Friday, May 20, 2005

Red Velvet Heart-Shaped Cake Ball Pops

Red Velvet Heart-Shaped Cake Ball Pops

For the cake

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the cream cheese frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

For assembly

lollipop sticks
candy melts or other dipping coating
Styrofoam block

To prepare the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Beat in sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined after each and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in vanilla.

Combine buttermilk and food coloring.

Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, stir together vinegar and baking soda. Quickly add into cake batter, then use a spatula to fold the mixture together. Pour batter into a 9" x 13" baking pan coated with nonstick spray, smoothing the top with an off-set spatula. Place into the oven and bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick placed into the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 28 to 35 minutes. Remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until soft and smooth. Add cream cheese and mix until combined. Add vanilla, salt and 3 cups confectioners' sugar - mix until smooth and fluffy. If you think the frosting needs to be thicker, mix in remaining confectioners' sugar.

To assemble

Crumble completely cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. Add about half of the frosting, then stir the mixture together until well combined - don't be afraid to use your hands if needed. The crumbs should stick together well, but the mixture shouldn't be too wet or sticky. If you find it is too dry, add more frosting.

Take the mixture and press it into a 9" x 13" x 1" baking pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper, making sure it is as level and smooth as possible. Wrap pan in plastic wrap, then place into the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough to handle. Unwrap and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out hearts. If you need more hearts, take all the scraps and repeat the same process. You won't fill the pan again, but be sure to keep the same thickness (about 3/4" t 1"). If you don't want more hearts, roll the remain cake mixture into balls.

Dip one end of the lollipop stick into melted candy coating, then press into the bottom of the heart - aim for stopping the stick when it reaches about 3/4 of the way through the heart. When all are done (along with any balls, if using), refrigerate for several hours (or set in the freezer for 15 to 25 minutes) until firm.

Dip hearts (and balls, if using) into melted candy coating to coat, letting any excess drip away. Place sticks into a block of Styrofoam to allow coating to dry before storing.

Makes about 22 heart pops and about 26 cake ball pops.

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