Have you ever heard of a cake ball? If you haven’t you’re in for a treat. They are exactly what they sound like: little balls of cake. Except for one thing: they are dipped in chocolate. Yes, you heard me right. Cake and chocolate, like a truffle. I’ll wait while you go get a napkin to clean the drool off your computer.
I’d never heard of these delightful concoctions until about a year ago, when I discovered Bakerella. If you haven’t been to her website, you really should check it out. She started out making cake balls and then started making cake pops (way before Wilton jumped on the bandwagon, I really hope they’ve sent her a thank you card). Her pops are truly works of art.
Like truffles, cake balls take time to make. But they are so good! A hard chocolate shell that collapses when you bite into it because of the soft cake and frosting mixture inside. They are worth the time spent, I promise you that. And the ingredients couldn’t be simpler: cake, frosting, and chocolate.
You start with a baked cake. You can use your favorite cake recipe or a box mix. I’ve even made them before with part of a mix (I had made one round cake for a birthday and had one left, so I made cake balls. If you did this you’d just have to alter how much frosting you use.)
Here comes the fun part. Crumble the cake in a (very) large bowl. (You really should use the largest bowl you can unless you want to be vacuuming crumbs off your counters and floor, or yelling at your dog to “STOP EATING THAT RIGHT NOW IT’S CHOCOLATE AND YOU’LL GET SICK” like she can actually understand your words.)
Mix in your frosting. Start with 3/4 of the can and work up to the full can. You can use your hands or a large spoon. To test for consistency, try to squish it together. If it sticks, you’re good. It becomes wetter looking also, not crumby.
Scoop out balls of the cake mixture onto a parchemnt or wax paper lined cookie sheet. I like to use a cookie scoop for this. Once it’s all scooped out, go back and roll them into better balls. You’ll get about 60 balls, depending on size.
Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes (or longer if you want) to set. When you’re ready to dip, melt your chocolate. You can use the blocks of bark they sell at the grocery store, Wilton candy melts, or chocolate chips. My favorite thing to use (for any chocolate candy recipe) are Guittard’s Melt ‘n Molds. They taste AWESOME. (Guittard also makes chocolate chips – my favorite.) It’s harder to find Guittard’s Melt ‘n Molds when it’s not Christmastime, but you can check them out here. Whatever type of chocolate you use, you need about 24 oz to do the whole batch (buy a little extra, just in case).
I like to do my chocolate in batches; about half or a third at a time. I dip the cake balls until I’m out of chocolate and then melt more. Water ruins chocolate and I’ve had times (not just with cake balls) where I’ve melted all my chocolate, dip a few items, and the chocolate seizes because there was some moisture somewhere. By doing it a little at a time I don’t ruin all my chocolate if this happens.
To keep your chocolate warm and melted, I preheat my electric griddle to it’s lowest setting (about 200 degrees) and place two thick kitchen towels on top. Then I place my chocolate in it’s microwave safe Tupperware bowl on top and dip from there, stirring occasionally. Dip, pick up with fork, tap tap tap, wipe off excess, repeat.
Once the balls are dipped, refrigerate until set. You can eat them this way, or you can decorate them. Decorating is the fun part; the sky’s the limit! Use more chocolate and some sprinkles, drizzle them with melted white chocolate or other colors of the Wilton Melts. For these Valentine Cake Balls I used red Wilton Melts. I melt them the same way I melt chocolate (in the microwave) and then put in a little squirt bottle and decorate the tops. You can also use a zipper-top bag or pastry bag, or a fork to achieve the same thing. Have fun with it!
I used a silicone heart-shaped ice mold (from IKEA) to make the heart shaped cake ball.
And you know the best part about these cake balls? You can freeze them! Ahead of time! For using at a later date! (Like, say, when you’ve got 20 kids coming over for a birthday party two days before Valentine’s Day and you’re making a large from-scratch tiered cake for the birthday girl and you don’t want your head to explode the day after when you try to sit down and make 60 cake balls for Monday? I’m just sayin’.)
Or they’d probably be good straight from the freezer for a midnight snack. Not that I’d know.
Decorate these for whatever occasion you need them for! They are very versatile.
1 9×13 cake, prepared (from your favorite recipe or box mix) *I’ve always used chocolate and have seen recipes using red velvet. I’ve never tried vanilla.* 1 can vanilla frosting (not whipped) 24oz + a little extra of chocolate melts, bark, or chips (milk, dark, or even white) More chocolate (any kind), colored melts, and/or sprinkles for decorating
1. Once your cake has cooled completely (you can even bake it the day before), crumble it into a very large bowl. Mix in the frosting (starting with about 3/4 of the can, adding more as needed) until completely incorporated. The mixture should stick together if you press it in the palm of your hand.
2. Scoop out your desired size balls onto a wax or parchment lined cookie sheet. I find that a small cookie scoop works best for size and uniformity. Then roll each ball between your hands to create a better shape. Chill for at least 20 minutes.
3. Melt half your chocolate, either in the microwave or in a glass bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. (I prefer the microwave, in a sturdy Tupperware bowl.) If you want to keep your chocolate warm during dipping, preheat an electric griddle at about 200 degrees and cover it with two thick kitchen towels. Place your melted chocolate in its bowl on top of the towels during dipping. Stir occasionally. When this runs out, melt the remaining chocolate.
4. Dip your cake balls in the chocolate and place carefully onto another wax or parchment lined cookie sheet. I use a spoon and a fork for dipping: a spoon to cover the ball and a fork for removing. Dip, pick up on fork, tap on the side of the bowl, wipe off excess chocolate from under the fork with the spoon, then move to prepared cookie sheet. I call it the “dip, tap tap tap” method. Very scientific.
5. Chill your balls until hardened. It won’t take long. Decorate with more melted chocolate and/or sprinkles or another color of candy melts.
You can freeze them for later use. To freeze, place so they are not touching on a cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Then place in a seal-able container, separating the layers in wax paper. Seal and freeze until ready to use.