Windy City Cake Balls!

1 Aug

Summer is still moseying along here in Chicago – and I’m loving every bit of it. Even though the humidity is ripe and my office building is so over-air conditioned that I have to walk outside just to thaw out – I’ll still take this heat over the winter any day.  Some people prefer the cold over the heat – but I’ll take sweaty clothes over seeing my breath in the air. And, as someone once said, you don’t have to shovel heat. I almost think summer is going by a little too quickly – summer is definitely prettier here in Chicago and I want to make sure I appreciate all the times I spend with friends, before winter comes and sends us all back inside. And one thing that is great to share with family and friends is . . . cake balls!

So, I’ve heard about cake balls for awhile now, but have never had them. A good friend told me about them awhile back and I’ve just now gotten around to making them. The recipe can be found easily with a Google search. I actually looked for it and found it at This is a really great site and I’ve gotten a lot of  recipes from here as well. But the recipe is pretty standard and simple in itself. They can be time consuming – the process should probably be over two days to make them correctly and you’ll see why after reading this.

First – start with a basic cake mix. Choose any flavor you like – part of the fun with this recipe is mixing a cake mix with a different frosting. I figured since this was my first time, I would make them chocolate – cause that’s normally my favorite. I also like this brand of cake mix because apparently there’s “1 cup of pudding in the mix” – I don’t know if that really makes any difference, but I’m a sucker for this kind of marketing. Anyway, just get the mix and make the cake according to directions on the box.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls

1 Cup of Pudding in the Mix!

When the cake is done, you’ll want to make sure it cools completely. It was suggested that the cake should actually be made the night before – cover with a towel and let cool overnight. This is where the 2-day process comes in. But it’s important that the cake is completely cooled and at room temperature – just trust me.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls

Delicious Chocolate Cake From a Box

Once the cake has cooled down, you’re going to destroy it into crumbs. Take a section at a time and just tear into it with a fork. Go ahead, work out your issues with it. And who doesn’t have issues?? Once you have all sections reduced to crumbs (just like you wish you could do to your best frenemy), you’re going to take a regular size can of store-bought frosting and mix that in with it. That’s right. You might get a finger-full of icing first if you like. I remember my mom would buy this icing when I was a kid – and it didn’t stand a chance between me and my brother. One finger scoop, another finger scoop and then it was Good-Bye Charlie!

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls Frosting

Crack in a Can

Anyway – you’re going to combine this crack-in-a-can with the cake crumblies and slowly mix it all in together. Keep stirring and combining until the frosting is all blended in. Even if you’re using white cream cheese frosting with chocolate cake (like I did), the frosting will blend in completely after a few minutes.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls Mix

Frosting / Cake Crumblies

Once you have the frosting and cake fully combined, you’ll start scooping out walnut-sized balls. Or whatever the heck size you want, really. My friend told me she’s made them into egg shapes to decorate for Easter, so there’s a lot of options. Go ahead, get crazy with the cake balls. A mini-ice cream scoop would work great for this – I actually used a tablespoon measuring scoop and that worked as well. So scoop it all out into uniform shaped balls on wax paper and put them in the freezer.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls

Scoop Out Your Cake Balls

You’re going to want them in the freezer for at least an hour. I actually left mine in for a good 3 hours this afternoon. I know, soo time consuming! But they need to be super cold so they’ll dip in the chocolate and not fall apart.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls

Use whatever flavor/color chocolate you want to coat the cake balls. Use white chocolate with food coloring to get super-crazy with the color combos. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler – or, if you’re like me, stick a bowl on a pot with boiling water and go to town.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls Double Boiler

Double Boiler - Fancy!

Remove the balls from the freezer.  Using one toothpick, pick up the balls one at a time and dip in the chocolate.  Use a second toothpick to slide the ball off the first toothpick onto the wax paper lined baking tray. Or use a spoon and slide them around, making more of a mess than you need to. OR – if you happen to have an easter egg dipper – I’m sure that would probably work the best.

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls Melting Chocolate

Melting Chocolate

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls Decoration

Decorate Your Balls

Let the cake balls set – and decorate as you like. I also put them back in the fridge for just a bit to cool down the chocolate and let them set. Then I tried one (ok, three). And they’re THAT good. Amazingly good. They’re also very rich, so of course after three I felt a little nauseated and guilty for scarfing them down like a dog. These will be great to have at parties – I’m sure you can decorate them for any old holiday and people will LOVE them. Below is the full recipe –

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls

Cake Balls

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls Delicious Goodness

Delicious Goodness


  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can of crack store-bought frosting
  • 1 bag melting chocolate

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box, in a  package, 9 x 13-inch pan. Cover the cake and allow to cool completely. Once the cake has cooled completely, begin breaking the cake up into crumbs in a large bowl. When you’re finished, you should have a big bowl of fine cake crumbs! Slowly work the frosting into the cake. Keep working until the frosting is completely mixed in and no longer visible.

Next, roll the mixture into walnut size balls. Use a measuring scoop if possible. Place in the freezer for at least an hour, longer if possible. Once they are firm and solid, start melting the chocolate.

Add the melting chocolate into the bowl of the double boiler. Stir occasionally until all the chocolate is completely melted. Use a toothpick or a spoon (or whatever you want to use that will help you make the BIGGEST mess possible) – roll/dip in the chocolate. Coat the ball entirely and lay them back down onto the waxed paper. Decorate more for your favorite holiday or place them back in the fridge to firm up. Enjoy!

Chicago Windy City Cake Balls


6 Responses to “Windy City Cake Balls!”

  1. Joy August 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    These look delicious and like they might be fun to do with kids! (especially destroying the cake into crumbs) I know some moms are cautious about sugar, but I think as long as you teach good dental hygiene there’s nothing wrong with a little sugar (and crack icing – my favorite! 🙂 ) This Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth ( has some great tips.

    • billpeeler August 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Thanks Joy – I was also thinking this would be fun with kids – destroying into crumbs and decorating as well. Would also make the process go by a little faster. Thanks for the feedback!! 🙂

  2. Deborah Westfall August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I’ve never heard of these and they sound delicious! I also had no idea you had a blog and I’ve found reading this to be a great way to spend my morning!

    • billpeeler August 3, 2011 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks Deb – they’re super-delicious and super-rich! Thanks for reading!

  3. Corey T. August 3, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    You had me at reducing my best frenemy to crumbs.

  4. evelyn (Mom) August 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    If you want to be Southern Hostess, like me, you could dip them in white chocolate or melted almond bark, and decorate with colored frostings for a shower or a tea. Tiny rosebuds or maybe candied violets.

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