I discovered the wonder of cake bites (also known as cake
balls or cake pops when they’re plopped on a stick) on Christmas two years ago.
My sister-in-law Karen (still my brother’s girlfriend at the time) had been
bringing them to family gatherings for a while, but I’d refrained from eating
any in an attempt to moderate my dessert intake (a vain attempt when you’ve got
a sweet tooth like I do).
|Dark chocolate-covered German chocolate-coconut pecan cake bites|
and white chocolate-covered pumpkin spice-cream cheese frosting cake bites
Long-story short, after all the Christmas parties are over,
Karen realizes she forgot to bring the cake bites to some of the parties she
attended. As a result she brings a bunch of these chocolate-covered confections
over to a little post-Christmas get-together. And I tried one. And then two.
And then somewhere between six and 26 of these delightful sugary confections.
Since I started this blog, I’ve been wanting to do a post
about cake bites, but I never saw any pins for cake bites that linked to an
actual recipe or list of tips (a lot of the cake bite-related posts just link
to pictures, which are absolutely useless for my blogging purposes). So after
months on Pinterest I took matters into my own hands and searched out cake
bites in the search bar. After a few variations, (cake bites, cake pops, cake
balls, cakepop, cakebite, etc.) I happened upon a very helpful pin
that linked me to a post about cake balls on The Pioneer Woman’s website. I had never heard of The
Pioneer Woman, a.k.a. Ree Drummond, before, but she’s a best-selling author,
award-winning blogger, and she has a TV show that airs at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays on
the Food Network.
The post actually uses tips and techniques from Bakerella, a blogger who
focuses on her baking and decorating attempts. She has made a ton of gorgeous
cake bites and pops and offers a whole range of helpful suggestions with The
Pioneer Woman in the blog post I used as instructions.
Because I was planning on bringing them into work to share
with my co-workers, I opted to make two types of cake bites: Spice cake with
cream cheese frosting covered in white chocolate and German chocolate cake with
coconut pecan frosting covered in dark chocolate. If those are crowd-pleasers
then I don’t know what would be.
|Crumbled German chocolate cake|
For cake balls, you need:
* 1 box cake mix of your choice. Red Velvet is always pretty (here is Bakerella’s tutorial on her site), and Devil’s Food is
* 1 container of ready-made icing. Any color will do, but Bakerella loves Cream
* Candy Melts or Chocolate Bark (see notes below)
* Waxed paper
What I used (Dark
chocolate-covered German chocolate-coconut pecan frosting cake bites a.k.a.
“That thing was crazy” cake bites)
1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 can packed pumpkin
1 container coconut pecan frosting
1 ½ bags Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate chips
Plastic baggy (for decorating)
What I used (White
chocolate-covered pumpkin spice-cream cheese frosting cake bites a.k.a. “Don’t
change anything” cake bites)
1 box spice cake mix
1 can packed pumpkin
1 container cream cheese frosting
2 bags Nestle Premier White morsels
I would usually list the whole
instructions, but there’s a lot of them, and they can all be found here
so I’ll just tell you how it went and highlight the instructions that didn’t
seem intuitive or got lost in translation.
How it went
I didn’t bake the cake to the instructions. I cheated to
make it healthier by using packed pumpkin instead of oil and eggs (which I posted about here).
|German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting|
So after baking up the Betty Crocker’s Super Moist German
chocolate cake and Duncan Hines Signature spice cake mixes with packed pumpkin
and letting them completely cool overnight. I started up on Day Two of cake
I took the German chocolate cake and started by scooping it
into my largest mixing bowl and stirring it around with a spoon until it was
all crumbs. I then added the Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy coconut pecan frosting.
Using my best judgment, I ended up using the whole tub, because the thicker
icing with its coconut flakes seemed to need those extra spoonfuls to get the
mix to a uniform consistency.
|German chocolate-coconut pecan balls pre-coating|
I aimed for cake balls about an inch in diameter and rolled out
several dozen by hand (made about 50), putting them on wax paper I’d laid out
on cookie sheets. The German chocolate cake bites had a pretty stiff
consistency while I was rolling them out. I put them in the fridge and let them
sit for about an hour and half. Before I started the melted chocolate phase.
After I washed and dried my large mixing bowl I dumped the
spice cake into it and repeated the process of crumbling up the cake. I added a
little more than four-fifths of the Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy cream
cheese frosting and mixed it up until I got a smooth consistency. While I
rolled these up (somehow managing to make a wide variety of sizes, I blame
distractions) I noticed the consistency was much softer than the German
chocolate/coconut pecan ones. Maybe I used too much icing, but seriously the
instructions for how much icing to use is “a little less than the full tub,
actually.” Not exactly specific. The cake bites held their rounded shape before
going in the fridge, but they seemed much less crumbly than the mixture
pictured in The Pioneer Woman’s post, and they were way more moist than the
German chocolate ones. I left them in the fridge for about two hours.
|Crumbled pumpkin spice cake|
|Pumpkin spice cake mixed with cream cheese icing|
On to the melting:
I used Hershey’s dark chocolate chips for the German chocolate ones and Nestle
white chocolate chips for the spice cake ones.
|Dark chocolate melted and ready for dipping|
Fun fact: Giant
Eagle doesn’t carry bark chocolate (like the handy-dandy Kroger store brand
ones that I grew up using featured in the pin) anywhere that I could find in
their Willoughby store. I’m fairly certain this made my experience way more
difficult than necessary. I miss Kroger more than any other regional thing
being up here in Northeast Ohio. The combination of excellent prices, great
store brands and wide variety of inventory is completely unmatched in my grocery
|My first cake bite looked so perfect|
Back to the cake
bites: I followed the melting instructions for dark chocolate chips on the
back of the bag to great success. It was a lot of melting in the microwave for
small increments at lower power and then stirring until the chocolate was at
the desired consistency. I just used a cereal bowl and started by dropping the
balls one at a time in the mixture.
|They got messier as I went on|
I didn’t really follow the whole “drizzle chocolate over the
top with a spoon” because it seemed too time-consuming. I attempted Bakerella’s
“tap the spoon on the side of the bowl” trade secret to some success. It seemed
to make my cake bites look better, but really made a total mess of the side of
the bowl. The sides were caked in chocolate and after a while I was just
sloshing around more chocolate kind of defeating the purpose.
But when I was done I had some pretty nice looking cake
bites ready to go back in the fridge to set up. You can leave them out to set
up, but I had another batch to make so it seemed easier to just let the candy
coating solidify in the fridge. I set aside the leftover chocolate coating to
use to spruce them up later.
And here’s where
things got really off-track. I pulled out the pumpkin spice-cream cheese
frosting cake bites and tossed a bag of the white chocolate chips in a cereal
bowl. I swear I followed the melting instructions on the bag to the letter, but
I definitely had some problems here. I managed to overcook the white chocolate
a bit to the point where it started to harden, so I added in water (I remember
reading somewhere that a bit of hot water can help rescue overcooked
|Here they are finished. Messy but delicious|
Long-story short, I ended up throwing out a whole lot of white
chocolate coating. On my second (and final) attempt at melting the white
chocolate I did much better, but the coating ended up a lot thicker than the
dark chocolate and was much harder to work with.
It was a rather frustrating experience, and I failed to take
pictures of it, probably because I was covered in white chocolate and ended up
making a huge mess. Oh well. They ended up looking a lot less pleasant than the
dark chocolate covered ones, but they were still delicious. I put them in the
fridge to solidify the coating.
|Ready for fancification|
Then I pulled out the dark chocolate-covered German
chocolate-coconut pecan frosting cake bites and got fancy. I had seen a pin
somewhere (but for the life of me can’t track it down) telling me an easy way
to drizzle icing or glaze or whatever over items was to put the mixture into a
plastic baggy and then cut off a tiny piece of the corner. I drizzled white
chocolate over about half the dark chocolate cake bites, then I reheated the
dark chocolate and repeated the process over the rest of them.
The Pioneer Woman post says Bakerella used a squeeze bottle
(a nifty way of doing it if you have one lying about) and suggests using a
spoon if you don’t have a spare bottle, but the baggy trick worked like a charm
and had no cleanup time.
|Oh you fancy, huh |
I’m not going to sugarcoat it — this was a lot work. I spent
close to two hours working on these the second day what with the melting,
dipping the cake bites, drizzling, transferring in and out of the refrigerator,
Baking the cakes and making the cake bites is pretty easy.
The covering in chocolate part is where this gets time-consuming.
But my co-workers couldn’t stop raving about these little
“Oh my God. Don’t change anything,” said reporter Max Reinhart biting
into the spice cake bite.
And shortly after walking off with one (I think a dark
chocolate one), Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros messaged me: “That thing was crazy. Don't let me eat another one on the way out.
(Which is to say thanks again.)”
|Not too shabby looking|
And I'm pretty sure the photographers were plotting a way to walk off with the whole plate.
And then I took the leftovers to my family’s Thanksgiving
celebration, where I got similar positive feedback.
Heck when I got back from vacation, a full two weeks after
initially making the cake bites, my co-workers were still talking about the
— Nicole Franz | NiFranz@News-Herald.com | @FranzOrFoe
Follow my Mission: Pinpossible board on Pinterest.