Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another Cake Story: Cake Balls, The Happy Ending!


Finally after spending a week in my itty bitty kitchen space I finally finished making the cake balls for a wedding gig I picked up back in April (Congrats to the new happy couple!). To my greatest surprise, these cake balls got a lot more compliments than I had thought they would, apparently better tasting than the samples I made before :). I guess the tweak in the frosting recipe to make them less sweet worked! Anyways after much struggles, here is the completed cake ball favors:
The cake ball recipe I found at Bakerella (blog of the writer of Cake Pops) and the not so sweet cream cheese frosting recipe I derived from a few recipes. I'm nowhere near being a cake ball expert BUT I think I had enough "problems" come up during this whole process that I was able to be one step closer to becoming an expert.


A few words of advice:
  1. Work in a cool environment. Possible issues: candy melts will take longer to cool and harden/set. Cake balls that have been chilled in the freezer or fridge will quickly condense creating water droplets on the cake balls and when mixed with the candy melt will render the candy melts useless (cannot be used for coating). Solution: If and when water droplets appear, used a paper towel to pat dry before dripping into candy melt. Also if you work in a cooler environment (early in the morning/later in the evening for summertime), condensation will happen slower and water droplets will be less likely to form and you can avoid this extra step altogether.
  2. Make sure not to overheat the candy melts. Possible issues: candy melt will become lumpy and very hard to work with. Solution: There are 2 ways to insure the candy melt is at a good consistency. First when heating the candy melt (microwave) heat in 15 sec intervals, usually 30 seconds should do the trick, depending on the medium you put the candy melt in. If the candy melt appears to not be completely melted, keep stirring, usually that will help melt the rest of it. Never microwave until everything is completely melted, then you might run into overheating. Second: if you have already reached an overheated state, add/mix some vegetable oil to the candy melt and stir until its smooth again. You may add oil even if its not overheated just to thin the candy melt out slightly so it becomes easier to dip.
  3. Make sure the chilled cake balls are not too cold. Possible issue: If cake balls are too cold when you dip into the candy melt, later the candy coating might crack. Solution: Let the chilled cake balls sit out at room temperature for about 15 mins before coating them in candy melt. Unfortunately once the coating is cracked, there is no fixing it (at least I have not found a way to).
  4. Coat quickly. Possible issues: the cake balls are chilled so that they don't start falling apart while you are dipping it into the warm candy melt, however, because candy melt is warm, it can quickly warm the cake balls and cause the cake ball to shed off cake pieces into the candy melt stock. If that happens then cake lumps might get incorporated into other cake balls that you may be dipping into the candy melt. Solution: I wish I can tell you a quick fix, but this one you have to get the feel for, my suggestion is try to get the cake balls completely covered in 15-20 seconds.
  5. Find the right tool. Best cake ball dipping tool is when making a cake pop because you have a lollipop stick you can use. For me on the other hand, I had to make cake balls which means it should be coated all the way around. After experimenting/struggling with a number of tools (toothpicks, skewers, forks, etc) to perfect the nicely even coating, I settled for a spoon and a Wilton dipping fork. I believe everyone has their ways, so those are just a few suggestions.

Super long post and hopefully someone will find this information helpful. Happy baking and good luck! :)



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