Your Trip Begins at Michigan.org!
We finally made it back to Michigan for some much over-due family time! It has been forever since we’d been back there to spend some quality time with everyone so once we heard Josh had the weekend off from coaching hockey, we grabbed the opportunity to rush out there! I knew that all four nieces and nephews were going to be around Friday when we arrived so I wanted to bring something fun and kid-friendly yet also delicious and adult-friendly with as a treat! I figured cake balls would be the perfect thing…what kid or adult doesn’t like a gooey, chocolatey ball of goodness?! One cake makes quite a lot of cake balls (even more, if you count the 13 I ate while making them)…so I decided to do three different frosting options instead of having 50 of the same kind. After much deliberation, and for those of you that know me and my ridiculous indecisiveness, I meant MUCH deliberation, I eventually settled on peanut butter, rich chocolate and homemade marshmallow fluff. Side note…homemade fluff was incredibly easy, I will never buy a jar of Fluff again and wish I would have made more since peanut butter and fluff sandwiches are one of my favorites! First things first, you have to bake a cake as a starting point. I went with my tried and true Ina Garten chocolate cake recipe I use for almost everything.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Beatty’s Chocolate Cake
- Butter, for greasing the pans
- 1 3/4 cups flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, at room temp
- 1 t pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour batter into pan and bake 30-35 minutes. Let cake cool completely on wire rack. Once cooled, crumble cake into a bowl (or in my case, 3 separate bowls)!
Peanut Butter Frosting:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3 T butter
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 2 T heavy cream
Beat peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar until completely dissolved and smooth. Add in vanilla, then heavy cream (more or less than the 2 T depending on what you need to reach desired thickness/consistency). You want it a little thick so that it holds the cake together and forms a nice moist ball.
- 4 T butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled
Combine cocoa and boiling water, stir until cocoa has dissolved, set aside. Beat on medium-high, butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, add in melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until well combined, add in cocoa mixture.
Homemade Marshmallow Fluff:
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla
- dash of salt
In a double boiler placed over simmering water, beat egg whites, sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch, about 5 minutes. (Whisk this mixture the entire time). Once dissolved, pour the mixture into a cool bowl, add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Sooooo good, really wish I would have made more!
Ok once the cake is cooled and crumbled into bowls, it’s time for the cake ball assembly! This is kind of tedious and takes a little while, but is worth it if you have the time! I like to use the food processor for this part, it just makes a much smoother and well combined ball, but you can just mix it by hand if you prefer. Pour the cake crumbs into the food processor and add in the frosting, process until combined. Dump back into bowl and start forming balls, any size will do, just depends on how big you want them! Roll balls until mixture is gone and place in fridge until cooled (at least a half hour). Repeat with remaining cake and frostings, and let cool in fridge. I am sure you can speed this process along by putting them in the freezer for a little while instead of the fridge, but I haven’t tried it!
Once the balls are all cooled, melt a bunch of chocolate with a few teaspoons of shortening in a double boiler or the microwave. (I used an entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3 teaspoons of shortening). The shortening helps keep the chocolate smooth and prevents clumping and also leaves a nice shine! Place some parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan and dip or roll each ball in the melted chocolate until well coated, then place on wax paper to harden. In order to tell the three balls apart, I crushed up some Reese’s peanut butter cups and Graham Crackers in different bowls and rolled the peanut butter balls in the peanut butter cups and the fluff balls in the graham cracker crumbs (kind of a s’more type thing). Once all of the balls are covered, set the pan back in the fridge to finish setting up.