There are some really wonderful speciality retail stores here in Austin. One of my favorites and can’t-live-without supply store is the All in One Bakeshop. I pick up all my speciality cake supplies there – they always have everything I need. Recently, I’ve been turned on to the fact that they offer classes. It’s been a while since I took a cake decorating class, I usually try to screw it up on my own at home! But some of the classes they offer are too good to pass up. Jennifer, who owns the shop, is such a wonderful teacher. Always very enthusiastic and helpful. So when I saw cakeballs on the class schedule, I had to sign up. I had to wait FOUR months before I finally got to take the class, but ahh, it was so worth it!
In case you have been living under a rock for the past three years, as many of my co-workers have been judging by the comments I got when I brought in the delicious results of class, cakeballs are a combination of cake and icing rolled together in a ball and dipped in chocolate.
In the class I took, we got to try out four flavors of cakeballs: Pina colada topped with pineapple, mint chocolate topped with Andes candies, banana carmel topped with fleur de sel and orange creamsicle with jimmies. The wonderful thing about taking a cooking class is that they do all the dirty work for you – in this case, they prepped the cake and chocolate as well as all the toppings AND did the dishes. A few good tips I picked up about prep:
- Let the cake dry out for a bit – either overnight or for a day. A too moist cake makes for gooey cake balls
- Add icing sparingly to the crumbled cake. About 1/3 Cup is all you need for an entire 10″ round crumbled cake. Too much icing leads to gooey cake balls and messy hands
- Let the cake/icing combination chill in the fridge for at least two hours before making the cakeballs – this makes them much easier to roll
- Use a silicon backed tablespoon measure like this one to portion out the cakeballs. Jennifer found hers at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The silicon backing makes it easy to pop out the ball you’ve just measured.
We got to try out several dipping techniques in the class – there is no right or wrong, just what works for you. We tried the cake pop or cakeball on a stick method:
I like this one because this is the option for making cake pops, but you really need to be careful to not dunk the cakeball around too much or it will fall off…..we had about 25% of our cakeballs take a swim and get retrieved. After dipping patiently wait for the excess to fall off and the chocolate to set a bit before dunking and sitting in jimmies for a few seconds and then transferring to a prepared board.
Next up was the fork method. Pick up the cakeball with the fork and dip in the chocolate. Lift out the cakeball and tap the fork on the side of the chocolate bowl to remote excess. Flip on to the cooling board and use the fork to smooth out any rough spots. I really liked this technique, it’s quick takes off excess chocolate and easy. Plus if you lose your cakeball, it’s really easy to fish out with a fork! I used this method for the pina colada cakeballs.
The third method we tried was the toothpick method. In this technique, you stuck the cakeball with a toothpick, dipped it in the chocolate and then set it on the board. Use the tooth pick to smooth out the top and cover the toothpick insertion point.
I thought this method left too much chocolate on the cakeball – you can’t let the excess fall off as the cakeball will drop off your toothpick. So on to the final method where you cover your hand in chocolate and simply roll the cakeball until its covered.
This is the fastest method for making a lot of cakeballs, but they will come out looking more “rustic” plus you have chocolate all over your hands, which is not a plus for me since I’m allergic! We used this method on the mint chocolate cakeballs.
So to the results of all our efforts:
Pina Colada Cakeballs
Orange Creamsicle Cakeballs with Jimmies
Mint Chocolate Cakeballs with Andes Candies
Banana Carmel Cakeballs with Fleur de Sel
Of course, the best part was taking them home after class and enjoying them!
More cakeballs to come!