Thursday, 9 June 2011

Strawberry Cake Balls With Popping Candy

I learned that the secret ingredient for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge was strawberries so I started doing some blog surfing for inspiration. 
My original concept was to make the most strawberry cake in the world ever, packed with as many strawberries as humanly possible.  I remembered a great post from Smitten kitchen with a cake containing more whole strawberries than cake batter and cooked for an hour so the strawberries became almost jammy and the top was dusted with sugar so it was all nice and crispy.  This recipe is the yummiest ever - I have cooked it a couple of times already.

But I wanted a strawberry colour throughout the whole cake, partially for the visual effect but also to get an even flavour.  I typed in "strawberry cake recipes", then hit images and found a load of deep pink cakes.  I started clicking on some of the images and found most of the recipes contained cake mix (huh!!!) and gelatin (really?!!!?!!?).

One of the images, however, intrigued me; a cake ball, coated in chocolate - hm....I have clearly lead an extremely sheltered life, protecting me from such devilishly intriguing creations.  But now I know.

You may recall my previous blog, cataloging my emergency salvaging of a chocolate cake, involving mashing and gluing (with chocolate, of course, not actual glue), then reforming into a cake mixture.  But to mash a cake with a fairly moist glue, roll into a ball then coat in chocolate - oh I think it needs to be made.

My mind was now racing - I wanted to make my own cake from scratch, minus the mix and gelatin (seriously..gelatin?).  I liked the idea of using cream cheese, then decided to mix with sugar and pulsed strawberries.  What I didn't know at this point was the exact quantities of cake glue to cake crumb - I wanted a moist cake ball but not too moist.  I also wasn't quite sure about the amount of icing sugar to add to the glue  - I didn't want the balls to be sickly sweet.  The glue quantities would need to be tested.  I also wanted to dehydrate the strawberries because I didn't want the water content in the strawberries to dilute the cake or the glue mixture.

Then I had a brainwave (I get them sometimes - it's very exciting).  How about if I added popping candy to the balls for a fizzy, crackly effect - almost like the fizzyness from champagne. Obviously this is not going to be as fizzy as if you're putting the candy straight in your mouth but surely there would be a slight fizz...

So the concept was created.  Now for the testing.  I purchased the strawberries; I located (eventually) the space candy; I set aside a clear, uninterrupted day and started to experiment.  Here are the finished results............ 

Inspired by Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Balls)

200G Strawberries dehydrated

Strawberry cake:
112g plain flour
112g butter
112g sugar
half dehydrated strawberries
50g walnuts
2 eggs
"cake glue":
pack cream cheese
4 tbsp sugar
Half of the dehydrated strawberries
50g walnuts
20g white chocolate
2 packs popping candy
Cake ball topping:
350g 70%cocoa dark chocolate

The first step is to dehydrate the strawberries (or buy ready made).  heat the oven to 150oC and place the strawberries in the oven.  Turn the heat down to 100oC and leave for an hour.  Turn the oven off and leave for another hour. 

Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Pulse the softened butter and sugar with the walnuts.  Add the eggs (one at a time), half of the strawberries then the sifted flour, (if like me you want a guaranteed pink colour, add a tiny amount of red food colouring.  Pour the batter into a lined (or silicone) tin then cook for approx 20 mins (or until the skewer is fairly clean - slightly under cooking is not really a problem here as the cake is going to be mashed beyond all recognition!)

Allow the cake to cool, then pulse until it resembles crumbs. 

Add the cream cheese, walnuts, sugar, popping candy and the rest of the strawberries.  Place into the fridge for about half an hour

roll the mix into into balls and pace onto a lined baking sheet.  Place in the freezer for half an hour, (this step is important because the melted chocolate will set quickly. 

Melt the chocolate, then dip the balls into the chocolate and place back on the baking sheet.  You will notice that the chocolate sets fairly quickly once dipped.

Place in the fridge to harden then transfer to a container or a fancy jar. 

Pass them round at a dinner party, wrap them up in a fancy box for your loved one..or eat them all yourself.


  1. They're beautiful!!! What a cool idea to put the popping candy in the cake!! I would have never thought of that in a million years! I wish I could try one of yours! :)

  2. Fabulous! I have tried using popping candy in truffles a few times but it always loses its poppiness (is this even a word?). I must try to master it.

  3. Thanks guys. The popping candy is nowhere near as fizzy as straight from the packet but it did give a light fizz.

  4. So fun! Nic, where in the UK are you from? My husband is from London!

  5. Hi lucy. I'm from Kent, which is allegedly the garden of England. I visit London loads because of all the cool markets, especially Borough Market which has the yummiest produce and the best coffee houses.

  6. I am so going to try these. I used to love popping candy when I was a child. I too love Borough Market. I go there to get chillies from The Cool Chile Company to make Thomasina Miers Chile which is wonderful. And they have a couple of nice bread stalls and have you tried the vegeburger stall - you probably have. Where in Kent are you? I am in Canterbury?

  7. Cake balls, or the posher name cake truffles are a revelation I found, but I really don't get the putting them on sticks bit. Love your recipe with strawberries and fizz - fantastic idea. I bet they tasted great. Thanks for participating.

  8. Thanks lady chutney. Not tried the veggie burger stand but will def give a go. Im living in folkestone at the mo

    Thanks Choclette. The stick is useful to dunk the ball in the chocolate with but not so good to store as they take up too much space...

  9. Wow- what a great idea! I love the thought of the chocolate and strawberry fizzing together- a winner of a combination!

  10. great idea! I love the fizz idea. I used some of that in a truffle cake once but to do cake balls .... yum!

  11. I am very intrigued by this recipe and am very tempted to give it a try. Are they as delicious as they look? But where in the UK would I buy popping candy? I have never seen it.

  12. I'm just imagining the deep strawberry flavour with that bit of fizz in there ..... yummm!

  13. coolest idea ever!
    these look awesome!