If you’ve been with me for the past few months, you’ve heard me mention cake balls. If you know what cake balls are and you’re not a fan, I’m about to offer you a hall pass, because there’s not much here for you to see. If you don’t know what cake balls are? Well, it’s Christmas in March, people. Gather around.
I bought the Cake Pops book back in December and have probably made at least a dozen batches of cake balls. In fact, I’m sort of shmooing myself into That Lady Who Always Has Cake Balls. If there’s a trivia night? I’m bringing cake balls. Book club? Cake balls. It’s your birthday? Cake balls. Parent/Teacher Conferences? Cake balls, Cake balls, Cake balls. (I’m proud to report that a friend called with a Cake Ball Emergency a few weeks back, and I was able to provide cake balls. This goes down as one of my proudest moments. 1. Raising kids that don’t suck. 2. Playing Chopin on the piano. 3. Being able to stay calm and deliver during a cake ball emergency.)
Let’s make some cake balls, shall we? The first thing you need to do is bake a cake in a 9 x 13 pan. You can do it by scratch, but I have no idea why you would want to. For this particular batch of cake balls, I baked a Duncan Hines lemon cake. When the cake is done and completely cooled, grab a big bowl and crumble the heck out of the cake. For you, this might be the best part of the process. For me? It’s pretty horrible. I HATE TOUCHING FOOD. Anyway, crumble it until all of the big crumbs are gone. When you’re done, it will look something like this.
Next up? Grab a container of icing. If you have the Cake Pops book, Bakerella has provided a really great grid that lists cake and icing flavors that blend well for the best possible cake balls/pops. For this batch, I went with Lemon Supreme.
And this is where I want to tell you that I normally go in and try to make my photos look good, but this is Migraine Week for me. My migraine hit on Tuesday, and it was at its worst late Wednesday night, and then yesterday afternoon I was hit with some sort of stomach thing and this has nothing to do with that! Back to the cake balls!
Stir no more than 3/4 of the icing container into the cake crumbs. (Helpful hint: Stir using the BACK of the spoon.) If you add the whole container, it’s going to get all goopy, and you definitely do NOT want goopy. When you’re all done stirring it in, it’s going to look like this:
Now the really fun/disgusting part begins. (Once again, this all revolves around your ability to touch food without cringing. These cake balls have been sort of therapeutic for me, I suppose.) It’s time to ball! (What?) Grab a hunk (I hate the word hunk), roll it into about the size of a golf ball, and place it onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet. You’ll notice that your hands start to get gross after about six balls. Please wash them frequently during the balling process. (Hello! Due to that last sentence, I just got 23 hits from people searching for something completely unrelated to cake!) Anyway, frequent hand washing will make the whole thing run a lot more smoothly. (Perhaps I’m projecting. Wash your hands. Wash them. Right now. Go.) One more thing. Don’t roll the cake balls too tightly, if that makes sense. You’re going to be refrigerating them for several hours (or putting them in the freezer for several minutes) and if they’re rolled too tightly, they might crack.
At this point, I normally refrigerate the balls overnight. (I like to spread the cake ball process out over two days. That’s just how I do it. I know a few people who put the balls into the freezer for ten minutes before the dipping phase. It all depends on how much time you have.) Anyway. Onward to the dipping!
I went to Michael’s and bought a bunch of the Wilton’s Candy Melts. They come in a bunch of different colors and are really easy to work with. (I find that it takes about 1 1/3 bags per batch.) If you don’t feel like dealing with that, you can also melt chocolate chips or bark or whatever. (I’ve never done that personally, but I know people who have, and their balls turn out beautifully. I’m no longer trying to be careful about the ball thing. Everyone is welcome at Fluid Pudding.) Anyway.
Here you see a bowl of the melted baking chips and three chilled cake balls ready to be dipped.
Toss a cake ball into the melted chips.
Using a spoon, make sure the ball is completely covered with chocolate/bark/melt/whatever.
CAREFULLY pick it up out of the melted chocolate with the spoon and carefully roll it to the edge of the spoon and sort of tap the excess chocolate off of the spoon. (You’ll develop your own technique in no time. I sort of do a lift Lift LIFT taptaptap motion. Whatever works.)
Roll the ball from the spoon onto another waxed paper lined baking sheet. (If some of the chocolate comes off of the cake ball, you can use your spoon to cover the rough spot with more chocolate. You’ll see what I mean. These things are completely user-friendly.)
After you put a few cake balls onto the baking sheet, feel free to dump sprinkles onto the top or maybe hit them with a different colored icing or whatever strikes you as being sort of fabulous. This particular batch (pink lemonade cake balls) were for Meredith’s Girl Scout troop, so I wanted them to be quirky. Whatever works for you works for the cake balls. Zen. (I always get about 32 cake balls per cake.) NOW, go make some. I would tell you to take a photo and leave a link in the comments so we can all admire your creation, but I know at least three of you who are going to mess this up for everyone. I’m on the couch and hardly in a mood for moderation. (You don’t know this, but this is the roughest you’ve seen me in quite some time. I’m wearing a baseball hat and am severely unshowered.) Cake balls!!!
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