Monday, September 13, 2010

Amaretto Orange Cake Balls

Every now and then I get asked how to make cake balls.  For the longest time I didn't know either but after a little quick reading I gave it a try.  Actually, the first time I encountered cake balls was also the first time I made them.  I thought that today I'd give you a tutorial with the cake balls a friend asked me to make last week.  She wanted some of my "21 and Over" cake balls but left the flavor choices up to me.  I guess she trusted me since she'd previously ordered Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes from me.  Ok, here we go ... here's how you make cake balls ......

Gather your ingredients.  Having everything ready to go will keep you moving along and will save you from discovering, after you've begun, that you're missing something important.  You'll need cupcakes or cake tops or some form of cake, something to moisten the cake, any flavoring you want to add, something to coat them in and, if you want, some decorations.  As you can see I used cupcakes (vanilla) for my cake.  I flavored them with orange zest and moistened them with Di Saranno and heavy cream.  Then I coated them in dark chocolate candy melts and topped them with a little white chocolate ganache and chocolate sprinkles.

 Now you'll mash up your cake.  Use a fork, a potato smasher, your fingers or any other mashing instrument that strikes your fancy.  (For the record, my sister has informed me that if my hands are going to be in pictures I need to keep my nails manicured.  Sorry sis.)  Once your cake is all mashed up you add your flavor and wet ingredients.  Your flavor could also come from your wet ingredients.  You can use icing, cream, citrus zest, liquor, milk, melted butter, extracts or just about anything.  Add small amounts at a time!  After every addition mash it around some more to mix it all in and then take a little bit in your hand and try to form it into a ball.  As soon as it holds its shape stop adding liquid.  If you add too much liquid the balls won't hold together.  You can, of course, correct this by adding more cake.  Nothing is ever harmed by adding more cake, right?

Next, you form it all into balls.  If you care about size being consistent use something to measure.  I pressed my mixture into a tablespoon.  Otherwise just grab a hunk of cake and go for it.  Place balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, allowing space between them.  Stash your baking sheet in the freezer for at least an hour.  They can wait here for you as long as you need them to.  If you are busy and need to come back to them tomorrow it's no big deal.  They'll wait.

Here comes the fun part, one of the fun parts anyways.  Melt some chocolate or any other flavored coating you'd like to use.  I've just been going with the microwave method lately.  It's faster and I don't overheat my chocolate this way.  For easy dipping break the center two tines out of a plastic fork and keep a second fork handy.  Use the fork with the missing tines to lower the ball into the chocolate, roll it around and remove it.  Tap off the excess on the side of the bowl an then return the cake ball to the parchment paper.  If it seems to really like the fork you can  use the second fork to ease it off.  You may want to decorate them before your coating dries.  Things like sprinkles or coconut will stick to wet coating easier than to dry coating.  At this point I let mine rest while I made some white chocolate ganache and let it thicken up.  Then I drizzled it over the cake balls and then added chocolate sprinkles.

Now comes the most important step.  I am not kidding here.  This step is vitally important and can not be skipped or tampered with in any way.  Are you ready?  Here it comes.  Enjoy your cake balls!  If you are making them for someone else you still need to taste one for quality control.  As long as you're tasting one you may as well have a few. You can always make more for your friend.
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