Friday, October 15, 2010
Throw me a cake ball
The sense of control felt while baking can be a little therapeutic. I know a lot of non-bakers will disagree but hear me out. In life, so many things are out of our control and we just have to learn with roll with it. Sometimes, it's nice to know that if you do X you will get Y. It's nicer still to know that you can take a set of ingredients that aren't that enticing on their own and whip them into a frenzy to create something irresistable.
And just secretly, there must be a control freak lurking within me as I love starting with a clean bench, lining up all the ingredients along with all the required tools and following the steps until I've got a finished product that somewhat resembles the picture in the recipe book. Nigella would be proud of me!
When getting through other projects seems impossible, it's comforting and fulfilling to start and finish something in a few hours or less. Life often throws us curve balls but I choose to throw cake balls out into the universe and hope I'll get some scrumptious cake balls thrown back my way!
For a nephew's birthday last month, I decided to make some cake balls - better known as cupcakes - decorated as sports balls. I'm not sure if 14 is too old for decorated cupcakes, but I figured they'll be a definite no-no for future birthdays so I'd get in while I can still get away with it.
My cake balls were inspired by a recipe and photo in the September 2010 issue of Super Food Ideas magazine. However, these cupcakes were made for a 14-year old connoisseur so the magazine's suggestion of packet buttermix just wasn't going to cut it. Instead, I made a batch of the white chocolate mud cupcakes from taste.com.au recommended by my friend Ros (who is now, incidentally, a very proud maman to a beautiful baby boy!). This recipe includes white chocolate icing (mmm!) that I split into several portions and dyed with Queen food colouring. The lines and dots on the balls were done with Queen writing icing and writing fudge. The 'grass' on the serving plate was made by shaking coconut in a resealable snap lock bag with a few drops of green food dye. Fun!
I was quite proud of my creations and thought they must have turned out well when a little cousin asked for a second. When I suggested that this gorgeous 3-year-old try a basketball, she replied "that's not a basketball, silly." She'd told me a similar thing when she took her first one, but as that was the more unusual baseball, I wasn't too fazed. But again? I'll have to improve my cake decorating skills, I thought. Then she announced "this is a cake!" It was hard not to laugh in delight. Cake indeed.