Sunday, October 14, 2012

NEXT UP: Pumpkin Cake Balls

After a rocky start to October, I am finally ready to enjoy the Halloween season! I hit up a party store to get a few seasonal decorations. It took a lot of restraint not to buy all of the light-up jack-o-lanterns, but I caved when I saw some cute mini paper cupcake holders. 

It didn't take me long to figure out what to use them for. There have been a lack of pumpkin treats in my apartment lately, so my first thought was mini pumpkin muffins. Then I realized...why not be adventurous and try something totally new...cake balls.

I assume you've all heard of the cake pops phenomenon. They're everywhere nowadays--on baking blogs, in Starbucks pastry cases, at weddings, and all over Pinterest. Instead of making pops, I decided to use my new cupcake holders to contain cake balls (think pops-sans-lollipop-stick).

My main inspiration was Love From the Oven's Candy Corn Cake Pops, which used orange and yellow dyed vanilla cake topped with a candy corn. I decided to alter the recipe to become more seasonal by using a pumpkin spice cake as the base.

Was this a difficult process? Not really. Was it quick? Not really. It was fun and fairly simple, but there several steps. Overall it took a few hours to complete these treats. My roommate and I tried different methods for dipping the cake balls into the chocolate coating, but it ended up being less neat then I had hoped. Next time I will try getting actual candy coating chocolate, or perhaps thinning the baking chocolate with a touch of corn oil.

I also think using toothpicks over forks would be helpful. There are lots of videos and posts about how to perfectly dip cake balls and pops online, it's just a matter of perfecting a method yourself.

Overall, I was left with very festive Halloween desserts that everyone loved! And why wouldn't they? Pumpkin cake plus chocolate plus candy corn, what's not to like? I'm already excited to try more cake ball/pop recipes for other holidays. I may have been bitten by the cake ball bug...

Pumpkin Cake Balls
Inspired by numerous blogs! And of course the Cake Pop Queen herself.

1 box of spice cake mix
1 can of pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1/2 - 2/3 cup of cream cheese icing
Bag of Candy Corn
Baker's White Chocolate (or candy coating if you can find it)

1. Mix the cake mix and can of pumpkin. Do not follow the ingredient directions on the box. The pumpkin will replace the water, egg, oil, etc.
2. Spread the cake batter into a 15x9" pan and bake for about 20 min or until a poked fork comes out clean.
3. Cool the cake. You can place it in the fridge to speed the cooling.
4. Crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. The crumbs should be quite fine. Use a fork and/or your hands. Be sure to break up any clumps or discard any hard edge pieces.
5. Mix in 1/2 cup of cream cheese icing with your hands. The mixture should be moist enough to mold into balls. Add in a little more icing if needed.
6. Form the cake and icing mixture into ping pong-sized balls and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
7. Place cake balls into the freezer for about 30 minutes or until they are chilled (but not frozen!).
8. Prepare the coating by melting the white chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl until it is a smooth liquid.
9. Take the cake balls out of the freezer a few at a time (so they don't get too warm and crumbly while you're working). Use a couple forks to roll the cake ball in the coating until evening coated. (Next time, I will probably try using a toothpick). Lift with forks so excess coating drips off, then place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
10. Place a candy corn on top before the coating dries.
11. Repeat steps 9-11 with all of the cake balls.
12. Store in an air tight container. Feel free to place in cute mini cupcake holders.

Makes about 30 pumpkin cake balls.

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