Sunday, June 22, 2008

cake balls

it's cake on a stick!

as soon as i saw these treats, expertly crafted and beautifully photographed, on bakerella i knew i wanted to make them. she's made these into cupcake pops (featured on martha stewart!) and a variety of themes...for my first time trying them, i went for basic. so basic it's almost embarrassing...

i know i'll make these again (husband requested a chocolate version), but for my trial run i made simple lemon cake (from a box!) and homemade lemon cream cheese frosting. these were for a friend and coworker who is leaving his job for another in boston. he's all about sunshine, so i figured lemon cake and bright candy coating would be a perfect fit.

i don't think my crumble was small time it will be!

the first part of this is so simple a dachshund could do it. but really not, because a dachshund has no self control and would eat the cake and frosting before it was even mixed. i used the directions from bakerella's red velvet cake balls.

cake balls
1 box cake mix
1 can frosting (or make you own, as i did*)
melting chocolate or candy
lollipop sticks (bamboo skewers in my case)

cake ball assembly
1. make the boxed cake and allow to cool completely
2. crumble the cake finely and blend it with the frosting
3. roll into balls and place on wax paper lined cookie sheets
4. place in fridge for several hours (or freezer, it's faster) 

*lemon cream cheese frosting
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 stick unlsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
rind of one lemon
juice of one lemon

1. cream butter and cream cheese until smooth
2. beat in lemon rind and powdered sugar
3. add lemon juice, adjust amounts using more or less juice or sugar until desired consistency

assembled balls and pops (omg! what is wrong with the top left size?)

cake ball coating
1. melt candy or chocolate until smooth 
2. if making pops, dip the end of the stick in melted candy and insert into cake ball, cool
3. for cake balls, dip the cake into the melted candy and roll around, shake off with a spoon and return to wax paper
4. for pops, swirl the cake in the melted candy until coated, allow to drip then place stick in styrofoam

one reason i'm not super proud of these cake balls is because they don't look all that pretty. i started them too late in the evening and wound up finishing after midnight. i had to be up for work the next morning and i was losing patience for things like perfection. but i forged ahead and made some candy suns to affix to a few of the balls and pops. had it been earlier, i might have thought to take some care in free-handing those...but it wasn't earlier and i did these with my sleep mask on.

lemony cake goodness with a candy shell

but it was ok, because these still tasted good and everyone really enjoyed them. i think partly for the novelty factor... no one had seen or had anything like them and i gave the "recipe" to almost everyone that tried one subsequently requested it. i did learn a few things that may or may not have been discussed in one of bakerella's posts about cake balls/pops:

one, the crumb should be fine before mixing in the frosting. like i said above, mine might have had some large cake pieces that i was too lazy to break up.

two, the balls should be small, like truffle sized. mine were a bit too big, so a little less cute and way overloaded on the sweetness per ball. 

three, i would play around with frostings and cakes...because i don't use boxed cakes all that often, i had forgotten how sweet they are. the lemon on lemon was good, but it was really too sugary together. 

four, the balls have to be really cold before dipping in the melted candy or bits of cake fall off. i had to melt new batches because i kept getting lumpy, cakey melted candy.

five, don't start these if you don't have time for them. they are so fun and cute, but take the time to make them neat. since they aren't hard to do, it's worth it to have them look perfect.

on their way to a party!


Anonymous said...


In my present state and associated diet considerations, I can't tell you how much I enjoy your food porn.


Thomas said...

Delicious! I was totally looking forward to one today and I'm thrilled they were gone. I hardly need the temptations. And, I totally see what you're talking about with that one image's sizing issues. Silly Blogger . . . :( When I go to Vanilla next week, I'll see if theirs are half as good. (Jesus, it took me like eight times to spell 'theirs' correctly.)