This is what I refer to as a “Waste Not Want Not Recipe.” You see, it was my husband’s birthday this past week, and he requested vegan vanilla cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting – a treat I had made for him in the form of a cake two years ago.
Unfortunately, I made two major mistakes:
- Rather than using my tried and true recipes for the vegan white cake and chocolate fudge frosting (both recipes in Go Dairy Free), I decided to trial someone else’s recipe for white vegan cupcakes that I had never tried before. (When they wrote the recipe only worked for cupcakes but not cake, that should have been my first performance red flag!)
- I forgot where we lived. Having not baked a cake since moving back to the mountains … at 6000+ feet, I completely forgot about the differences in baking. Baked goods rise here really well, in fact too well at times … and vegan cupcake recipes often rely a bit too heavily on leaveners. And, well, you know the old saying, what goes up, must come down …
A simple deflated cupcake might not have been a huge problem, but these quite frankly were not a success all around. Both the taste and texture was strangely reminiscent of cornbread. Yes, vanilla cupcakes turned to cornbread … don’t ask me how. Had we been big cornbread lovers, perhaps they would have flown, but we both wanted cake and were sorely disappointed.
However, even more than failed cake, both my husband and I hate waste. So rather than casting aside the cupcakes, I turned to one of those old throw together recipes, cake balls.
Traditional [Vegan] Cake Balls
As mentioned, I used white cake and chocolate frosting, but feel free to use whatever flavor combo excites you! This recipe is optionally Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, and Vegan – depending on the cake and frosting you use.
- 1 Prepared Cake or Batch of Cupcakes
- 16 Ounces Frosting (I prefer homemade)
- 6 Ounces Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Crumble the cake or cupcakes into a large bowl. You can do this using your fingers, or blend it up. I pulsed the cupcakes in my spice grinder to get an even crumb on the second batch.
Add the frosting, and mix well to combine. If the mixture is too gooey to handle, place it in the fridge for a few hours to firm up.
Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave (do not overcook! Simply cook on high for 30 seconds, stir virorously. If chunks remain, heat in 15 second intervals, stirring between each, until you have a nice smooth chocolate).
Scoop out the cake mix and shape into balls. Drop each ball into the chocolate to coat; remove and place on a cookie sheet lined with silpat or wax paper.
Place the chocolate covered cake balls in the fridge or freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes. Once firm, these can be popped in a baggie and stored in the freezer for a treat anytime.
Note: This makes loads of cake balls. I prefer to make just some this way, and experiment with others using different flavors, like the nutty version below.
Nutty Cake Balls (I swear this is a family blog!)
Since I ran out of frosting, I began experimenting with pantry items. This version did not come out super-sweet, and they came out a bit cakier (no refrigeration was needed before shaping the mix into balls). For a nuttier and sweeter treat, feel free to up both the nut butter and sugar in this recipe. I simply ran out of cake to experiment with. Go ahead, taste test as you go and see how you like them!
- 1 Vanilla Cupcake
- 2 Tablespoons Nut Butter (ie peanut, almond, etc.)
- 2 Teaspoons Powdered Sugar
- 1 Ounce Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Follow the directions above, but use the nut butter and powdered sugar in place of the frosting.
Yields about 8 to 10 nutty cake balls