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Halloween Goodies Galore!

My friend Parsley Sage from Deep Dish Cayman  is a part of a baking club and their October challenge was to do Halloween themed cookies.  This proved to be a real challenge for her (although her Paranorman cookies looked great to me!)…thus enters – ME :).  She invited me over to do some Halloween themed cookies with her, and it turned into a really fun little tutorial! 

You can see her full post here: http://thedeepdishcayman.com/baking-club-halloween-cookies/#comment-5616

And the video tutorial here:  [youtube=http://youtu.be/XygebQix2Eo]

Parsley even tried her hand at decorating one of the gingerbread men cookies gone ghoulish, and made the most adorable mummy!  These are perfect for a home “cookie” to try – nothing too fancy – just simple and DELICIOUS! Parsley has some amazing blogs on her site – she’s definitely worth a visit! http://thedeepdishcayman.com

Then I started thinking about some other Halloween goodies I could do besides just cookies – so the next day, I went home and made some simple cake balls – these were a hit with my neighbours’ kids – so who knows what goodies await the trick-or-treaters this year!

 

What kinds of ghoulish goodies do you plan to whip up this Halloween?

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Cake Balls!

A lovely couple from the U.S. who were having their destination wedding here in Grand Cayman requested a “Cake Ball Wedding Cake” for their 10/11/12 wedding.  I’ve made cake balls before, but have always gotten frustrated with them simply because it’s difficult to make them in the heat and humidity in Cayman.  I was up to the challenge however, and decided to plunge forward with this very special wedding request! While I started working on everything, I thought, why not turn this into a tutorial for my blog?!  Soo…here you go!  Please excuse the quality of the images – I just snapped pictures with my phone as I went along…

So to make cake balls you want to start with a cake that has been baked and cooled.  Make sure your cake is very cool, not a hint of warmth from the oven or else you’re binding won’t work and they’ll fall apart! Just take a fork and start to crumble the cake into fine crumbles.  I just do everything in the cake pan because it’s one less thing for me to clean up after but you can certainly crumble it into a bowl if you wish! I used a devil’s food recipe for this particular set of cake balls as this was one of the flavours the bride and groom requested.

Once your cake has been thoroughly crumbled, add a few dollops of your favourite icing.  I used cream cheese icing as per the bride and groom’s request which tastes HEAVENLY with cake balls – however it is NOT good to use in the heat.  I was brave and really went out on a limb by using it, and thankfully my trick (which I share later on) worked!

Now you want to really work this icing into the cake crumbles very well.  Some people use liquid coffee creamer to bind the cake crumbles, I’ve never tried that method but will definitely give it a shot at some point.  I use between 1 – 1 & 1/2 cups of icing per batch of cake crumbles.  Start with less and then add more as needed.  You can even use your hands to get really in there and mix it up.  When you’re done it should look like a big cake and icing blob.  Kind of like this:

Now comes the fun part – making the balls!  You can use a melon baller, or any kind of “scoop” you have on hand.  Personally I just use a tablespoon and it works just fine for me as the balls all come out uniform in size and it’s something that I always have on hand.  Just take a spoonful of the cake and icing mixture and roll it into a ball.  Make sure that the cake and icing are binding together really well because you don’t want it to crumble on you!  When I use a tablespoon, I usually end up with somewhere between 30-40 cake balls per recipe.  It just depends on the type of cake recipe I use to make them.

Normally I use a lined cookie sheet, but given the amount of cake balls I was making, I just used a disposable cookie sheet.  Worked great and nothing to wash afterwards!  As you can see my cake balls are all nice and round – nothing falling apart and they are relatively uniform in size.  Now pop these into the fridge for a couple of hours (or into the freezer for about 15 minutes).  Make sure they are nice and chilled before you dip them into the candy coating.  Once you’re ready for them to come out of the fridge, start to melt your candy coating.  You can order some online, or pick up a pack from the store – whatever works best for you is fine.  Personally, I find that the Wilton brand doesn’t work so well here.  I’m not sure if it has to do with the way they are shipped – maybe they get too hot in the shipping container?  All I know is that I don’t find them to work so well…at least the white and coloured ones.  The chocolate ones seem to work okay – go figure! So here is some candy bark that I ordered and I have it melted it down ready to start dipping my cake balls away…

Now just start dipping away!  You can use a fork, a toothpick, a spoon – whatever is easy for you to manipulate – feel free to use.  If you want to add any sprinkles to the balls, then make sure you do it while they are still wet – not when the candy coating has set, or else they won’t stick! For these particular ones, I made sure to coat them a little thicker then I normally would – just in case the cream cheese icing that is binding them decided to give me some trouble!

This couple wanted a “cake ball cake” as I mentioned before.  I iced a cake dummy with fondant, and adhered each cake ball with some more melted candy coating and just worked my way up along the cake.  I added coloured fondant flowers to coordinate with the wedding colours and to differentiate between flavours.  There ended up being over 70 cake balls on this very small cake, which was a 4″ dummy on a 6″ dummy.

The perfect cake for an interactive wedding (or party experience!).  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  There will be more to come :).

Wishing you a very “sweet” day!

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