Sunday, 4 March 2012

Cake balls, four ways

I have resisted the phenomenon that is cake pops because I can never get past the line in the method that instructs you to break the cake into crumbs. I wouldn’t need buttercream to bind the crumbs; my tears (caused by such wanton vandalism) would do the job. But I have to admit I do like the look of them, the size of them and their versatility.

Enter Lakeland with their cake ball machine
. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a plug in counter-top machine that bakes small amounts of sponge mix into balls in less than 5 minutes. Impressive, non? And you get all the joy of a cake ball without having to desecrate the sponge.

I found that lifting the balls out was easy if you used two cocktail sticks; they are small enough so as not to tear the sponge:

For my first dalliance with this machine I kept it simple. All the cake balls are made from the same tried-and-tested vanilla cupcake sponge recipe
. Some I rolled in jam and coconut for a classic English Madeleine:

When I rolled the balls in the hot jam I just had to photograph them as they looked so beautiful – almost like plums:

Others were rolled in chocolate ganache
and chopped nuts:

As you can see, the sponge is a lovely texture; I was really impressed with this little machine:

For the citrus lovers amongst my eatership I rolled the sponge in lemon drizzle mix
so that the whole ball was covered in the thin crusty glaze (it pains me to say it, but these were voted the favourites on the day – even by only casual lemon-eaters):

And finally, so no one had any grumbles, I cut some in half and sandwiched them with peanut butter cheesecake

Serving them in mini cupcake cases gave the air of a box of truffles – a really cute look with no need for any decorating skills at all:

Ingredients and method

Obviously, the quantities will vary depending how many cake balls you wish to make. Here are the basic quantities that you can scale up or down based on your needs.

For the cupcake sponge (this will make 12 normal sized cupcakes or 32 cake balls):
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
1 tablespoon milk

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla

Beat in the eggs, flour, and milk.

When the mixture is smooth and well combined, spoon teaspoonfuls of batter into the oiled (I used Dr Oetker cake release spray and – contrary to the cake ball maker’s instructions found that I didn’t need to reapply) cake ball maker. It’s important to work quickly and cleanly – if you drip batter anywhere other than the holes you will find you don’t get nice clean cake balls.

Bake for 4 minutes or until the balls are firm. Mine took exactly 4 minutes and the easiest way I found to remove them from the machine was to spear them lightly with 2 cocktail sticks and lift them out.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

When they are cool, gently pick off any surplus batter that makes them look like Saturn with its rings!

Now the fun bit – decorating!

For the Madeleine version (enough for 16 balls):
Heat some jam (I used almost a whole jar of raspberry) and roll the balls in it.

Roll in a approx 100g of desiccated coconut.

For the chocolate ganache (enough for 16 balls):
125g dark chocolate – I used half dark, half milk
150ml double cream
100g chopped nuts

Place the chocolate, broken into chunks, in a heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream to boiling point, then immediately pour over the chocolate.

Leave to stand for a couple of minutes then stir until it is smooth and well combined.

Leave to cool and firm up before rolling the balls in it.

Roll the balls in chopped nuts.

For the lemon drizzle (enough for 16 balls):
2 lemons – zest and juice
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Icing sugar – enough to make a runny icing; the quantity required will depend on the juiciness of your lemon!

Place the lemon zest, juice and caster sugar in a bowl and beat in enough icing sugar to make a thin, extremely runny icing. (The reason for using caster as well as icing sugar is that the caster won’t sink into the cake and leaves a lovely light sugar crust on the top of the cake).

Pierce the cake balls all over – I used a cocktail stick for this.

Sit the balls in the glaze and leave them to absorb the lemon for 5 minutes or so.

Use a fork to lift the balls out and let the excess glaze run off.

For the cheesecake (easily enough for 32 balls – I only used it for 16 and spread the rest on digestive biscuits as a tasty treat!):
150g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia

25g icing sugar
70ml double cream
2-3 tablespoons peanut butter and add more to taste

Beat together all the ingredients except for the peanut butter.

When you have a smooth consistency spoon beat in the peanut butter.

Cut the cake ball in half and spoon or pipe a ring of cheesecake around one flat surface.

Press together with the other sponge half.

Refrigerate until you wish to serve.

Serve in small paper cases or on sticks.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What a nifty little machine! And I guess, being miniature in size you can eat hundreds at a time right?!

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

Omg I need these!! Such a cute idea. Love the bit about tears doing the binding. I do like cake pops I have to say but love that these are complete sponge!

Nom! X

Sarah-Jane - said...

Funny enough, I've been making cake pops too as little sponges this weekend. Two little boys were seriously happy yesterday.... and plenty left to post to family and some friends

I also hate the texture and taste of the mushed up cake and buttercream.

Your rolled cake balls look cute !

Cakefairyblog said...

oooh what a great machine. I'm really tempted by cake pops now. I have been avoiding them too!

Just shows you can make lots of different flavours and cake with one mix

neenycakes said...

Really good blog! I've been wanting one of these machines for a little while, but this may have pushed me to get one!! x

Lucy said...

Wow I haven't seen one of these machines before - trust Lakeland! Clever idea as I like that you get pure sponge. Love the ways you decorated them!

Kezia said...

Wow! Thats the first time I've seen one of those machines. I love all your flavours and I'm totally with you on the anguish of having to crumble up a freshly baked sponge - never again will I be attempting cake pops!

Lauralovescakes said...

Wow, I didn't even know that you could get a machine to make cake balls! The results are really cute and I like your array of flavours :-)

Sunshine said...

I have been thinking about ordering this machine because to make cake balls is very time consuming. Great post!

Zoe said...

This cake ball machine looks very interesting but I haven't seen any of this in my local stores.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Sunshine

I wouldn't actually say it was quicker - because the bake time is only 4 minutes you can't go off and do anything else like you can when you normally bake a cake. It was very hands on! Don't let that put you off though!

Happy baking

Miss Cakeaholic said...

I really like those. I may be sold on cake pops now! xx

Lisa Marie said...

Is it just me? Am I the only one making those ridiculous squealing noises while looking at these adorable little treats? Not piggie squealing, mind. The kind of squealing one makes when seeing puppies or kittens or teeny-weeny baby shoes.

Oh, dear God. I am one of *those* people....

Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

What a wondrous machine! I didn't realise how popular these little cake balls had gotten, now with their own machine! I definitely prefer this idea over massacring a cake. You have some lovely recipes for them!

C said...

They do look really lovely! Very cute indeed. Good to know the machine works well, do you think you'll get much use out of it, or will it be a one-go wonder? I think I'd choose your lemon glazed cake balls - yum!

Clare said...

They look fabulous! I'd like to try one of each flavour please! I never knew such a machine existed! Great idea!!

Jo said...

Trust Lakeland to come up with the perfect alternative for those who can't bring themselves to vandalise cake (which is definitely a reason I haven't made cake pops!)It makes such cute, dinky sponges!

Cakelaw said...

Cute! I have avoided the cake pop phenomenon for the same reason as you - why on earth destroy a perfectly good cake! But if the cake is made round - that's different.

fallen from flavour said...

how cute!

Maggie said...

Wow how lovely. I find it heartbreaking breaking a cake up into crumbs. These aren't as sweet as cakepops too.

Anonymous said...

I have tried this little wonder and made over 30 pop cakes in no time for my daughter to take to her work place for a birthday treat day.

yolepole35 said...

i think i'll be getting one of these cake pop makers... having to bake cake then crumble it up ect ect put me of making them but this looks a winner... yummy yum drops lol ; ))

Choclette said...

What a great machine, it makes the whole process so easy and you get perfect balls for covering. Only thing is, I'd like to try one of each please!

Angela @lesgetbaking said...

If I had a machine like that, I'd make cake pops all the time, wow, the possibilities are endless :-)

sensibilia said...

I only heard of cake pops for the first time this week, after reading an article about baking in "Woman and Home". I must be a bit behind the times!

Lakeland are the most amazing stockists of all things kitcheny. I bought a doughnut maker from them which looks a bit like your machine, and make reasonable doughnuts without having to deep fry.

Victoria said...

This is a nifty idea for a machine. And you can cover them in pretty much anything = fab!

P.S. I just finished reading Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe and am glad to have heard of your blog!