I got a hankering to make cake balls the other day (really, this happens every time I get a cake pop from Starbucks), but I wanted something with an autumnal flair. I decided I wanted pumpkin cake balls, but I still wanted to use a mix. I rarely wing it while baking, since the time in ninth grade I tried to woo a boy with my homemade biscuits. Since I was out of baking soda, I just used baking powder instead. HARBLES! They were metallic little hockey pucks. Needless to say, no date.
I picked up a box of Duncan Hines carrot cake mix and a can of Libby's pumpkin. I used the pumpkin in place of most of the water called for with the mix, plus the listed 3 eggs and 2/3 cup oil. For good measure I added a splash of vanilla and a healthy 3 shakes of pumpkin pie spice.
Now, as a cake, this was moist and pretty awesome. I would add a little sugar to this if I were going to do it just as a cake or cupcakes, but since I was planning to add frosting and chocolate, that would have been too zooky. For cake balls, I think it was actually a little too moist, and I would suggest omitting the splash of water that I threw in with the pumpkin.
Next, I crumbled the junk outta that cake. I cut it into 1" by 1" squares in the pan, then crumbled it with my fingers. I mixed in an entire can of cream cheese flavored frosting, and attempted to form balls. The cake and frosting mixture was so wet, I could just scoop out tablespoons and glop them onto my waxpapered cookie sheets, but they were formless. I stuck them in the freezer and hallelujah, when I pulled them out later, they were firm enough to roll into balls!
Here's where things get ugly. Literally. I melted white chocolate chips in the microwave to cover the cake balls (one cup for one minute on 80% power, then 30 second blasts afterwards; stir in handfuls of unmelted chips). This was so thick and gloppy, even when I added a couple of teaspoons of shortening, that it made giant, hulking cake balls. I also should have refrozen the balls after rolling them, because handling them made them a little squishy again (give me a second to get over the fact that I keep talking about handling warm, squishy balls).
Not too attractive. The taste, however, was divine! I have kept them in the freezer (along with uncoated ones; my husband liked them without the chocolate) and I guess if I call them truffles instead of cake balls, it works. Next time I would get the candy coating discs that are meant to be melted and make a thin coating instead of trying to get the chips to the right consistency. I also think that maybe adding sprinkles or a dark chocolate drizzle would disguise some of the ugliness from the lumpy coating. But the flavor? Is spot on.