I just waddled home from the neighborhood potluck and wanted to take advantage of the sugar rush to get my first contribution to the Virtual Holiday Potluck posted. But first, a report on the event:
As always, we had a wonderful time catching up with everyone’s goings on. Despite living within 100 yards of each other, we don’t have the opportunity to simply sit and talk for a bit. I live amongst wonderful people, so visiting time with them is always a gift. That there was a bounty of delicious foods on the table was a bonus.
Our host family chose not to assign dishes for us to bring, and it worked out really well in this case. Among other things, they prepared a yummy pork tenderloin, meatballs, and a new-to-me side dish of asparagus roll-ups, similar to this recipe. Other neighbors contributed a pasta shells stuffed with spinach and crab puffs. We also had a freshly cut watermelon (a real treat in December!) and pimento cheese (the same dish that neighbor Roger tied with me for first place in the salad division of the summer neighborhood potluck.) Oh, and to this I added a black bean corn salad, as shown below:
No recipe, because I didn’t make it. I had a gift certificate to my favorite deli that was about to expire, so I opted for this salad, and I’m glad I did. It was so tasty I had two spoonfuls! And two spoonfuls of the pimento cheese. Everything else was small serving or a dab, including the desserts: a cherry-o cheesecake, a cherry-coconut cake, and my contribution of what I call Red Velvet Cake Joys!
I first saw this recipe on Bakerella last year. She calls them Cake Balls, but I prefer Cake Joys. It sounds cuter, plus I try to put a little distance between Bakerella’s elegant confection and my…well, less elegant version. She probably would appreciate that.
It probably doesn’t need to be said that any recipe with “Red Velvet” in the name is pretty much nutrient free. You could bake the cake and cook the icing from scratch and make some healthy substitutions. My one nod in this direction was to use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil in the boxed caked mix. Woo-hoo!
Another note: There’s quite a bit of wait time in this recipe, so allow plenty of time for prep. I baked the cake Saturday night and dipped this morning. Perfect!
- Boxed Red Velvet Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines and prepared it as directed, with the unsweetened applesauce switch and less water, in a 13×9 cake pan
- Can of Cream Cheese Frosting (Again, Duncan Hines just because I had a coupon)
- Package of Chocolate Bark (I chose white chocolate “coating” because Kroger doesn’t carry chocolate bark)
- Wax Paper
After baking the cake, I let it cool completely and then crumbled it into a large bowl. Then I globbed the whole can of frosting on top.
The next step is to stir all that sugary goodness together until well blended. I usually don a pair of plastic gloves and mix with my hands. It’s very messy.
When it’s blended to satisfaction, it’s time for rolling:
I use my super cute cookie dough scooper for dipping and portioning, but you could use a simple kitchen spoon.
When you’ve rolled all 400 (or maybe it’s 40, and just seems like more) balls, you slap them in the fridge for a couple of hours while you attempt to clean cake dough off of every surface in your kitchen. Or, if you’re neater in the kitchen than this non-chef, you could go to the gym for an extra workout to offset the inevitable tasting that will occur.
The dipping process is easy, but time consuming. The basic process is to melt the chocolate according to the package directions, dip the cake balls into it, and place them on wax paper to set up.
In my previous two attempts at this recipe, I used a spoon for dipping and transferring, but this time I used a spoon for dipping and rolling the cake ball in the chocolate and then a fork for lifting and transferring to wax paper. This was much better, since it allowed a lot of excess chocolate to drip off pre-transfer.
After the transfer, I toss a few sprinkles on top just for color. I had intended to use Christmas sprinkles, but apparently don’t have any. The downside of eating healthy 95% of the time, I guess. Tuna salad doesn’t really benefit from sprinkles.
When the dipping is complete, all that’s left is to let the chocolate set. and then you’re done!
Everyone loved these joys, and I was very pleased. I was asked for the recipe many times, so I suspect these pretties will be served several more times this holiday season.
So I’m at home now and the festivities are over. I’ll be making some gift treats next weekend, but my midweek holiday events are restaurant meals at places with good choices. As long as I can keep it spread out like this, I should be okay.
With that, I’m going to call it a day. Right after I add this post to the potluck table. I hope to see you there soon!