A few weeks ago, I went to one of our fabulous locally owned coffee shops for a bake sale to benefit the Haiti relief efforts. I picked up several goodies, but the little baggie of “cake balls” was the biggest hit. So much, that all I heard about was the beloved cake balls from my Beloved. I corresponded with the original baker to get some tips on recreating her treat. So when we were snowed in a couple weekends ago, I promised to make them. What else was I going to do all weekend? (Besides drink hot toddies and bust my back on a sled.)
A few warnings about these cake balls. 1. They are beloved by everyone. You will have a hard time getting them done without several “stolen” from the pan. 2. The cake recipe below makes a LOT of cake, feel free to cut it in half. 3. You will need to run several extra miles after eating these, but it’s so worth it.
Beloved Cake Balls
2 cups softened butter
2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Rum (optional, or if you’re me…required and you’ll put in a couple tablespoons)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon zest (required for lemon flavor)
1 cup milk (or soy milk)
1 container of white frosting (I opted for “butter cream” flavor and I think it was the perfect flavor complement!)
Blocks of chocolate candy bark (chocolate or white or both depending on your preference)
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Start with a very large mixing bowl. Cream the butter (using a mixer, beat butter with sugar, gradually adding sugar, until light and fluffy). Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually add egg yolks to the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in vanilla and Rum.
In a medium bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest).
Alternately add small amounts of the milk and dry ingredients to the batter until it is all fully mixed.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter into a cake pan that has been greased and floured. (Note if following full recipe above, I used a deep 9×13 pan and it baked about 3 inches thick. Make sure you have at least a 9×13 pan if you plan to bake it all at once. You can also use several small loaf pans or several round cake pans.)
Bake for at least 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (I actually needed closer to an hour because the cake was so think, but might need less in a larger pan or split up into several small pans.) Let cake cool in pan for a few minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool more until it can be handled comfortably.
In a large bowl, crumble the cake while still warm. I started with 1/2 of the cake, slicing into strips and crumbling the strips. Add the entire tub of frosting and mix with cake crumbles. Add more cake to reach a good consistency. I actually ended up using only about 2/3 of the cake. That’s a lot of cake!
Using a melon baller or (my favorite) a rounded teaspoon, scoop out “balls” of the cake-frosting mixture, rolling in your hands if necessary. Place balls on a wax paper covered baking sheet or other easily stackable flat surface that will fit in your freezer. Place sheet with balls in the freezer for at least 30 minutes until hardened. (Note they can be left in the freezer for longer.)
Melt chocolate bark according to instructions on package on very LOW heat. (Note if you’re using white bark, keep stirring and make sure it doesn’t get too hot; it will scorch and will turn brown. This isn’t as much a concern with the darker bark, but you’ll have to throw out the white if it scorches.) Remove from heat.
With a fork, dip the balls in the chocolate to coat.
Shake off any excess chocolate and run tines of fork across pan if necessary. Place on clean wax paper to set and dry.
Continue until all balls (or desired amount) are covered. Store in fridge or freezer in airtight container once dry. I also like to make both colors and run the tines of the fork across a different color ball for an added effect.