Earlier this week, while picking up some chicken-flavored ramen and San Pellegrino for brunch at Kroger, I noticed the Christmas edition of Food Network Magazine in the checkout lane. I was waiting behind three other customers so I picked up the foodie mag. I started flipping through it in the face of ennui. Nothing immediately caught my eye until I turned to the food news section. Two words: cake balls.
I was intrigued by the term “cake balls.” It sounded like a phrase that belonged in the X-rated version of Marie Antonette, “Let them eat cake balls!” Or used as an alternative to curse words, “Oh cake balls, I forgot my wallet.” I decided to buy the magazine and see exactly what these treats were all about. According to the article, cake balls are crumbled balls of cake, mixed with icing and dunked in a pot of chocolate. Evidently, cake balls are the new trend.
Watch out cupcakes! These magisterial confections are trying to take over!
The pictures in the magazine made them look like creamy, egg-sized goodies. The cake ball bakeries are located in Austin, Long Island, Tarzana, and Dallas. A google search revealed the Dallas location was only about 45 minutes away from my current dwelling. I was either going to spend the day eating ramon and watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit or go converge with the cake balls. I chose the balls.
I hopped in my Honda and headed toward the bakery. I was pitifully dressed. I had put on some Lucy yoga pants, a men's white under shirt and a pair of old navy flip flops. I figured it was alright considering I was heading to the ghetto that is Garland.
After getting lost for half an hour, I finally found the sweet shop. The bakery was housed in what looked like a condemned shopping center. I parked in front of the store. It was adjacent to a run down dry cleaners and a learning center for delinquent youth. I walked up to the bakeshop window and peeked inside. The entire store was about the size of a VW Golf. There was a register, a display table and a fridge that housed the treats.
I walked in and noticed a Shannon Doherty doppelgänger behind the register. She didn't acknowledge my existence. This was awkward because, like I said, the place was the size of a tanning bed. I decided to troll the shop until she did greeted me. “May I help you?” She finally asked. “Ya. I want some cake balls.” I said stubbornly.
I ordered a couple of the top sellers: strawberry, red velvet and wedding cake. Shannon took them out of the refrigerator and placed them in a white box, emblazoned with the brown and green cake ball logo. I took them to my car and admired them. The actual balls are the size of a dunkin' donut munchkin. The chocolate shell around each cake is hard, cold and smooth.
Wedding Cake: This ball evokes elegance. It is an ultra sweet bonbon encased in a rich white-chocolate hull. When you bite into it, the cake mix has a weird texture. It is lighter than phyllo dough but thicker than nouget. Future bites reveal sporadic hints of pecans and coconut. Overall, interesting dessert.
Red Velvet: Red velvet is my favorite cake! However, I don't like the ball variety. Red velvet is amazing in itself because it is served with a thick layer of icing on top. I love chocolate but I feel like it is annoying here. Red velvet and cream cheese icing are like a famous duo. Chocolate just throws off their chi. It is like when a bartender puts peppermint schnapps in a rum and coke. Don't do it. It's a rum and coke.
Strawberry: I think this ball taste like a dense cherry covered in chocolate. It's not cake, it's crap. Nothing special about it. Plus, it looks exactly like the cherries in a box of Cella's with drizzles of white chocolate stripes.
I admire the trendy flare of these quasi-cake treats but I would only buy the wedding cake variety. Also, only serve them at snazzy events that cater to cash-flow cats who drink Cristal.
P.S. Don't eat them hot. I tried em' and they honestly tasted like a sugary loogie.