Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cake Balls 101

Have you ever made cake balls? My sister-in-law made some probably 3 or 4 Christmases ago, and they've been a holiday staple ever since. Here's the how-to for an easy but impressive treat.

Bake a boxed cake according to package directions. You can use any flavor you like. I wanted something seasonal, so I made a carrot cake this time. Don't worry about making it look good because you will be crumbling the entire thing when it comes out of the oven.
While it's still warm, crumble the entire cake into a bowl.
Dump in a container of store-bought icing, and stir to combine. To go with the carrot cake, I added cream cheese icing.
Now refrigerate this mixture until it is firm enough to form into balls when rolled. They'll need to hold their shape well. I typically bake the cake in the evening before I need them, mix it with the icing, then refrigerate overnight.
When the mixture is firm, use a tablespoon to measure out enough dough for each ball, then form it into balls using your hands.Place the balls on a parchment-lined tray, and refrigerate again for an hour or so.Once they come out of the refrigerator, you'll be coating them with chocolate or with candy melts. I chose these candy melts to combine to make orange. You can find these in the cake decorating section at most craft stores. I've even seen them at WalMart. One word of caution - these sometimes come flavored. Double-check that they're vanilla. The orange ones I saw were orange-flavored. Yuck!While you're melting these according to package directions, get your workspace ready. You'll need everything within reach. Get another parchment-lined tray ready to hold your cake balls while they harden.There are many techniques for coating them. The easiest way for me is to melt the candy melts into a medium bowl. I use a fork, a spoon, and a toothpick for this process. I drop one of the cake balls into the melted mixture, spoon the mixture over the top to cover, then scoop it out on the tongs of the fork. I tap the fork on the bowl to remove any excess coating. Then I use a toothpick to carefully slide the ball off the fork and onto the parchment. Immediately sprinkle the top with your topping of choice before the coating has a chance to harden. I used sprinkles this time, but you could decorate these to look like mini pumpkins.When they harden (shouldn't take more than 15 minutes or so) transfer the batch to a tupperware container to store in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat them.
There are many more skilled cake ball artists than I. Check out Bakerella's blog for some amazing how-to's!
The combinations are endless for these. You could do red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, white chocolate coating, and crumbled candy canes on top. Or chocolate cake, vanilla frosting, milk chocolate coating, and crushed oreos on top. Try your favorite combo.
One last tip - these travel and ship very well. When my brother-in-law was deployed over his birthday, we made a batch of his favorite cake and icing combo, froze them overnight, and shipped them to Afghanistan. He said they arrived in one piece and gave him a taste of birthday cake on his special day.
Please share your flavor combination ideas in the comments! I'm always looking for new ones to try.


Charla (SHar-la) said...

I got the cake ball recipe from Kelly's Korner blog last year and have made them a couple of times, but I use Vanilla bark. I think I might try the chips like you did instead. Also, an egg separator works well to drain the icing after you dip the ball in the "chocolate."

Katie said...

what a great idea! These look so yummy!

Brandon and Jenny said...

We made some of those last's best to make them to take somewhere because Jenny and I ate just about every one of them. They are some of the best things we have ever eaten...and fun to make. You have so many more options in the US for coatings and cakes...lots of fun.

Anonymous said...

i love lemon cake, cream cheese frosting in white chocolate and then instead of sprinkles or what not, a tiny bit of lemon zest. mmm!!! a little lighter tasting than chocolate chocolate chocolate.

Delaney said...

Do you know how long they took to get to your brother-in-law?

I'm thinking about sending these to a friend. But I don't know how long the frosting will be good until it spoils. The last package I sent him took 2 weeks.

Alicia said...


I think they took just a week, but I bet they'd be fine over two weeks. Just make sure they're frozen for at least 24 hours first, then ship them frozen.

Good luck!

Jo said...

I made strawberry cake with strawberry frosting dipped in pink vanilla flavored bark