Cake ball redemption is mine – muwahaha!
So earlier this week I tried making one of those peekaboo pound cakes. You know, a pound cake that reveals a fun, holiday-themed shape in the center when you slice into it? The directions in the recipe were clear, but the execution was flawed. Horribly, wretchedly flawed.
Instead of slicing into a moist and luscious cream cheese pound cake to reveal a red velvet cake-flavored, Christmas tree-shape inside, I sawed into a burnt brick to find a maroon-colored blob in the center. FAIL.
The upside to my baking disaster? I had almost an entire red velvet cake leftover to make Red Velvet Cake Balls with!
Now, the last batch of cake balls I tried to make was also an epic failure (stay with me.) First of all, I baked them on a nauseatingly hot August afternoon, used way too much icing to hold the cake balls together, and covered them with a thin, powdered sugar glaze instead of a snappy chocolate shell. It was literally a hot mess, and my cake balls ended up looking more like Swedish Meatballs then fluffy balls of cake love.
Well, I learned from my mistakes, and am now prepared to show you a fool-proof way to make fun, holiday-friendly cake balls from start to finish. Let’s do this!
Start with 1 box red velvet cake mix. You could certainly make your cake from scratch, but I have a soft-spot in my heart for boxed cake mixes. They are so moist and fluffy. PS: Duff Goldman has a new cake mix line! I was THIS CLOSE to buying his Red Velvet, but it was like, $2 more, and my inner cheapskate won out.
Anyways, bake the cake according to package directions, then, when it’s completely cool, crumble the cake into a very large bowl. This will feel wrong – oh. so. wrong. – but the final product will be right – oh. so. right.
Next, make a cream cheese frosting which will act like glue to hold the cake crumbles together. You could also buy this pre-made, but frosting is one thing I always make from scratch. It’s easy! Just cream together 1/4 cup softened butter with 4oz 1/3-less fat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, then 1 cup powdered sugar.
Add half of the icing to the cake crumbles then incorporate it with a spatula or your hands. Add more icing until the cake crumbles just come together to form a smooth NOT TOO STICKY paste.
One of my biggest downfalls last time I made cake balls was that I used WAY too much icing – like an entire container’s worth – which made the cake soggy and way too hard to roll.
K! Using a Tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, scoop the cake into balls, then roll the balls between your hands (twss.) Place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet then stick ‘em in the fridge for 1-2 hours to firm up.
Once the cake balls are firm, pull ‘em out and melt their yummy chocolate coating. In addition to having issues with peekaboo pound cake and cake balls, it has been well documented on this blog that I have serious problems melting chocolate. IT NEVER WORKS. Until I found Baker’s baking chocolate! This stuff melts perfectly in the microwave and stays silky smooth for a long time after warming.
For the cake balls, microwave 16oz Baker’s semi-sweet baking chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between increments, until smooth.
Use two forks to dip each cake ball in the melted chocolate. Pass the cake ball from fork to fork once or twice, then place back on the wax paper. It may take one or two balls to get this right, but you will get the hang of it. Bonus: If things get messy, you can just lick it up!
After all the balls have been dipped, melt 6oz Baker’s white chocolate to drizzle on top. This is totally optional, but I think it adds a little somethin’ somthin’. Follow the same melting instructions as the semi-sweet chocolate, then use a small spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over the cake balls.
Finally, for a little extra holiday cheer, dust with colored sprinkles on top!
Refrigerate the cake balls until the chocolate has hardened, then you are ready to ROCK!
Red Velvet Cake Balls
Makes 50 cake balls
1 box red velvet cake mix (plus ingredients required on back of box)
16oz Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
6oz Baker’s White Chocolate
colored sprinkles (optional)
For the cream cheese frosting (could use store-bought):
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
4oz 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
- Bake red velvet cake according to package directions. Let cool completely then crumble into a very large bowl. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla then beat until combined. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, then beat until combined. Incorporate half the cream cheese frosting into the cake crumbles, then add more frosting until the cake crumbles just come together. Scoop by the Tablespoon then roll into balls and place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cake then refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring between increments, until smooth. Dip cake balls in chocolate using two forks, then place back on wax paper. Melt white chocolate in 20 second increments, stirring between increments, then use a spoon to drizzle over cake balls. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles, if desired, then refrigerate until chocolate is hardened. Serve cold or at room temperature.
I was practically jumping up and down as I pulled these out of the fridge! I’m so glad I gave cake balls a second chance because, truly, they are not that hard to make, and look like you spent hours crafting ‘em. People gobble these UP at holiday parties too!
Red Velvet was also a great redemption flavor choice. That rich, chocolatey flavor, and festive, bright-red color cannot be beat!
Month of Holiday Giveaways
Since today’s post was all about holiday baking, I thought I’d giveaway 3 baking/holiday entertaining-related cookbooks that you can dig into this month! Up first…
The definitive guide to cookies from around the world, with more than 100 recipes and variations on such tried-and-true classics as gingersnaps, whoopie pies, and pinwheels as well as traditional international favorites like pizzelles, baklava, and alfajores.
You can’t bake cookies without a cookie sheet! I received an Heirloom Cookie Sheet a few weeks ago and it is something I know will last a lifetime. Each cookie sheet is made of high-quality stainless steel, so it never warps and is even safe to use under the broiler. Plus the sheets are dishwasher safe. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Harvested from the pods of beautiful and exotic orchids, vanilla is a delicious flavor enjoyed by people all over the world. Pure Vanilla celebrates its unique taste with a stunning array of recipes, from cakes and cookies to custards and creams.
Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals (great for holiday parties!)
Hors d’oeuvres have a reputation for requiring frou-frou ingredients that are difficult to identify—let alone locate in a grocery store. It’s about time for an appetizer cookbook that has fun with the concept of tasting an entire meal in one bite!
Enter to win 1 of the cookbook packages by clicking on the “+1″ button next to the cookbook you want, then clicking “Enter” by 11:59pm central time on Thursday, December 13. You can enter to win all three, if you like!
Please note that the widget may take a few moments to load, and that it may not work in Internet Explorer. The winner is chosen at random by Random.org, and will be notified by email after the giveaway has ended.