A Valentine Treat

by Joanna on February 13, 2012

I had big plans yesterday to make these beautiful Valentine’s Day cake balls and share them and clear instructions with you here today so that you could make them for your loved ones tonight just in time for the big day tomorrow. I thought it would be super cute to do strawberry cake with chocolate coating and then chocolate cake with pink coating.

Well, I made them and they didn’t turn out great even though I “perfected” the method two weeks ago. But this is real life and I want my blog to reflect that so instead of scrapping the whole post, I’ll guide you through the process–it’s actually pretty easy–and where I went wrong.

You’ll need:

  • 1 box of cake mix (and whatever ingredients it calls for)
  • 1 container of frosting
  • bag of chocolate chips
  • vegetable oil
  • food coloring (optional)
  • decoration of your choice (sprinkles, nonpareils, M&Ms, whatever)

Directions:

  1. Prepare cakes according to package directions.  Let cool completely. [The cooling is important.  The first time I didn’t let them cool enough and it didn’t turn out great.]
  2. In a large bowl, crumble cake until fine. 
  3. Add frosting and mix to combine well.  [Usually the ratio is one container frosting to one box of cake mix. However, with the strawberry cake I made one container was too much. So I recommend starting with about half the frosting and going from there.]
  4. Roll the cake mixture into balls and set on cookie sheet. [I like to use a 1 tbsp measuring spoon to help here.] Update: you can use a small cookie scoop for this step, my friend Amanda did and it saved her a ton of time.  I’ve thought about buying one but didn’t want to part with precious “household/personal items” money.  But I think I might have to invest.  Considering I’ve made about 4 batches of cake-balls and see many more in my future, it will be worth the six bucks.
  5. Put in freezer for 30 minutes or more.
  6. Melt chocolate chips and mix in vegetable oil (and food coloring if desired) in a double boiler. Use 1 tbsp vegetable oil for 1 cup of chocolate chips. [Double boiler: heat pot of water on stove and put a glass bowl on top.  The steam will heat the glass and the chips will melt.] Update: What does the vegetable oil do, you ask? It thins out the melted chocolate to make it easier to work with.
  7. Once chips are melted, pull cake balls out of freezer and dip each one in chocolate until fully coated. (I use a combination of spatula and fork to assist here.) Put back on sheet and sprinkle with decoration of your choice.
  8. Pop back in freezer about 15 minutes to harden chocolate.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes/Advice:

  • Leave enough time to complete this project.  Maybe like an afternoon or spread it out over an evening. Update: I’ve crunched the numbers and you probably need about 4 hours total for this project.  I’d say only an hour/an hour and a half is work time.
  • You can also use almond bark or the melting chocolates that they sell at craft stores.
  • Be sure to chill the balls before dipping them in the chocolate.  If you don’t the cake can start to crumble off into the chocolate and it’s just messy and difficult.
  • My love for cake balls started when my co-worker brought them in. He is engaged to Miki from Miki’s Kitchen and my team often gets to taste Miki’s latest creations. Miki has a great tutorial for how to make cake balls and cake pops.
  • Have fun with this and don’t get frustrated. Even if they don’t look that great, they’ll taste delicious.  And sprinkles make everything prettier!

I’d love to know:

Have you made cake balls or cake pops before?  How did they turn out?  Do you have any tips to share?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chrissy Norelli February 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I’ll vouch for how yummy cake balls are! Great for sending in care packages to family too :) Thanks, Jo!

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2 Amanda February 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

Thanks so much for this post, Joanna! It was so helpful to follow along with when I made these the other night. I made red velvet ones dipped in white chocolate for Valentine’s Day, and they came out really well thanks to your tips! I picked up a medium cookie scooper to make the balls, and it saved me a ton of time getting them into the right shape and putting them onto the sheet. I experimented a bit – rolled some in my hands for a smoother finish vs. just using the scoop – and the time spent rolling wasn’t really worth it because once they’re dipped in chocolate, they looked exactly the same! Great time saver. I also tried a second batch for a party, and unfortunately burned the chocolate so it didn’t work too well. I tried adding more vegetable oil to thin it out, which helped the consistency. Once they were dipped, however, the oil and chocolate separated. So, your 1tbsp of veg oil to 1 cup of chocolate is one that people should stick to! Thanks again – the first batch that came out well were a total hit and SO delicious ! I think I’m going to try them again this weekend with my sister!

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