Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cake Balls: The Secrets to Success

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Well, I was planning on making something healthy for dinner yesterday to post for you.

Obviously that worked out well.

Not that I'm complaining. Truth is, I had a special request for cake balls via my fan mail.

Yeah. I get fan mail.

So anyways Daiton, I was thinking of you when I made these. But the truth is I didn't actually make them for you. It was actually an accident. Divine providence, if you will. See, my sister's birthday cake was going to be huge. Four enormous layers, like my pink ombre cake.Well, that didn't quite work out. Somebody (*cough*Piggie*cough*) was RUSHING my work of art because she wanted me to watch a movie with her or some dumb thing. So in my haste I smashed two layers of the cake. Under normal circumstances I would never even consider making cake balls. Go to all of the work to make a big, fluffy cake only to smash it to bits? I DON'T THINK SO. But when I saw those crumbs, I knew what had to be done.

So I ended up having a tall cake after all. All's well that ends well.  

And please excuse the horrible quality of these two pictures. That's what I get for baking in the middle of the night.

Here are the secrets to making cake balls.

1. Don't use a spoon as I was in that photo. I already had a spoon from stirring the chocolate and was too lazy to walk two feet to get a fork. A fork is much better though because you can just tap it on the edge and the excess chocolate just slides out the bottom. Very convenient.

2. I would say you should probably add about 1 cup of frosting to every two and a half cups of cake crumbs, depending on the consistency of your frosting and the moistness of your cake. You want it just sticky enough that you can form it into balls, but not so sticky that it will just be a big mess.

3. Freeze them before you dip them. The colder they are, the easier they are to dunk. That's the biggest secret to making any sort of truffle or buckeye or anything like that.

4. Add some shortening to your chocolate when you melt it. This helps it to cook more evenly and it also makes it thinner and easier to dip. If you have trouble melting chocolate, this is definitely the most fool-proof way to solve your problem.

5. Freeze them once more after you've chocolatized them. That way you won't smear the chocolate and leave a bunch of finger prints like I did.

6. If you want cake pops, just stab 'em with a little skewer once they're done.

7. I would suggest not setting them on a cooling rack like I did, but rather on some wax paper. I lost a tiny bit of the bottoms when I took them off of the rack, but I just didn't want them to have any puddles of chocolate under them. I don't think puddles will really be a problem though because since the cake balls are so cold, the chocolate pretty much hardens on impact.

Anywho, that's about it. You can pretty much do any flavor you want, but I was doing a mint oreo cake so these were a dark chocolate cake with mint frosting and the coating is minty white chocolate drizzled with dark chocolate. Come back in the next few days if you want to see the cake recipe I used. If you want you can follow on Facebook or Twitter to be notified of its appearance or you can get an email of it if you enter your email in that follow-by-email-thingy at the top right corner of this page. Or you could check out my new Etsy shop. Not that that will help you find the cake recipe, but it might help you pass the time (<- shameless advertising).

Cake Balls

About 2 1/2 cups cake crumbs
About 1 cup frosting
(OR- one box of cake mix and one can of store bought frosting if you want to be lame)
About 8 oz. chocolate, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup shortening (or peanut butter if it works with your other flavors)

Bake the cake, let it cool completely and then crumble it up in a bowl. Add the frosting A little bit at a time just until it's doughy enough that you can form it into balls. Form crumbs into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze until firm. Melt the chocolate with with the shortening. You'll want to lower the power of your microwave if you do it in there or do it on a double broiler. Dip each ball in the chocolate using a fork and shake of excess, then return to wax paper. Once all the balls are coated, drizzle with more melted chocolate if you wish. If you were dipping them in milk chocolate, drizzle them with white or dark chocolate and vice versa. Note: I added a drop of green food coloring and some mint extract to my white chocolate and drizzled them with dark chocolate.

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