Book Club Baking: Red Velvet Cake Balls

We weren't always all on the same page but we definitely agreed on cream cheese frosting

In college I had five awesome roommates – I can thank the freshman year housing lottery for some amazing bonds that remain incredibly strong today. We shared many things over our college years including clothes, books, and stories but most importantly we all shared a love of cream cheese frosting. If we were allowed we would have put it on anything! While digging through my inbox for today’s recipe I remembered the last time I shared my red velvet recipe and I stumbled across an e-mail chain with these girls from the weeks following our graduation that left me half crying and half laughing and mostly missing the dining room table in our apartment senior year (a place where lots of cream cheese frosting was consumed).

Fast forward to today and the reason that I was making red velvet cake balls in the first place – book club! It’s probably important to add that 4 out of 6 of the girls pictured above are book club members, the other two don’t reside in NYC otherwise they would be! Tonight book club is getting together to discuss our February book (we run a standard 1-2 weeks behind the rest of the world). In honor of Valentine’s Day our theme for the month was love and we read The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. I felt it only fitting to provide some red velvet treats to fuel our love themed discussion, plus promising red velvet cake balls is a sure fire way to get the book club to show up regardless of whether they got around to reading the book this month.

The batter is supposed to be this red (and this is after adding the buttermilk and dry ingredients).

When I first shared this recipe with one of today’s featured girls I got a panicked phone call mid cake balomg that the batter was shockingly red – after much assuring that this was normal she continued baking but not before staining her hands (be careful the dye can take a while to come off!)

Red Velvet Cake Balls – cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Cake Recipe:

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder (I don’t usually say this but for this recipe I use the good stuff)

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp red gel dye (more if you are using liquid food coloring)

1 cup buttermilk

2 tsp white distilled vinegar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees – prepare two 9 inch cake pans by spraying with cooking  oil.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together sugar and vegetable oil until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time mixing and scraping down the bowl in between additions. Add the food coloring and vanilla and mix together.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Add the flour and buttermilk in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture while the mixture is on low.

In a separate bowl mix together vinegar and baking soda and let foam. Add to the mixing bowl and mix into batter for 10 seconds. Pour batter into cake pans and bake in the oven 20-30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

8 oz of room temperature cream cheese (important that it is soft)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Cream together the cream cheese and butter than add the sugar and vanilla. If too soft add more sugar if too dry add cream cheese or butter dependent on flavor.

To create the cake balls combine two cups of frosting with crumbled cake in a big bowl. Make sure that the cake and frosting are completely combine then roll into balls. This recipe made a lot more cake balls than anticipated (about four dozen) I think next time I would consider halving the recipe but I tested freezing some of the cake/frosting mix- I will let you know if it works.

Let cake balls set for at least an hour on a cookie sheet in the freezer then dip into melted dipping chocolate or candy coating. Follow candy coating instructions dependent on the product that you use!

Enjoy and be careful these can be addicting!

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