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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cake Ball Strawberries

Cake Ball Strawberries

I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower for my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.  They are expecting their little girl in September.  Their nursery theme is watermelons and strawberries, so we decorated my mother-in-law's house to match for the shower.  I finally had an excuse to try out this idea that had been rolling around in my head.

  • Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
  • splash of Coffee Mate's Vanilla Caramel coffee creamer
  • white chocolate colored red
  • fondant calyx
The tutorial for making cake balls will have to come another day.  I was slightly pressed for time and couldn't take all the pictures I wanted.  Essentially, I baked up a normal 8" round of red velvet box mix.  After it cooled, chunks of it went inside my itty-bitty food processor (I really need to buy a new one).  It took several passes to grind up the entire cake, but eventually I was left with a bowl of beautiful deep, dark red crumbs.

Typically I mix in some left over icing as a binder, but I forgot to make my icing (for cupcakes) before doing this.  So I tried using coffee creamer (as many have suggested on cakecentral.com).  Not sure where my French Vanilla went, so the only thing I had was Vanilla Caramel.  These are the liquid creamers that you keep refrigerated.   Only about 2-3 oz. of this stuff went in since the cake was already pretty moist.

I shaped clumps of crumbs with my hands until they looked like a strawberry.  Best thing at this point was that strawberries normally don't look perfect anyway.  When all the crumbs were gone, I had a couple trays of cake balls.  A flat toothpick was inserted into each one where the calyx would be.

These were put in the freezer for about an hour.

A while back I bought some red powder food coloring.  After melting several boxes of Baker's white chocolate, I mixed some coloring until I got a deep pink.  Buying Wilton's red candy melts would have been simpler, but I thought this might taste better.



It took a while to get a groove going when dipping these little darlings.  I tried using a fork and a spoon, but the best way I found was:
  • hold cake ball firmly by toothpick
  • insert cake ball into melted chocolate
  • rotate cake ball slightly until the entire thing has been covered by chocolate
  • very slowly extract the cake ball straight up
  • as it is being pulled up, vigorously wiggle or spin the cake ball (the excess chocolate will slide down into the vat easily and evenly)
  • lay on its side gently, holding it in place for a moment while the chocolate smooshes against the surface and thickens

The strawberries were left on the table overnight so they could firm up.  The next morning I topped and packaged them up.

I had a batch of marshmallow fondant (MMF) for covering cookies.  I mixed some of that with an equal part of Satin Ice green fondant so I could get a yummy taste and a light green color.  My Wilton Course 3 Student Kit came with a calyx cutter that was the perfect size.

I heated up the left over pink chocolate.  Carefully (otherwise I'd smear the chocolate), I picked up the cake ball and put it inside a little baking cup.  I slid the toothpick out, which kinda broke off some crumbs.  With a chopstick, I put a dollop of melted chocolate over the hole that the toothpick made and then stuck the calyx on top.

I had so much fun making these.  They made it to the shower intact with only a few problems.  Unfortunately, it's July in Texas.  The temperature changes from going from house to car to house made the chocolate a little funky.  I don't know the term for it, but some areas developed light-colored spots.  The baking cups got a few grease spots. 

When I brought them over, the house was a buzz with setting up for the party.  At some point, my mother-in-law tells me that she brought out a glass serving plate for my strawberries.  I had to say, "Oh, those aren't strawberries ... that's CAKE."

Everyone loved them.  Unfortunately, they were all gone when the party ended ... I had to take home my less popular left-over desserts.

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