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Posts Tagged ‘Bakerella’

So last week I had this little peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough extravaganza. And as promised, here’s the cake ball piece of it.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in the art of making cake balls. I can’t honestly say I’ve ever managed to do it correctly. Bakerella makes it look so damn easy, but every time I make them I end up cussing at my cake balls as they slide off the sticks and go kerplunk into a chocolately abyss and make a mess all over everything. The likely culprit I think is that I ALWAYS use too much frosting. I try every time to be sparing but I continually over do it. I still managed to take a couple of decent photos however so here you go.

Just a quick word on the dipping chocolate. The chocolate shell I use is what people normally dip Hi Hat cupcakes in. It appears that most people use these Candy Melts from Wilton when making cake balls (that’s how they get all those vibrant colors). I refuse to use those however because they contain partially hydrogenated oil – meaning they have that nasty trans fat in them (among all the other bad for you ingredients). If that doesn’t bother you go ahead and try them, it might make the dipping easier (I don’t know). The baking chocolate bark stuff might work well too, I’ve not tried it yet so I can’t attest to its functionality – nor do I know if it’s vegan.

Cookie Dough Stuffed Cake Balls (vegan)

Cookie Dough

Alright, so the quantity of everything depends on how many cake balls you want to end up with. When I made the cookie dough I also used it for cookies and ice cream, so I’m guessing I only used 1/4 or less of the total dough for the cake balls. Whatever amount you decide to have, roll nickle-sized balls of dough with your hands (about 2 chocolate chips per ball is a good size reference) and place them in the freezer for about an hour or so. If you decide to use popsicle or lollipop sticks, I’d stick them into the cookie dough before freezing (I think this will actually keep the stinkin things on the sticks during dipping). You obviously don’t have to put the cake balls on sticks, but I don’t know how people manage to dip them in chocolate otherwise.

Chocolate Cake

I made a 1/2 batch of the chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. You can find the recipe by clicking on the link above. Though I made 6 cupcakes, I piped a bunch of buttercream on one of them and gave it to my husband, so I only used 5 cupcakes worth of cake for my cake balls. Obviously I don’t expect you to make 5/12ths of a batch of cupcakes, so you just might end up having more balls than me.

Bake the cake or cupcakes and let them cool completely. Once cool, mash them up in a mixing bowl and add the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 C vegan stick butter
  • 2+ C powdered sugar
  • 2 T soy or almond milk
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and extract. Add some of the sugar of whip. Keep adding sugar and whipping until you reach a good, thick consistency. A hand blender or stand mixer will save you time here, unless you want a good arm workout of course.

This is way more frosting than you’ll need for the cake balls by the way, unless you’re making a large batch of them. You honestly need less than half of what this makes so just use your best judgement (whatever that means).

Plop a dollop of frosting into the bowl with the smashed up cake and mix it in. Start small or you’ll end up with slippery balls like me. It needs to be gooey enough to stick together, but not so greasy that it clings to your hands when rolling.

Once you’ve got it where you want it grab the dough balls out of the freezer and roll the cake around them. If you didn’t already put sticks them this part is pretty easy. If you did put sticks in them you’ll have to get a little creative to get the cake sufficiently around the cookie dough. The 5 cupcakes I made were the perfect amount to cover 12 balls of cookie dough (just fyi). Stick them back in the freezer once they’re all rolled for at least 30 minutes (longer would be better).

Chocolate Shell

  • 5 – 6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 & 1/2 T canola oil

If you’re making more than 12 cake balls, you’ll need more chocolate. Error on the side of too much chocolate as it will stay good quite awhile in the fridge.

In a double boiler (or the microwave if necessary), melt the chocolate. Mix in the oil and transfer to a deep but narrow container (I used a plastic take-out container common at Thai restaurants). Let it cool a minute or two before dipping the cake balls.

Dipping and Rolling

Crush up about 1/4 cup of peanuts and spread them out on a plate.

Gather the tub of chocolate, a spoon and the cake balls. If they’re on sticks, dip them carefully into the chocolate while simultaneously holding your breath and hoping they don’t slide off. Use the spoon to help spread the chocolate all around the cake ball. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Roll the cake ball in the crushed up peanuts, or use your hand to sprinkle them on top, let it dry a few seconds and then place it on a plate or tray of some sort. Stick them back in the freezer for a few minutes once you’re finished dipping and rolling so that they harden all the way.

Retrieve from freezer. Bite. Enjoy.

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Assuming that the DQ doesn’t only exist in the south (I think I’ve seen it in Ptown) most of us should remember the notorious dipped ice cream cone. You know, where they take a sugary cone, top it with sugary ice cream and then magically dip the whole thing in melty chocolate and somehow the impossible occurs and the ice cream actually stays on the cone and manages to remain “frozen” long enough for you to eat it. Well there’s been some dabbling lately in the whole dipping thing, but using cupcakes instead of ice cream cones. It’s been a long time coming – I first saw these things last November – but I finally, finally, attempted to make them.

And I succeeded!!!

I think these might possibly be the most fattening cupcakes I’ve ever created, due to the insane amount of frosting piled on top of the cupcake and the chocolately goodness that’s coating the whole damn thing, but sometimes you gotta say to hell with it! And then get up the next morning and run 8 miles. It’s a dessert – fitness balance, and I’d say these are worth every calorie.

The chocolate cupcake part comes straight from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, except I added some brandy soaked strawberries and, of course, brandy to the batter, but any cupcake recipe will do. I took the chocolate coating from Bakerella’s Hi Hat recipe.

Strawberry & Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes

  • 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries (organic preferably)
  • 3 T brandy or cognac

I believe I used about 2 oz hulled strawberries, but just fill up a cup and don’t worry about the oz. Pour about 3 T brandy over the strawberries, cover with lid or plastic wrap and let them sit there for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain as much of the brandy off as possible into a separate bowl.

  • Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
  • 2 T brandy (from the strawberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 and make the chocolate cupcake batter as directed on the website above, but transfer 2 tablespoons of strawberry brandy to a 1/3 measuring cup and then fill the rest of it with oil instead of using an entire 1/3 cup of oil.

Once you fill the liners with batter, divide the macerated strawberries up between the 12 cupcakes, and stir them up a bit to cover with batter. You could also just mix the strawberries in with the batter and then fill the cupcake liners (that would probably be easier, though some of the strawberries would stick to the liner). Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack after they rest for about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if they sink a little bit in the middle, it’s the strawberries’ fault but nobody will notice (or care).

  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (stick form)
  • 2 tsp brandy (from the strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree
  • About 7 cups powdered sugar

Let the cream cheese and butter set out a bit to soften, then toss them into the stand mixer and cream them together. While creaming, use a small food processor or blender and puree some strawberries. I used 2 – 3 oz of strawberries and ended up with over 1/2 cup of puree (so less will do). Add the puree and brandy to the creamed butter and cream cheese. You can add all the sugar at once if you like, though you might find yourself in a cloud of powdered sugar if you do. I added it a cup or two at a time. 7 cups seems a bit much but I wanted to make sure the icing was thick enough to withstand the dipping. I also have a small bit left over so you could cut it back some but then you’d have all these weird measurements and who wants that?

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Some people use a fat, round tip. I’m cheap so I just use the hole at the end of the pastry bag (seems to make sense to me). Place the cupcakes in the freezer to harden the icing.

  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 T canola oil

Bakerella used the microwave but I try to use methods other than the microwave if at all possible. If you don’t have a double boiler (like me) fill a small pan halfway full of water and heat it almost to boiling on the stove. Put the chocolate chips and oil in a bowl and set it on top of the pan of water. Stir continuously until the chocolate is all melted.

Now this is where I almost had a problem. I don’t have a lot of fairly narrow but deep containers. You need to put the melted chocolate into something that’s wide enough to fit the cupcake in but has enough depth so that the cupcake doesn’t smash into the bottom. I used a tall take out container (the kind commonly found at Thai restaurants). This was about perfect size but even then the chocolate became too low after about six dips to submerge the cupcake all the way, but a little bit of tilting (of the container) and twirling (of the cupcake) worked just fine.

So, transfer the chocolate to an appropriately sized container; you can let it cool for a minute to make sure it’s not too awfully hot. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Pick one up. Hold your breath. Submerge it into the chocolate. Pull it out. Breath. Let the excess chocolate dribble off. Set it down and move onto the next one.

Isn’t that fun?!?! I had extra chocolate left over so I was trying to find anything I could to dip in it. Strawberries. Pretzels. Chocolate biscotti. =) I told my husband if I had known it was this easy I would have started dipping things a long time ago. But maybe it’s best that I didn’t (you can only run so many miles in the morning).

These cupcakes were for a friend’s birthday outing so I didn’t think I was going to be able to get a picture of the cross-section. But as fate would have it I was left with one little orphan cupcake, so I split him in half this morning and grabbed my camera! I wonder if our neighbors think I’m crazy when they see me out on the roof in 40 degree weather taking pictures of cupcakes?

These cupcakes were really good. I mean really good. Everybody at the table thought they were awesome. The gooey strawberry middle reminded me of those chocolate covered cherries you see at Christmas time (which gave me an idea for another cupcake).

If you dare to dip your cupcake, let me know how it goes!!

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