These vanilla birthday cake protein balls are perfect for when you’re craving a small afternoon snack (i.e. VANILLA CAKE!), or in need of a post-gym pick-me-up.
Unlike bliss balls, which tend to require heaps of dates, syrup, nut butter, and coconut oil for moisture and flavor, these protein balls derive their cakey texture and flavor from chickpeas and vanilla protein powder.
The thought of adding chickpeas to a sweet treat may sound strange, but after giving these protein balls a try you’ll likely never look at a can of them the same way again!
These snack balls are packed with TWO forms of plant-based protein: chickpeas and pea protein powder.
Chickpeas are rich in folate, iron, and fiber, while pea protein is loaded with the nine essential amino acids that are needed for repairing and building muscle.
You can totally swap out the pea protein for another plant-based protein blend of choice (although you may have to slightly adjust the other ingredient amounts)– just make sure it’s vanilla-flavored for best results.
Because the chickpeas provide a generous amount of moisture and binding material, these protein balls require NO oil, and far less nut butter and syrup than most snack balls. Thanks to the lighter ingredients, they are a truly great pre-workout snack!
How to Make Vegan Birthday Cake Protein Balls
The simple process goes like this:
1. Blend chickpeas until smooth
2. Add cashew butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract
3. Stir in the vanilla pea protein powder
4. Roll, roll, roll the cake balls up!
5. Go to town drizzling over the low-sugar glaze and sprinkles, of course.
Vanilla Birthday Cake Protein Balls
- Birthday Cake Balls:
- 1/2 cup (~90 g) chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 4-5 tbsps vanilla protein powder (amount will depend on the taste/texture of the protein you use; I used Nothing Naughty's Vanilla Pea Protein)
- 2 heaping tbsps cashew butter (or almond butter, but the flavor will be slightly less vanilla cakey)
- 2-3 tbsps maple syrup (add to taste based on desired sweetness)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- ~1 tbsp colorful sprinkles (plus more for topping)
- Sugar-Free Glaze:
- 1 1/2 tbsps coconut oil, melted
- 3 tbsps almond milk powder (or use another milk powder for a different flavor, such as coconut or dairy)
- Powdered sugar or stevia/erythritol to taste, if desired (liquid sweeteners, such as maple syrup, will unfortunately make this glaze seize up and separate)
Blend the chickpeas in a blender or food processor until smooth. A hand-held immersion blender may also do the trick. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides of your blender a couple times if it's large and the chickpeas fly to the sides without breaking down.
Combine the chickpeas and wet ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well incorporated. Add the protein powder, pinch salt, and sprinkles. Taste and add slightly more maple syrup to taste if desired. The batter will be slightly tacky and moist, but should not be too sticky to roll into balls (if it is, add more protein powder ~1 tsp at a time).
Roll into ~9-11 balls, depending on desired size, and pop in the fridge/freezer while you make the glaze.
Melt the coconut oil over low heat. Once melted, take off the heat and whisk in the almond milk powder and sweetener (if using). Set in the fridge/freezer to slightly thicken up for a less runny glaze.
Dollop small spoonfuls of icing over the protein balls, topping with sprinkles. Allow to chill in the fridge to harden up. I think they taste even better the day after making them! Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for ~4 days.