It’s no secret I love to cook but the one thing I don’t do or care to learn too much about is baking. This attitude of cooking vs. baking isn’t incredibly uncommon as you hear many chefs on TV moan and groan when tasked with anything dessert or pastry-related. It’s like you can only do one or the other. I love to eat sweet and delicious desserts so if I were asked to provide the number one reason I don’t bake it’s probably because I don’t trust myself around the finished product (a.k.a no self-control.) However, I do know a few people who excel at it all, one person being my mom and the other notable chef/baker/entertainer extraordinaire is my friend Brooke. She comes from a big Italian family, so she’s got all the goods from the best pasta sauce to the best pastries.
Brooke is now married living in her cute little home in Stamford, CT with her hubby so she she frequently invites the gals over for a lovely dinner. And that’s when she introduced me to her magnificent cake ball creations. She is meticulous and creative in her preparation. Each of the balls are exactly the same size and she uses different batters from funfetti to chocolate and red velvet with multi-colored chocolate and sprinkles, so you have a stellar presentation and the assortment makes it fun to eat when you take a bite not knowing which delectable flavor you were delving into.
Brooke did herself a small disservice by introducing me to her cake balls because now she knows it’s expected of her to make them every time I’m invited over, which has happened more than a few times where I start SORT OF feeling bad. So when she invited us over for Labor Day last weekend a couple of us decided we would try to reciprocate the cake ball love and have a little light-hearted ‘battle of the balls’.
I knew we needed a leg up in this fight so like in most instances when I try to make things better, I add alcohol. That’s when I came across this red velvet bourbon cake ball recipe on Pinterest and decided that was the winner.
Following the directions, the afternoon before the party I baked the cake as directed then once fully cooled, I brought the batter over to Jessica’s house. From there, we placed the cake in a big bowl, added the container of cream cheese frosting and the bourbon. Once everything was mixed together we rolled them up in little balls and threw them in the fridge. Easy!
The batter needed to chill at least a few hours so my friend Marysa took the balls and semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate chips back to her house. I was going to come over the following morning so we could dip the balls and let them cool. As I was heading out to Marysa’s, my mom came up to me with a printed out paper about melting chocolate in addition to coconut oil, tossing out all these warnings on making sure that the chocolate drips from the spoon and doesn’t get too hard and white chocolate doesn’t burn because it’s actually not chocolate, blah blah. This was just too much info and sounded more complicated than I thought it would be so I just nodded my head and left.
I got over to Marysa’s and she already burnt the white chocolate so that was completely unusable and the other semi-sweet chocolate was sitting in a frying pan, not dripping from the spoon. This is becoming a disaster!
We added some coconut oil to try to salvage the chocolate, but ONLY a couple teaspoons at a time. Jesus. Then when we thought we had it under control we tried dipping the balls in and it was not pretty. The batter was falling off and getting everywhere. It was a hot mess and we needed to start over. We ran across the street to Trader Joe’s to pick up more chocolate for attempt number 2 in addition to some chocolate-covered seeds and almond cookies that we could crumble and sprinkle over the balls to mask this complete presentation disaster.
Second time around we melted the chocolate correctly, except our balls were still looking like complete shit, not at all how I had envisioned and all of them were different sizes, and probably a little bit too big. Oh well.
After the cooling, we tried one out. They were goddamn delicious. They looked like turds, but they were delicious and at this point, I just wanted something edible. Now that I’ve survived my first baking attempt, I just need to work out a few kinks, mainly presentation. Do I hate baking more now than I did before? Absolutely. Will I continue to try to perfect my cake balls in an attempt to impress ball master Brooke? Absolutely.
Until next time!
RED VELVET BOURBON CAKE BALLS:
Red Velvet Cake Mix – baked but not frosted
Cream Cheese Frosting – 1 can
Semi- Sweet Chocolate and/or White Chocolate Chips – 1 bag
¼ cup of Bourbon Whiskey