Friday, November 2, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Cake Balls

I've said a few times that I was going to do a post about how to make cake balls because I've had some friends and family members ask me how to do it.  But I've never gotten around to it.  However, today over at Kelly's Korner she's linking up favorite dessert recipes so I thought, what the heck might as well!

Cake balls are my favorite thing to make and take to places.  They are crazy easy, and impress a whole bunch of people.  And since I stink at trying to level a cake, or frosting cupcakes these are a better alternative for me.  I do my cake balls by hand the good ol' Bakerella way.  It takes me about 3 days but that's only because of time limits and kids running around.  Not because I'm slaving over them for 3 days.  Simple sprinkles  for the decorations are easiest but I have done some harder and more creative things.

To make cake balls you'll need:
Box of cake mix and stuff to make the cake with
Coordinating flavor of icing
1 pkg of Almond Bark or 2 bags of Wilton Candy Melts
A little Crisco (optional)
A helper when it's time to decorate

I taught my parents how to make cake balls so I'm using them as my cake ball making models.

Step 1: Bake the Cake per directions on the box.  Any flavor will do.
This is Carrot Cake, my dad's favorite but also a great choice around Easter. We're using Cream Cheese frosting because that's what you'd put on a carrot cake, but white frosting or vanilla frosting would also be good.

Step 2: Let the cake cool completely.  I usually bake the cake before I go to bed and then leave it out to cool over night.  

Step 3: Cut the cake up into chunks and put it into a mixing bowl.  Now it's time to get dirty.  Crumble the cake completely with your hands.  Make sure you break up any large pieces of cake, especially the edges from the pan.
Crumbling the Cake

Step 4: Take the tub of coordinating icing (use what you'd use on the cake) shove your hand about 1/2 way to 3/4 of the way down and scoop it out.  Plop the frosting into the cake and begin mixing and kneading with your hand.
 Scoop about 1/2 to 3/4 of the tub of icing out.
 Plop it into the bowl.
Knead and mix throughly with your hand.

When you are done mixing the frosting in you should have one giant cake ball.  Or one big doughy ball.
 Giant Cake Ball, ready to scoop and roll.

Step 5: Using a cookie scoop, scoop out some of the cake ball mix and form into balls with your hands.
 Filling the scoop to flat and not mounding over will get you about 36-38 cake balls per cake.

Step 6: Cover and place your tray of cake balls in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes or in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  I normally roll the cake balls during nap time and put them in the fridge either to dip after they go to bed, or the next day which ever works better.

Step 7:  Prep the candy coating by following direction on the package and melting according to directions given on package.  Some people use mini crock pots, I don't have one so we chop up the almond bark and melt it in the microwave.
As you melt the almond bark it may be a little thick.  To thin it out and make it more runny so you can get a more even coat melt some Crisco in a separate bowl and mix it in till you get a nice, smooth, runny consistency.  Also, I've learned name brand almond bark is smoother than Kroger brand, and chocolate almond bark is better than white.  If you want colors you have to use candy coating chips (like Wilton) because you CANNOT add food coloring to almond bark.  It will seize up!

Step 8: Time to dip and decorate. This is where having a partner comes in handy if you are using sprinkles because the candy coating sets up quickly.  Taking a few cake balls out of the fridge or freezer drop one cake ball into the candy coating and use a fork to completely cover it in the coating.  Tap excess off the cake ball by gently tapping the fork against your finger or side of the bowl.  You want to get as much excess off as possible to avoid waste, clumpy covering, and a big "foot" that the ball will sit on.
It takes a while to get the hang of it so the first time you make cake balls, they might be a little clumpy and ugly.  That's ok.  They are still yummy and with practice you get better.  This was my dad's first time.
Make sure you laid out some wax paper to set the balls on while they harden.  

If you are decorating with sprinkles as soon as the dipper puts the ball on the wax paper you need to sprinkle your decorations on.  The candy coating sets up very quickly!  Sprinkles are wonderful and cover up flaws in the candy coating if it's not perfectly smooth. 
My first cake balls, see you can't even tell the coating may not be as smooth as it should be.  Sprinkles my friend!  Use them liberally. 

Step 9: If you are piping decorations on, let the cake balls completely harden.  Again, if I have time, I put them back in the fridge and pipe on the finishing touches the next day.  But you don't have to.  By the time your are done dipping all the cake balls, the first ones will probably be ready to pipe on to.
 Mom piping after the candy coating has completely hardened.
Carrots, get it...because it's carrot cake.  =)

And you're done!  Take them to your next party and impress a whole bunch of people!  Like I said, they are easy, just a little time consuming and that might just be because I only work on them while my two little ones are napping.  After you get the hang of it though you can do tons of cute and creative things.  Just check out pinterest or Bakerella for fun ideas.  Generally, like I said, sprinkles are my go to decorating tool but here are some others that I made that I'm really proud of:
 Use Wilton Candies to dip them one color and then a fork to drizzle another color over them.  This was my dessert plate for a 4th of July party.  The cake balls were red velvet.  Yum!
Footballs, make them just like regular cake balls but form them with pointy ends instead of being completely round.  Pipe on laces and stripes.  Put in bon bon cups after everything is completely dry.
 Mr. Potato Head Cake Pops for a nephew's birthday party.
 Andes Mint hat, Jumbo Confetti Sprinkle ears, Food Coloring pen eyebrows, Eye Candy eyes, Butterscotch Morsel nose, Licorice end mustache, Jimmie Sprinkle mouth, Lollypop Stick arms, Peanut M&M shoes.
Blue birds on a Haystack Candy nest for SIL's party.
Fondant wings, candy corn nose, food coloring pen eyes, and then make the nests following your standard haystack candy recipe.

Happy Baking and let me know if you have any other good ideas for decorating cake balls or pops.  =)


  1. These look so good! I am hosting Christmas this year, and these are now bookmarked for me to try! Thank you!

    1. So glad I could help! I tried to reply to your email but I didn't see it on your blogger profile. I was just going to suggest if you are doing a large gathering go ahead and make a double batch or 2 cakes of the same flavor. Then just crumble both cakes into one big bowl and dump the whole tub of frosting in. It works out perfectly and you're not stuck with half a tub of frosting in your fridge. =) Plus I found these go very quickly at gatherings.

  2. These are amazing! My kids would love the mr potato head ones!!


  3. Now, I'm tempted to make a batch just bc. They look so yummy but I dont have any cool shindigs to go to. Adding a tub of frosting to my grocery list.....

  4. I ws reading over your blog and we have similar stories. I gave birth to my oldest in the parking lot of my birthcenter, standing up and by myself when the head came out! My secondlittle one had and has severe GERD and she was as high maintenance as you get the first year, ok and her second year. She too wakes up from her nap in a rage for about 20 min.

    Love the cake balls!

  5. You make this look so easy I'm almost tempted to make some myself!
    No, never mind. I'll just call you like I usually do!

  6. I love it!!! Thanks for linking up today. I totally want to go make some cake balls right now!

  7. Very cute!! Thanks for sharing, found you on Kelly's Korner :)