Jamie here, I love making Cake Balls – they’re easy and scrumptious and they don’t need to be perfect to be impressive at a gathering. (Um hello – anything covered in melted chocolate is going to impress chocolate lovers!). The outside is a nice hard chocolate shell and the inside is a cakey-truffle consistency. So. Good. So since we have our annual bake sale coming up at church, I decided to whip up some Pumpkin Cake Balls with the kids.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a patient person when it comes to baking with my kids. They frazzle my nerves if I’m wanting to make sure things turn out “pretty”. But cake balls have a couple steps that are just right for the littles to help with – for instance, after you bake the cake and it cools a little, let them be the ones who crumble it up with their hands in a big bowl. Then they can stir the frosting around in the bowl until the cake is a stiff play-doh consistency. AND they can even be the ones who roll the cake into balls. (Although I recommend scooping out equal size balls with a cookie scoop for them so they end up the same size).
Now all that’s left is for you to shoo them out of the kitchen for the dipping in chocolate step. That’s literally the ONLY part of this recipe that needs some skill and patience.:) Don’t you feel like this could be a good family baking project after all? I promise it’s pretty darn stress-free!
Okay, here’s how to make pumpkin cake balls!
1) You’ll need a cake mix, a can of frosting and some Almond Bark or Chocolate Chips. If you’re going to make pumpkins, you need some gel food coloring (NOT liquid) or just pick up the colored candy melts at Hobby Lobby and save yourself a step.
2) Bake the cake according to the box directions and let it cool. What flavor cake you use is totally up to you – maybe a pumpkin, spice or carrot cake would be good for Fall. If so – cream cheese icing is the BEST pairing! Here I used devils food cake and chocolate icing to contrast with my white chocolate coating. You can get real ridiculous with combinations – like chocolate covered strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. Or chocolate cake with an orange flavored white chocolate coating. Or German chocolate cake with chocolate coating and coconut sprinkled on top. I mean it guys – combos for DAYS.
3) Using your fingers or a fork, crumble the cake in a large bowl until it’s a bowl of fine crumbs.
My kids love this part.
4) Mix in about 3/4 a can of frosting until you’ve got kind of a stiff play-doh consistency. You DO NOT want to mix too much frosting in because the balls will be so wet and mushy they won’t hold up to the melted chocolate step. They’ll just kind of give up. And settle into a flat blob.
5) Use a cookie scoop to scoop out equal sized balls and roll them between your hands until they make a nice tight little cake ball.
6) Melt white chocolate coating in a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring often. Add coloring gel if you’re making these pumpkins.
7) Coat the balls in melted chocolate – here are the 2 different methods:
Method 1: Pick up each cake ball on a spoon and dip into the bowl of chocolate, spooning chocolate over the ball as well and tapping the spoon gently on the edge of the bowl at the end to remove excess chocolate.
My thoughts: This is a huge pain because I inevitably wind up with a lot of cake crumbs in the melted chocolate. And yes they’re prettier, but after about the 4th ball, you’re getting cake crumbs messing up your pretty coating. AND it uses up more chocolate as well.
Method 2: Decide you’re not perfect. Lay all the balls out on a platter. Spoon melted chocolate over each ball and spread it around in a circular motion, until the top half of the cake ball is pretty well covered. Go back at the end and drip a little extra chocolate over any “bald” spots.
My thoughts: They’re homemade – they don’t have to look smooth and perfect – they just have to look yummy – which they definitely do! Plus – I’m usually putting sprinkles, or nuts, or coconut or crushed pretzels on my cake balls and they look beautiful and gourmet and noone ever sees the messy chocolate coating underneath.
8) Pipe a little bit of green icing onto the cooled chocolate for a stem. Maybe some swirly vines too.
If you need the coating to get hard quickly, pop it in the fridge for about an hour. Otherwise, they’ll set up in a few hours. You’ll end up with the outside being a hard shell and the inside is a cakey-truffle consistency. Enjoy!!