Saturday, April 12, 2014

cake bombs (or, what to do with a failed cake)

Have you ever had an epic bundt cake failure? I most certainly have, and it is such a bummer. You put all this effort into mixing up what is supposed to be a delicious and beautiful cake, you wait the allotted baking time, let it cool in the pan for ten minutes, and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Before you even lift the pan, you can tell something is not right. The pan still feels heavy, and as you turn it over, you see the disaster. A ring of cake stuck to the bottom of the pan, and a steaming crumbled half on the cooling rack.

If this has never happened to you, please let me in on your bundt baking secrets! As for the rest of us, I have a remedy to your broken cake dilemma. Remember the cake truffles recipe I posted last October? We're going to revisit that, and this time the recipe is more precise, since I used 1 cake + 1 frosting recipe.

First, mix up a batch of your favorite buttercream frosting, one that will go well with your cake. My failed bundt cake was a chocolate one, so I made cocoa buttercream from Betty Crocker (same recipe used for the cake truffles, recipe below). When you've finished mixing the frosting, add the broken cake into your mixer, and continue mixing until the cake and frosting are evenly combined. If you don't have a crumbly bundt cake, you could sub any chocolate cake.

Using a cooking scoop, scoop your filling onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. I used the scoop I usually use for cupcakes, but you could choose any size. Mine are larger than traditional cake pops, hence the name cake bombs, and I got 32 out of my cake.

Cover your baking sheets and freeze the scooped "bombs." An hour or two would probably be sufficient, or you can do what I did and leave them in the freezer for a few days. I use these cookie sheet covers, which are great because you can stack your baking sheets, and avoid having your creations stick to foil or plastic wrap.

When you are ready to dip, start melting your chocolate. As I've said before, I prefer to use candy coating (like Apeels, Merckens, or Wilton) because it doesn't burn as easily and will not bloom. For these I used dark chocolate Apeels. While the chocolate is melting, prepare your "bombs." I used these sticks that are intended for caramel apples, but you could use sucker sticks or cake pop "straws." The sticks I used have a pointed end, so they were easy to poke into the bombs. They felt very secure, so after inserting the stick I went ahead and dipped the bombs, set them back on the foil-lined pan, and sprinkled with rainbow wafer sprinkles. Notice that these do have a flat side on the bottom. They are not hand-shaped like cake balls (I don't like the idea of that much food handling). The stick goes in the domed side, and they sit flat-side down with the stick pointing up.

I added some little ribbon and lace ties to my cake bomb sticks. Washi tape flags would also be adorable.

Cocoa Buttercream:

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons milk (plus more, as needed)

Mix chocolate and butter. Add powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla (or flavoring of choice) and milk. Add milk as needed until frosting is of spreading consistency.

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