Amazeballs cakeballs!

19 Aug

I love to bake. Cooking can be challenging for me in that I get caught in the trap of not knowing how to take risks and experiment. My fear is that if it doesn’t turn out or doesn’t taste good, I just wasted how much food and money on it?

But baking I love to do. I haven’t done in much in recent years because I lived alone and didn’t have anyone to bake for. I used to bake for my husband a lot when I was married. Since we separated, I haven’t done a lot of it. I know I could take food to the dance studio for the staff and other students to eat. But I always hesitate to do that because my friend LS is an amazing baker and any food will pale in comparison to hers.

This week, I wanted to bake. So I thought I’d take the risk and take food to the studio. It’s a small way of going outside my comfort zone and not letting my anxieties win. I had seen a recipe for cake balls a while ago and it looked good. So I found a recipe on Epicurious and decided to try that. Tuesday, I made the cake – using a cake mix. (I’m used to doing things from scratch, so it felt like cheating to use a mix. But the recipe said mix so why not?) Wednesday, I mixed the cake and CANNED frosting and rolled the dough. (Again, canned frosting? Not really a part of my world, but who cares?) Yesterday, I dipped some of the cake balls in melted chocolate, rolled some in powdered sugar and left the rest plain.

For all that I can have OCD tendencies, they really don’t come through when I bake. The cakeballs were all slightly different sizes, they weren’t as smooth as they could have been, the dipped chocolate wasn’t as smooth or dip-free as I would have liked. But trying not to let anxiety win this battle, I just decided that if they tasted OK, it didn’t matter how they looked. So I packed them into their container for the car ride to the studio.

When I got to the studio, I actually debated leaving them in the car. What if they don’t taste as good as I thought? What if people don’t like them? What if they just sit there and no one eats them? I decided that these thoughts were not helping, I couldn’t let them win, and if I didn’t just suck it up and do it now, when would I?

When I went inside, I discovered that my friend LS has made cookies and brought them. Curses! I knew my food wouldn’t measure up. But people had seen my container, so I had to put them out. I just tried to seem confident about them and prayed they would be eaten. Turns out – people LOVED  them! They were half gone by the end of the party, and I left the rest for the staff to eat during their meeting. I was so relieved and so excited! Yay! I can still bake well. Whew. People will eat my food. Whew. And I didn’t give in to my stupid anxiety-driven negative self-talk. Double-yay!

So here are the little guys who restored some of my confidence. Do they look fantastic and like they just came from a bakery? No. Could I have done a better job on them? Yes. Did they taste great? Yes. And I’ll remember my amazeballs cakeballs as a triumph and a victory in my journey to discover who I am and to restore my belief in myself. Pretty amazing thing done by 3 dozen little balls of cake, right?

“Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake.”

***
Amazeballs Cakeballs

Ingredients:
18.25-ounce box cake mix
9-by-13-inch cake pan
3/4 of one 16-ounce container ready-made frosting

Bake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Let cool completely.

Once the cake is cooled, crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. The texture of the cake causes it to crumble easily. Just cut a baked 9-by-13-inch cake into 4 equal sections. Remove a section from the pan, break it in half, and rub the two pieces together over a large bowl, making sure to crumble any large pieces that fall off. You can also use a fork to break any larger pieces of cake apart. Repeat with each section until the entire cake is crumbled into a fine texture. If you have large pieces mixed in, the cake balls may turn out lumpy and bumpy. You should not see any large pieces of cake.

Add three-quarters of the container of frosting. Mix it into the crumbled cake, using the back of a large metal spoon, until thoroughly combined. If you use the entire container, the cake balls will be too moist. The mixture should be moist enough to roll into 1 1/2-inch balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on a wax paper–covered baking sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

If you’re making a project that calls for uncoated cake balls, stop here and proceed to decorate the cake balls, following the project instructions.

Place the candy coating in a deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl. These bowls make it easier to cover the cake balls completely with candy coating while holding the bowl without burning your fingers. (I usually work with about 16 ounces of coating at a time.)

Melt the candy coating, following the instructions on the package. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon in between. You can also use a double boiler. Either way, make sure you do not overheat the coating.

Now you’re ready to coat. Take a few cake balls at a time out of the refrigerator or freezer to work with. If they’re in the freezer, transfer the rest of the balls to the refrigerator at this point, so they stay firm but do not freeze.

Place one ball at a time into the bowl of candy coating. Spoon extra coating over any uncoated areas of the cake ball to make sure it is completely covered in candy coating. Then lift out the cake ball with your spoon. Avoid stirring it in the coating, because cake crumbs can fall off into the coating.

Holding the spoon over the bowl, tap the handle of the spoon several times on the edge of the bowl until the excess coating falls off and back into the bowl. This technique also creates a smooth surface on the outside of the cake ball.

Transfer the coated cake ball to another wax paper–covered baking sheet to dry. Let the coated cake ball slide right off the spoon. Some coating may pool around the base of the ball onto the wax paper. If so, simply take a toothpick and use it to draw a line around the base of the cake ball before the coating sets. Once the coating sets, you can break off any unwanted coating.

Repeat with the remaining cake balls and let dry completely.

If you have extra candy coating left over, pour it into a resealable plastic bag (and then snip off the corner) or into a squeeze bottle and drizzle it over the tops in a zigzag motion to decorate.

You can make the cake balls ahead of time and store them in an airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator for several days.

One Response to “Amazeballs cakeballs!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Baking day « The Reinvented Lass - October 23, 2011

    […] is turning into baking day. Last Sunday, I made the amazeballs cakeballs but WITH the red wine chocolate cake in them. […]

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