*This article was originally posted on www.Somerville.Patch.com*
These trendy, bite-sized desserts are easy to make great for holiday parties.
It feels like cake balls and cake pops have been appearing everywhere lately. These small servings of cake that have been dipped in chocolate are even available at Starbucks now. As it turns out, these adorable treats are actually not so hard to make at home!
They can be made with any cake recipe (from scratch or box), an easy cream-cheese frosting to hold the cake together, and melted chocolate. Cake balls also can be decorated in any which way or left in just a coating of melted chocolate.
1box of cake mix
8 ounces cream cheese (not reduced fat)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag of chocolate chips
In a well greased 9×13 pan bake your favorite cake. Whether it’s your grandma’s fudge cake or fun-fetti, any cake will do. I selected a red velvet cake for this batch. After the cake is finished baking and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, cover the cake with a dish towel and put on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake cools whip up some cream cheese frosting. The frosting will be used to hold the cake together and give it its shape. Using a stand or hand mixer beat together the cream cheese and butter. Once the two are well combined turn your mixer on low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl, and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then turn the mixer on medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes.
Once the cake is completely cooled and your frosting is ready it’s time to turn your sheet cake into balls of cake. Cut the cake into four equal sections and put one section into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork shred the section of cake until it is completely crumbled. Continue to do this one fourth at a time until the entire cake is crumbled finely.
Next, add the prepared frosting to the bowl of cake crumbs. Using a fork work the frosting into the crumbs until the cake and frosting are combined. Even if you are using a chocolate cake, the frosting will eventually blend into the cake. Using a small ice cream scoop to measure, roll the crumbs into balls that are 1 ½ inches in diameter and place on a baking sheet. Finally, put the sheet of cake balls into the freezer for 1 hour.
After the cake balls have been in the freezer for an hour it’s time to coat the cake in chocolate. To prepare the chocolate coating you’ll need to melt a bag of chocolate chips over a double boiler. Fill a medium sized sauce pan with 2 inches of water and place the half of the chocolate chips in a high-heat friendly bowl.
Put the bowl on top of the sauce pan, the bowl should be well above the water. Turn on the burner to medium heat and stir the chocolate as it melts. Using a double boiler (versus melting the chocolate in the microwave) is better for melting chocolate because it allows you to control the temperature.
Sometimes when chocolate is being melted it gets hot too quickly and turns into a thick and pasty texture, this is called breaking. If the chocolate starts to break remove your chocolate from heat and stir in either a splash (very small amount) of milk or vegetable oil and gently work it into the chocolate. This will smooth out the texture.
Next, coat the cake balls by putting one cake ball into the melted chocolate and gently covering using a spoon and fork to maneuver the cake ball in chocolate. Once evenly coated place the cake ball on the baking sheet. If you are topping the cake ball with any decorations, do so before the chocolate hardens. Topping suggestions: sprinkles, crushed candy canes, melted white chocolate, or chopped nuts.