Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flopsy and Cake balls

I have to confess something. Sorry if this offends some of you, but I have been a dog hater most of my life. They smell bad, they slobber, people think they are their kids...oh boy, the list could go on and on. Then one day my Dad brought a puppy home from one of his trips to the East Coast. Not just any puppy, but a tiny Miniature Schnauzer. She did indeed smell bad, and she slobbered, and my Dad grew slightly euphoric around her...I continued to be a dog hater. I kept my distance for a few weeks, I didn't want to pet her, play with her, or have anything to do with her. Then something changed. Every time she thought she was alone she would start howlbarking...which is a cross between howling and barking and basically sounds like crying. My heart broke. Poor little pup, so far away from home. Now, to my dismay and surprise this darn dog has stolen my heart. She literally has puppy eyes all the time, she stares at you tilts her head, and wins over everyone she meets! She is a super cuddly puppy and loves to sit on people's laps. She is also very good at tricks, and responds to come most of the time...unless we are outside and there are just too many distractions for her little hyper active mind...oooh squirrel, tree, leaf, kid, door, car...woof. This little creature we have welcomed into our home has been bequeathed with the name of "Flopsy", or Flopsinator, Flopso, Flops, Flopsipoo, and the list goes on. We call her "Flopsy" because she just plops and flops on the ground all the time with such gusto that the name was all too apropos.

Now the moral to this little story about our Flopser is that it is very possible to have a change of heart towards something. I had similar feelings against these things known as "cake balls"...they just seemed so unrefined and had a hint of "leftover" feeling to them. Then I had a "real" cake ball made from scratch, no boxes involved. Oh dang, so darn darn delicious! When I worked at the bakery we would only make cake balls when people requested them. I always prayed and hoped we had a few extra laying around just so I could eat them. They were awesome, and just the right size. They way I see it is that a slice of cake is sketchy, if you take a small piece you feel like you deserve another small piece, and then it is all down hill from there. Then if you get a big piece you decide to share, but then decide you really should have a piece for again, portion control is out the window. On the other hand, a cake ball, a perfectly portioned cake ball is the perfect size. Just a few bites and your sweet tooth is satisfied. Then if you have extra give them away as quickly as possible to avoid over indulgence in the worst way.

Cake Balls
adapted from

1 batch dark chocolate cake, recipe to follow

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioner's sugar

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon milk (or more, as necessary)

Dark Chocolate Cake
makes two 9-inch round cakes or three 8-inch round cakes

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans, or three 8-inch round baking pans...I just poured the batter into 2- 13x9 greased pans, it cooked quickly, and worked out great.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixer bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Mix in boiling water - the batter will be quite thin. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 (or much less if in 13x9 pans) minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack, then tap the cakes out of the pans.

Cool completely on a rack. This is a very moist cake, which is ideal for this recipe. It's best to let it cool overnight at least...I just stuck mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and milk together until smooth. Throw the cake in and mix until combined. Check to see if it will roll into a ball. It should: this makes a very malleable, easy-to-handle cake mixture. But if it needs a little extra moisture, add milk a spoonful at a time.

Scoop balls onto a parchment lined pan using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or longer.

Cake balls for a UT bound High School graduate

Decide what kind of chocolate you want to coat the balls with. Dark, semi-sweet, milk, white, or even melted peanut butter chips mixed with milk chocolate works well. Melt on 50% power in the microwave for a minute, stir, heat for another 30 seconds, stir. Keep doing this until your chocolate is just barely melted. If you overheat your chocolate it won't set properly. When your chocolate is melted remove the cake balls from the freezer. Dip the flat bottom of the cake balls in the chocolate and scrape off on side of bowl. Cool for a few seconds until chocolate is hardened. Then place the cake ball on a fork and spoon a spoonful of chocolate over the cake ball, spread to coat entire surface with a fork. Slide gently off the fork onto a parchment lined pan. At this point you can add sprinkles if you like, or you can wait until the chocolate is hardened and drizzle additional melted chocolate of a different color on top.

This makes a large quantity of cake balls. I had enough batter to bring 3 batches of 24 to three different parties. After you scoop the cake balls they can stay in the freezer wrapped for quite a long time.

PS. If you happen to have lots of random cake scraps from making cakes, save them, and then use those to make these.

This is how "not to" make a cake fail, but you get the picture : )

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