Halloween: Eyeball Cakeballs

October 11, 2010

Eyeball cakeballs Halloween

Ghoulish edible eyeballs made from Red Velvet cake, creamcheese frosting and white chocolate for a gross Halloween treat. *insert evil laugh*

So why is candy handed out by the bagful on Halloween? It sounded like a pretty sweet tradition to a little Cake Mistress who sulked when she wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. Boo.

The origins are quite fascinating, albeit slightly morbid. Back in medieval times, there was a Christian English tradition called “Souling“. On November 1 and 2, in line with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, singers would go door-to-door and beg for cakes in rememberance of the departed. For every cake eaten, a soul was released from purgatory. If that’s the case, I’ve freed a heck of a lot of souls in my time. On the night before All Hallows’ Day, known as Allhallows e’en in ye’ olde English, the children would have an evening of fun and mischief.

Similarly, the Celts had a harvest festival called Samhain on November 1. It marked the end of a summer and the optimal time for the land of the dead to reach out to the land of the living. Awesome. Costumes and masks were worn by humans to disguise themselves from the evil spirits. Turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and turned into lanterns to also ward of the evil ones. See, I always knew turnips were an evil vegetable.

It appears that Evil Spirits have an aversion to The Count from Sesame Street. Image from Marioanima. Used under Creative Commons

By the 19th century, children went around ‘guising’ door-to-door, dressed in costumes and carrying their spooky turnip lanterns in exchange for food or cash. With time and good old American enthusiasm, Halloween turned into the holiday we know today. In a nutshell.

I spotted these carnivorous eyeballs on Forkable Blog. They used Rice Krispies and peanut butter to construct the balls, but with my aversion to Rice Bubbles I wanted something different. I also wanted a smoother rounder ball, with disgusting gooey pink insides. Remembering Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake Balls, which called for packet mix cake and canned frosting, I instead used my all-time favourite Red Velvet Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting recipe to bake it from scratch.

Here’s how I constructed my Halloween Eyeballs made from cake balls. Apologies if you encounter a lot of unintended double entrendres. I talk about balls a lot in the method and there’s only so many ways you can phrase things, tee hee.

Makes around 36 cake eyeballs.

Halloween Eyeballs: Red Velvet Cake Balls with Creamcheese Frosting and White Chocolate

1. Bake the Red Velvet Cake

60 g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
150 g Caster Sugar
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
10 g Cocoa Powder
20 ml Red or Rose Pink Food colouring, either in gel or paste form
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
120 ml Buttermilk
150 g Plain flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon White wine Vinegar

Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease a medium loaf tin or 23cm cake tin with non-stick spray.

Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl and beat using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well mixed.

In a small bowl mix the food colouring, sifted cocoa powder and vanilla extract until it makes a thick paste. Add the paste to the butter mixture and beat thoroughly until the colour is mixed evenly through the batter. Be sure to scrape down any stray batter from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The mix should be a deep rose pink/red.

On slow speed, slowly add half the buttermilk until well mixed then add half the flour, beating until combined. Repeat for the remaining milk and flour, beating until the mixture is smooth.

Add the salt, bicarb and vinegar, turn up the speed and beat for a couple more minutes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top of the cake bounces back when lightly touched and the sides of the cake come away from the tin. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

2. Make Cream Cheese Frosting
300 g Icing sugar, sifted
50 g Unsalted butter, room temperature
125 g Cream Cheese, slightly softened

In a food processor or electric mixer, beat the icing sugar and butter until incorporated. The mixture is dry and almost like breadcrumbs at this stage. Dice the cream cheese into smaller cubes then add to the mix, beating until completely combined. On medium-high speed, continue beating the frosting until it becomes light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so the ingredients are fully combined.

3. Shape the Cake Balls

When the cake is cool, crumble it into a bowl. Pour the cream cheese frosting on top and beat until evenly mixed throughout. The cake ball dough will be thick and sticky. Lightly roll heaped teaspoons of dough in your hand to form a ball and place onto a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Do not worry if they are not perfectly round at this stage. Place the tray in the fridge and allow to cool for at least 60 minutes. Once the balls have firmed up, quickly roll them again in your palms to make smoother, rounder balls.

Cakeball Eyeballs Halloween

4. Decorate the Eyeballs

Bag of M&Ms
Red gel food colouring
360g White Chocolate, coarsely chopped
Hairdryer or heatgun

Method 1: Use tempered chocolate. If you know how to temper white chocolate, go ahead and do this to coat the eyeballs. The advantage of tempering the chocolate first is that it will dry much quicker and you’ll avoid pools of chocolate forming feet at the base of your balls. If you don’t know how it’s not a drama, as you can just carve the excess away like I did in the main picture.

Method 2: Use melted chocolate. Melt 100-180g white chocolate at a time in a small deep bowl.  Heat for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave to avoid burning the chocolate, stirring well each time. Melt the last few chunks with a hairdryer or heatgun. Quickly drop one ball at a time into the bowl and roll it around the chocolate to achieve an even coating. Return the ball to the non-stick paper. Try to be quick and efficient, otherwise the combo of the sticky chocolate and pointy fork starts to tear cake away from the ball. If the chocolate starts to harden from the cold balls, give it a blast with a hairdryer to melt it back to a good consistency. While the coating is still wet, press an M&M into the top to form the eyeball. Allow the chocolate to fully set. The chocolate might puddle at the bottom of the eyeball, but don’t worry. Once the chocolate is harder, use a soft butter knife to gently carve the excess chocolate away.

Mix a touch of water with the red gel to make it slightly easier to spread. When the coating is completely set, dip a toothpick into the colouring and paint bloodshot veins onto the eyeballs.

Hitchcock would be proud.

  • Ladybird

    It’s so cool, but I had to look away out of squeamishness with that last shot of the red interior – too life like! These would be fantastic at a Halloween party – great work :D

  • MaryMoh

    Oh my gosh! That sure looks like eye balls!! Scary to look but I love the inside…haha. Thanks very much for sharing. MaryMoh @ http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com

  • http://www.testwithskewer.blogspot.com shaz

    Love your balls! Ok, that didn’t sound right. Let’s try that again. Love your red velvet cake balls. Very clever and I’ll help free some souls with these :)

  • Anonymous

    ah ha ha. I dare you to do it Jen :) The won’t know what hit ‘em.

  • http://www.holdthebeef.com Conor @ Hold the Beef

    Balls ahoy! Love these!

    Goddamn stupid Australian childhood being so awesome yet so un-Halloweened grumble grumble woe is us :(

  • http://applesundermybed.blogspot.com Heidi – Apples Under My Bed

    Thee are so creepy and absolutely fabulous!! I LOVE it, Emma :) They look brilliant (and delicious). I loved reading about the candy tradition too. One of my fav movies is Hocus Pocus. Hitchcock would be very proud indeed :)
    Heidi xo

  • http://www.ledelicieux.com delicieux

    Ghoulishly delicious!!! The detail is fantastic and the red veins look very realistic. Great job! :)

  • http://www.herestheveg.blogspot.com Cindy

    Blood clots?! That is SO gross.

    But if it put me off eating them, I know it’d be my loss – that’s a mouth-watering ingredient list. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/wayfaringchoc Hannah Terry-Whyte

    This is hilarious, gross, and innovative all at once. Bravo indeed! Love it!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tips Brenda. I realised I forgot the pupils after I took all the pictures. Black gel would look fantastic. And I can’t go passed peanut-butter :)

  • Anonymous

    It IS pretty gross. Glad I didn’t put the grosser photos up!
    I might tweak the wording on this one. They should be icky, but I don’t want to put people off their food. That’s sacrilege for a food blogger :)

  • http://twitter.com/IronChefShellie Iron Chef Shellie

    ARGH! They are scary looking! …. but mmmm red velvet :)

  • http://bubbleandsweet.blogspot.com/ Craigandlindav

    We halloween here on our street but it wasn’t acceptable when I was a kid, I agree Boo hoo. Haha first read through I thought you said you made the cake balls with Screamcheese frosting. Love the black and white photo

  • http://www.michelle-chin.com Michelle Chin

    Man, I don’t think I want to eat this despite knowing that it will taste good. I don’t get squeamish when I see real eyeballs but those that resemble human eyeballs… gets me queasy all the time. The last picture was really Hitchcock.

  • Msihua

    Wow.. not only Hitchcock.. I’m quite proud of you!! Scary looking but so delicious looking too! Definitely appeals to my morbid self =P

  • http://www.farmhouse-dining-tables.com dining tables

    This is really perfect for the coming Halloween! I am so excited to make some. Thanks for a very wonderful idea.

  • mademoiselle delicieuse

    I don’t care what those photo places say to reject your food shots, but I love your balls! Especially the pinkish innards.

    Oh, and did I mention I used to work in an eye surgery? =D

  • http://vondelicious.blogspot.com Yeti One

    Oooh…these look so cool!! Can I go trick or treating at your house?? haha…
    I’ve never actually been trick or treating before- my friends either live too far away or aren’t allowed. And it’s no fun doing it by youself! =( I didn’t know anything about halloween before I read this- it’s really interesting!!

  • Pingback: “Eye” Popping Halloween Treats

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