One of my favorite activities in my free time is baking. Just ask my Flight Crew teammates when it’s someone’s birthday! In the spirit of the season, I tackled a new recipe for something I like to call Pumpkin Pie Cake Balls. Picture pumpkin pie meeting a cupcake covered in white chocolate. It was a huge success, so much so that with Thanksgiving around the corner everyone asked for the recipe.
Since Pumpkin Pie Cake Balls have become one of the Flight Crew’s favorite fall desserts I figure why limit it to only my teammates? Jets fans, here is the recipe for what I hope is your new favorite holiday treat. Enjoy!
PUMPKIN PIE CAKE BALLS
Step 1: Baking the Cake
The base of the recipe is a basic yellow cake. You can use your favorite yellow cake recipe or the one I use, outlined below.*
Ingredients for Basic Yellow Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
1 can pumpkin purée (15 ounces) (Note: not pumpkin pie mix)
⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
(Hint: Make sure butter is softened for easier mixing. Also, it is best if the eggs and milk are at room temperature)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt (for best results use a wire whisk).
3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Next, beat in one egg at a time. Add the vanilla extract and mix until completely combined.
4. Slowly alternate between adding the flower mixture and the milk to the ingredients in the large bowl until well blended.
5. Add the additional ingredients to the yellow cake mixture: pumpkin purée, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. (Hint: These measurements are approximately what I use. Don't be afraid to experiment with more or less depending on your desired taste. Caution: Don't use too much pumpkin purée as it could make the cake too moist.)
6. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes depending on pan size until fully baked.
Step 2: Making the Frosting
You can use the cream cheese frosting recipe of your choice or the one I use, outlined below.
4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
½ stick of butter
1¼ cup of confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(Hint: Butter and cream cheese mix best when softened at room temperature)
1. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
2. Mix in vanilla.
3. Slowly blend in the confectioners sugar until well mixed, smooth and creamy.
Step 3: Making the Cake Balls
Allow cake to fully cool before getting started on this part.
24 oz. of white chocolate
Approximately 80 pumpkin seeds for garnish
1. After the cake has fully cooled to room temperature, take small sections of the cake and crumble it into a large mixing bowl using your hands. Continue to crumble all of the cake until you no longer see any chunks.
2. Combine the frosting with the crumbled cake. (I suggest using ½ to ¾ cup of cream cheese frosting. Adding too much frosting to the crumbled cake will make it harder to create the rounded balls and will change the consistency of the finished product.) Mix it using a big spoon until the crumbled cake and frosting are fully combined to a dough-like consistency. (Hint: For best results knead the cake crumbs and frosting, being sure to thoroughly incorporate the two.)
3. To create a consistent size for your cake balls it is suggested to use a cookie scoop to portion out equal amounts of cake ball dough. If you don't have a cookie scoop you can use a heaping scoop from 1 tablespoon.
4. Once you have scooped out all of the dough into even portions, you can start rolling them into nice smooth balls. (Roll the dough back and forth between your hands until you have a round, even ball.)
5. Place each ball onto a tray lined with waxed/parchment paper.
6. After you have rolled all of the scooped out portions, place the entire tray in the freezer for at least 2 hours. (Hint: be sure to give the cake balls enough time in the freezer because the chocolate will not adhere as well to warm cake balls.)
7. Before you take your cake balls out of the freezer, you will melt the white chocolate for dipping. (Hint: For every 6 oz of chocolate you should add one teaspoon of vegetable oil to thin out the chocolate and give it a nice shine and do not overheat your chocolate.)
8. After a minimum of 2 hours, remove the cake balls from the freezer and insert a toothpick into the center of each cake ball. Pick up each ball by the toothpick and dip it into the melted chocolate. Be sure to coat the entire ball. Then lift the ball out of the chocolate and let the excess chocolate drip off. Don't be afraid to give it a gentle shake. Set the dipped cake ball back down on the waxed paper. Continue to dip each cake ball until all of them are complete.
9. Once you are finished dipping the cake balls, you will remove and discard all the toothpicks. Using a spoon and a small amount of melted white chocolate cover the small holes where the toothpicks were. This is where I added a pumpkin seed for decoration, but feel free to decorate the pumpkin cake balls however you like.
This will make between 40 and 55 cake balls, depending on which yellow cake recipe you use and how you scoop the balls. I recommend serving cake balls with a slight chill to them (out of the fridge) but you may prefer them at room temperature. Either is fine, it's a personal preference depending on what you like.