As mentioned previously, my baking inspiration and adorable friend Jessica and I went out shopping yesterday. After tooling around town, trying on and buying many articles of clothing (and spending too much money between Sur La Table and Pier 1), we headed over to Michaels and got miss Jessica her birthday gift (yay cake decorating kit!). We then rounded out the day with a trip to Whole Foods for dinner supplies and a few baking bits. Truth be told, however, we ended up getting our cake mix and icing from Giant, as the “gluten free, dairy free, soy free” cake mix at Whole Foods made us go “eh…o_O??? But we need to bake this..” (I have never personally worked with gluten free/dairy free baking products, but I have an acquaintance who has and she has told me that the products are harder to work with and do not come out texturally the same, so we opted to skip that choice.)
At a recent retirement party, one of the girls in my office made red velvet cake balls with buttercream icing dipped in milk chocolate. Ohmygod. They are approximately 100 calories per ball, but you can’t eat just one. You have to eat like seven, they are totally addictive!! Asta la byebye, diet. But ever since then, I have wanted to try them. Jessica is a huge Pinterest freak, and she had a cake ball recipe pinned, so we decided “Hey! That’s the right thing to bake! Let’s try this.”
My friend’s house (yep, still here up til Tuesday..) has about three times the counter space the Ryan and I have at our apartment, so spreading out for prep was much nicer here. The Ryan had come down to watch the pets while we baked, and, of course, to eat dinner, so we got busy working. Except Jessica, who is absolutely obsessed with the tiny kitten roaming around the house. Small, furry, orange purr machines are her weakness, it seems.
But, once we got rolling on the cake, all was well. Behold! Cake balls:
First, the ingredients. We decided to go for Funfetti, because Jessica loves all things shiny, sprinkle-y, and colorful. Three eggs and oil, as per the instructions.
For decorating/dipping the cake balls, an aluminum tray for transporting them/popping them in and out of the freezer, etc. Wilton Candy Melts (we chose red) and the Funfetti sprinkles. We were going to do decorating with her new icing kit, but we ended up just liking them with the sprinkles. We also purchased tiny cupcake paper to set each individual cake ball in. Makes it nice to pick them up and eat them.
In a mixing bowl, add the powder, eggs, oil, and one cup of water. Follow the directions, though, not all cake mixes are the same.
Blend it up with a hand mixer. Mmmmm.
When the mixture is thoroughly blended, add to a lightly oiled & floured cake pan (to prevent it from sticking. :)) Pop that bad boy in the oven at 350 for approximately 30-35 minutes (or according to your directions).
Fun story about this – my friend’s oven seemingly didn’t want to bake? We’re not sure if it was the oven, where the cake was IN the oven, or what happened, but the outsides of the cake baked and the inside imploded and didn’t bake. SO, we did what anyone else would do – we left it in there until it cooked. 20 minutes later, it was golden and crispy on the outside, but thoroughly cooked on the inside. As you can see, Jessica had fun going to town with a knife to make sure the damn thing was cooked everywhere…and then she just continued to stab it and play with it, because knives are fun. Don’t try this at home, though, kids.
Drop the cake into the mixing bowl. (Poor thing, look what she did to it!!)
Start breaking and crumbling it up. You may want to be a bit cooler than Jessica was and take off any rings you may be wearing before you do this. It can get kind of messy. But she was eager to start ripping the cake apart, so she just went to town. 🙂
Next, add approximately half of the icing and mix it together with the broken up cake. We actually ended up adding about 3/4 of the icing because only half of the icing left the cake bits a bit dry and crumbly. We were going for velvety moist, so we added more a little at a time until the cake mix was the consistency we wanted.
Then, roll your mix into balls (smaller is probably better, but hey, this is America – we go big here!) and line them up in your aluminum foil tray (or on a plate, cookie sheet, etc..anything that will fit nicely into your freezer).
Once the tray is lined, pop them in the freezer to let them solidify and get firm. We left ours in about half an hour (while I cooked dinner and we ate it. Yum!).
Toward the end of the cooling process, get your candy melts ready by melting them down. Jessica chose to do the microwave method (I believe it was one minute on 50% power, but stirring every 30 seconds).
I chose to do it more oldschool and use the double boiler method (that’s how I learned, that’s what I stick to). It doesn’t matter how you melt them, as long as the melts are nice and creamy by the time you’re done.
Toss the cake balls in your melted candy to coat them. Lay them out on parchment or wax paper. At this point, we called the Ryan into the kitchen to taste test one of the cake balls. I’m sure he just hated being a guinea pig..xD But he gave us a go with the texture/taste combo, so we kept moving.
Add the sprinkles while the cake balls are drying to make sure they stick. Be quick about it, the candy melts harden pretty fast.
As they dry, line your tray with the small cupcake cups and add each cake ball to one cup.
Mmmmm, nice and delish. Crunchy on the outside, cake-y on the inside. Perfection!
Pop them back in the freezer (or put them in the fridge) for keeping and voila! You’re done! We put ours in the freezer, as they have to stay fresh for the Ryan to take to work on Monday. To serve, if they’re coming out of the fridge, set them out and enjoy. For the freezer, let them thaw a bit. The Ryan won’t have any issue with this, as he’s one of the first people in his office, and they’ll thaw during his commute to work & on the table while they wait to be eaten by hungry engineers. Enjoy!
Special Note: A friend of mine, Kim (who has an AMAZING arts & crafts blog AND is an amazing photographer), suggested that I install a Pinterest plug-in to my browser so that anyone who would like to can pin my recipes. I did so (I installed Pinterest Right-Click) – so go to town if you so desire, folks! Thanks, Kim! And be sure to check out Kim’s blogs – she is AMAZING. I linked her stuff above! ❤ Enjoy!!