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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Cakes; Chocolate Dipped! - Cake Balls & Cake Bites

This post is Sponsored by Tavola, the Middle East's exclusive retailers of high quality European fine Kitchen & Tableware brands.
As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan SpecialTavola are sponsoring 3 Giveaways for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.
This post is written to explain to you how to make best use of the Staub Grill Pan (giveaway sponsored by Tavola) & to give you a delicious recipe that showcases the perfect grilling property of this cast iron grill pan.

Roll the cake into extra small balls and dip in tempered chocolate
& these cake balls will be popped like tictacs

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."  - Warren Buffet

Cakes! Aren't they the best thing ever?! The baking, the eating, the flavours, the layers, the texture and most of all the versatility; cakes are so rewarding no matter how you look at them. I had written a post on what to do with leftover cakes. This post is an extension to that one. I am sharing with you how you can utilise the leftover cakes in making these two delicious and absolutely gorgeous chocolate dipped cake balls and cake bites. They are so good, that you would want to bake a cake in order to make these, instead of waiting for the rare occasion of having leftover cakes!

Cake Balls

Cake Balls and Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Truffles are usually confused with cake balls, cookie balls and all sorts of chocolate dipped or rolled balls. The difference between chocolate truffles and the other 'balls' is that chocolate truffles are made out of chocolate. Chocolate is the main ingredient in chocolate truffles, from the filling to the coating. Other ingredients such as nuts, brittles, pralines...etc are added to the chocolate to enhance the flavour or texture, but they do not make the main ingredients. In other balls, the opposite is true. Chocolate is the complimenting ingredient in cake or cookie balls. It is either used in a way in the filling, or as a coating. But despite the technical difference both are delightful, irresistible and both types can be part of a confections tray.

Chocolate dipped cake balls are marvelous. With a chewy soft inside against the snap of the hard chocolate coating, they offer an experience that is superb. In terms of flavour, there is no limit to what you can go for. From tripple chocolate (Chocolate cake, chocolate cream and chocolate coating), to red velvet and cream cheese, to green tea and even after dinner mints... you can do whatever combination you like. It is all a matter of choosing the flavour palate you are going for, then bake the cake in that flavour, and make cream (frosting) in a complimenting flavour, then choose the best suited chocolate for the finish. It is very simple and  completely impressive when done and served. Once done and set, you can place these cake balls on your confections tray along with all the other gems you have created, they will add variety to your assortment.

Note Cake pops, are cake balls that are mounted on sticks, skewers, toothpicks or anything that makes them look like lollies.

The Basics for making Cake balls
Bake the Cake
To make these cake balls you need to bake a cake. Any cake type, flavour or texture works well for cake balls. All you need to consider here is the flavour palate you are going for. Once your cake is baked and completely cooled, you will crush it into what will appear as big bread crumbs. If you try to roll this squashed cake into balls you will see that they disassemble. That is because they need a binding agent to bind it all together to keep the ball shape.

The Binder
Any creamy texture works as a binder. Think of it this way, the binder is supposed to be moist enough to adhere to the cake. However, a pure liquid won't work, it is too moist and will therefore change the consistency of the cake crumbs. So you can't use water, milk, liquid cream, coffee...etc. Instead you will have to make a cream of coffee for instance. Kind of like a frosting. You can though go for honey, jams, preserves and thick syrups. The sugar in these makes them sticky enough to adhere to the crumbs. The same applies to chocolate spreads, creme fraiche, and yogurts. So you see there is no limit to the flavour combinations you can go for as long as the binder is moist, creamy and super tasty :)
You will simply add enough of the binder to get a texture that holds shape. Do not add extra of the binder because the mixture will get too wet and therefore won't hold the shape. Roll the mixture into balls, place on lined baking sheets and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The refrigeration is to keep the rolled cake balls firm and ready for dipping.

Try my Pisatchio Cake with Rosewater Cream dipped in White Chocolate

The Chocolate Coating
This is the coating layer that will seal everything in place. Choose the chocolate type that most compliments the overall flavours of your cake ball.
Melt the chocolate until just melted, and do not over heat. Add some chocolate pieces to the melted chocolate and stir. If they melt completely, then add more pieces. Once the pieces stop melting, remove them and use this tempered melted chocolate for coating the cake balls. Simply dip the balls in the melted chocolate, lift with a fork, and tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place the coated chocolate on lined baking sheets, and leave to set overnight. The next day, cut off the feet and place on your confections tray.
These cake balls must be consumed within 5 days.

You can drizzle the cake balls with chocolate in cotrasting colours for a different look

As with the Marshmallow pops you can either leave them plain, drizzle with melted chocolate in contrasting colour, or even rolled in crushed or roughly chopped nuts, crushed cookies, desiccated coconuts, sprinkles, crushed dried edible rose leaves, cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar, icing sugar or cocoa powder...etc
If you go for a variety of fillings and toppings you will get a nice assortment of cake balls. You can even have a whole platter dedicated to cake balls if you do not wish to go for an assorted confections tray.

Triple Chocolate Cake Bites

Cake Bites
Cake bites are cakes that are cut using cookie cutters. They can be any size provided it is a bite or maximum two bites. The cut cake pieces are then dipped in melted chocolate (the same process as the cake balls). Cake bites do not need a binder, nor do they need shaping and refrigeration... for that they are a more convenient option. They do however have to set overnight, so do take that into consideration when planning your confection tray options. When your guests reach for these bites, they will be pleasantly surprised to find a cake filling. These are crowd pleasers, and can be used as part of your confections tray, or they can be served on their own on a cake stand, tiered platter, or plate.

Presentation Matters
Adding Decorations
Assorted Cake Balls Platter
for a Baby Shower - Tiered Stand from Tavola
You can use melted chocolate to adhere any decoration to these cake bites. This is especially useful if you are making themed foods for a party. Like sticking sugar baby shower decorations for instance.
But even for your confections tray, you can go for a little decoration if you wish. Like sugar flowers, that will look gorgeous atop these dipped cake bites. Mind you the more cartoonish the decoration is the less formal the overall look is. The closer the design to real life flowers the more elegant and formal the piece will look. Think of a real life looking mini tulip made out of sugar, going down the side of each cake bite.
 Let your imagination and style be your guide.

You do not have to stick the same serveware all the time. Besides the plates, platters and cake stands, you can go for cups, wine glasses, long flutes, and even see through glass tea pots! You can even go for baskets, small wooden chest boxes, or even mini decoration cabinetes! Yes you can place the cake balls or cake bites in any of these containers for an impressive and different presentation.
Your imagination is your guide.

The smaller the pieces the more your guests will pop :) You can make very small pieces and place them in edible or non-edible cones, shot glasses, mini boxes..etc. Keep in mind that with big size pieces you will have to consider plates, napkins...etc to catch any falling crumbs.

Assorted Home-made Confections

So you see why I think Cakes are splendid! Is there anything more delicious? These cakes just keep on giving! I hope that these kitchen inspirations are encouraging you to make your own confections tray this Eid. Just in time to get them all done and set and tomorrow you can just arrange your tray. Then be very proud and serve these lovely home-made confections that will please all your guests.

Don't forget that 1st day of Eid is the last day for submitting any photos for Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special contest. Any photos received after the first day of Eid will not enter the draw. Make sure to cook off and send through the photos by then. You have gone this far and only 2 days left! Don't give up now, because you can be the winner of this large capacity Fissler pressure cooker, sponsored by Tavola. Wish I could enter the draw for this one, because it is custom designed for Tavola, otherwise you won't find it in this large capacity! Extra special giveaway from an extra special store :)

2 more days and Ramadan will be over, Make sure to do good to others these last days of Ramadan
Ramadan Kareem