Cake balls, cake pops, cakesicles — have you tried them? They swept the internet like a tidal wave over the last few years, thanks in part to the delightful and amazing creations of Bakerella and other creative cooks. We finally decided to try them, and while ours don't achieve the heights of more talented confectionery artists, they tasted pretty darn good!
Cake pops are basically little smushed balls of cake and frosting (kind of like when you used to smash your birthday cake all in pieces, maybe with ice cream, and eat it as goop). You bake up a cake, let it cool, tear it into fine crumbs, stir in something to hold it all together, and roll it in balls. Easy!
They're terribly cute, and they're also a great way to use up leftover cake. I had quite a bit of leftover cake and frosting from my recent foray into LEGO cake building, so cake balls seemed a natural way to use them all up.
These are incredibly delicious, over the top little morsels. The chocolate shell gives way with a little snap to a moist and soft inside, like a brownie that melts in your mouth. They're not as rich as chocolate truffles, but they are still quite sweet. Special occasion treats only, but oh how people love them!
Here's how to do it yourself, and do it from scratch, too. Most recipes call for a boxed cake mix and canned frosting, but why not go with homemade, as long as you're going to all the trouble of making cute little balls already?
Cake Ball Mix
What you need
1 batch Dark Chocolate Cake
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon milk (or more, as necessary)
Bake the cake and let it cool completely on a rack. This is a very moist cake, which is ideal for this recipe. It's best to let it cool overnight at least. When it is completely cool, break the cake into a large bowl. Crumble it with forks or your fingers until it is in fine crumbs.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and milk together until smooth. Pour into the cake crumbs and mix with a spoon. Then continue mixing with your fingers, kneading and mixing until fully incorporated into the cake. Check to see if it will roll into a ball. It should: this makes a very malleable, easy-to-handle cake mixture. But if it needs a little extra moisture, add milk a spoonful at a time.
When the mix is completely done, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. You can leave the mix refrigerated for several days at this point. I left mine in the fridge for about three days before making the balls. You could probably also freeze this.
Making Cake Pops
What you need
Lollipop sticks (found at Michael's, JoAnn's, or other craft stores)
12 ounces chocolate chips
12 ounces white chocolate bark
Edible wax, optional
Colored sugars, candies, and other decorative sprinkles
How to make the balls
Prepare two large baking sheets by covering with wax paper or parchment. Take a bit of the cake mixture and roll it into a smooth ball. If you want to use the lollipop sticks, stick one into the end of each ball, pointing upward, as you put the ball back down on the sheet. [Note: I cut the long lollipop sticks in half; they seemed a little long for the size of the balls.] Repeat until you've used up all the mixture. As each sheet fills up, put it in the freezer so that the balls harden.
How to decorate the cake pops
Melt chocolate or white chocolate in a double boiler on the stove. If you want to make the coating a little more resistant to melting, add a small square of wax to the pot and let it melt too. Stir well. Dip each ball into the chocolate until covered.
Dip in sugar, coconut, sprinkles, or anything else you'd like to decorate with. Put it back on the sheet to harden.
Don't refrigerate these; it will cause the coating to weep or melt. They can be frozen, however.
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Article originally posted March 11, 2009.
(Images: Faith Durand)