Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Much Ado About Cake Balls

Several weeks back I did a post on the JWT Atlanta blog called The Next Big Thing Could Actually be, Quite Small and asserted my prediction that cake balls were going to be all the rage. Well today I am here to tell you that they are.

Red Velvet Cake Balls w/ Milk ChocolateI was at first a skeptic, but after making some red velvet cake balls from scratch I was truly convinced. There is something so heavenly about homemade red velvet cake and cream cheese icing mixed together, blanked by a nice, rich coating of chocolate.

I'm not going to lie, these little beauties are pretty labor intensive if you make them from scratch. As a matter of fact, you may start to hate me half way through this process and wonder why you ever decided to make these. But this is when you must press on. I assure you that all of your frustration will be worth its weight in gold once you bite into one of these.

Should you choose to make these, here are a few pointers I'd like to offer:
- Find a Kroger and buy a package of their white or dark chocolate bark. You can also use candy melts, but I found them much more difficult to work with.
- Invest in a candy dipping fork or set like this one. Spend a few more dollars on the metal dipping fork, as I rendered my plastic set useless trying to make these.
- You can use any red velvet cake and frosting recipe, but the following is one of my own. If you use another recipe you will need a 9x13 cake, about 2 cups of frosting and 1 or 2 packages of chocolate bark (depending on how much of a perfectionist you are).

For the red velvet cake:
2 1/2 c + 5T cake flour, sift before measuring
1 1/2 c sugar
1t baking soda
1t salt
1T + 1t natural cocoa powder, not dutch-processed
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2T red food coloring
1t white distilled vinegar
1t pure madagascar vanilla

For the cream cheese icing:
2 1/4 c confectioners sugar sifted
4oz (1/2 a block) of cream cheese, softened
1/4 c mascarpone cheese
4T unsalted butter, softened
1/2t pure madagascar vanilla

For the candy coating:
1 or 2 packages of white, milk or dark chocolate bark (while I liked the way the white chocolate looked, the milk/dark chocolate tasted much better). I recommend getting two packages since the chocolate tends to get messy after a while with crumbs from the cake balls.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour (pre-measured and sifted), sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, gently beat (speed 1 or 2 of a handheld mixer) the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring until blended. Add in the dry ingredients slowly and beat (speed of 1 or 2) until smooth. Pour into a lined and greased 9x13 pan.

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, turning once half way through. Cool in pan for no more than 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once your cake has cooled, shave off any hard edges of the cake using a serrated knife.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, butter and vanilla until smooth. Slowly sift in the confectioners sugar and beat on a low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed until fully blended. Now here's the fun part. Take your cake and crumble it into a large mixing bowl. Add up to two cups of the cream cheese icing and mix with a spatula (or with your hands if you don't mind getting a little messy) until fully incorporated. It will be the consistency of a thick dough. Roll the mixture into balls and lay onto a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until ready to coat in chocolate.

Before coating the cake balls must chilled, but not completely frozen. Melt the chocolate bark in microwave according to directions on package. Dip and cover one cake ball at a time using either a spoon or a dipping fork and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I like to take one or two cake balls out of the freezer at a time, as they are easier to work with that way. You can cover up any mishaps with a second coating (or drizzle) of chocolate once the first layer has hardened.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

44 comments:

  1. I am sure bookmarking this one. LOOKS DELICIOUS.

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  2. How cute and colorful! Very nice!

    Greetings from big fat cook

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  3. I love making cake balls, or cake truffles. I am soon making about 500 for a wedding, thankfully not by myself. The work is definitely worth it, and your batches are so pretty! Bravo.

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  4. I love making cake balls too. Maybe it's the smashing up of the cake part...These look gorgeous!

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  5. I am dying. These look insane. Will be bookmarking this!! Thanks!

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  6. What beautiful cake balls. My family loves red velvet cake so this would be a hit with them.

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  7. I love cake balls, you did an amazing job! There are perfect!

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  8. These look great. I gave red velvet cake balls a go a few months back (http://drgateau.com/?p=490) and everyone who tried them loved them. I went with a chocolate mirror glaze just because I wanted to give it a try, but if I did the balls again I'd definitely just do a normal chocolate coating.

    By the way, love the concept behind you blog. I've got a bit of a red velvet focus going on my blog too (http://drgateau.com/?tag=velvet) - good to know I'm not the only person who thinks red velvet is just that fantastic. ;)

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  9. I'm odd because I Love labor-intensive recipes. :~D
    These look so decadent and adorable! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Thanks everyone! I'm glad I was able to pull them off on my first try. Let me know if any of you make them!

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  11. I made some like this a while back (though not from scratch): http://pamspantry.blogspot.com/2008/08/red-velvet-truffles.html (I still can't bring myself to call them 'cake balls'...) Yours look delicious!

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    1. Pam, how did your recipe come out?

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  12. Thanks Pam! I feel funny calling them cake balls myself, but when I brought them into my office everyone was quick to correct me that my "cake truffles" were just a fancy way of saying "cake balls". But I work in advertising, which could easily explain why they went for the less PC version.

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  13. hey Christina

    You mention " Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, turning once half way through" - what exactly am I turning?

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  14. Thanks Little Miss!

    Hi NuNuZa - you'll need to turn the pan once halfway through. Just so it cooks evenly. Let me know how they turn out!

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  15. Hi Patricia! After spraying the pans with cooking spray I line the bottoms with parchment paper, then spray the parchment. Wax paper also works well. Let me know how they turn out!

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  16. I was at a Christmas party last night that served these yummy morsels. FANTASTIC! They should be called red velvet crack balls! That's how addicting they are! People were starting to watch the other guests and count how many each person had actually taken. It was quite funny. But, they were fantastic!

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  17. I made these a few months ago when I first found the recipe and they were a HUGE hit. I'm making 200 for Christmas to pass out to friends and loved ones!

    Question, though..the first time I made them I used Ghiradelli chocolate bars and the chocolate was just way too think. I couldn't find any chocolate bark, and I would use candy melts but I don't want to take away from the genuine flavor. Any suggestions?

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  18. Red velvet crack balls...love it Jennie!!

    And to the anonymous baker that is making 200 cake balls for the holidays, I admire your courage...that is a lot of work! I don't blame you for not using candy melts. I made another batch with Ghirardelli semi-sweet and they were amazing.

    When I made my cake balls with Ghirardelli using a double boiler I found it to have a really good consistency. You may already know this, but when working with real chocolate you'll want to make sure its properly tempered first. Ghirardelli has a great resource here that you should check out: http://www.ghirardelli.com/bake/chocolate_tempering.aspx

    If your chocolate was too thick there is a chance it was overheated. Dark chocolate should never be heated above 120 degrees, while milk and white chocolates should never be heated above 110 degrees. If that isn't the case and you still think your chocolate is too thick, you can add some vegetable shortening to the chocolate to loosen it up.

    And one more tip - the Ghirardelli chocolate chips are exactly the same as the bars, but much cheaper per ounce. I spent a ton last time buying the bars, but then tried some of their chocolate chips and got the same result. Let me know how they turn out!

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  19. Do you ever get black spots in your red velvet batter and if so why does this happen

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  20. definitely going to make these for the next bake sale!

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  21. any suggestions for a white chocolate that isn't sickingly sweet? I love the way the white ones look but they were just too sweet.

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  22. A lot of the white chocolates don't use real vanilla which gives them an artificial sweetness. If you can find Guittard Choc-Au-Lait Chocolate Baking Chips, I think they may work best for you. They won for best flavor on America's Test Kitchen. I hear they sell them at Williams Sonoma, but worse case scenario you can also find them on Amazon. The only other option would be to use white (vanilla flavored) candy melts, which I think are likely to be sweeter than the white chocolate. Hope that helps a little!

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  23. And sorry I missed the earlier question about black spots in your red velvet! Its likely being caused by your cocoa. Unless its well sifted, cocoa tends to clump and not break up fully until you bake it. To avoid this you can mix your cocoa and red food coloring together (instead of adding it to your dry ingredients) until it forms a paste and then add that to your liquids. That ensures even distribution of the cocoa in your cake. I don't always do this step for my cake balls since you're mixing and mushing it all together, but for a cake I always do this step.

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  24. I am making these (1800 of them) for my daughters wedding and want to prepare them in advance and freeze them with my foodsaver. I can't seem to find any advice on the subject.

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  25. Now that is a lot of cake balls! I've never tried freezing the cake ball once its been coated in chocolate. I don't even refrigerate my finished cake balls because it will leave a residue on the chocolate and won't make pretty for a wedding. I'd recommend making the cake balls in advance and freezing them without the coating. Then you can let them thaw just slightly before coating in chocolate. The cake balls stay good for a few days, so you may not even have to freeze them - it just depends on how far in advance you want to make them.

    Some cake ball companies say you can freeze them for up to a month in an air tight container, but I'd test it first before going through the hassle of making a ton and then they don't look right once they've defrosted. Hope that helps a little.

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  26. a co-worker made these. i had no idea what they were sitting so innocently on the table and was expecting peanut butter balls. then i saw remnants of red food coloring on the wax paper. i tried one and these might very well be the most heavenly thing i have ever tasted. i hate cake and i mean HATE cake. however i have developed a love affair with red velvet over the years. this was like a mini-vacation to my inner dessert sanctum. i begged for the recipe. i bow down to your awesomeness and can't wait to make the recipe myself.

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  27. Have you ever used other cake flavors? I would love to try a yellow cake. What is your favorite/best yellow cake recipe?

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  28. This looks amazing! I will definitly try to make them in the future :)

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  29. Hi Christina,
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I've made them a few times now and they taste AMAZING! I've also used this recipe to make cakes and cupcakes and they are taste just as delicious!

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  30. So excited to try this recipe! Thanks SO MUCH for posting a from-scratch option!!! I have a huge distaste for boxed mixes and prepared frosting, and that seems to be the way everyone (including Paula Deen!) makes cake balls.

    So I'm getting ready to make these for my nieces' birthday party, how many cake balls will one batch make?

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    1. kids love the funfetti cake mix cake balls dipped in white chocolate i have to make them about twice a week how many depends on what size balls but about sixty teachers love them also they love brownie cake balls dipped in milk chocolate i walk at my grandsons school while i wait to pick him up the kids on the playground yell make us some more cke balls

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  31. Excellent recipe! Just finished them and they are fantastic! My very first cake balls. Thanks for the recipe!

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  32. Has anyone made them into "cake pops"? If so how did they come out and where can I get the sticks?

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  33. Hi there! The cake pops are pretty simple. You can get the sticks at Michael's near the Wilton candy molds and candy melts. Basically you are going to make the cake balls first (out of the cake and frosting mixture) and once they are chilled a bit, you'll dip one end of the stick into the melted chocolate and then stick it into each cake ball (they will need to be placed on a cooking sheet on waxed paper. Once you're done you can start dipping each cake pop into the melted chocolate. You may want to chill the cake pops before dipping them in the chocolate again...you want to make sure they stay together and don't fall off of the sticks. Best of luck!

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  34. Hi, I would like to include cakeballs as one of the treats at our wedding. I'm planning on making them a week before the wedding date, is that okay to be left out at room temp. in seal container for that long? Also, I thought cream cream frosting have to be refrigerated because it has dairy, after reading all the posts, is it save to said that cream cream frosting can be left out at room temp.? and if so how long can I left it out for?

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  35. Does anyone know how many cake balls this recipe yields?

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  36. I made about 4 dozen. Depends on the size of your balls.

    Jaw-dropping good!!

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Have feedback for the Velveteen Baker? Comment away with any questions, recipes, special requests or just general red velvet adoration.