Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cake Balls

Have you read about them? Tasted them? Made them?

I have no idea who first wrote about them so I won't credit any blog or recipe source here. All I can say is that suddenly I seemed to hear or read about them every time I turned around. The basic directions called for a cake to be baked, cooled, crumbled, well mixed with a can of frosting (or an equivalent amount of homemade frosting), chilled, then scoops of this mixture rolled into balls and chilled again. The last step was coating them in melted candy coating melts. They were supposed to look like this. In this case, a red velvet cake mix was blended with cream cheese frosting and milk chocolate coating was the final touch. This particular image was the most frequently found image when I googled for cake balls.
There are many recipes/instructions for these simple little things. The one I followed said to let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes. I baked a chocolate cake in a 9 x 13 pan. After 20 minutes, it was still pretty hot when I began cutting it up and transferring it to a bowl. I attacked it with my mixer to get the crumbly cake into finer crumbs before adding the frosting. I had two half cans of frosting on hand, one dark chocolate and one milk chocolate. Sounding good, eh?

I refrigerated the mixture overnight. The time to chill wasn't specific, it was late and I was tired. The next morning I scooped the mixture into balls and attempted to coat them with white Wilton candy melts. Crumbs were breaking off and getting into the melted white chocolate. Photobucket

I stuck the balls in the freezer for a while and tried this again. I should have anticipated the result. When warm chocolate meets cold cake ball, it doesn't flow gracefully over the ball, it sets in lumps. And in smears. And in frustrating ugliness. Photobucket
I truly wanted to be a southern belle at that point so I could pitch a hissy fit, but alas I am a Michigander. All I could do was slam things around the kitchen and vow to never ever cook or bake again.

Bill, witnessing this from the safety of another room, asked if I might feel better with the air conditioning on which would lessen both the humidity in the house and decrease the steam escaping my ears. I tell you, that man is as smart and he is considerate.

The air came on, I took a shower, had a cold diet Coke and re-entered the scene of the crime. I really didn't want to make a third attempt at creating what is in the above photo so I warmed the candy melts again and put them in a squeeze bottle, then drizzled the white chocolate over the balls.
I tasted one of the pathetic looking balls and thought they might be too rich. To know my sweet tooth, you would be shocked to hear that. Not knowing exactly how they were supposed to taste and feel, I thought they were too soft and too much like fudge....not that fudge is a bad thing.

I took them to my son's barbecue anyway, telling Kim that this was not my proudest moment, but maybe someone would eat them.

Holy cow....they were a hit! One man asked me if I had been a crack dealer in a previous life because these things sure were addicting.  Photobucket

The white squiggles tended to break as the cake balls gave way to pressure of fingers when being handled.  After researching this subject online, I've decided to try them again, probably later today. I will let the cake cool longer before mixing in the frosting. I will use less frosting to start off, adding more if I think it is needed. I will chill them only for a few minutes. I will not use Wilton candy melts. Wilton is good for many things, but their melts have never been my favorite and I can't recall why I even had them in the house. I will add some shortening to the chocolate melts I bought today and see if the result is smoother.

The cake mix is yellow and the frosting is lemon. Cross your fingers for me. I'll let you know how they turn out. Maybe I'll even save a few for you. Eating Pictures, Images and Photos


Chatty Crone said...

Hi - those look great to me and congrats for dong something different.

I'm in LA visiting my sister but wanted to say hello.


Anonymous said...

LOL I loved reading this post. It reminds me of the time I tried to make a Valentine Cake the way my mother used to make them. You are much more determined than me. My hubby had to try to fix the mess I created LOL These look very good. It's something I will put away for a later date. Do you find being retired more hectic than when you were working? There is so much I want to do and it seems like I have no time.

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

I can't remember where but someone had a long post about cake balls, about some "tips" that would save your sanity if attempting them...dang...can't remember the site or the tips but I do recall it was something about temperatures.

Your drizzle batch looked great!!!

At great sacrifice to myself, you can send me all the "messed up" cake balls COD. : )

Sewconsult said...

Bakerella is the originator of the Cake Ball, as far as I know. SHe has a book coming out in a few months. I have already pre-ordered it for gift giving. She has so many clever ideas. I know you'd enjoy her blog, too.

No connection...just a faithful reader.

That corgi :) said...

they look absolutely delicious! but to me (with very limited desire to bake, LOL) they sound like they would be lots of work. I bet as it is with most things, this next batch will come out better because you will be wiser in the preparation! glad this batch was a hit though!