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Posts Tagged ‘cake balls’

Some people would call these Carrot Cake Balls, not Carrot Cake Truffles. These people are also desperately trying to come up with a reason to make a batch.

Once again, Serious Eats completely undermines my low-sugar eating plan.

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I got cake balls right this year. I followed Bakerella’s instructions, for the most part, but I also scouted around on a few other food blogs to try to improve on my last effort.

I discovered four secrets:

  1. Chill the undipped cake balls in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to get them firm enough for dipping. If you’re in a hurry and decide to pop them into the freezer instead, prepare for cracked cake balls. I only used the refrigerator for this last batch, and I had exactly ZERO cracked cake balls. More than half of the previous batch, which all went into the freezer so I could dip them more quickly, cracked within an hour after dipping. Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time.
  2. Put the refrigerated cake balls on lollipop sticks before you dip them into the melted chocolate coating. This technically turns cake balls into cake pops. Go with it. Dip the tip of each stick into the melted coating before inserting it into a cake ball, then put the cake balls back into the refrigerator for at least five more minutes. The lollipop sticks make the coating process a lot easier, and, if you heed the advice in steps 3 and 4, they give you a more professional-looking product.
  3. Melt the chocolate coating in the microwave if you like, but hold it over simmering water in a double boiler to keep it thin enough while you’re dipping the cake balls. This will make the dipping process go faster, since you won’t have to worry about thickened chocolate that has to go back in the microwave every few minutes. Maintaining the melted coating at the same consistency throughout the dipping process simply results in prettier cake pops, too.
  4. After dipping the cake balls in the melted chocolate coating and letting the excess drip off for a few seconds, drizzle the wet cake balls with colored sugar or sprinkles — if that’s your decor of choice — and stick the clean end of the lollipop stick into a sturdy piece of Styrofoam (you may want to poke tiny holes in it before you start so the sticks will go in easily). This eliminates the flat spot and messy melted chocolate spread on the bottom of the finished cake balls.

I covered the business end of most of the cake pops with a small, clear treat bag and secured it with a small piece of Christmas ribbon, quickly tied into a simple knot (you can also just use twist ties). This made the cake pops fancy AND portable and helped keep them fresh for the better part of a week.

I won’t lie. These take forever and a day to make, and you’ll be cleaning chocolate smears off your stove and countertop and sweeping colored sugar off your kitchen floor for days. But well-made cake pops are beyond delicious and will impress the heck out of most people. Especially the 5-year-old princess fanatics in your life.

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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.

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