Dipped in white chocolate, these red-velvet cake balls are perfect for turning into eyeballs on Halloween. With a steady hand and food coloring, David Burtka paints detailed irises and pupils on each one; for the less artistically inclined, an M&M pressed into the white chocolate before it sets makes for a quick-and-easy creepy alternative.
Slideshow:Great Halloween Desserts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
Binding and Coating
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 ounces white chocolate
Assorted liquid food coloring or M&M’s, for decorating
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350° and butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. In a bowl, whisk the 1 1/4 cups of flour with the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and the oil, vinegar, buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until moistened.
Step 2 Make the Cake
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack and let cool completely.
Step 3 make the binding and coating
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Finely crumble the cooled cake into the bowl and stir until combined.
Step 4 make the binding and coating
Using your hands, briefly knead the mixture. Using a 1-tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop 40 mounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, press and roll the mounds into tight balls. Refrigerate until firm.
Step 5 make the binding and coating
In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat the white chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals until nearly melted; stir until smooth. Line another baking sheet with wax paper. Dip the cake balls into the melted white chocolate, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Let cool until the coating has set. Using a clean, fine-tipped paintbrush, decorate the balls with food coloring to look like eyeballs, or press an M&M onto each cake ball before the coating has set. Serve.
The finished cake balls can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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