These ghoulish but delicious eyeballs make an effective treat at Halloween. They’re just mushed up red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting shaped into round balls. Coat them with white chocolate, stick an M&M in the middle and they’re done! I added a “bloodshot” effect by hand painting the blood vessels on with red cake decorating gel and a toothpick.

Makes: around 36 cakeballs       Difficulty: Intermediate

EQUIPMENT:

·      23cm Round cake tin

·      Electric mixer / stand mixer

·      Small bowl

·      Spatula

·      Kitchen scale

·      Kitchen timer

·      Oven thermometer

·      Large baking tray

·      Toothpicks or very fine paintbrush

·      Hairdryer or heat gun

·      Edible cake decorating marker in black (optional)

INGREDIENTS:

Cake

·      60g Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature

·      150g Caster Sugar

·      1 large Egg, lightly beaten

·      10g Cocoa Powder

·      20ml red or pink liquid Food Colouring

·      ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

·      120ml Buttermilk

·      150g Plain Flour

·      ½ teaspoon Salt

·      ½ teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda

·      1 ½ teaspoon White Wine Vinegar

Cream Cheese Filling

·      300g Icing Sugar, sifted

·      50g Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature

·      125g Cream Cheese, cubed

Decoration

·      1 sharing-size bag of M&Ms, separate the green, blue and brown

·      Red gel food colouring

·      360g White Chocolate, roughly chopped; OR white candy melts.

METHOD:

Cake component

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 degrees fan-forced; 340 F). Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking paper. Grease the sides with non-stick spray. Set kitchen timer for 20 minutes.
  • Add butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment until the mixture is light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is combined.
  • In a small bowl add the sifted cocoa powder, vanilla extract and food colouring. Stir together until it forms a smooth paste. Add the coloured paste into the bowl of the mixer. Use the paddle attachment to beat until the colour is evenly mixed through the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • On low speed slowly pour in half of the buttermilk with half of the flour. Beat until just combined. Add the remaining buttermilk and flour, and beat until the batter is smooth.
  • Add the salt, bicarbonate soda and vinegar. Increase speed to medium and beat the mixture for another 2 minutes.
  • Check the oven has reached the correct temperature. Pour the cake batter into the tin and place it on the middle rack of the oven. The cake is ready when the top bounces back when lightly touched and the sides come away from the tin. If not, add another 5 minutes to the timer and check again until the cake is done.
  • Remove from the oven. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the cream cheese filling. Add the icing sugar mixture and soft butter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat them together on medium speed with the flat paddle attachment until all combined. The texture will look dry and sandy for now.
  • With the beaters still running add the cream cheese one cube at a time. As more cream cheese is added the dry texture will transform to a soft creamy frosting. On medium-high speed continue beating the frosting until it’s fluffy.

Shaping the cake balls

  • When the cake is cool crumble it into a large bowl. Scoop in all the cream cheese filling. Stir the cake and filling together until it’s mixed throughout. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  • Lightly roll heaped teaspoons of dough in your hand into a ball. Place each on the baking tray lined with baking paper. Place the tray in the fridge and allow to set for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove the cake balls from the fridge. Roll them once again in your hands to make smoother, rounder balls.

Assembling the cake balls

  • If you know how to temper white chocolate, then do this for the best results. Otherwise gently melt small batches of white chocolate in the microwave. OR melt your white candy melts down according to the instructions.
  • Quickly dip one cake ball at a time into the chocolate or candy melts for an even coating. Return it to the baking tray. While the coating is still setting press one M&M into the middle to form the iris. Repeat for all the cake balls. If the chocolate is setting too quickly, heat it again the microwave or give it a blast with a hairdryer. Allow the coating to set.
  • Mix a few drops of water with some red food gel. Dip a toothpick into the colour and paint bloodshot veins onto the eyeballs.
  • Draw on the pupil in the middle of each iris with edible decorating marker (optional).

Concept inspired by Forkable Blog, and Bakerella. Recipes adapted the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

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