Birthday cake energy balls are a fun and easy snack recipe to make at home! High in protein and fiber, these little cuties are powerhouse snack. Plus, sprinkles make everything more fun, right?
No bake energy bites are one of my favorite easy healthy snacks to make at home. They are full of protein, fiber, and lots of other nutrients which actually helps to tide me over until my next meal! And these easy energy bites are made quickly and hold up well in the fridge all week long, making it easy to grab a healthy snack to go.
If you’ve been looking for healthy snack ideas, this high protein snack recipe needs to be added to your ‘to make’ list. Pick up your favorite sprinkles and any ingredients you may not have in your pantry already, and make these birthday cake energy balls ASAP!
Why You’ll Love This Cashew Butter Protein Balls Recipe
Time: Including prep and rolling, plan for 20 minutes to make your protein balls.
Cashew Butter: I have tried this recipe with peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter. Cashew butter simply works the best in this recipe. It has the nut butter texture you need to hold your energy balls together without having an overpowering flavor. This allows that birthday cake taste to prevail in your snack!
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats: Use your favorite old fashioned oats or rolled oats (NOT quick cook oats) to make this energy balls recipe. Old fashioned oats are less processed than quick cook oats, leaving them with a sturdier texture which make them ideal for these birthday cake protein balls.
Vanilla Protein Powder: Use your favorite vanilla protein powder in this energy bites recipe! There are a lot of protein powder options out there, and some are better for you than others. I recommend selecting a protein powder with minimal ingredients. I personally like and use this whey protein powder because I know what every ingredient listed is (and their vanilla has less than 5 ingredients total!). You can use also plant-based vanilla proteins for this recipe. I’ve used this plant-based protein in the past and enjoyed it.
Pure Maple Syrup: This natural sweetener gives your energy bites just enough sweetness. Please make sure to use real maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup) for this recipe.
Chia Seeds: Chia seeds pack a huge nutritional punch! They are loaded with fiber, protein, omega-3s, antioxidants, and so much more. They’re a superfood for a reason, and they’re relatively easy to find these days in your local grocery store. A great addition to energy bites.
Vanilla Extract: Helps to give these birthday cake energy bites that pop of birthday cake flavor you’re looking for!
Almond Extract: Optional, but highly recommended. Adding almond extract really takes these birthday cake protein balls to the next level.
Sprinkles: The fun twist giving these birthday cake energy balls that birthday vibe. I recommend using your favorite type of standard sprinkles (also known as sugar strands or jimmies).
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
Don’t have cashew butter? Try peanut butter instead. If making this substitution, please note that peanut butter has a much stronger flavor profile than cashew butter. This results in energy bites that will have more of a peanut butter taste with birthday cake undertones. They’re still perfectly delicious (I have made them this way several times), but using peanut butter doesn’t give you that pop of birthday cake flavor you would expect.
- Pre-soak your chia seeds in a small bowl, mix together your chia and water and set aside while you measure and mix your other ingredients. If you remember, give it a little stir part way through the next step.
- Make your dough: in a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except your chia and sprinkles). When almost all the way combined, add in your pre-soaked chia and stir until uniform. Gently stir in the sprinkles last to minimize the chances of breaking them.
- Roll into balls: I like to use a small cookie scoop to get evenly sized protein balls (you could also use a Tablespoon measure or wing it using a regular spoon). Roll each scoop into a ball between your hands. You may need to gently press the dough together to help it form into a ball as you roll.
- Roll balls into additional sprinkles: lightly roll each protein ball into additional sprinkles to coat the outside. I often will lightly dab the outside of the energy bites into the sprinkles and then roll them again in my hand to ensure the sprinkles stick.
- Place protein balls on a lined cookie sheet (or in a storage container) lined: place in the refrigerator to finish setting up.
- Store energy balls in the fridge: store your birthday cake energy bites in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Possible Dietary Restrictions?
This protein ball recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan as written. However, a few notes:
- For those with celiac disease it is important to verify the rolled oats you are using specifically note gluten free on the packaging. This will ensure that you are making gluten free protein balls.
- You will also want to verify that the protein powder you are using meet your dietary needs. My go-to protein powder is this whey protein which is vegetarian friendly. I’ve also used and enjoy this vegan protein powder which is certified to be both vegan and gluten free.
- It would also be good to double-check your sprinkles for any ingredients they may not meet your dietary requirements.
Pre-soak your chia seeds! Pre-soaking your chia seeds makes a HUGE difference in how this high protein snack turns out! Since chia seeds can soak up to 10x their weight in liquid, putting your chia seeds into this peanut butter protein ball recipe, without soaking them, leaves you with a very dry energy ball. The dry chia seeds zap any moisture you might have had right out. When you pre-soak your chia seeds as noted in this energy ball recipe, you’re left with a really enjoyably-moist energy ball that has you reaching for a second (or third) immediately. Don’t skip this step!
How do I get my cashew butter protein balls to all be the same size? There are a couple of ways to do this. My favorite way to get uniformly sized protein bites is to use a small cookie scoop to portion them out. Alternatively, you could use a Tablespoon measure to accomplish the same goal.
Could I use collagen instead of protein powder in this energy bites recipe? Yes! Swap out 1-to-1 if you’d prefer to use collagen.
What’s the best protein powder to use in this recipe? My personal favorite is Simply Tera’s because it has minimal ingredients (4 total!) and it tastes great. If you are looking to make this into a vegan snack recipe, select a plant-based protein powder like this one.
Is this high protein snack kid friendly? Assuming your child does not have a nut allergy, yes! If you’ve been looking for protein balls for kids that they’ll be excited about, these are a great option. The sprinkles make these an attractive snack, and since they’re packed with good-for-you ingredients you can feel good about sharing them with your child. For those with dietary restrictions, these birthday cake energy balls can be great dairy free, gluten free, or vegan snacks for kids if you make these with the appropriate protein powder, oats, and sprinkles (see notes above).
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Birthday Cake Energy Balls
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoon water
- 1.5 C rolled oats
- 3 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
- ¼ C pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ C cashew butter
- 2 tablespoon sprinkles + more for rolling
- In a small bowl, mix together the chia and water and set aside to pre-soak while you measure and mix the other ingredients. Give the chia a stir part way through the next step
- In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except the chia, water, and sprinkles). When almost all of the way combined, add in your pre-soaked chia and any remaining water and stir until uniform. Finally, gently stir in the sprinkles until distributed throughout
- Roll into 1″ balls by rolling a scoop of dough into a ball between your hands. You may need to gently press the dough together to help it form into a ball as you roll
- Lightly roll each protein ball into additional sprinkles to coat the outside. Note: it is often helpful to lightly dab the outside of each energy bite into the sprinkles and then roll them again in your hands to ensure the sprinkles stick
- Place protein balls on a lined cookie sheet (or in a storage container) and place into the refrigerator to finish setting up
- Store protein balls in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week