China – Tangerine cake balls

China - Tangerine cake balls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These are soooo delcious. They were a touch too sweet, so the recipe below includes a little less sugar. I added some beginner instructions on coating the cake balls too. You will need frosting piping bags, colored candy melts (or oil based food coloring), and frosting decorating tips.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • tangerine cake (recipe below)
  • tangerine cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
  • orange candy melts
  • green candy melts
  • toothpicks
  • plastic piping bag
  • leaf frosting decorating tip
  • Cake:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup tangerine juice*
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • ½ tbsp tangerine zest*
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1⅛ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp tangerine juice*
  • ½ tsp tangerine zest*
  • ⅛ tsp orange extract
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar (cut ½ a cup here and a ¼ a cup above)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside for now. Rub the tangerine zest into the sugar. Add the vegetable oil, tangerine juice, and milk and mix. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in the orange and vanilla extracts. Now add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until a batter forms.
  2. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper at the bottom. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes in the pan. Then transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool.
  3. * If you don't have tangerines, oranges work just as well!
  4. Frosting: Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the tangerine juice, tangerine zest, and orange extract.
  5. To create the cake balls: (I made some newbie edits here, but the link above is excellent if you already know a bit about coating cake balls).
  6. Crumble the cooled cake into the frosting and mix. Roll the resulting cake "dough" into 1 inch diameter balls and flatten slightly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze in the freezer for a few hours until firm.
  7. In the meantime, melt the green candy melts. If you are using white candy melts with food coloring, ensure you get the best quality melts and only oil based food coloring. This is critical or the icing will harden and you will have to spatula it onto the cake balls. Once ready, fill a piping bag, cut a small hole in the bag, and pipe short ½ inch lines on parchment paper to use as stems later. Place a leaf tip (like Wilton #352) in a piping bag and pipe out small leaves on another piece of parchment paper (the pointy part of the tip should be gouging into the center of the leaf that you squeeze out to create the central vein of the leaf). Set the stems and leaves aside to dry. If the icing gets too firm, reheat briefly.
  8. Melt the orange candy melts in the microwave 1 minute at 50% power, stir, then continue heating 30 seconds at a time at 50% power, stirring in between until totally melted. (A useful trick to prevent the candy melts from hardening while decorating is to boil some water, pour it in a bowl, and keep the bowl with the melted candy melts on top of the bowl of boiling water throughout the decorating process, adding more hot water to the bottom bowl when necessary).
  9. This method is far easier than the tooth pick method recommended on the Diamonds site. Put the cake ball on a fork and drop the fork into the orange icing until it coats the cake ball. Tap the fork on the side of the candy melts bowl to smooth out the icing. Slide the cake ball off of the fork onto parchment paper. I took a class where they taught us several methods. This was by far the easiest. (Optional step: Once the orange coating in no longer wet looking, take a toothpick and gently poke at the cake ball, all over its surface, to give it some texture).
  10. Melt some green candy melts. Use a toothpick to make a seal around the green stem, making sure there are no gaps between the orange coating and the green stem (if you don't seal it, cake will start oozing out around the stem). Repeat with the rest of the cake balls. Finally, use a bit of melted green coating to glue a leaf onto each cake ball.


Leave a reply

Rate this recipe: