I like it way more than chocolate!

  7. #
    Liz posted September 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Yeah, I haven’t mastered them either. Your dulce de leche version sounds amazing! I’m afraid how many I’d actually eat if there was a tray of them in my kitchen :)

  8. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita posted September 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Dulce de leche is high up on my list of favorite things EVER – and so is smoked sea salt! These cake balls sounds ridiculously delicious. Pinned!

  9. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted September 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    omigoshhhhh!!! I’m totally dying over these amazing cake balls-such a tasty flavor combo!

  10. #
    Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron posted September 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Wow, these look absolutely amazing! I can see why some people might think they should be called crack balls. YUM!

  11. #
    Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! posted September 25, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    These are practically calling my name!! I always wanted to make something with dulce de leche and these treats are definitely it. They look and sound amazing!!

  12. #
    Leah | So, How's It Taste? posted September 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    They look awesome to me! Of course, my cake balls turn out looking like boulders. Who cares when they’re so delicious! What a great flavor combination. I bet that smoked sea salt just puts them over the top. I definitely wouldn’t complain about too much dulce de leche!

  13. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted September 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Um, I can see eating WAY too many of these!

  14. #
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella posted September 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    They are SO cute! I think rustic looking cake balls are fine-they look home made which is a good thing! :D

  15. #
    Meghan posted September 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    YUM! These look like the perfect little bite!

  16. #
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef posted September 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    How clever are these beautiful little balls of deliciousness!

  17. #
    ATasteOfMadness posted September 26, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I just bought dulce de leche! Talk about good timing! These look amazing!

  18. #
    Choc Chip Uru posted September 26, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Wow, can I just eat my computer and pretend I am indulging in your gorgeous cake balls?

    Choc Chip Uru

  19. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar posted September 26, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Oh man, I’m such a sucker for dulce de leche! This sounds great!

  20. #
    Jenny @ BAKE posted September 26, 2014 at 5:48 am

    You’ve done a far better job on your cake balls than I ever have! and they definitely sound eye widen worthy!

  21. #
    whatjessicabakednext posted September 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

    These cake balls look delicious!

  22. #
    Daisy posted September 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    you are the queen of dulce de leche recipes!!!! these are amazing looking, as always

  23. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife posted September 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Rustic? Girlfriend, these are absolutely gorgeous! And with those ingredients, you could run them over the truck and I probably still manage to eat them:-)

  24. #
    Cailee @ http://hellohealthyeating.com posted September 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

    WHat??!! These look amazing!! Seriously! YUM!! You get me with you secret additions of salt!! Salt and chocolate =the best combo ever!!! :)

  25. #
    Bri | Bites of Bri posted September 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    These flavors! I love that these are small so you can pop a bunch of them in your mouth. I don’t think I’d be able to stay away :)

  26. #
    PassTheKnife posted September 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Oh so yummy! The flavor combo sounds fabulous!

  27. #
    Mike @TheIronYou posted September 29, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Bianca I think you’ve just created the ultimate chocolate treat, these look uh-mazing!

  28. #
    Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen posted September 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    These look unbelievably delicious! I love love love cake balls! I made cake balls once at home and they were a huge hit! I can only imagine how addicting that dulce de leche sauce is! Yummy!

  29. #
    Joanne posted September 30, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I personally think your cake balls are beautiful!! And you just can’t go wrong with a dulce de leche infusion. Ever.

  30. #
    Laura @PetiteAllergyTreats posted September 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    These look fantastic and really easy to make! Thanks for sharing at Saturday Night Fever!

  31. #
    Chris @ Shared Appetite posted September 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Oh man these look incredible! Hahaha I love how you call them “rustic”. I do that all the time!

  32. #
    grace posted September 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    i feel like most of us cooks and bakers are our own worst critics! they look fine and very dandy to me, especially upon finding out exactly what they are. what a delicious creation!

  33. #
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures posted October 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Yum! It doesn’t matter it looks as long as it tastes great!

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