I have to be honest: this month’s recipe isn’t so much a recipe as it is a technique. It’s a pretty fantastic technique though. Bite-size, delicious, and endlessly versatile, cake balls = edible fabulousness! I stumbled across this technique by accident online, and I’m very happy to share it with you, dear readers.
Cake Ball Basics
To make cake balls you’ll need the following:
First you bake a cake, and then crumble the whole cake up into crumbs. (You’ll want your crumbs to resemble a pile of dirt) Then you add frosting to that to make a gooey paste. After refrigerating the paste, you mold it into balls. Finally, after freezing the cake balls for a while, you coat them with some sort of melted goodness. Sound good? I think so!
Two Batches of Cake Balls – the Details
Not content to make one batch for your viewing and learning pleasure, I made two. Here’s the breakdown:
My First Batch
Coating: Wilton Candy Melts – light cocoa (purchased at a party store – two 14 oz . bags)
I baked the cake per the directions on the box, let it cool for about 20 minutes, and then crumbled it into little pieces. I added the frosting, and mixed the cake and frosting together to make a paste – you’ll probably need to use your hands, as I did. I was a bit overzealous with the frosting, and put in about ¾ of the container of the frosting right off the bat, which wasn’t ideal. The frosting was definitely more dominant, and I would’ve preferred a bit more of a cakey texture.
Once the cake and frosting were combined, I let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Then it was time mold the balls, which were approximately 1 ½ inches in diameter. Once the balls were formed they went into the freezer for an hour.
For the coating, I used a Pyrex bowl and my microwave to melt the candy disks. (You can also melt your coating in a double boiler) I microwaved a handful or two of disks at a time, setting the microwave for 1 minute, stirring half way through. I stirred again when the minute had elapsed but before coating, and repeated as necessary.
I put three cake balls into the coating at once, and used a spoon to scoop up the chocolate and cover them. Once each cake ball was completely coated, I’d lift them out of the bowl, one by one, with a large carving fork, allowing a bit of the extra chocolate to drop off before depositing the cake ball onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. You have to work fairly quickly to keep the melted chocolate from getting too thick, and if you want to decorate the cake ball with sprinkles you need to put them on immediately after setting the cake ball down as the coating firms up quickly.
My Second Batch
Coating: vanilla-flavor almond bark (purchased at the grocery store, baking aisle near the chocolate chips – used about ¾ of the package)
Again, I baked the cake per the directions on the box, and let it cool for 20-ish minutes. This time, in addition to crumbling the cake by hand, I used an electric mixer to help break the crumbs up a bit more. This was recommended by the cake ball tutorial I’d found online, and I worked with approximately ¼ of the crumbs at a time.
When it came time to add the frosting, I started with ¼ of the container of frosting and slowly built up from there to ensure that I’d retain some of the cakey texture. I think I used just over half of the lemon frosting.
I refrigerated this batch for 20 minutes, rolled them, and put them in the freezer for two hours. Please note: The tutorial I’d read suggested longer freezing times than one or two hours, but these times worked fine for me.
When it came time for the coating process, I did a few things differently. I used the same bowl and microwave technique, but heated the vanilla bark a bit more so it was thinner. Also, after I’d covered the balls with the coating I put more time and effort into shaking off the excess. The chocolate coating was too thick on my first batch, and I wanted it a bit thinner this time around.
My Favorite Batch
My second batch was definitely my favorite, since the cake was more pronounced and the coating wasn’t as thick. So build up the frosting content slowly and shake off a lot of the excess coating, folks!
Cake balls can be decorated and tricked out in a number of different ways. For example, you can drizzle the balls with a different color of melted coating, can use different kinds of sprinkles, and can even insert a lollipop stick and serve them in little paper cups. I kept mine simple, but the sky is the limit in terms of presentation.
What’s in My Cake Ball Future?
I’m already planning my next batch of cake balls, and hope to make a white cake with chocolate frosting coated with melted Andes chocolate mints. Yum! If you end up making some cake balls, please let me know which flavor combination you choose.