Have A Ball! . . . with Cake Balls or Cake Pops

Have A Ball! . . . with Cake Balls or Cake Pops
Itty-bitty cakes with the frosting on the inside!  This dessert is a trendy blend of cupcakes and bite-size desserts. Crumbled baked cake is combined with frosting, rolled into balls that are into confectionery coating which creates a glossy, crisp exterior.
I originally put this page together for a Christmas tea we did at the Kirby House a couple of years ago. Cake balls were just becoming popular and so I adapted some of the available information and ideas to use with the Kirby House Carrot Cake recipe. This information was available in handout form for all partygoers.

Chocolate Carrot Cake Balls      Makes 4 to 5 dozen

Carrot Cake . . . Begin with the Kirby House’s signature cake recipe

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5  eggs
1 1/4  cups vegetable oil (canola)
5 cups shredded carrots (approximately 1 1/4 lb.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jelly-roll pan.
Mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy. Gradually add the oil while beating. Next, gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until blended.
Pour into prepared pans. Run a table knife through batter to break large air bubbles and to evenly distribute batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly; while still warm, crumble the cake into a large bowl. With a fork, mash in Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (use just enough so that you can easily form ball shapes). Chill mixture for at least 2 hours.
With your hands, form the mixture into 1 1/2” balls or use a melon scoop to create uniform and easy-to-eat small balls; place balls on wax paper, and freeze at least 6 hours. However, before dipping, make sure the cake balls aren’t frozen solid because after being dipped, the coating has a tendency to crack when drying. 
Using toothpick or a fork, dip each ball into warm melted Vanilla or Dark Chocolate Confectionery Coating (or use dark, semi-sweet or white chocolate instead), working in small batches. Set on wax paper to harden, placing the spot where you pierced the ball down to cover the hole, or cover the hole with decoration. Dipped cake balls can be kept frozen for weeks.

NOTE: For excellent step-by-step directions (with photos) go to Dawn James' blog -- http://jamesfavoriterecipes.blogspot.com/2011/07/cake-pops.html or Cake Pops - A Tutorial

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4  cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
4 1/3 cups powdered sugar
(1 tablespoons water)
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add maple flavoring and gradually add powdered sugar (sift if lumpy) until spreading consistency is reached. Add water if frosting is too stiff.

Vanilla or Chocolate Coating Confectionery coating or almond bark is the key ingredient in cake balls.  It melts easily and does not need to be tempered.  Vanilla and chocolate almond bark are sold in most supermarkets; cake supply and craft stores offer confectionery coating in wafer form in a range of flavors and colors.

Confection coating or almond bark is a blend of sugar, milk powder, hardened vegetable fats and flavorings.
48 oz. (3 lb.) dark or white chocolate or vanilla flavor confectionery coating wafers*
Heat and stir wafers, using a double boiler or microwave oven, just until melted, stirring until smooth, using care not to scorch. 
Note:  If using almond bark instead of the wafers, stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil per every 20 oz. package. 

Added Optional Decorations & Additions

  • Fill a narrow-tip plastic squeeze bottle with a contrasting color of melted coating and paint strips over the balls.
  • Sprinkle on rainbow jimmies, colored sparkling sugar or finely chopped nuts.
  • Insert a popsicle stick in the ball to create a cake pop.
Adding Color to Confectionery Wafer Coating or Almond Bark -- Food coloring from the supermarket doesn’t work well. Oil-based dye is a must. Start with a few drops, and add a little at a time to the melted coating. The oil in the dye will cause the coating to set up quickly so if you plan to add jimmies, etc., so add sprinkles immediately after dipping cake balls.
OTHER CAKE BALL OPTIONS -- Almost any cake and frosting combinations work including cake and frosting mixes (use a standard cake mix, 18.25 oz. along w/ 16 oz. of canned frosting).  Here are some ideas for winning combos:
  • Strawberry cake w/ strawberry frosting & chocolate coating
  • Red velvet cake, chocolate frosting & chocolate or vanilla coating
  • Devil’s food cake w/ fudge icing & dark chocolate coating
  • German chocolate cake w/ coconut-pecan icing & milk-chocolate flavored coating
  • Yellow cake w/ buttercream frosting and orange-colored vanilla coating
  • Lemon cake w/ lemon frosting & vanilla coating
  • Chocolate cake w/ vanilla frosting & mint-flavored coating tinted green
  • White confetti cake w/ white frosting & rainbow-colored jimmies / vanilla or white chocolate coating tinted pink

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