Red Velvet Cake Balls

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Red Velvet Cake Balls hide a sweet and festive scarlet treat inside! This easy dessert recipe is perfect for the holidays.

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

Print this recipe!

Makes 50 cake balls

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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…

Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable PLUS an Heirloom Cookie Sheet!

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! ;)

Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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Comments

  1. Took a little bit of time to load, like you said, but I’m having trouble getting my entry through. I’ll keep trying!

    But ummmm can I just say I LOVE the color of these cake balls. They are so pretty! And so many possibilities for TWSS innuendos, haha.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.12.2012

      Hey Katie! Rafflecopter went down for a few minutes, but it’s back up now!

      Trust me, I had to use HEAVY twss restraint on this post! ;)

  2. Delia 12.12.2012

    I tried to make one of those ‘peekaboo’ caked also (Pumpkin & Cheese Cake) and had the same result :( SAD baking fail indeed. I think the issue was that the two cakes needed different cooking times in reality. I didn’t even try to eat it!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.12.2012

      I didn’t underbake my red velvet enough so the “tree” in the center was like hard coal at the end. :/ The whole thing is still sitting on my counter like a brick – you can seriously knock on the bottom and hear a noise, baha! Oh well, all’s well that ends well! ;)

  3. Lisa 12.12.2012

    I just love the idea of picking up a bit of sweetness, then have it melt in my mouth.

    It doesn’t get any better than Red Velvet cake balls!!

  4. Christine 12.12.2012

    gorgeous cake balls! Success! I used Bakers as well for my cake balls and also for choc covered pretzels, its the best

    • ShaNae 12.13.2012

      I wil have to try pretzels. I make chocolate dipped cranberries for the holidays and Bakers is definately an easy chocolate to use. I have tried the ones you have to temper and epic fail is the only description. Thanks for the idea!

  5. Kathie 12.12.2012

    Yum! Those look delicious. The other day we did similar ones but instead we used Pillsbury’s dark chocolate cake mix and sprinkle them with grated Oreos, but hands down yours look way better.

  6. These look really awesome. I never made cake balls before. These would be perfect for holiday parties.

  7. Beth 12.12.2012

    Last year I made red velvet cream cheese centered cookies. Total fail…my cookies were *literally* the size of a plate and they were more like shortbread. I think the oven ate the cream cheese because it was no where in sight!! Oh well…this year will be better with cake balls :)!

  8. pudgyTim 12.12.2012

    looks good. i am going to try this.

  9. These cake balls look so festive!

  10. Evelyn 12.12.2012

    Thanks for this recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  11. Kim P 12.12.2012

    Your cake balls look totally delish! I do a similar adult version of red velvet cake balls. I bake the cake and crumble it like you but what holds it together is about 7-8 oz of Kahlua and about a half cup of unsweetened cocoa. The amount of Kahlua and cocoa can be adjusted to achieve the right consistency depending on the moistness of the cake. I then roll them and dip them in chocolate just like yours. Yum! I liken them to the cake version of jello shots and there are certain friends’ parties to which I am not allowed to show up without the cake balls!

  12. Luciana Davis 12.12.2012

    looks so good. I’m making them and taking to work!!!!!!!!

  13. Joy 12.12.2012

    Seriously – you make me hungry when I read your posts late at night! I want to put a batch in right now! ;-) Thanks for the laughs and a great recipe!

  14. Julia 12.12.2012

    Wow! These looks delicious and so pretty for the holidays. Great giveaway – thanks for hosting.

  15. LadySaotome 12.12.2012

    Glad the cakeballs worked out though I confess to be highly curious about the fail. Want to see the disaster! Or you should submit to Pinstrosity!

  16. Great giveaway! These all look like great cookbooks!

  17. Bek @ Crave 12.12.2012

    Love the cake balls!

  18. Kelly T. 12.12.2012

    You know, I’ve never attempted cake balls because I’m afraid of using too much frosting. But these just look too darned good not to try!! Great giveaway! Friday is my birthday, so I’m hoping Rafflecopter feels the birthday love :)

  19. Stephanie 12.12.2012

    I’ve been trying to find a good homemade frosting recipe! This is a cream cheese one, which is always good, but do you know of a plain/vanilla recipe that could work on various cakes or a good chocolate one? The cake balls look delicious, by the way!

  20. Those cake balls look and sound amazing! I actually (surprisingly) just tried red velvet cake for the first time this year….and LOVED it! I am sure it would be no different for these :).

  21. your pictures are so fun and bright!!! love…and I love these cake balls..I’ve made before but mine did not turn out nearly as pretty as yours…just another reason for me to make again and EAT.

  22. Melanie 12.12.2012

    Love the giveaway! Baking is such a part of our celebration of Christmas!

  23. Theresa 12.13.2012

    Let me start by saying that I use your blog as a way to keep up with the foodie world. You are SO organized and SO on top of the latest food trends and this blog has become an INVALUABLE source to me and my family. (My husband has gotten in the habit of asking “Is this from IGE?” whenever I whip something up that he REALLY likes). That said… my baking goddess is doing back flips because lady, I TOTALLY made these last week. Before they cropped up on IGE. They were a SMASH at a couples weekend to the point that they may very well become our prime holiday gift – a few of these bad boys with a handful of chocolate covered almonds would be a real treat for neighbors and distant relatives. Anyway, LOVE this recipe from first hand experience, and LOVE that you posted it – affirmation that it’s a real winner :)

    Also, I have been DYING to make barley soup recently but I wanted something creamy and semi-decadent while still heart-healthy when BAM you posted your Canadian Bacon Crock Pot Barley Soup recipe. You’re freakin’ me out, Kristin! I think we are on the same foodie wave length! lol

    Anyway, thanks again!

    -T

  24. Becky @ Olives n Wine 12.13.2012

    I was totally going to make that pound cake this weekend! Now I’m nervous it’ll turn into a burnt mess! I might have to go for your cake balls instead :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.13.2012

      Oh no! I think you should still try. I didn’t underbake my cake enough and let it sit out on the counter too long so it continued baking. I also used a cookie cutter that was too tall so the tips of the Christmas tree stuck out above the cream cheese pound cake and burnt. :/ I have NO idea why the pound cake wouldn’t bake evenly, but I bet a boxed pound cake might work better!!

  25. Jennifer C. 12.13.2012

    My last & only attempt at cake balls was very unsuccessful!
    These look great – I may have to try again:)

  26. laura 12.13.2012

    Thank you for the tip on your melting chocolates! I feel like almond bark never gets as thin as a want it and my cake balls or dipped anything end up looking so frumpy. Cheers!

  27. My mom LOVES red velvet cake. I’ve never been brave enough to try making cake balls. You make it seem easy!

  28. Amber 12.13.2012

    Thanks for the cake ball recipe. I have made them before with success but my daugther loves red velvet and this will be perfect for the holidays.

  29. Misty S 12.13.2012

    I am so glad to know I am not the only one who can’t melt chocolate. I thought there was something wrong with me. ;) I also can’t do a thing with those darn candy melts either. But I will definitely use the bakers chocolate next time. Oh, and these look delish by the way!

  30. Oh no! You made me laugh out loud at the Swedish Meatball cake ball!

    On the plus side, looks like you redeemed yourself!

  31. TorontoRunner 12.13.2012

    I’ve just found your blog!!
    um , wow! These look AMAZING! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Renea 12.13.2012

    I’m in Des Moines. Where did you see Duff Goldman’s cake mix?? Freaking cool. R.

  33. Candace 12.13.2012

    I am pretty sure I saw this recipe on Bakearella like 5 years ago:)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.13.2012

      Well, there aren’t too many different ways to make cake balls, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are similar!

  34. Sheila 12.13.2012

    How do you store the cake balls after they are made? Assuming they aren’t all eaten immediately. :). Fridge?

  35. Oh I am so going to try your two forks method so next time I make truffles or cake balls mine will be as pretty as yours hopefully!

  36. Mimi 12.13.2012

    Such awesome nuggets of pure pleasure. Will have to try making these cake balls. You’ve given me courage to try out the recipe.

  37. Cassie Peterson 12.13.2012

    These look absolutely wonderful…can hardly wait til morning to try these out…Thanks for great directions

  38. Sarah 12.14.2012

    Oh my gosh! I ran out to Hy-Vee and bought all of the ingredients for this today. Am making them right now! For all you locals, the red velvet cake *and* store-bought cream cheese frosting are on sale right now. Additionally, if you received coupons in the mail for Hy-Vee’s “week” sales, you can use the 99 cent coupon for white chocolate to drizzle over them. I’m cheap and went that route, instead of the Baker’s white chocolate — I did buy the Baker’s semi-sweet, though. :)

  39. Sarah 12.14.2012

    Oh! And if you’re using store-bought, use half of the container. Worked perfect for me.

  40. Heather 12.16.2012

    These are amazing! My friends and family thought I was a baking genius :o)

  41. Danielle 12.16.2012

    The shipping on those Heirloom Cookie sheets is out of this world, but I really want one! Anyone know of a discount or coupon code?

  42. Stephanie 12.16.2012

    I made these Friday and froze them. The ones we tested were pawesome! Thank you for the tip on Baker’s chocolate…it was perfect.

  43. Katie Cummings 12.16.2012

    I am for sure making these for our family’s Christmas Eve!! We’re a small group so I’m excited for a smaller treat that will pack well if I need to send some as leftovers. I’m wondering though, I read your pumpkin post and am curious if there is a way to lighten up the cake (ex: using a can of pumpkin) and still make the cake balls? Or do I really have to follow the cake mix box recipe?

  44. Tori 12.17.2012

    I brought a batch of these into work today and everyone loved them. Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Lauren 12.18.2012

    If using store bought frosting, how much of the 16 oz frosting do you use? The whole thing? Half? Any one try this? Thanks for the help~

  46. Christina 12.18.2012

    If using store bought frosting, how much of the 16 oz frosting do you use? The whole thing? Half? Any one try this? Thanks for the help~

  47. Rebecca 12.19.2012

    I just made these today, they were my first attempt at making cake balls & they turned out SO delicious! Thank you for the great sweet festive treat:) As always your recipes are amazing…love your blog! Thanks from a fellow Iowa girl!

  48. Kat Collins 12.20.2012

    These look absolutely delicious! And so pretty! I can see how they would be a hit at parties. I’m thinking I may make them for my book club group in January.

    I have a recipe for lemon cookies that everyone devours. They think I slaved over them, but what I don’t tell them is it’s made from a box cake mix! Hee, hee, hee! :)

  49. Heather Bechtel 12.21.2012

    Just wanted to say that I made these today, my first attempt at cake balls, and they turned out great! Thanks so much for all of the tips, I’ve always had trouble with melting chocolate for dipping as well. Oh and have I mentioned that they are to die for?! Wow! My neghbors are going to be very happy with their gift this year. Thank you!

  50. [...] also made a few red velvet cake balls using this recipe that I’m planning to bring to my grandmother and my [...]

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