"Do you want to lick the bowl?" I've been yelling that for years. And just like usual, he came running. No, there's no kids in the house these days. That would be hubby racing to the kitchen.
Saturday was a beautiful summer day, but with house-guests due to arrive that evening, and a busy week ahead, I needed to start the process of making treats to take to a party later this week. Something easy to do ahead, but that would be really tasty. Sounded like time for cake balls.
If you haven't had Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Balls, then seriously, you've been deprived. They've been a family fav in our house ever since daughter dear discovered and made them several years ago. YUM.
So they were on my agenda, as well as a new variation I'd found on Pinterest of all places - Espresso-Dipped Nutella Cake Balls with Sea Salt. Uh, talk about several of my favorite ingredients in one ball of deliciousness!
1. Bake up a box mix cake in a 9x13" pan, according to directions.
(Red Velvet for Red Velvet cake balls, obviously; any chocolate variety for the Nutella. The original Nutella recipe has a 'scratch' cake, though I'll try a box mix next time, with a bit of instant espresso powder stirred in.)
2. Let cake cool slightly, then crumble into a mixing bowl.
(My favorite method is with a fork, but you can also put big hunks in your stand mixer and blend to crumbs.)
3. Mix in one tub of: cream cheese frosting (not whipped) for the Red Velvet; 16 oz. Nutella for the Nutella.
4. Use a cookie scoop to scoop mixture onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
(Size depends on you. I like small ones; daughter dear likes them bigger. I can fit the whole batch on one sheet by placing very closely together. Put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for overnight.)
5. Melt 1 bag Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.You'll probably need to add another bag half-way through the dipping process, depending on the size of your cake balls. For Nutella, stir in a bit of instant espresso powder.
(I do in the microwave - just watch carefully. Start with one minute, stir; they will probably need another minute. And I've tried other chips, including white. I, personally, have the best luck with these so they are all I use for cake balls.)
6. Dip frozen cake balls one at a time.
(I use two forks. Toss a ball in, roll to cover, pick up with your fork and tap on side of bowl to remove excess, and place on cookie sheet. If you have a helper to do the tossing in, this step goes twice as fast.)
7. Place dipped balls on fresh parchment-covered cookie sheet.
(Don't place so closely together for this step. I use two sheets for a whole batch. For Nutella cake balls, sprinkle with coarse or flaked salt immediately after dipping. For Red Velvet, freeze tray for a few minutes, then drizzle with chocolate, using your fork and refreeze.)
8. Now your cakeballs are basically done and will be fine in the freezer for a few days, until you need them. If storing longer, you can toss them into a gallon-size freezer bag.
(I warn you, though, from my experience, they are not necessarily safe left alone.)
Cake balls are fun to make, easy to do ahead in steps, and folks always seem to love them. I hope you do too!
Original Red Velvet Cake Ball recipe here.
Original Espresso-Dipped Nutella Cake Balls with Sea Salt recipe here.