You’d think after all these years of blogging that my cake ball-making skills would have improved.
But no, my cake balls are still rustic looking as ever. Slightly lumpy, unevenly coated, with some fork marks. Except when I brought these to a party, no one seemed to care about how they looked.
I said the words Dulce de Leche Cake Balls with Smoked Sea Salt and people’s eyes immediately widened. One bite and they grinned. Someone said they should be called Crack Balls instead. Lumpy cake balls for the win.
I brought these little bonbons to a barbecue/engagement party earlier this month (congrats, Kathy!) and it was pretty well-received. What’s not to like? Tender yellow cake, sweet and sticky dulce de leche, almost bittersweet dark chocolate, and smokey salt on top.
I may have used too much dulce de leche, resulting in slightly mushy cake balls, but hey, who’s going to complain about extra caramel?
I added a little olive oil to the chocolate so that it won’t be too thick, which made the dipping and coating process easier. This means that the only hard part about this recipe is stopping yourself from eating dulce de leche by the spoonful.
I really like this recipe because it’s very simple: make your favorite yellow cake (I used Cherrybrook cake mix – peanut free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free. All I needed to add were butter and water), mix with a jar of dulce de leche to make the cake balls and chill (so it doesn’t crumble when dipped into chocolate). Then melt a bar of dark chocolate with olive oil, dip and coat the cake balls, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. I like smoked sea salt because the flavor adds a different dimension to desserts (like these Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Smoked Sea Salt)
People tend to like the idea of cake balls or truffles or bonbons. They’re cute! They’re individually sized! The smoked sea salt almost looks like gold! (Thanks to the beautiful gilded platter.) Switch out the word lumpy to rustic and you have the perfect little dessert to bring to parties.
An added bonus: unlike an actual cake, you can help yourself to a cake ball or two without hard evidence of your taste test.
Dulce de Leche Cake Balls
9 in yellow cake (use your favorite cake mix or make your own)
16 oz dulce de leche (I used La Salamandra)
12 0z dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus dark chocolate bar)
2 tablespoon coarse smoked sea salt (or any other coarse or flaky salt you have)
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Make cake according to package directions. Let cool completely.
- In a big mixing bowl, crumble cake and combine with dulce de leche. You can microwave dulce de leche for 30 seconds up to a minute if it's too thick. Mix until well incorporated.
- Make cake balls by using a standard cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon of dough. Chill cake balls in freezer for at least 45 minutes.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine dark chocolate and olive oil. Heat for one minute and stir, and continue heating in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.
- Dip each cake ball in chocolate (I used two forks to dip) and place in a parchment paper0lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. I did this in increments of 5, so that the chocolate doesn't harden before I had the chance to sprinkle sea salt on top.
- Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Interested in more dulce de leche recipes? Here are a couple of my favorites from earlier this year:
And here’s another easy truffle recipe that’s also going to be a sure hit at any party:
Do you have a favorite dulce de leche recipe? Any tips on how to make cake balls look less rustic?