I had vaguely herd of the American concept of the ‘cake pop’ before but my first hands on experience with a cake ball/pop was by accident when shopping at the Peter Herd bakery not far from where I work. I was on a mission to get cakes for an office meeting or some such excuse, and the lovely ladies behind the counter drew attention to the cake balls. Round, chocolate covered, prettily decorated spheres, with unknown delights inside. How could I resist?
The first taste was an experience. The cake balls have a cake-like flavour but a much denser consistency. This first one was a lemon cake ball. It did not taste like actual lemon though, but more like lemon flavouring. But it was not unpleasant, far from it. I was intrigued by the concept and have sampled a couple of other flavours since then, and I have been mulling over the prospect of making them myself ever since.
An idea born of a taste will not die in my thoughts but it thrives and grows until it is put into action. Until the idea becomes reality. Whether the reality lives up to the romance of the idea is another story, and the outcomes of such fledgling ideas can have various levels of success.
I did a lot of research online, trying to find a common ground in the recipes for these tasty morsels, and the concept overall seems to be the same. From what I could find out online, most cake ball/pop creators tend to focus on varying the decoration and themes of the look of their cake balls. But what about the flavour possibilities, they are endless! It gets me excited just thinking about it!
For my first attempt thought I decided to err on the side of caution and not go too adventurous with flavour until I had at least made a simple version first to test the water. The recipe I put together from various sources was for a chocolate version of the cake ball and what goes well with chocolate? I looked in my baking cupboard and found orange extract. Yes. Why do plain chocolate when I can do chocolate orange cake balls?
I subconsciously decided right from the beginning that I would not do cake ‘pops’. I have no interest in cake on a stick. Cake is not a lollipop. So balls it was. The making of the cake ball is a ridiculously simple process. Make a cake. Simple one, nothing fancy. Bake it. Cool it. Stick it in the food processor until it is nothing but crumbs. Add blended cream cheese and icing sugar. Form into balls. Cover in chocolate.
After chilling my cake balls well I melted some dark chocolate to cover them in. I stuck a toothpick in each ball before dipping them into the chocolate. And then I made a little mistake. I placed the dipped balls onto the baking tray that they had chilled on. Which was great for helping the chocolate set again quickly. But not so great for getting the balls off once they had set. Oops. After chilling them overnight I managed to get about half of them off the tray successfully, but the other half left their bottoms behind on the tray. Oops. Next time I will use baking parchment. Lesson learned.
In keeping with the chocolate orange theme, I melted some white chocolate and added gel food colouring to turn it orange to decorate the balls. But decorate however your imagination dictates. The possibilities are endless 🙂
Now I have the simple cake ball mastered, the next more adventurous version is being plotted in my mind. And after receiving some very good flavour inspiration, I am spoiled for choice. Which way to go? What do you think? If you could invent a cake ball what flavour would you go for? My first vote was lemon and lime. And advances on that?
From various online sources
Makes 20 or so, depending on your size preference
What you will need:
½ c butter room temp
125g caster sugar
½ teaspoon orange extract
125g self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
What to do:
Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin or an 8in round one. Preheat the oven 160°C/320°F
Cream the butter & sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer until light & fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Add the orange extract with the second egg.
Sift flour & cocoa powder into the bowl with the creamed butter mixture and then mix until just incorporated.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 35-40 mins. Cool for few more hours on a wire rack until completely cold.
Constructing Cake Balls
1 cooled cake
70g full fat cream cheese
140g sifted icing sugar
Break up the cake and put the pieces in a food processor. Process until the cake is gone and fine crumbs remain. Pour the crumbs into a large bowl and set aside.
Place the cheese & icing sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until well mixed.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the cake crumbs and mix together with your hands (more fun than a spoon, I promise) until it reaches a doughy consistency.
If you want to be precise allocate 30g mixture per ball, otherwise just make the balls as large or as small as you like. Roll the mixture into balls and refrigerate for few hours, or put them in the freezer 10-15 mins. Don’t let them freeze completely.
Cover the balls
Your 20 or so cake balls
400g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate
Orange gel food colouring
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Set aside and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
Stick a toothpick into a cake ball. Dip in the chocolate, using a spoon to help scoop over the chocolate to cover it completely. Place the ball with the toothpick in it on a piece of parchment on a baking sheet. Repeat with all the other balls. Once you have covered the last ball, the chocolate on the first balls should be hardening. At this stage you can carefully pull out the toothpicks and use your finger to close up the hole a little to make it less obvious.
Once the chocolate on all the balls is set, melt the white chocolate. I did mine in the microwave in 20 second bursts. Then add the gel food colouring, mixed well and scoop into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. Pipe whatever decoration you like over the balls. Its hard to make them look anything other than gorgeous.