I am enamoured with the concept of the cake ball. I am not ashamed to admit it. I discovered the concept at a little bakery I regularly visit, and since then, my mind has been turning over the possibilities of future creations. How to create, change and improve.
In my list of possible cake ball flavours to attempt is a strawberry and cream cake ball. But this weekend I made a variation of strawberry and cream. Raspberry Red Velvet cake balls filled with cream cheese and a whole raspberry. I bought some red candy melts online last week in my quest to find the perfect cake ball covering, and their bright pinky red colour inspired the berry thoughts. Then I wanted red cake. And instead of dyeing a plain cake red, why not make it interesting and make it red velvet cake. And not plain red velvet cake. Raspberry Red Velvet Cake.
But I could not be content with a plain cake ball either. I have done that already, that is so last week. I want to shake it up. Fill them with something. Cream? How? Its liquid. Freeze it? But liquid might be absorbed by the cake instead of being a creamy surprise when its bit into. Cream Cheese? But thats a bit plain. But then I thought… red velvet cake is often iced with a cream cheese icing, so why not a red velvet cake ball with a cream cheese icing filling. And not just a cream cheese icing filling, that would be boring. A cream cheese icing filling and a whole raspberry. Yes. Thats what I’ll do. Why do things by halves?
So the red velvet cake is half of the red velvet cake recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Its baked in a 20cm/8in round tin, and I used all but 100g of it to make the cake balls. Why not leave some aside? Its lovely cake just as it is. It will get eaten. I promise.
The filling is 1 part cream cheese to 2 parts icing sugar. You can vary this depending on your cream cheese consistency and how thick you want your filling. Just make it up as you go along. Thats the fun part
The coating is the red Candy Melts which I had to kind of spread on to the balls. It was not runny enough to dip in, much to my annoyance, and that smooth, shiny finish I am longing to achieve on a cake ball still eludes me. I know its out there. Ho do I do it?? What do I use?? Suggestions here are welcome. As are suggestions for cake ball flavours. Think outside the usual rum and raisin or strawberry and cream. Think of something you have never heard of before. This would make an awesome daring bakers challenge. How do I get to do that?
The filling fo the cake balls takes patience. Theres no 2 ways about it. I measured out 30g pieces of cake ball mixture, rolled it into a ball, then hollowed the ball out with my fingers and thumbs, working slowly, carefully, trying to get an even thickness all the way around. Then I scooped in a small dollop of cream cheese icing. Don’t let yourself be tempted to overfill. You will want to. You must resist, or you will regret it. The add a small, clean raspberry. Then gently and slowly (always working the cake ball mix with damp hands so it doesn’t stick to you like theres no tomorrow) mould the hole closed and round off the ball.
Cover them with whatever you like. I did the red candy melts, then melted white chocolate piped in zig-zags and then pink sprinkles and pink shiny balls. Then cut one in half with a knife heated in a mug of boiling water (be careful, burns don’t go well with cake balls), and admire your handywork. And if you get this far you will feel some awesome sense of satisfaction. Like, look at those. They are gorgeous. I made those you know. Have one You know you want to …
Raspberry Red Velvet Cake Filled Cake Balls
Cake, slightly adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
What you will need:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red food coloring mixed with 2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon raspberry extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and a two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla, raspberry extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and salt and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.
Spoon batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Let rest in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Filling:
What you will need:
50g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
What to do:
Cream the cream cheese with a whish for a minute so it loosens up.
Add the icing sugar and carefully incorporate until smooth. Set aside
Making Cake Balls
1 cooled cake
70g full cream cream cheese
140g sifted icing sugar
Cream Cheese Filling
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, then using your thumbs and fingers, gently hollow out the balls to make space for the filling. Try to get the cake a similar thickness all the way around. It will take a few to get some practice before you are happy with a technique, but keep trying. Once they are all rolled and filled and rolled again, refrigerate for few hours, or put them in the freezer 10-15 mins. Don’t let them freeze completely.
Make in to Balls:
chilled cake balls
400g candy melts
1 tbsp oil
decorations of some sort
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 scoop into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. Pipe whatever decoration you like over the balls and sprinkle to further adorn.