Our friend Paul is a great guy. The Hubs doesn’t have a lot of close friends, but Paul has been a constant for over 5 years since they first met. He’s always there for us, even across great distances. He was at our out-of-state wedding without hesitation. When the Hubs was faced with the prospect of losing his job, Paul drove four hours to where we lived at the time just to be with us when we found out. It’s not like it was a fun time for anyone. I was in shock and the Hubs was depressed, and gone a lot of the time in “meetings”. It was probably equal parts excruciatingly boring and uncomfortable for him. Nonetheless, he stayed for a couple days to just be there for us. And then there’s the time he pulled our car out of a ditch after a snafu with AAA, or the time he helped us get rid of a mattress. He’s awesome… even if the Squish has a weird fear of him. Oh, well. It won’t be long before Uncle Paul is his favorite and Mom and Dad are old news.
Needless to say, with him now graduating from the police academy, we wanted to do something special. We saved up and bought him a nice set of handcuffs and a handcuff key both engraved with his last name. I still wanted to do something more, because he’s been such a good friend to us. I’d seen cake balls and cake pops before, but I’ve never made them. Or even eaten them! The prospect sounded great. I thought, cake? Check. Frosting? Check? Chocolate? Check. All of the ingredients sounded good, so why not? What says “we love you” more than chocolate?
I considered making cake pops, but I made balls instead because I wasn’t sure how to package a bunch of cake pops for gifting. If I was having a party or something, I’d definitely do pops because A. they’re more fun, B. built in portion control, and C. the dipping would be easier! As it is, these were perfect for giving to one (fantastic) person.
Ingredients I Used
First, I baked the cake. Normally I add pudding to the mix when I make a cake, but I left that out because I wasn’t sure if that would make the cake balls too moist. Then I destroyed it and mixed in frosting. Side note, I also removed the edges of the cake before destroying it. You might not need to, I was just worried they wouldn’t break apart the same way and would leave lumps in the finished cake balls.
I was going to use the whole container of frosting, but luckily I looked up a recipe that said an entire can would be too much and to only use about half. I can’t remember what recipe I found that said that, but I’m glad I read it. Half the container was perfect.
After combining, the mixture was the consistency of play dough.
I chilled the dough overnight; I’m not sure if it needed that long, but with having a one-year-old, I preferred to split the labor over a couple days.
The next morning, I put the candy melts in a bowl and put that in water in the crockpot.
I turned the crockpot on high and waited… And then got impatient, took the bowl out, popped it in the microwave, and put it back. The crockpot works well for keeping the chocolate melted, but it takes some time to actually melt. The upside is if you don’t have a double boiler it’s an easy substitute you probably have on hand (and if you don’t.. well, you should!) I can’t guarantee it, but I’d guess that if you had a smaller crockpot you could put the chocolates straight in and turn it on low. If you try this, let me know how it goes.
EDIT: According to this link, the double boiler method is NOT recommended for cake balls/pops. So ignore me on this step. There are a lot of other good tips on that link though, I’d definitely check it out if you have a minute.
During the time I waited for the chocolate to melt (before I got impatient) I rolled the dough into balls. A cookie scoop would have made this way easier, but I didn’t have one, so hey. I used parchment paper to line the pan I put the balls on.
Then came the fun part: dipping! At first, I did it by hand, then I thought they looked too messy and did it with a fork instead. Looking back, the ones I did by hand actually turned out the neatest, so I’ll do that in the future. When I had about 12 cake balls left, I ran out of chocolate from the candy melts. I tried to use Hershey kisses (left over from the acorn cookies I made) but that was a flop. Don’t get me wrong, they still tasted good, but the coating left from the Kisses was kind of soft, and combined with the super moist cake ball it was just too much. I much preferred the candy melts because the coating has a “crunch” to it.
There’s a subtle swirl in some of the chocolates and I think it’s from accidentally getting some water in the chocolate coating mixture. So, try not to do that.
Once I was finished dipping all the balls in chocolate, I melted the blue candy melts in a measuring cup and put them in a Ziploc for decorating.
My original intention was to just put one blue line across the middle of each, but I screwed that up almost immediately. I liked the way it looked, so I just went ahead and made lots of blue lines. This had the added benefit of making the imperfections in the chocolate coating less noticeable. Yay!
To package them, I cut the bottom off a small box and wrapped it in foil.
Then I wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap and added a note to the top.
I’m sure there’s a prettier way to wrap them, but in a pinch this totally worked.
Have you ever made cake balls before? How’d they turn out for you?
I’m a twenty-something LEO wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old little boy. I enjoy writing, reading, taking my son for walks and runs in the stroller, and crafting. My goal is for Love and Blues to be a resource for first responders and their families. I write about marriage and family topics, as well as about the quirks that come with being married to a man in law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical services.
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