Week 7 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats and I know what you’re thinking—those don’t look very Christmas-y. Well, use your imagination and pretend they are red, green and white. See, they’d be perfect! I made these a couple months ago for a baby shower I hosted and have been wanting to blog them since, but haven’t found the opportunity to do so. I decided you need to know about them, so here you go.
I really don’t take any credit for the idea for these. Back at the end of August (which seems like just yesterday, or maybe like a week ago anyway), Dawn at Vanilla Sugar posted some Banana Bread Balls she made using banana bread (obviously) instead of the ever-popular cake balls. After I saw those, I knew I wanted to try them because I. LOVE. BANANAS. (You are what you eat, right?) I also don’t really care for cake balls. Mostly because I don’t like cake mixes or canned frosting, which seems to be “the thing” for cake balls. I have tried them in the past with homemade cake and frosting and they did turn out well, but have still never really made cake balls all that much.
Dawn made hers with banana bread and cream cheese, then dipped them in melted chocolate and sprinkled them with walnuts. YUM!
Well, I stumbled upon a little boo-boo I made in the kitchen back in September. I made my most favorite cake in the world--Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, but thought I’d try it in a bread pan and make a banana “bread” that had a swirl of cinnamon-walnut-chocolate chip streusel in the middle and on top, like the cake. I believe it would have worked just fine in the bread pan, but took it out of the oven too soon, so the bread sunk a little in the middle. That doesn’t make me very happy, but I wasn’t about to throw out the cake/bread. Having Dawn’s Banana Bread Balls in mind, I just started taking some of the cooled cake and forming it in to walnut-sized balls. I stuck them in the freezer.
That’s where the baby shower I mentioned comes in to play. I remembered those lonely cake balls in the freezer and decided they would be really fun to dress up for a girly baby shower. I chose to use candy melts for dunking them and used white and pink and some chocolate bark.
Cute. Fun. Yum! Before telling shower guests what they were, they were all trying to guess what flavors were in them as they ate them. Did I mention I love this coffee cake? It has, of course, bananas and the swirl/top layer has mini chocolate chips, cinnamon and walnuts, along with brown sugar. Because I use mini chocolate chips and some pretty finely chopped walnuts, they were fine when forming the cake in to balls. The cake was cool, but still fresh, so the chocolate chips kind of melted in with the cake as I formed the balls. It was all good!
For the cake--
Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Coffee Cake, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Bon Appetit 2003
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon (heaping)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces coconut oil (original recipes uses 1 stick unsalted butter--I was actually out of butter (gasp), but loved how this turned out with the coconut oil
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups very ripe banana, mashed (I used about 4 small-medium bananas)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
Prehead oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 inch square pan (although I used a 10 inch round springform pan and it worked great!) *Or try a 9x5 inch bread pan—bake for 50 minutes, then check for doneness and adjust accordingly. I probably baked the bread pan cake for 50-55 minutes and it could have used another 5 minutes. It was not doughy, just sunk in the center.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together to sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (this can be done all by hand if you use the oil as opposed to butter which beats together with the sugar better in a mixer), beat coconut oil and sugar until well combined. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Stir in mashed bananas and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Spread half the batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle half the streusel evenly over the first half. Spread the remaining batter over that and top with the rest of the streusel topping. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (the original recipes says 45 minutes), with my bigger pan, I only baked it 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
For the coating and cake truffles instructions:
6-8 ounces white candy melts
6-8 ounces pink candy melts
6-8 ounces chocolate bark or candy melts
sprinkles for decorating
*Use any colors you’d like for any holiday or event.
Once the cake is cooled, form into walnut-sized cake balls, form it to hold together my squeezing it in your hand. Set them on a waxed paper lined baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, or once frozen, put them in a plastic zip top bag and freeze up to 2 months.
When ready to coat the truffles, remove them from the freezer.
Melt the candy according to package directions in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip the frozen cake truffles in one color at a time. If the melts are hardening, you can microwave it again until it is the consistency you want. Dip one cake truffle into the melted candy while it is sitting on a fork. Bring it out of the candy and tap the fork lightly on the side of the bowl to drip off the excess. Set on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper using another fork to slide it off the dunking fork. Sprinkle immediately. If using another color to drizzle over the truffles, you can do that after all of them are made.