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
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.