A few weeks ago there was wedding cake in my kitchen. Three tiered, strawberry wedding cake filled and decorated with buckets of cream cheese frosting.
And the next day, there was still. more. cake. A great big bowl of scraps and crumbs, all the pink nibblings that had been shaved and whittled away to make those (almost) perfectly level cakes.
And there was frosting. Frosting left in piping bags, frosting left in the mixing bowl. Frosting all over my apron and jeans and hair.
Yes, even my hair.
Here’s the truth. I wanted to toss that bowl of cake scraps straight into the trash and scrape the frosting right on top of it. I would have been happy to never see pink cake again.
But then every word my mother ever spoke to me about not wasting, every instinct I had to preserve and recycle and appreciate food kicked in and I knew what I had to do.
Make cake balls.
There were other options…
A. Give the cake scraps to the dog and destroy his intestines for the next week.
B. Die the cream cheese frosting and use it as finger paint to create a masterful work of abstract art.
C. See if cream cheese frosting makes for a good face and/or hair mask.
D. Make cake balls.
I know, I know, option B seems plausible based on my extensive artistic talent, but I just don’t have time for the finer things these days.
So cake balls it was.
Guys, I have to be honest. Cake pops are totally not me.
I know, I know. They’re soooo cute and adorable!
But they’re also fussy. And time consuming. And frankly, I suck at making them.
Mine always fall off the stick. Or break into pieces in the dipping process. Or the chocolate ends up all gritty and crumby and the final product looks more like cake surgery gone bad than cake pops.
Due to wedding cake hangover and my general ineptitude at making cake pops, I decided to go real simple with these. I used the leftover frosting and cake crumbs to roll these into balls, then just spooned chocolate over the top.
I actually really love the results. The pairing of strawberry cake and cream cheese frosting is heavenly and keeps these from being overly sweet. Plus, spooning the chocolate over the top creates these cute little caps. They look like they have adorable toupes, right?
Since I used leftovers, this recipe is an educated guesstimate of what you’ll need. Cake balls are more of a texture thing than an exact science. You’ll want to use just enough frosting to get everything to stick together without making the balls too wet.
These bright pink beauties with their chocolate toupes would be a lovely addition to your Easter table, or just a great way to make use of whatever cake scraps you might have lying around.
For the cake
- 1 box white cake mix (no pudding added)
- 1 3 oz. package strawberry jello
- 1 scant Tablespoon flour
- Pinch baking powder
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3-1/2 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced
For the frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese (no need to soften)
- 5 Tablespoons softened butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2-4 cups powdered sugar
For the chocolate:
- 12 oz chocolate candy coating (use one that is real chocolate not the fake stuff)
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 in cake pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together cake mix, jello, flour, baking powder, and sugar. Add oil and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in water and fresh strawberries and beat until smooth. Pour into baking pan and bake according to cake mix package directions.
- Let the cake cool completely, then remove it from the pan into a large bowl. Don't worry about it breaking or crumbling--you're about to do that anyway! Use your fingers to crumble the cake into fine crumbs. Set aside.
For the frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the two cups of powdered sugar and stir on low speed until it begins to incorporate. Once it does, turn the speed up to high and beat until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until desired taste and texture has been reached. Since you won't be piping this you don't really have to worry about the thickness too much. I like my frosting less sweet so I usually don't add a lot of additional powdered sugar, but it's more personal preference on this one.
For the chocolate:
- Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate coating. Set aside.
- Place about a cup and a half of the frosting in the bowl with the cake crumbs. Take off any rings you have, then use your hands to blend the frosting and crumbs together. Once the mixture starts to clump together, try rolling it into a ball. If it sticks, you're good. If it falls apart, add a little more frosting until the mixture stays together.
- Roll the crumb mixture into 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet. Use a spoon to place dollops of the melted chocolate on top of the balls. No need to be perfect here, just get a nice spoonful of chocolate on each one. Place in the fridge and allow to set up before serving.
Cake recipe adapted from Joy the Baker; Frosting recipe adapted from SlashFood