Aya had plans to go visit our friends who are moving to Japan very soon. Since Ellie and I couldn’t join in the farewell festivities, I decided to make a batch of cakeballs for Aya to deliver to them to say “Goodbye.” You’re probably thinking, “Cakeballs? Aren’t you on a No Sweets Challenge?” Yes, yes I am. And that would be the tricky part. I was making cakeballs, but I could not eat them. I was going to test my willpower so my friends could enjoy this tasty American treat before moving to Japan. That’s just the kind of friend I am.
This would be my third time making cakeballs, and based on my mistakes from the past, I figured third time’s a charm, right? After receiving many helpful comments on how to handle my too thick chocolate problem from last time, I had a solution in place. Since I wasn’t going to be able to eat these, I really didn’t care what they tasted like. I was 100% focused on how they looked. I had all my supplies; chocolate, vegetable oil to thin it, sprinkles, cakeball sticks, and a focused determination to hit a cakeball homerun.
The first part went just as planned. But when it came time to mix the frosting in the cake, it took all my inner strength not to lick the chocolate off the mixer beaters. Luckily, I had my little helper in the kitchen who was more than happy to help out with this task. With chocolate all over her teeth, she looked like a hockey player with missing teeth. However, little did I know that resisting this part paled in comparison to the temptation that the later steps provided.
The beginning steps of the cakeball process aren’t difficult, they are just time consuming. Based on comments I received and from personal experience, I found that letting the batter chill in the fridge, and then again in the freezer once the balls are formed is key. So as the evening wore on with waiting, the house got quieter as everyone went to bed and I was left alone. Alone in the kitchen at midnight with a full batch of chocolate cakeballs and a soon-to-be melted vat of chocolate. Did I say I was alone? But my quest to make the perfect cakeball kept me focused on the task at hand, coating them evenly and perfectly.
The chocolate I melted for the coating was clearly too thick. But I had a plan this time! I added a little bit of vegetable oil to thin it out. Woah, it actually worked! But then I had a new problem where this thinner chocolate coating took longer to dry. And once I put the stick in the cakeball holder upright, the chocolate started dripping down the stick. Doh!
An assembly line for this process would’ve perfected things. I’m guessing 4 people would be required, each with their own working zone. One person to coat the cakeball, the next person to keep it spinning so the chocolate would coat evenly and start to harden before dipping it into the sprinkles. The third person would dip the cakeball in the sprinkles and again, keep it spinning so the weight of the sprinkles wouldn’t distort the shape of the perfectly round cakeball. And finally, the last person would hold the cake balls in front of a fan so the chocolate hardened quicker, and then place them in the cakeballs stand. (Are you following me?) I figured this person could safely handle four without any catastrophic events.
But I didn’t have four, I just had me. One person doing the work of four just to produce the perfect cakeball for my friends… into the wee hours of the night. Yeah, that’s the kind of friend I am. Did I already say that?
By the time 1am came around, my one person assembly line was slowing down. It was hard to keep up production with the sprinkles, especially since I ran out. I was hoping to switch colors but they were out of reach, and with molten chocolate on the stove and a back-up of cakeballs, I decided to do the rest plain.
As things wrapped up I noticed I did a pretty good job, but I did have a few rough looking ones that were sent to the reject pile. And not wanting to have an insignificant existence, they kept whispering to me. “Psss, hey. Come on, eat us, no one is looking. No one needs to know.”
While I was sooo close to giving in, the guilt overwhelmed me. I put the reject cakeballs down and packed them in the freezer to be eaten at a later date. Everybody wins.
As for the cakeball making process, did I make the perfect cakeball? Well, I’m not sure about perfect, but I do think they turned out pretty darn good. Better than last time. But to be truly perfect, I think I need at least four people. I’ll be taking applications for volunteers for my next project. Anyone interested?