♥burn Cake Balls

♥burn Cake Balls

Pretty, Blah

Red Velvet: Pretty, Blah

I find red velvet cake to be one of the most interesting features of moving to the south.  Mostly because it can be used to make a bleeding armadillo cake (here’s someone else’s post about red velvet, with a pic of a bleeding armadillo cake), and nextly because of a perfectly suitable reason for cream cheese frosting.  But, frankly, other than it’s red and cream cheese, Red Velvet mostly bores me.  I mean it’s super moist (with a slight acid hint) because of the buttermilk, making it a great combo with cream cheese, but it usually contains such a ludicrously small amount of chocolate that no one would ever call it a great chocolate cake, but other than that it’s blah.  Pretty, blah.

I don’t admire Pretty, Blah.  I want my cakes to be interesting, to have levels of taste and I don’t care as much about pretty, but as long as it’s as easy as dumping a bunch of red food coloring in it, I’m game for Pretty.

Pretty, Dangerous

♥burn Cake: Pretty, Dangerous

I want chocolate like it’s going out of style.  I want this southern specialty to acknowledge that chocolate was often considered savory before the Europeans found it, and by that I mean spicy.

I want sexy cake. I want Pretty, Dangerous.

And that means the ♥burn Cake’s full name is:  Triple Chocolate Chipotle Red Velvet with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.  And when I make cake balls out of it, it’s full name is:

Triple Chocolate Chipotle Red Velvet with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting in Dark Habenero Chocolate Cake Balls

The Cake Recipe!

  • 2-1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T instant espresso
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, shredded**
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1-1/2 c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (canned in adobe sauce or rehydrated dried*) stemmed and chopped finely
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 fl oz (the whole small bottle) red food coloring
  • 1 t white distilled vinegar
  • 1 t baking soda

Preheat oven 350°.  Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans.  (TWO WHOLE PANS?  I thought we were making cakeballs!  I have to dirty two whole pans?  Well, no, you can also use one 16×11 sheet cake pan, but pre-heat to 325° instead.  Or pretty munch any combo of pans here that add up to about 11 cups.  I find that these cakes finish a bit earlier than Wilton’s “wedding” cakes, so start checking 5-10 minutes before that time there.)

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, instant espresso and shredded chocolate and set that aside.  If you’re like me and hate sifting flour because it’s flour and you’re lazy, don’t skip the sifting of the cocoa (or at least smooshing the lumps out of it), that stuff clumps like no one’s business and gets more insistent about being a clump when added to the batter.

In a mixer (just get one already), cream the butter until it’s learned what’s good for it, and add the sugar until you secretly want to just stop there and go eat that.  Then add the eggs, the vanilla, food coloring and the chipotle.  Alternating the flour mixture and buttermilk, add each to the butter stuff starting with the flour and ending with the flour, mixing to combine into a creepy red paste.  Mmmmm.

At the last possible moment, mix the vinegar and soda together in a small bowl and watch in amazement, then fold that into the batter and quickly pour the batter into the pans and bake 25-30 minutes (30-35 for that lower temped sheet cake).  A tooth pick will come out dry if you stick it in a fully cooked cake.  In case you wanted to know how to test that a cake is done.

Allow to cool.

* Rehydrate overnight in a small dish of water and discard the water.

** Fine particles of chocolate melt into the cake to moisten the cake without noticeable chunks like chocolate chips would.  If you don’t have a good way of shredding the chocolate, you can melt it, allow to cool (but not solid) and stir in to the butter and sugar mixture before the eggs.  Really I just shred it because it’s easier than cleaning a bowl of melted chocolate.

The Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe!

If you’ve made cream cheese frosting before, just add 1/4 c cinnamon to your favorite 8 oz worth of cream cheese size recipe.  Otherwise:

  •  1/2 c butter (1 stick), softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 regular package, not the whipped stuff), softened
  • 2-1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c ground cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla

In that mixer I made you buy*, cream the butter and cream cheese together until it’s not lumpy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar (or quickly, it’s your kitchen, I don’t have to clean it) and cinnamon while mixing on low, followed by the vanilla until it’s well combined then turn that puppy up, and beat it a bit until it’s all light and frosting-like.

*This one’s mine!  It was a gift from my rich brother.  If enough of you click that link and buy one, I can be rich too!


This is the fun part, ladies and most likely more ladies…..

Get a big bowl, dump the frosting and the cake into the bowl.  Moosh it all up into a consistent glop.  You can use your hands (it’s actually easiest/fastest that way), but if you wear contacts, *****USE GLOVES!*****  Heck, if you are prone to touch your eyes or pick your nose, or scratch anywhere that is sensitive at all, USE GLOVES.  There are chipotle in there.  They are smokey and tasty and filled with capsaisin, which hates your sensitive bits, like eyes.

Get yourself a sheet pan, or cookie sheet or something flat and food-safe, and clear some space in the fridge.  Then using a scoop or spoon or whatever, divy up the glop into 1″ish spheres, you’re looking for 1-2 bite sized and lay out on the flat thing then chill them out in the fridge for a half hour at least.


Coating is no fun.  Seriously, this is the least fun part.  If you haven’t had fun until now, just stick the balls in the freezer and mix them with ice cream the next time you make/eat ice cream.  Or just eat them.  Who am I to judge?

If you coat them, be sure to have 2-3 times the amount of chocolate/wafers/shortening whatever as listed here and work in small batches unless you are a chocolate/wafer melting goddess who is willing to tempt fate.

There are several options here:

Easy, little expensive, minimal customization:  Chocolate melting wafers (10 oz bag):

  • Melt wafers (microwave, double boiler) in something that you can dip balls into.

Easy, cheaper, customizable (but requires you to have shortening and measure): Chocolate chips/baking chocolate and shortening:  (1-1/2 c chocolate chips/9 oz bittersweet baking and 2T veggie shortening)

  • Melt chocolate and shortening together  (microwave/double boiler) in something that you can dip balls into.

Hard, fully customizable, difficult, minimal measuring,  prone to failure: Tempering Chocolate (10 oz chocolate)

  • Melt half of the chocolate in double boiled, remove from heat (and away from boiling water so the chocolate doesn’t get wet).
  • Stir in the rest of the chocolate.
  • Cross your fingers that that worked.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 t of cinnamon and small amount (I use the middle sized spoon from my pinch/smidgen/dash spoon set, I think it’s about 1/12 of a teaspoon) of habenaro powder.  (Basically the cinnamon increases the likelihood that the habenero is evenly distributed, but also cinnamon and chocolate rocks!)  Stir into melted chocolate.

Using a couple of teaspoons to assist, dunk and coat the balls with chocolate and set aside to firm up.

There’s a good chance that moisture will seize up your chocolate during this process, so have plenty on hand to avoid emergency trips to stores and crying.  My first time it took three batches of chocolate, one seized before I finished melting it.  It doesn’t mean you are less of a person.  It’s chocolate; it doesn’t judge.  It hates us all equally.

If your chocolate seizes up, get out some heavy cream (or milk if you don’t have cream) and pour some (1-2T at a time) in until it loosens up.  It’s not good for coating the cake balls at this point, but Voila!  You have ganache!  It’s great on ice cream, in a smoothie, or like, by the spoonful when no one is looking.  nom nom nom.

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