I don’t make pretty food. (I also don’t seem to be able to make pretty photographs of light-colored objects.) So why I zoned in on Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake Balls several months ago is up for discussion.
Whatever the reason, I decided they were the perfect dessert for wherever I was going to spend Christmas. Red velvet cake, mixed with cream cheese frosting and coated in white chocolate, seemed to be the most festive food I could contribute.
I had seen plenty of attempted cake balls on last year’s holiday party circuit. Most were delicious, but they were also about the size of ping-pong balls, making them difficult to eat. Most also suffered from a common rookie mistake: The balls hadn’t been properly chilled before they were dipped in the chocolate mixture, and thus coverage was spotty. Picture big, unruly wads of cake with about 75 percent chocolate coverage.
From the moment I hauled out the mixer, I knew this project was going to turn into a big mess. My old, scratched-up countertop has lost any stain-guarding properties it may have ever had, so I had to be ever so careful not to drop any (OK, much) red batter. Luckily, I had food-safe disposable gloves in the cabinet, because I don’t think I could sell bright red palms as part of the charm on Christmas morning.
Part two of the mess was the actually coating of the cake balls with melted chocolate bark. Bakerella says to use a spoon to dip and roll each cake ball in the chocolate. This didn’t work out for me, and I was left with uneven coverage. A couple of comments on the post recommended using a toothpick for the dipping and rolling; this worked out much better, only it left a tiny hole in the top. A tiny hole that looked way worse after my futile attempts at re-dipping or filling. (I realize now that a little creative drizzling would have upped the wow factor substantially.) And if I didn’t remove the toothpick soon enough, it left a huge crack in the top, leading to a small pile of discards. Tasty, tasty discards.
The non-discards were also delicious. And I guess they looked good enough to eat, since I don’t have that many left.
I’m almost sad to see the holidays end, since now I don’t have much reason to turn the kitchen into my own experimental lab. My solace is the hope that the office Whistling Guy will take the Christmas songs out of his repertoire.