It twas the season of cake balls, and all through the festivities, not another dessert was to be found, not even cupcakes or small candy mounds.
Ahhhh, cake balls, which my sister and I recently dubbed the cupcake of 2011 as it’s become my most requested dessert and recipe. Friends and family are making them like crazy – they’re putting them on sticks and making pretty displays, and experimenting with fun new flavors and recipes.
This season alone they were highlights of Thanksgiving dinner, our Hanukkah celebration, Festivus and even New Years Eve. I blogged a while ago about the method, but thought now was a good time to revisit it along with two of my favorite cake recipes.
Just remember, cake balls are really all about the method so use your favorite cake and have fun being creative with the decorations and presentation!
How to Make Cake Balls
1) Bake you favorite cake and let it cool to room temperature. You can use leftover cake scraps for a small amount of cake balls, or an entire recipe as I’ve been doing lately (they freeze very well).
2) Make the frosting!
3) Break the cake into small pieces and put most of it in a bowl. Add most of the frosting and mix very well until it forms a paste. Test the consistency before adding the rest of the cake or frosting to make sure it feels right – it should be gooey, sticky and moist, and hold its shape when formed into a ball. I’ve found that most recipes’ ratios of cake to frosting is accurate, but go slowly just to be sure.
4) Roll the mixture into balls and set on trays lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Add lollipop sticks if desired. If you have time, chill the mixture before rolling into balls.
5) Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes, though 2 hours is better.
6) Melt chocolate (white, dark or milk) in a double boiler or in the microwave. You can use regular chocolate or candy melts (the flavor of the candy melts is a little different than regular chocolate, but it’s easier to use).
7) Dip the frozen cake balls in the melted chocolate. You’ll have to work quickly so the cake balls don’t fall apart. Set the dipped balls on parchment paper or Silpat lined pans.
8 ) If decorating with colored sprinkles, do so immediately!
9) Chill the cake balls in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set.
Optional display: If making cake ball lollipops, insert the sticks into the cake balls before freezing (see Step 4). To make a display, wrap a piece of styrofoam in thin tissue paper. You can buy both at crafts stores in many different shapes and patterns. Once the cake balls have set, push the sticks into the styrofoam so the cake balls are nicely displayed.
Recipes and adaptations:
Devil’s Food Cake: Bake as specified in recipe; omit simple syrup; malted milk powder is optional in frosting recipe, can substitute with additional cocoa powder; dip in dark or milk chocolate
Red Velvet Cake: Pour batter into a 9×13-inch baking dish and bake approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; add red food coloring to the cream cheese frosting until it becomes bright red; dip in white chocolate