Tired of giving out a box of chocolates every year for Valentine’s Day? Looking for something a bit more unique with a personal touch? Why not surprise your Valentine this year with a delicious homemade treat! No one can resist these two-bite, red velvet cake filled treats that are dipped in creamy white chocolate. They are easy to make and you can customize them to your tastes. So bring out your creative side this year and surprise your Valentine with a personal homemade gift. It is bound to put a smile on their face!
There are three parts to making these cake balls:
1) Baking the cake and making the frosting
2) Forming the cake balls
3) Dipping and decorating
All of this can be done in one day but I find it best to split it up over two days because of the chilling time required.
PART 1 – RED VELVET CAKE AND CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
RED VELVET CAKE
1 1/8 cup (112.5g) cake flour, sifted
¼ cup (15g) cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup (141g) canola oil
¾ cup (150g) sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tbsp red gel-based food colour
¼ + 1/8 cup (91g) buttermilk, room temperature
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vinegar
Equipment – You will need a stand mixer or a handheld mixer and an 8” cake pan.
Step 1) Preheat the oven to 3500F. In a medium sized bowl, add the sifted cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir with a fork or a whisk until combined. Put aside.
Step 2) In the bowl of the mixer (or large bowl for a hand-mixer), add the canola oil and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until the mixture is white and creamy. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and red food colouring and mix well.
Step 3) Alternatively add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in 2 batches, always starting and finishing with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Place the baking soda in a small bowl or cup, add the vinegar and stir. It will fizz up and expand at first. Add it to the cake batter and beat just until combined.
Step 4) Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured 8” cake pan lined with parchment paper (a non-stick oil spray would also be okay). Tap the cake pan on the counter a few times to get rid of some of the air bubbles. Place it in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. The cake is ready when the sides are coming off the cake pan and when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the pan and then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz powdered sugar, sifted
½ tbsp heavy cream
Step 1) In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add cream and beat until combined. It should look creamy and smooth.
PART 2 – ROLLING INTO CAKE BALLS
Step 1) Take your cooled cake and, using a serrated knife, slice off the top and the sides to remove the crusty pieces. This will make it easier to roll them into a smooth uniform round shape.
Step 2) Cut your cake into 4 quarters. Using your hands crumble each quarter into a large bowl by rubbing the piece together in your hands. You want to make sure that there are no big chunks. The finer the crumbs, the smoother the balls will be.
Step 3) Start by adding half of the cream cheese frosting mixture to the crumbs. Use the back of a spoon to mix the frosting into the cake crumbs. You want the mixture to be moist enough that it can hold the ball shape. Add a bit more frosting as needed until you can roll them into smooth balls. I used ¾ of the frosting mixture to achieve this consistency.
Step 4) Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. You will place the formed balls on this sheet. I use a mini cupcake scoop to measure out how much of the mixture to use for each ball. You can also use a tablespoon, a meatball former, or you can eye ball it. Roll the mixture in your hands, pressing it together as you form the ball shape. Place the ball on the baking sheet. Once you have rolled all of the mixture into balls, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight. You need the balls to harden before you can dip them into the chocolate.
STAGE 3 – DIP THE CAKE BALLS
Now the fun part! Here is where you can be really creative and customize how they look. I chose white chocolate to dip the cake balls in and red and pink chocolate to drizzle on top. I will also be putting some heart shaped sprinkles on top to add to the Valentine’s Day theme.
15 oz White chocolate melts
5 oz Red chocolate melts
5 oz Pink chocolate melts
Step 1) In a glass bowl or glass measuring cup, melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, always stirring after each 30 second interval. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, otherwise it will become thick and you will not be able to dip the balls in it. I usually only need to do two 30 second intervals. After the second interval the chocolate is hot enough that as I stir it, the chocolate melts together and becomes nice and smooth.
Step 2) Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, take out 3 cake balls at a time from the fridge. You want to keep the others in the fridge until you are ready to dip them. It is important that they are still cold so that they don’t fall apart in the chocolate. Drop a cake ball, one at a time, into the chocolate and use a spoon to cover it completely in chocolate. Scoop it out with a spoon and gently shake off the excess chocolate. Slide the cake ball off your spoon and onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all the cake balls are covered.
Step 3) Melt the red chocolate in a small bowl, using the same method described above. Fill a piping bag fitted with the #2 tip with the melted red chocolate. If you don’t have piping bags, you can fill a plastic ziploc bag with the chocolate and cut a little triangle off one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the dipped cake balls.
Step 4) Melt the pink chocolate in a small bowl and put the chocolate in a piping bag or plastic bag. This time only drizzle the chocolate on 2-3 cake balls at a time and then add the sprinkles. You need the chocolate to still be soft so that the sprinkles have something to stick on to. Repeat this until all have been decorated.
And there you have it – the perfect homemade treat to give your Valentine! To make them look even more professional, I finish them off by putting them in mini candy cups in a cute box, topped off with a pretty ribbon. This definitely beats a box of store-bought chocolates!
They are good for up to 5 days (not that mine have ever lasted that long!) and they also freeze well.
Have a sweet day!
Laura Ross is the owner and baker for Lady Cupcake, a home-based baking business based in Burlington, Ontario. She specializes in gourmet custom cakes and cupcakes for all events and occasions. Follow her on social media to see all her delicious homemade creations.