chocolate peanut butter cakeballs (aka ridiculousness)

Posted on April 19, 2011. Filed under: Dessert | Tags: , , , , , , , |

So cake is really good right?  Especially when it is chocolate cake.  ESPECIALLY with peanut butter frosting.  Now imagine that you take that cake and you mash it all up together.  Then you roll it into a ball and dip it in chocolate.  Then drizzle it with peanut butter.  There is NOTHING wrong with that.  Except for the fact that I didn’t have any milk once they were done.

Cakeballs were a mysterious delight I heard about on some sort of blog or tv show at some point.  There are several stores now in existence, following along with the cupcake store trend but the original place I heard about was The Cake Ball Company so I must give them credit for inspiring this creation.  These part candy/part dessert treats are honestly relatively easy to make, but they are quite time consuming.  Consider this a warning and I will also let you know where I went a bit off target and how you might be able to avoid making my mistakes.  In the end, these are a great dessert to make for a crowd (for a party or bake sale or something) and can be a messy and easy one to do with kids if you are extra daring. I myself made them for my first ever appraisal at my new job.  I decided that giving treats to coworkers and bosses when I was about to be reviewed was not cheating or sucking up because the results of the review were already done so this was just a way to say thank you for not firing me!  And good news folks – I was not fired so I will be able to continue funding my expensive habit of feeding friends, family and coworkers.

The standard cakeball recipe I started with is from Bakerella.  They do some really creative things that I did not delve into but the basic idea (and the easy way to do things) is to take one store bought cake mix and one tub of frosting and mix them together.  Creativity is your friend here and you can do any flavor combination you so desire.  I would imagine that pie filling would also work well instead of frosting but just follow your favorite craving and go with it!

Since this was for the blog, I decided to challenge myself a little bit and when a friend sent me this recipe for chocolate peanut butter cake, I knew it was the perfect time.  I wanted cake balls and here was an amazing sounding cake recipe.  We were MFEO.  (sidenote – check out that cake recipe if you need a cake because it’s gorgeous and the frosting is heaven).

As made below, this recipe makes about 118 balls.  Way too many!!!!!

The chocolate cake ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Start by preheating the oven to 350F.  As far as cake pans, I didn’t want to have to calculate times so I followed the recipe and used 3 9″ pans, with wax paper lining the bottom.  Make sure you butter the sides and the wax paper and the cake will come out easily.  The benefit of cakeballs is the cake does not need to be pretty.  You can mess up because all you are doing is dumping it out and crumbling it up so there’s no stress about making everything perfect.  It just needs to be cooked!

Next sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.  Normally I am not a sifter but I figured I’d take the time.  Once sifted, add the oil and sour cream and blend.  Things will be quite thick here but once you add the water it will look more normal so don’t worry too much.Next, add the water a little bit at a time and carefully mix it in.  Then add the vinegar and vanilla and watch the fun science experiment start!  You’ll see some bubbles in the batter which is expected.  I’m sure Alton Brown would tell you what the vinegar is reacting to.  I think it’s the baking soda but I do not pretend to be a scientist and thus will let you do your own research.  Whisk in the 2 eggs and make sure the batter is well combined.  Divide the batter evenly between your pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a cake tester (aka toothpick) comes out clean.

Once the cakes have cooled for about 20 minutes, flip them out onto wire racks and let them cool completely.  Once cooled, crumble the cakes into a large bowl.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese (yes that’s right) Frosting:
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

Chocolate Shell:   Depending on how many cakeballs you make and how thick your coating is, you will probably need 1-2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips (bakerella suggests 1 package of chocolate bark – I think those are those large disc shaped chocolate chips that often come in colors and are used in candy making)

Recommendation from me: HALVE THIS FROSTING RECIPE!  I had to throw away a decent amount of frosting because it was more than needed and the last thing I need lying around is extra peanut butter cream cheese frosting with nothing but a spoon to eat it with.  It’s a waste and 2.5 cups should be plenty.  I made it all because I wasn’t sure how much I’d need with the amount of cake I was going to end up with.

So we will deviate from the “handmixed” and break out an electric mixer for this one.  First, beat the softened cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.  Then start adding the sugar (a cup at a time), mixing well after each addition.  Also make sure you scrape down the bowl often. This frosting is in no way bad.

Once you’ve added all the sugar, continue to beat for another 3 or 4 minutes on medium.  Then add the peanut butter and blend until well mixed.

Now things get interesting.  We’re going to take the crumbled cake and add the frosting and mix well.  A spoon works ok but the best tool as usual is your hand plus it’s fitting for me as a handmixer 😉

Once the cake and frosting are mixed well, you can start officially balling it up.  I used a small ice cream scoop for consistency sake and then hand rolled them into balls.  Remember that these will get a lot bigger when you dip them in chocolate so don’t get too crazy with the size.  These will need to go in the freezer for about 30 minutes or the fridge for a few hours so make sure you put them on a pan that fits in said space.

Once the cakes are about ready to come out of the freezer (cooling will help with the chocolate dipping), you want to temper chocolate for the coating.  I ended up probably using about 20-24 oz of semi sweet Ghirardelli chocolate and was able to coat about 50-60 balls.  I still have about half of mine in the fridge uncoated but there is enough fat in there to preserve them for a few days and I plan to serve them at a drunken Easter egg hunt this weekend.  Tempering the chocolate when you melt it will allow it to have that “crunch” coating that chocolate candies have.  You want it to harden back up so it’s not a gooey mess to eat.  I found this link helpful for how to temper the chocolate properly.

Once the chocolate is ready, coat each ball and put them on wax paper to harden.  Bakerella recommends using a spoon but I used my fingers cause it was easiest.  Once they were dipped, I melted some peanut butter chips (10 seconds at a time until smooth) in the microwave and then put it in a  plastic bag and cut a tiny tip off and drizzled it over the chocolate so it would show the chocolate peanut butter flavor.  The end result is way too many balls of delight.

Once they have hardened completely, you can trim the extra chocolate off the edges with a small knife and store them in an airtight container.  Or just grab a gallon of milk and go to town on them.


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8 Responses to “chocolate peanut butter cakeballs (aka ridiculousness)”

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You could add a lollipop stick in each prior to freezing for ease of dipping and eating!

I meant to add that but forgot. I’d still be worried about the cake falling off the stick while you were dipping it but it would be a perfect way to eat them!

I love the idea of cakeballs, but I would be VERY particular about whose hands have been in my dessert. I’m just saying!

Peanut butter and chocolate = my favorite couple

Haha yes this is a very “hands-on” dessert since you have to roll each cakeball! I was definitely washing my hands a lot 🙂

The cakeballs were a BIG HIT with my kids tonight. And Mom and Dad appreciate their bite size as a dessert for the kids.


Can I put in another order for these?

I work with your dad, and he introduced me to your blog. From one foodie to another -thanks for the cake ball recipe. I have a 11 year old daughter that loves to dip everything into our chocolate fountain. I think I will add a marachino cherry to the cake balls and see how it comes out, as if they are not already decadent!!Thank you and keep up the great recipes, you are an inspiration for us ladies that love to cook as much as they like to eat. Audrey

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