Baked or Formed Cake Balls For A Party?
So I would like to make cake balls and ship them as a gift as a dessert for about 25 person party.
I have made cake balls before with a from scratch cake and store bought frosting. And even though the balls formed well, I thought the flavor was disgusting mainly because I didn't like that damp texture created by mixing frosting into crumbled cake. The frosting seemed to overwhelm the cake. But that's just me. So in trying again I want to make two types: A butter cake with caramel icing (something that hardens so it will travel well) and a Creamsicle cake ball.
My questions are: 1.) Which type of cake ball will taste better? Should I re-try the bake,crush, & mix kind or buy a ball pan and make the baked kind?
2.) If I try the baked kind, how can I make them moist?
3.) How can I make a thinned caramel icing that hardens? Maybe meringue powder or coconut oil?
1. One vote for the baked kind. Nordicware sells a cake pop set that works pretty well.
2. I think if you use a batter with enough fat, they'll be moist. You could also put a layer of ganache or jam between the two baked halves and that will add some moistness. If it's an all adults event, some liqueur would do it.
3. Candy melts, like those made by Wilton, are designed for dipping and creating a hardened coating. I'd use those and just add a natural caramel extract to get that hardened caramel coating.
You know, somehow I missed this whole cake ball phenomenon. This is what comes of not knowing any little kids and not going to Starbucks. I didn't realize what a craze they were until I looked them up after reading your post.
It seems like they're almost always made with mashed up cake, just like you said. In fact, that seems to be what people love about them, so maybe that's the best thing to do. It will certainly be easier than baking a lot of little half-rounds of cake and sticking them together.
Most recipes seem to call for a boxed cake mix though, and I can see why. The actual cake seems to get lost in all the frosting, so it might be a waste to go to all the trouble of making it from-scratch.
If you're set on baking from scratch, I'd look for a recipe with extra oil rather than extra butter, and maybe some sour cream. Wilton has this recipe on their site, and it seems like they solve the moisture problem by just adding a package of instant pudding to a vanilla cake mix: http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Creamsic...
Another thought I had was that maybe you could cut some of the sweetness by mixing a little cream cheese in with the frosting, but I don't know how that would hold up with shipping...
Anyway, it's very nice of you to go to all this trouble, and I hope the recipients enjoy and appreciate their cakeballs (and you).
Since you don't like the moistness of cake balls and these will be shipped, what about doing cookie truffles instead? You can make your own cookies, crispy ones or just use oreos. There are quite a few variations. They are crunchier than cake ball. I think they'd ship better and hold up to a couple of days travel.
If you are making your own caramel, you could cook it past soft ball stage so it cools harder. Or you could just dip them in Heath bar toffee bits.
I'm generally not big on frosting so having tried both, I far and away prefer the baked kind. I make them for all kinds of parties and holiday treats that I mail out. They are a hit and survive shipping beautifully. I have this thing (though of course there are pans etc you can use but I also use this machine to make lots of other things bite sized): http://www.amazon.com/BabyCakes-Flip-...
There's recipes you can google specifically for the machine. In general recipes with yogurt in them stay moist. You can also cheat with cake make + a box of pudding mix. I don't know about icing. I coat mine in couverture chocolate and decorate with those colorful chocolate wafers. If you go this route, thin the couverture and do two thin layers rather than one thick one. This will create a nice shell that will definitely survive shipping so long as they aren't crushed. I pack mine in shredded magazines :)