Olive Oil Chocolate Cake (Dairy-Free)

I’ve never been one to use the word “unfussy” to talk about food. And yet, here we are: let’s talk about this unfussy cake. It’s rich and delicious, but also really simple. It’s great on its own–but also easy to dress up with mix-ins, toppings or ice cream.

img_1925

I also love that this recipe is dairy-free, because I have several friends who avoid dairy. Olive oil gives the cake a great texture, and also brings out richness from the cocoa. The cake is light, airy and the perfect ending to a dinner with friends.

I opted to use regular flour in this, but the original recipe gives you substitutions if you want to make it gluten-free.

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake (Dairy-Free)

Original recipe: Nigella Lawson. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: One 9-inch cake

Suggested equipment: Mixer; food processor if you need to grind sugar

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup olive oil, plus more to grease the pan
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (You can find this at some stores, usually called superfine sugar, baker’s sugar or caster sugar. Alternatively, you can just use your food processor to grind up standard granulated sugar. I followed The Kitchn’s advice, and ground up 1 cup plus 2 tsp of sugar in the food processor for roughly 30 seconds.) 
  • 3 large eggs
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F
  2. Sift your cocoa into a bowl
  3. Whisk in your boiling water until it’s a smooth paste. It will still look a little runny
  4. Whisk in your vanilla, then let the mixture cool for a bit
  5. In a separate bowl, mix your flour, baking soda and salt
  6. Use your mixer to beat the sugar, olive oil and eggs. You should beat them for about 3 minutes until it’s a thickened, yellow-ish cream
  7. Turn the speed down on your mixer, and add in your cocoa with the mixer still running. Stop to scrape as needed
  8. Use a spatula to mix in the flour. When you’re ready to bake, your mix should look dark and liquidy
  9. Grease a 9 inch cake pan (or springform if you have it!) with oil and line it with parchment
  10. Bake 40-45 minutes, until the sides are set but the top still looks a little damp. Use a toothpick to check for doneness–it should be mostly clean with just a few crumbs
  11. Let the cake cool in its tin for 10 minutes
  12. Remove the cake from its pan
  13. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving

 

 

Advertisements

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

I’ve been waxing poetic about the merits of gooey butter cake for years. It’s not something you see on many menus or at many bakeries…and I can’t understand why. I started experimenting with gooey butter cake recipes back in 2010, and I’ve tried many different takes over the years. Earlier this year I made this Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake, declaring it my favorite version yet.

IMG_5984But now…there’s a new contender for that title. This Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is truly something else. The top is similar to pumpkin pie: soft, perfectly spiced, comforting. The bottom is cakey, with a slight layer of goo between the cake and pumpkin layers. It all adds up to an awesome flavor combo, and textural mix.

This recipe was inspired by a couple of recipes I kept seeing in my Pinterest feed. I loved the idea of pumpkin gooey butter cake—but didn’t want to follow those actual recipes. They used cake mix for the bottom layer, and I prefer to make my own cake instead.

So: I combined bits and pieces from a couple recipes. The bottom layer comes from the same Butter Baking recipe I used for my Biscoff-flavored version, and the top pumpkin layer came from Averie Cooks. If you want to use a cake mix on the bottom, just follow Averie’s original recipe and use spiced cake mix. If you want to make your own plain cake layer—keep reading below!

Note that the bottom layer bakes faster than the top pumpkin layer, so make sure to keep an eye on your oven. And allow time to let this chill for a few hours before you cut in.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Source: Bottom layer came from Butter Baking, and the top layer came from Averie Cooks. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: 36 bars

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 1.5 hours, but I recommend tacking a few more hours on to let the bars cool completely before you cut them.

Cook Time: ~45 minutes

Ingredients

Cake layer 

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pumpkin layer 

  • 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 15 oz of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used this recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Make your cake layer 

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F
  2. Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
  3. Add your egg, butter, milk and vanilla, then stir until it’s just combined
  4. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a little extra hanging on the sides so it’s easy to pull out your cake later
  5. Pour your cake layer into the prepared pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed

Make your pumpkin layer 

  1. Use your mixer to beat your cream cheese and pumpkin until it’s smooth. This can get pretty messy, so I suggest using your mixer cover if you have one!
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla and butter, then beat until it’s all smooth again
  3. Add your powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Beat until ingredients are totally incorporated. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl a few times to get there
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of your cake layer
  5. Bake for 43-48 minutes (mine took 45). When it’s done, the edges will be set—but your center will look a bit jiggly. Resist the urge to bake longer, because you’ll start to burn your cake! Rest assured that the cake will set up more as it cools
  6. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for a bit. Then cover it, and move it into the fridge to cool completely. It’ll be much easier to cut chilled
  7. After a few hours, cut your cake into bars

These bars kept nicely in a covered container for a few days. You could also store them in a fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Strawberry Saffron Chocolate Chip Cake

IMG_3752

You know when you get your heart set on making a certain recipe? And even though there are other options that are totally easier for one reason or another…it doesn’t matter?

Ladies and gentleman: Welcome to my brain when I made this cake.

The recipe itself is super simple. But it turned out that getting my hands on the right ingredients wasn’t so easy. This post may say “strawberry cake,” but the original recipe called for figs. And in a silly, produce-naive move, I was trying to make this cake before fig season kicked into full force. (Ahem: I made this cake in April…so now you know I’m not always the most punctual with my posts 🙂 )

I had already bought the other ingredients when I realized my faux pas. I tried four grocery stores, but there were no figs to be found. Still: I really wanted to make this cake. I’d been eyeing this cake for months, and was so curious about what a saffron-tinged cake would taste like. Plus, I’d already bought the yogurt and saffron. Time for Plan B!

Lucky for me, the recipe’s author helped me out. I commented on Alejandra’s blog asking if she thought dried figs would work ok. And she gave me so much advice! She suggested other recipes on her site that were fig-less, but similar. She suggested a way to rehydrate dried figs. And she also suggested swapping in berries instead.

IMG_3690

Ta-dah! We had a new plan. Since I stubbornly wanted to use the saffron and greek yogurt, swapping in another fruit was my best option. I got some strawberries to replace the figs, and finally this cake and I got to have our moment in the sun.

I brought the finished beauty to my cake party and it was a total hit. Friends kept commenting on how different it was from other desserts they’d tried before. They couldn’t put their finger on the saffron, but they loved how it tasted!

The cake is super moist, thanks to the olive oil and greek yogurt in the batter. Saffron and almond extract combine for a really unique flavor that’s a little earthy, but balanced. The strawberries add a bit of juiciness and a sweet topping before you bite into the cake itself. Alejandra mentions you can omit the saffron if you want to…but I don’t think you should.

In the end, it all worked out. Thank to Alejandra for all her help! I’m definitely going to try this again now that figs are actually in season!

Strawberry Saffron Chocolate Chip Cake

Original recipe: Always Order Dessert. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: One 9-inch cake

Suggested equipment: It’s best to use a springform pan, if you have one!

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain, whole Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Whisk together your yogurt, eggs, olive oil, vanilla, almond extract and sugar until the mixture is smooth
  3. Combine your heavy cream and saffron in a small bowl. Microwave the bowl until the cream is hot—should take about 20 seconds
  4. Whisk the cream, and let it sit for 2 minutes. That gives the saffron time to steep into the cream
  5. Pour the cream into your bowl of batter, and mix it together
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk your flour, baking powder and salt
  7. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until it’s just combined
  8. Grease a 9 inch springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper
  9. Pour your batter into the prepared cake pan
  10. Arrange strawberry slices and chocolate chips all over the top of your cake
  11. Bake the cake 40-45 minutes, until it’s golden on top and on the sides. A tester in the middle should come out clean and free of liquidy batter!
  12. Let the pan cool for fifteen minutes. Then, remove the sides of the springform and transfer the cake to a wire rack so it can cool completely

Note: I actually thought this cake tasted even better the day after I made it, so feel free to prep ahead!

 

Lemon Cucumber Cake with Lemon Frosting

A couple of years ago, I saved a recipe for a kale and apple cake. I mean…kale in a cake!? I figured I had to try it.

…I’ve still never tried it. But turns out that kale cake was a gateway to an awesome baking blog. Veggie Desserts is full of creative recipes, from parsnip cakes to cauliflower popsicles. I got hooked on the blog, and dreamt of the day I’d surprise my friends with vegetables in a cake.

IMG_3753And finally, that day arrived! I made four types of cake for my birthday this year, and simply had to include a veggie cake in the mix. As I pored over all the recipes I’d saved from Veggie Desserts, this Lemon Cucumber Cake caught my eye. It sounded intriguing, refreshing and delicious. It also sounded like it’d go well with cocktails—an important consideration when you’re hosting your birthday at a bar.

Making this cake was so much fun. I couldn’t predict quite what it’d taste like, but figured cucumbers are somewhat sweet, and would complement lemon. The cake turned out great, with a really nice texture and a sunny, tangy flavor. There’s a little bite from the lemon, complemented by cucumber puree.

IMG_3648

Cucumber puree

My friends really loved this cake! No one could quite place the flavor, but lots of people said the cake reminded them of a summery cocktail. I also learned that people were very open to the idea of a cucumber cake. That’s not always with the case with my more experimental recipes…and sometimes I just don’t tell people what’s in something before they take a bite 🙂

I only made one layer cake, then got some cupcakes out of the extra batter. The original recipes calls for gin in the frosting, but I omitted it and still thought the lemon frosting came out great.

Lemon Cucumber Cake with Lemon Frosting

Original recipe: Veggie Desserts. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: One 9-inch cake, two 7-inch cakes or three 6-inch cakes

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: 75 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the cake

  • Half a cucumber, keep the peel on (about 200g)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened (150g if you can weigh it)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the frosting

Note that this recipe assumes you’re making a “naked cake” with just the tops frosted. If you want to frost the sides, double the frosting. 

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened (75g or about 6 tbsp butter)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice OR gin

Directions

Make your cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F
  2. Wash your cucumber, then cut it in half lengthways. Scrape out the seeds inside the cucumber. Then cut the cucumber into chunks, and puree until smooth
  3. Stir your lemon juice into the cucumber puree, and set that bowl aside
  4. Use your mixer to cream the butter, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy
  5. Add your eggs one at a time, beating in between
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together
  7. Stir 1/3 of your flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then, add in 1/3 of the cucumber puree. Repeat this process until all of your ingredients are combined (puree, wet ingredients, dry ingredients)
  8. Pour your batter into a lightly greased cake tin
  9. Bake 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your cake tin. Mine took 28 minutes for a 9-inch tin.
  10. Let the cake cool completely before frosting
Make your frosting
  1. Beat the butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice/gin together until it’s smooth and fluffy
  2. Frost away! Store any extra icing in the fridge until you’re ready to use it

 

Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: gooey butter cake is one of America’s most underrated desserts. Its name actually makes total sense: the bottom layer is cakey, and the top layer is gooey. That texture combo makes every bite interesting… and the ingredient list makes every bite yummy, too. Gooey Butter Cake definitely lives up to its name, and you just have to try it to understand.

file_0032And then once you try it… what’s next? Experimenting with flavors and mix-ins, obviously. I found this Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake recipe by a stroke of luck. I was planning to bake for a birthday and someone suggested I use cookie butter. I do that pretty often and didn’t want to make a repeat, so I turned to Pinterest for some new ideas. Up popped this recipe that marries my love of cookie butter with my love of gooey butter cake.

There are a few types of Gooey Butter Cake recipes out there. This one uses a pretty standard cake base, and I liked it more than some yeasted versions I’ve tried in the past. You mix cookie butter straight into the “gooey” layer, giving it that signature almost-caramelized, sort-of-gingery taste. Every bite rewards you with a decadent gooey start and a soft, cakey finish.

Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake

Original recipe: Butter Baking. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~30 bars

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~1 hour

Cook Time: 35-40 min

Ingredients

Cake layer:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Gooey layer:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (beat them before you even use them!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread, or other brand of cookie butter (ex. Trader Joe’s sells one)
  • 16 oz powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F
  2. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper
  3. Start with your cake layer: mix your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
  4. Add your egg, butter, milk and vanilla, then stir until it’s just combined
  5. Pour your cake layer into the prepared pan, and smooth it out so it’s nice and even
  6. Then comes the gooey layer. Start by beating your cream cheese until it’s smooth
  7. Add eggs, Biscoff and vanilla, then beat it again until it is completely smooth and looks creamy
  8. Add your powdered sugar in small batches, a bit at a time. Beat each batch at a low speed until it’s combined
  9. Pour your gooey layer over the cake layer, and spread out evenly
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes (mine took the full 40 minutes). Your edges will look golden. The center may look a bit underdone, but it will set as the pan cools. The top should look a bit shiny–mine ended up flaking quite a bit, but it didn’t affect taste at all!
  11. Once the pan is cool, cut it up into bars

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

My other blog turned 5 last week, and I decided to bake some cake to celebrate. Sure, I’ll take any excuse to make a cake – but I truly did feel like a celebration was in order. I started the other blog as a place to pen critical commentary and personal musings. It’s been such a gift over the years, and I love writing for it. If you’ve never checked it out, please do! But first: make these strawberry cupcakes.

File_005I’d originally planned to make a snickerdoodle cake and headed out to buy some missing ingredients. But when I saw strawberries were on a buy one, get one free offer, I just couldn’t resist. Between Pinterest and a very organized Google doc, I keep a long list of recipes to try. As soon as I saw the strawberry promo, I remembered a strawberry cupcake recipe I’d saved last year. Clearly the sale was a sign that it was finally time to make this recipe!

These cupcakes were so fluffy, so moist, so delicious. There is strawberry puree in the actual cake batter, adding a subtle fruitiness. The cake texture is really light, thanks to cake flour and extra egg whites. Next time, I’d add more chopped strawberries to the batter, and use the flour trick to coat my berries so they don’t sink to the bottom of each cupcake.

The original recipe included frosting made with freeze-dried strawberries. I decided to swap in a different frosting using fresh strawberries instead so I could use more of my newly-obtained berries. I really loved the frosting I used and suggest using it for your cupcakes, too.

I highly recommend reading through this whole thing before you start baking. Which, technically, I always recommend doing with recipes – but it’s really important this time, since there are a number of elements you prep and set aside, use later, etc.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Original recipes:  Cake was from Sally’s Baking Addiction, frosting was from The Baker UpstairsI’ve added some modifications and rewritten the recipes with commentary. 

Yield: 24 cupcakes (original recipe claimed it made ~17 but I got 24!) 

Suggested equipment: Mixer, either stand or hand-held

Total Time: ~2 hours

Cook Time: ~25 minutes 

Ingredients

Cake

  • 15 strawberries (Berry size varies so much it’s hard to use as a descriptor, but you’ll want enough berries for the puree + berry pieces to fold into the batter. You can adjust berry quantity when you get to the final fold-in step) 
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, separated into the whites and the yolk
  • 2 additional egg whites, room temperature and separated out from the yolks (you won’t use the 2 yolks from these eggs) 
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (I highly recommend buying cake flour vs. using regular flour)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temp

Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons strawberry puree

Step by Step Directions

Make your cupcakes 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Slice 8 strawberries and place them in a food processor or blender. Pulse until strawberries are a chunky puree, and then set it aside for now. Chop up the rest of your strawberries into small pieces
  3. Beat your egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form – it will take about 2-3 minutes but you need to keep a close eye on it. You’ll want to use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for this step. This handy tutorial shows what your egg whites should look like when you’re done. Set the whites aside
  4. Sift your cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set this bowl aside, too!
  5. Then, using your mixer, beat the butter on high until smooth and creamy
  6. Add sugar to the mixer bowl, and cream the ingredients on high speed for 3-4 minutes until they’re very well creamed
  7. Add your egg yolk and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined
  8. Switch your mixer to low speed. Start adding the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the whole milk. You should start and end this cycle with the dry ingredients. Between each addition, mix the batter until it is just incorporated. Don’t overmix!
  9. Decide how many strawberries you want to add into the batter, and chop up as many berries as you need to get there
  10. Measure out 1/3 cup of your strawberry puree. Refrigerate the rest for now – you’ll want it for the frosting
  11. Fold in the egg whites, strawberry puree and strawberry pieces. This is the time to adjust your berry ratio if you want fewer/more berry pieces!
  12. Once your batter is properly incorporated, pour batter into cupcake liners. I filled mine 2/3 of the way, even though the original recipe suggested to fill halfway
  13. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Mine baked for 21 minutes but you should always start checking at the minimum time to see how your treats are faring
  14. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then move them to a rack to cool completely. Make sure the cakes are fully cooled before you start to frost them!

Make your frosting and assemble 

  1. Beat your butter until it’s light and fluffy
  2. Add the salt, powdered sugar and vanilla, then mix to combine so it’s nice and smooth
  3. Add in your puree and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Make sure the puree is well integrated before you stop beating the frosting – some bits of puree may be hiding on the bottom!
  4. Frost your cupcakes, and enjoy

A note on storage: These keep well in storage containers for a couple days. I actually froze a few, too, and they defrosted beautifully. Lots of bakers hesitate to freeze frosting but I sometimes do it out of necessity – in this case, because I wanted to save a couple cupcakes for friends. The cupcakes defrosted nicely and tasted great!

Funfetti Cake Balls

In the world of baking blogs, cake balls are not news. They were hot off the baking presses back in 2008, when Bakerella started wow-ing the world with her creative cake pop creations. I don’t think Bakerella invented the idea of cake balls, but she sure made them famous. She has since created an impressive assortment of creative, beautiful cake pops, both on her blog and in cookbooks.

I’m not here today to show you a stunningly creative cake pop – that’s far beyond my personal artistic scope. Instead: I’m going to teach you to make the cake balls themselves.

DSC07925I first made cake balls in 2010 for a friend’s birthday. It was like paying the cake forward, because a good friend had recently made them for MY birthday. They were a hit, and I thought about them a lot… but never made them again. I even bought ingredients for them a couple years ago – and then failed to ever make the cake balls happen. When you have a recipe list that’s nearing 400 recipes, sometimes things just don’t happen, no matter how much you scheme. For my birthday this year, I decided to finally revisit these delicious bites.

These Funfetti Cake Balls aren’t fancy – but they’re easy to make, easy to serve, and a true crowd favorite. I use Funfetti because it is just so, well, fun, but you could swap in any other flavor of cake and frosting. This is the perfect time to use mixes and canned frostings, by the way. You could definitely make your own if you wanted to, but the pre-made stuff is a nice shortcut for a recipe like this. Especially since you’re going to smash your cake into smithereens* to make the balls. This recipe is super easy, but do make sure to set aside time since there are a few different phases: make the cake, make the balls, chill the balls, dip the balls.

*Fun fact: Wikipedia’s description of cake balls is “reconstituted cake crumbs.” Technically correct, but what a funny way to describe it!

Funfetti Cake Balls

Original recipe: Bakerella (a.k.a. the Queen of Cake Balls and Pops). I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: 48 cake balls 

Suggested equipment: I used a mixer for my cake but you definitely don’t need to 

Total Time: 3 hours, including all the steps/wait times 

Cook Time: Depends on your base cake; my mix baked for 40 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix (I like using Pilsbury’s Funfetti since it has sprinkles mixed into the batter). You’ll also need to gather whatever your cake mix requires to bake the cake. For mine, that meant water, oil and eggs.
  • 1 container ready-made frosting (I used Funfetti frosting, and love that it comes with sprinkles for decoration, though it wasn’t enough for all of my balls)
  • 48 oz chocolate candy coating (I used Candiquik)
  • Sprinkles to decorate the balls

Step by Step Directions

Bake your cake 

Obviously this step varies depending on which cake mix you buy! I like using a 9×13 pan since it’s the easiest to deal with, and you’re just going to crumble the cake, anyway. Make sure your cake is done by testing the center with a toothpick – it should come out batter-free. Once the cake is done, let it cool completely before proceeding. I actually baked my cake on a Saturday and finished up the balls on Sunday since it fit better into my schedule.

Make your cake balls 

  1. Crumble the cooled cake into a large bowl. Your pieces should be pretty small – check out the picture below to get a better sense of size
  2. Add frosting to the bowl until the crumbs are moist, but not totally wet. The wetter the cake crumbles, the harder it is to make the balls (I know, sort of counterintuitive). I used about 2/3 of the frosting can. You can throw the remaining frosting in the fridge after that because you won’t need it again
  3. Use a spoon to combine the frosting and cake crumbs together. I used a wooden spoon; the original recipe suggests using the back of a large metal spoon. You’ll want to mix until the frosting and cake bits are totally combined
  4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper before you start making the balls
  5. Roll your cake mixture into cake balls about 1.5 inches big. They should be as round and smooth as you can make them – the prettier now, the prettier your final balls will be. I didn’t worry about making mine perfect since I knew the chocolate coating would hide some of the imperfections, but if you’re more aesthetically inclined, you should definitely invest time at this step
  6. Place your cake balls on the cookie sheets and let them sit for about 20 minutes.
  7. Then, cover the sheets with plastic wrap, and throw them into the fridge or freezer. If you choose fridge, they should chill for several hours. If you choose freezer, they should chill for about 15 minutes
  8. Once the balls are firm, you’re ready to dip! Be careful not to let the balls freeze entirely

Dip and decorate 

  1. Put your candy coating in a microwave safe bowl. Technically you can melt most coatings in the tray they come in – but it’s a lot easier to dip the balls if you put the coating in a bowl first since you have more depth to roll
  2. Take out a few balls at a time to dip, and leave the rest in the fridge so they stay firm
  3. Dip each ball in the chocolate, one by one. You can sort of just twist the ball around in the chocolate to get it covered. You’ll start to get the hang of the coating after a few tries. You should find the coating simple to use, so if you’re fighting the coating to stay put or it’s getting lumpy, use a bit of vegetable oil to thin it out. Mine started to clump up once I got through half my balls, so it did need thinning
  4. If you’re going to add sprinkles, do it immediately after dipping each individual ball. The coating dries super fast, so you’ll miss the opportunity to decorate if you wait to dip all the balls first before adding sprinkles, etc.

These went fast at my birthday, but there were a couple left the next day. They tasted just as good on Day 2 – just make sure to keep them in an airtight container. And remember, this is just the tip of the cake ball iceberg. For lots of fun decorative ideas, check out Bakerella’s slew of tutorials