For Lincoln's first birthday, we went with a Winter One-derland theme. I knew I wanted a snowman cake, but the idea of a flat snowman cake just seemed so...flat. I tried to think of a way to stack 3 cake layers and make a snowman, but it still seemed kind of "eh." Then one day, I stumbled upon cakeballs. Cakeballs! Brilliant! Obviously, this is not a new idea, nor one I can take any credit for what-so-ever (see the fabulous Bakerella if you want to see some truly amazing cakeball artistry). I am merely going to share my personal experience making them, and the decorating stylings my good friend Zandy and I came up with to go along with our winter theme. Without further ado: bring on the snowmen!
(collective sigh: awwwww!)
Before we get started, a bit of warning: these puppies take time. LOTS of time. As in twice as long as I planned for, thus pushing all my birthday party preparations a good 3 hours behind schedule. You will need to start at least a day ahead of time, 2 days if you really want to be safe. Like I said, these are a time intensive endeavor. Make no mistake, though! They are DEFINITELY worth the effort, especially for a first birthday party! I made 2 flavors of cake, which yielded about 100 cake balls, which was about 75 too many (oops....). Note: in my pictures, you will see both flavors of cake interchangeably. Just in case you thought your eyes were playing tricks on you... : )
inspired by Bakerella
You will need the following items:
- 1 box any flavor cake mix
- 1 can prepared icing (any flavor that complements your flavor of cake)
- ingredients to prepare cake according to your box
- 1 package candy bark--vanilla for snowmen or chocolate for reindeer
- embellishments: pretzels, m&m's, black gel icing or edible black marker, gum drops, mini oreo cookies (or whatever candy/decorations you have on hand....)
- 1 package paper lollipop sticks (you can find at Hobby Lobby, JoAnns, or Michaels...)
1. Prepare cake according to package directions and bake in a 9x13 pan. Cool completely. My advice: make the cake at night and allow it to cool while you sleep. Then start assembly in the morning.
2. Once cake is completely cool, remove it from pan and place in a large bowl. Using 2 forks, a wooden spoon, or your hands, crumble the cake. Optional: add candy sprinkles to the crumbs for added crunch and a bit of color. (picture 1)
3. Add approximately 1/2 the can of icing to the crumbled cake and stir in using a wooden spoon (or your hands). Test and see if you are able to roll a scoop into a ball. If not, add some more icing until you can. (pictures 2-3).
4. Using a 1/2" or 1" dasher or a spoon, scoop out some cake. We found the 1" to be bigger than we wanted, so we ended up dividing each original ball into 2 balls. Roll into a smooth ball and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you have used up all the cake (about 50 balls). Place cookie sheet into freezer for 2-3 hours. You want the balls to be cold, but not frozen completely solid (you need to be able to get the lollipop stick in...). (picture 4).
5. When cake balls have been in the freezer a good 2-3 hours, you are ready to dip. Melt the candy bark according to package directions in a pot on the stove, or in a microwave safe bowl. We had better success doing small batches of bark at a time. With larger amounts, the bark tended to solidify before we could use all of it...(picture 5).
6. Insert a lollipop stick into a cake ball. For snowmen, stack 2 on top of each other. Dip into the melted candy bark--if needed, use a spoon to coat evenly. (picture 6)
7. Working QUICKLY (before the coating hardens!!!), place any embellishments on the cakeball--m&ms for reindeers' noses, pretzels for antlers, gumdrops for noses, oreos for hats, etc. If it hardens before you get something on, just dip the candy in a bit of bark and attach. It works just fine that way, too. Wait until the candy coating has fully dried before drawing the faces on with the gel or edible marker. We placed our lollipop sticks in pieces of foam, egg cartons, and glasses while the coating hardened. (picture 7)
8. Use the gel or edible marker to create your faces! (picture 8)
9. We displayed our creations in shoe boxes that we wrapped with Christmas paper. We poked holes in the boxes with metal skewers and then popped the lollipop sticks into the holes. Voila! So festive!
All told, this project took a total of 2 days. The first day was just baking the cake, but the second was crumbling, rolling, freezing, waiting, dipping, decorating, and of course, eating. If you've got the time, these are not only adorable, they are delicious. Enjoy!
Lincoln's fantastic birthday spread. Don't worry, he got a bite of snowman : )
(special note: thanks to my SIL Breanne for the fantastic photography! My camera is on the fritz and she has a wonderful new digital SLR that she was nice enough to bring with her when she came to visit!)