Monday, September 27, 2010

Cake what....?

'Seriously, cake balls? What in the world is that?' what I heard after I insisted all my friends eat this mysterious brown looking blob I shoved in their faces. But oh no - they did not regret it! Apparently cake balls have been floating around for some time now, but they are completely new to my group of friends.

Now I do NOT claim to be a good cook or baker. In fact, the DH does most of the cooking in our house. But I'm not afraid to try new things and this one sounded like it would be yummy even if I screwed it up. Remember this post when I made a card for the hostess of our Girls Night Out beach trip? Well, those ladies were the lucky guinea pigs for my kitchen experiment.
I started out by baking a cake just as your normally would. From a box. Easy. I chose a white cake because that's what I had on hand. Any type of cake mix would do though. I used a regular 9x13 sheet pan, but it really doesn't matter how you bake the cake, just as long as it's cooked. Let your cake cook down for a while, 20 minutes should do the trick. Then comes the fun part.
Spoon out your pretty baked cake into a large bowl and crumble it up into small pieces. Seriously! Give it a try! It's fun to get your hands dirty and tear up a perfectly good cake into tiny pieces. I spooned out the cake into my bowl because the cake was still a little warm - which is a good thing - and I didn't want to burn my hands. Next is the messy part. Take an entire can of frosting and dump it into your bowl full of crumbled cake. I used a can of triple chocolate fudge frosting because, once again, that's what I had on hand. Get your hands dirty and mix the frosting and cake together until you're left with a big pile of mush. On a side note - you can add less frosting if you want, but mine looked a little dry when I added 3/4 of the container at first, so I added the rest. This mixture felt and looked really weird to me, almost like a pile of wet dog food - but I really was on the right track. Next, throw the bowl of cake blob into the fridge and let it chill for a while - 1 to 2 hours is best. You could put it in the freezer for 20 min, but there was no way this huge bowl would fit into our freezer. You want your mixture to be cool because if you try to roll out your balls while they are warm you will end up with a big crumbled mess instead of tight balls.

After your cake blob is chilled, use your hands or a cookie dough baller (thanks sis-in-law!) to make the cake blob into cake balls. You can make them as big or as small as you want, but I think 1 1/2 inches works best since some of the larger cake balls were harder to eat. Once all your balls are rolled out, place them on a large cookie sheet lined with wax paper and shove them back into the fridge for a few hours. Keeping the balls cool makes it much easier to dip them.
Now time to get even more messy! Time to dunk your doughy balls into melted dipping chocolate. I found some Baker's brand dipping chocolate thinking this would be the easiest way to go - I was wrong. I only bought one bowl, which covered about 5 cake balls, so I had to run out to the grocery store right in the middle of things to get more. I ended up buying the large Food Lion brand bark coating milk chocolate thinking I'd have plenty left over - again, wrong. But I'll get to that later.

I used the melting instructions on the back of the bag, but instead of melting the entire bar I cut it up into quarters and melted it one quarter at a time. Coating the cake balls was the biggest challenge for me. I tried many different methods - I used a toothpick, I used my fingers, I used a fork, I used as spoon, I tried drizzling the chocolate on instead of dunking the cake balls. Frustrating. In the end, what worked the best for me was placing the cake ball into my bowl of melted chocolate, spooning the chocolate all over the cake ball until it was completely covered, and then used a fork to fish the coated cake ball out of the bowl and back onto the wax paper. After about 15 cake balls the chocolate started to harden, so that's when I added another quarter of the non-melted chocolate bar and heated it up again. I ended up using all of that chocolate to cover all 50 some-odd cake balls.

Once they were all coated, back into the fridge they went. This step isn't really necessary, but it was pretty hot in my kitchen by then and I didn't want the cake balls melting. After they had cooled off for a little bit, I took the cake balls off of the wax paper and placed each one into a cupcake wrapper. I probably could have shoved them all into a container on top of each other, but I was afraid they would stick together. Having them in a cupcake wrapper made them easier to grab and eat in the end.

Verdict was? Yummy! Which makes me a happy girl! Now I'm thinking about the different cake/frosting combinations I can use next time. The DH said it was too much chocolate, but the girls certainly didn't mind a bit. I think I'll try red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate coating next time.

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