I keep a dessert leftovers box in the freezer. In that box–on the day my fridge/freezer was being replaced, I found two bags of chocolate cake crumbs, one marked wheat and the other gluten-free. and both labeled, “flavor not great.” Really? I knew the cakes weren’t spoiled, but just left over from a couple of tests that didn’t make the cut as first rate. Next to the bagged crumbs was a jar of ganache, because I always have ganache in the refrigerator and freezer. With the new fridge/freezer coming in a few hours, my monthly freezer inventory had to happen asap.
I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes a dessert cannot be fixed, but after tasting the flat tasting cake crumbs, I thought of a quick fix – make cakeballs using strongly flavored chocolate ganache as the binder, and then coat the cakes in a distinctly flavored chocolate.
I wanted to use a spicy chocolate ganache, but I was in a hurry, so instead of making the Aztec Truffles in Vegan Chocolate, which calls for infusing plant milk with chili, I used Theo Chocolate’s Chili bar to make basic Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache. It worked a charm, and the cakeballs were quickly made. While the balls were chilling in the freezer for 20 minutes, I melted about 6 ounces of the chili chocolate. Orange or espresso flavored chocolates would make great alternatives too, but if your cake is yummy, any favorite chocolate will do.
I dipped the balls into the melted chocolate using my Wilton Chocolate Pro. I won’t say this is a top quality piece of equipment, but I find it handy. After they set, you know I tasted one. They were amazingly delicious. The blah taste of the crumbs was transformed into a kind fudgy brownie bite. I felt thrifty and smart.
The guys who replaced the refrigerator thought the cakeballs were “amazing”. Together we decided on the name Amazeballs. It was only then that I revealed the amazing cakeballs, the amazeballs, were vegan. I’ve made this recipe now many times, and even served them at The Seed Experience.
These little confections stay nice and shiny in a well-wrapped container in the freezer, so no tempering of chocolate coating is needed.
Fast forward to Vegan Halloween. I get excited, and then tired, when I look at the zillions of detailed offerings on Pinterest boards. My daughter is a working mom – a social scientist by trade and a crafter too. She travels for work, is detail oriented, and always pressed for time, and yet still she makes her two young son’s Halloween costumes, as well as treats. (I always bought my kids costumes!) I’ve been hearing the same story from other moms, whether they are working outside of the home or are at home with toddlers and babies – time pressed but want to make homemade Halloween treats that the kids will like and are healthier options too.
I thought about repurposing quick and easy desserts that are not too sweet (but still delicious), made with organic and fair-trade ingredients (no slavery in my offerings.) into Halloween treats. With cake crumbs — but this time from a really delicious cake made for a three year old’s birthday — and ganache from the freezer, I was clear that cakeballs decorated with mini marshmallow and chocolate chip eyes were the way to go. You don’t even need sticks for these cakeballs, as they look adorable in holiday themed mini cupcake papers.
The difference this time, aside from starting with yummy cake, was that I measured so that I could offer a real recipe. Of course, you may need a little more or less ganache, since I have no way of knowning how moist or dry your cake is. Start with the smaller amount. You can always add more.
Mix the ganache into the crumbs, add any mix-ins, and wait 5 minutes. The mixture should shape easily and not be wet on your hands when rolled. If dry, add more ganache. If too wet, add more crumbs. While the balls are getting cold in the freezer, melt the chocolate. Then go and start on the costumes.
Vegan Halloween Cakeballs
Yield: 12 to 14 1-inch balls
Notes: The recipe is easily doubled.
If you have ganache made and it has hardened, warm it over a water bath until pourable.
- 2 cups crumbs (1/2 of a 9-inch cake) and a little more in case
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze, pourable, made with flavored chocolate if desired. ie: Orange, Chili, Espresso
- 6 oz melted chocolate
Optional but recommended:
- 3 tablespoons chopped chocolate, shredded coconut, chopped nuts for texture.
- Marshmallow eyes: 2 mini vegan marshmallows per cake ball, each with a mini chocolate chip inserted into the middle
- To make the crumbs, start with a cold cake. Cut into pieces and put into food processor. Process just until crumbs are fine. Don’t make mush.
- Put the crumbs into a medium bowl. If the ganache is pourable, it is ready to use. If not, warm it over a water bath until it is pourable.
- Add 1/3 cup of the ganache glaze to the crumbs and mix with a silicone spatula to coat. Wait a few minutes for the cake to absorb the ganche. Test by squeezing a little bit of the mixture in your fingers. It should hold together. If not, add more ganche. And if it is too wet, add more crumbs.I used 1/2 cup to make the ones pictured.
- Add the chopped chocolate or another mix-in and stir to coat.
- Form into balls, using a small spring loaded ice cream scoop and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place the sheet into the freezer to harden.
- While the cake balls are chilling, melt the chocolate and make the marshmallow eyes.
- To make the marshmallow eyes, you’ll need 2 mini marshmallows (Sweet and Sara or Dandies) per ball. (If you can only find large marshmallows, it’s okay to cut them.) Press a mini chocolate chip into each marshmallow.
- When the balls are hard and cold, dip one or two at a time into the melted chocolate. I use a chocolate dipping fork, but you can use an ordinary dinner fork. Allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place back on the sheet pan. Repeat with all of the balls.
- Before the chocolate coating has set, place 2 marshmallow eyes into the cake balls.
- Allow the chocolate coating to set in the refrigerator. Place each Halloween Amazeball into a mini cupcake liner.
- Refrigerate in covered container until ready to serve.
I would absolutely love to see photos of your Amazeballs, so please share them! In a few days, I’m going to send out some recipes for Creamy Creepy Vegan Halloween Desserts, no oven necessary. Boo!