I'd like to tell you that I came up with this brilliant idea for (yet) another holiday treat, but that wouldn't be the truth. I'd also like to tell you that I decided to make this dessert because we needed it... but that wouldn't be the truth, either.
The truth is ...
... wait ...
Can you handle the truth?
I cleaned my cabinets. Long story there, but that's for another post. While I cleaned, I noticed that a few of the items on my shelf had passed their expiration dates. Out they went. I also noticed a couple of my cake mixes were just on the edge. Rather than toss them out, I decided to use them. My middle daughter had heard about cake balls and suggested these were just the thing for my soon-to-be-out-of-date mixes.
So we ran with it.
There are a number of cake ball recipes online and most follow the same instructions using cake mix, store-bought frosting, and almond bark.
The thing is - no one in my family likes store-bought frosting. Not even the "tastes like homemade" kind. So we used our family's favorite homemade cream cheese frosting instead. That means, of course, that these balls need to stay in the fridge when they're not being consumed, but the cream cheese makes that extra effort worth it.
Super easy, kind of fun, and versatile, this is a recipe I will turn to again.
Think about it - you can change the dough, the bark color, the decor. These could be made for almost any holiday, or bridal and baby showers with just a tweak or two.
1 cake mix, your choice of flavor, prepared according to package directions. While it's cooling...
(I got this recipe from my mother in law years ago. Best frosting ever!)
1 8oz package cream cheese
1 stick butter (softened)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Combine finished cake (still slightly warm is okay) with frosting. I like to start by tearing the finished cake up and crumbling it into a separate bowl. Then add the frosting. You can begin with a spoon, but you'll eventually want to use your hands. Messy!
Once it's all fully combined, roll into 1-inch (or so) balls and place on wax/parchment paper on cookie sheets. Cool in refrigerator to set. While they're cooling...
Melt almond bark. Hard to give you an amount here. Just eyeball it. I used six rectangles of milk chocolate and six squares of vanilla-flavored. Two different manufacturers so the unit sizes varied. Like I said - just eyeball it.
I started by dunking the balls in the melted milk chocolate, but they seemed too heavy and the chocolate was used up too quickly. I switched gears and decided to pour spoonfuls of melted bark over the balls instead. I like that much better.
If you're going to use sprinkles, add them right away. The bark hardens quickly!
Once it is hardened, you can use a contrasting bark for decoration (as I've done here) or mix up a little powdered sugar and water, and decorate with that. With the addition of sticks, these can become cake pops. Maybe add a face, ears, nose.... I probably could have made mini Rudolphs.
With a little creativity they can be almost anything....
The possibilities are endless!
Happy Christmas Eve today