Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finally Caved and Made Cake Ball Thingies

A few weeks ago, Little Guy  got a monkey on his back. We were at the farmer's market, taking in the sights of all of the healthy fresh produced heaped high on all of the vendors' tables. He's point to something and I'd tell him what it was. Sometimes, he was asked to help me pick out which bunch of carrots or basket of apples we should get. At one point, he ran ahead of me as I was paying for eggs. I caught up with him to find him chewing on something. Oh no! What is he eating and how much do I owe?

There were two very sweet-looking ladies behind the table he had stopped in front of. One spoke up, "Oh, it's OK. He's just tasting a sample of our cake balls." As he finished his mouthful, he went in for seconds. The other "sweet" lady took the plate from the table and told him that his Mommy would have to buy some cake balls for him if he wanted more. You can imagine the carnage that came after I found that one dozen quarter-size cake balls would set me back FOUR DOLLARS! I just don't have that kind of money, not even for a splurge. We left with me hauling two very heavy bags of produce on one shoulder and a kicking and screaming 30 lb. kid under one arm. (I did hear someone mention how mean it was of those ladies to do that to me and Little Guy. Yeah!)

Well, he's been talking about those things ever since that day. Often, upon waking up in the morning, presumably from a dream, demanding I give him the cake balls that he knows I have hidden somewhere in the kitchen. When I tell him (repeatedly) that there are none, we end up in the middle of a first-thing-in-the-morning, before mommy has her coffee, full-on tantrum. So I decided that since hubby's birthday was on Monday and we needed to make a cake anyway, I'd so a single layer for him and we'd use the other layer to try our hand at making these cake thingies.

I checked out a few posts from other bloggers to see how the whole process worked. I basically found the following: 1) They're super-easy to make. 2) You basically crumble the cake, mix with frosting, roll into balls, then dip them into melted baking chips. EASY!!! I figured there must be a catch. I asked on my Facebook page for tips from those who
've already done these things and Lisa, Baking Momma of Two, was the only one to speak up. She directed me to a post she had written when she decided to make (really cute) Spring Chick Cake Pops. The basic directions on her post were the same as I wrote above. But she also described some of the problems she encountered and how she got around it (or would now that she knows better.) Things like the dipped cake balls looking pretty ugly (a second coat fixes this!) You don't want to buy the "super moist" cake mix (this tip had me over-bake the cake a little to get rid of the extra moisture.) She mentioned how messy making the cake into crumbs was, so I was able to elicit the help of Little Guy (payment came in the form of not complaining when he to big bites out of the cake!) Oh - here's a good one that I'd probably have tried if she hadn't done so first: Don't attempt to use plastic candy molds to make shaped cake. Don't try to get too fancy with the decorating - it's harder than you think. Apparently, you need to work fast to get all of the decorations on before the melted baking chips harden. (Lisa made her own mini baking chips in the colors she needed! I'd have probably left the chicks beak-less!) And, finally, it take a LOT of time to make these things. That is one that I just didn't believe enough - I put the finishing touches on mine at 10:20pm - three hours after I started dipping them into melted chocolate. This does not account for the time spent making the cake, making crumbs & icing, and rolling it into balls.

So, here's my journey in pictures. I really love how they turned out. These won't be made on a regular basis (cupcakes are SO MUCH EASIER!), but they're great for special occasions. Oh, and the $4 price tag was nuts - even with the time I put in on these, there's no way that each one is worth $0.33 each!
Making Crumbs

Over-baked Cake

Naked Balls (!)
Helping Clean the Icing Bowl

UGLY! I began to despair at this moment. It was my first layer.

Looking better after the butterscotch layer went on!

Yes! The dark chocolate covered up all of the mistakes!

We used leftover melted chips to decorate Hubby's cake. (Like my last-minute candle fix?!)
Little Guy knows that, now that we've sung "Happy Birthday", he can sample some cake balls!!!
Have you made these things? How did they turn out? Have any tips to add for next time? Little Guy's birthday is just 2 weeks away and I'm going to make more, so any help would be welcome!


Nancy StylenDecorDeals said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

They look wonderful!

Jen Crum said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I made some a year or two ago. They looked so simple.. they were UGLY! I must have used super-moist cake. Also, the recipe I was looking at recommended using thinned out cake icing (if I remember correctly). It was a big mess and took a long time. I love the idea of dipping them in candy chips! Yours turned out beautifully

ArtsyNina said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

WOW!! They look awesome! I have been kicking around the cakeball idea for a while now. But I'd rather just have some of yours! ;)

Lisa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think they look great!! How did they taste? I bet the butterscotch tasted yummy! Did Little Guy have any problems turning the cake into crumbs? I'm curious to see if my problem was the moistness of the cake. Thanks for sharing!! :)

Gem said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Ooooh...yum! After seeing all the amazing cake pops on bakerella I made some last year for a party and for halloween...they're so much fun to make, but even better to eat! LOL!

You did a great job!

Alicia C. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

He didn't have any problems. Since I read your problem with it being too moist before I made mine, I was able to take care of that. The only thing is that I had to cut the edge away before turning it into crumbs because it was too hard to crumble. (But that meant that Little Guy had to "help" me by making sure all of the edges got eaten!)

Alicia C. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@ArtsyNina If you make them, I highly recommend keeping the chocolate at warm as possible over a double boiler, and not using the microwave to melt it!