First of all, Happy New Year Everyone! I hope 2011 will be a blessed and exciting year for us all.
Okay, I made these little bites of heaven on a hunch. I had some friends coming over for a post-Christmas playdate (for the kids, not for me, of course!) and all of my Christmas baking had been devoured. I couldn’t shake the idea of combining an Eggnog Cake recipe I’d been dying to make with Rum Raisin Buttercreme to make cake balls….it just sounded too perfect not to try. And try I did, with stellar results!
Perhaps I cannot convince you to try them this year, but believe me, save this recipe for next Christmas. You will not be disappointed.
Cake balls can be messy and a bit of a challenge if you insist on perfection. I throw the idea of perfection out the window for baked goods (and I am normally a serious perfectionist – a tough job with 3-year-old twins, I can tell you). It’s all about the taste after all, isn’t it? Of course you want your delicious goodies to look appealing, but that can be achieved without every ball being the exact same size and the covering (candy melts, chocolate, etc) being flawlessly smooth. Happiness is homemade – make it your way.
To make this little wonders, you follow the basic principle of making cake balls, which is make a cake (you can use a mix if you must) in a 13×9 cake pan. Allow it to cool, then crumble it into a large bowl. Add enough icing (cream cheese icing seems to be the most popular) to make the cake crumbs stick together. Roll the cake/icing mixture into balls (I make mine using about a tablespoon of mixture) and allow to cool in the refrigerator while you prepare the coating. As I stated earlier, I used an Eggnog Cake recipe and Rum Raisin Buttercreme. I covered them in Vanilla Candy Melts flavoured with the seeds from one vanilla pod….superb!
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup dark rum or bourbon (optional)
2 1/4 cups eggnog
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F/180 C. Grease and flour one 13×9 cake pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, vinegar, and sugar. Beat on medium-low speed until well blended. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Rum Raisin Buttercreme*
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum raisin double cream
Beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt, beat at medium-low spped until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and cream and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
Leftover icing can be used to ice cupcakes, spread on graham crackers or digestive biscuits (depending on which side of the pond you live on), delicious on a scone….the possibilities are endless, I promise!
Enjoy…and let me know how you get on!