Cake Balls the New Candy Truffle

Cake Balls are the New Candy Truffle.  They are a rich treat that should be served at all baby showers, wedding parties, and of course, the holiday parties ahead of us.  They are made by combining crumbled baked cake with frosting, scooping the mixture into balls, and dipping them in melted almond bark.

Variety is as large as your imagination, almost any cake and frosting will work.  The real thrill is in combining flavors and colors for distinctive results.

Check out this homemaker's story with cake balls from the Dallas Morning News, Taste Section, September 10, 2008.

"The cake balls that Dallas home maker Robin Ankeny made drew such raves when she began making them 18 months ago that she decided to turn pro.  Starting with recipes she got from her mother in South Texas, Ms. Ankeny developed a line of confections, acquired licensing and opened THE CAKE BALL COMPANY, a custom baking and mail-order business.

'We sold them for showers and wedding favors, and as new-baby and get-well gifts,' Ms. Ankeny says.

One of her customers shared a sample with staff at Neiman Marcus' gourmet food department, and the company approached her to add the balls to its direct-mail collection.

'Neiman Marcus has become a significant part of our business, especially for the holidays." she says."

Later on in the article it shows what the sweet treats are selling for:

The Cake Ball Company

$13.95 for 6 pieces, $23.95 per dozen

FOR GIFTS:

Neiman Marcus Direct

$75 plus shipping for 18 pieces.

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ARE YOU READY TO MAKE CAKE BALLS?

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) boxed cake mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) can prepared frosting
  • Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating

Prepare and bake the cake mix according to package instructions.  While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl with a electric mixer to a fine texture.  Mix in frosting to make a paste, using a 3/4 to a full can of frosting, according to taste.  Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller, your hands, or a 1 inch scooper, form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Place the balls on wax paper; freeze at least 6 hours.

Working in small batches, remove the balls from the freezer and fip the balls into warm, melted almond bark coating or confectionery wafer coating, using toothpicks or forks or a dipping tool to manipulate the valls.  Remove the balls.  Place balls on wax paper to harden.  Makes about 30 balls.

Almond Bark Coating
In a double boiler, melt one (20 ounce) package vanilla or chocolate flavored almond bark, stirring constantly.  Or, in a tall, narrow container, microwave bark for 1 minute at 70% power.  Continue to heat in 10 second intervals on high, stirring between intervals, until melted; be careful not to scorch.  If there are still small lumps, continue stirring and allow them to melt with the remaining heat in the melted almond bark.

When the almond bark is melted, stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.  If desired, stir in oil based coloring drop by drop until you achieve the desired color.

Now for those of you who love the pictures.
Note: I'm not a fan of can frosting. So, I made cake frosting from scratch and kept on with the steps.

HERE ARE A FEW COMBINATION TO GET YOUR IMAGINATION KICK STARTED

For the kiddos: white Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix, white frosting and rainbow-colored sprinkles.  After mixing the cake and frosting, gently fold in 2 tablespoons rainbow-colored sprinkles.  Immediately after coating the ball, sprinkle more sprinkles on top of the ball before the coating sets.

For Chocoholics: Devil's food cake mixed with cream cheese frosting, coated with teal colored almond bark.

For Girly Girls: Strawberry cake mix and strawberry frosting.  Coat with a mix of half almond bark, half milk chocolate chips melted together.  Save back a little melted white almond bark and color it hot pink or red to drizzled on top.

Fun Fall Color Combination

Devil's food cake with fudge icing and dark chocolate coating.

Yellow Cake with buttercream frosting and orange-colored vanilla coating with green and black accents.

White cake with white frosting mixed with orange and yellow sprinkles and chocolate coating.

German chocolate cake with coconut-pecan icing and milk chocolate or light cocoa flavored coating.

Spice or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and vanilla coating.

Lemon cake with lemon frosting and vanilla frosting.

Chocolate Cake with vanilla frosting and mint-flavored coating with tinted green.

WHEN IT COMES TO COLORING CHOCOLATE, USE AN OIL BASED FOOD COLORING.
That little 4 pack of food coloring you find in the spice section of your grocer is water based and WILL cause chocolate to seize up.  That's not good.

You can easily find oil based food coloring on the baking aisle of major craft stores, online, or specialty food shops.  But don't misunderstand me, it's not a "specialty" item.  Everybody knows the name Wilton for decorative baking tools, Wilton makes oil based food coloring.

ANOTHER TIP from someone who had to learn the hard way.
DO NOT attempt to flavor almond bark with extracts.  Extracts will cause the coating to seize up and become useless.

Just so it's very clear, I did not create this recipe.  I read about it in the local paper, lived through it, photographed it and now, I'm passing it to you.  The suggested list of flavors are from the paper, not me.