Moist vanilla cake balls coated in red and green candy melts. These hungry caterpillar cake balls will definitely be a birthday party hit, especially if you want to avoid making a traditional birthday cake!
Ok, I'm not claiming that these cake balls look the most professional but I can promise you they taste great. I love making cake balls and cake pops but my ability to make melted chocolate or in this case candy melts look amazing is not yet there!
Anyway, regardless of how they look, I still wanted to post the recipe as Master Spice turned 3 over Easter and so these hungry caterpillar cake balls are rather special. They are also a great choice if you don't want to make a traditional cake. We all like cake pops and they are a great treat for your kids to help you make too, if you are brave enough! I wish I could say that I'd had some help with these but no, they are all my own handiwork.
Although cake pops are very easy to make, they do take a little time if you make everything from scratch. For these I made a simple sponge cake flavoured with vanilla but you could use a bought cake if you wanted to save time. Or even leftover cake, if that is ever a thing where you live!
I also made strawberry, apple and pear shapes out of red and green fondant icing. Then to make the brown stalks and the caterpillar's antennae, I mixed some red and green icing together. I considered cutting a hole out of each fruit to make it look like the caterpillar had been eating them. Maybe next time? You need to make the fondant fruit shapes at least 24 hours in advance to give them time to dry out and go harder.
Cake pops are very dense as the cake is crumbled and then mixed with cream cheese, melted chocolate or icing to form a dough. I prefer to use plain cream cheese because I like the flavour and as cake pops are very sweet anyway, they don't need any extra sweetness. Of course, it's up to you, but this also means you don't need to make the icing as well. That's definitely a good thing! Why not make life easier for yourself?
In the past whenever I've made cake pops, I've coated them in sprinkles or nuts and as I was making these, I realised how a few sprinkles most definitely cover up the imperfections. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to hide with these. Also, the lack of a stick meant I was using my fingers and a spoon to roll them in the melted candy melts. As you can see, fingers do not help produce the neatest cake pop shell!
Even though they are a little rough around the edges I am still proud of them. The cake in the cake pops was deliciously moist and so so moreish! And the main thing was that Master Spice was very excited to see his cake. And if I do feel a little disappointed that they don't look quite as good as I'd hoped? Well, it's a sign that I need more practice!
I may not be practising making more cake pops this week though. With a joint birthday party in less than a week and more cakes to make for Little Miss Spice as well as Master Spice, the next week is going to be very busy!
Hungry Caterpillar Cake Balls
For the cake
- 125 g butter
- 125 g sugar
- 125 g self-raising flour
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the cake balls
- 120 g cream cheese
- 200 g green candy melts
- 30 g red candy melts
- Mini smarties or similar sweets for the caterpillar eyes and nose
For the other decorations
- 200 g Red ready to roll icing
- 200 g Green ready to roll icing
- Make the fruit shapes first. Roll out the icing and cut out the right fruit shapes. Use the side of a fork or something similar to make marks on the strawberries to look like seeds. Leave them to dry out on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Next make the cake. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the vanilla.
- Add a third of the flour and an egg and beat in. Add another third of flour and an egg and beat in. Add the remaining flour. Beat in.
- Grease and line a 17cm cake tin. Bake in the oven at 160 for 40-50 minutes. Check with a skewer after 40 minutes. If it comes out clean it's ready, if not bake for a little longer.
- Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.
- Crumble the cake into a large mixing bowl so it resembles breadcrumbs. Use your hands to mix in the cream cheese to form a cookie dough consistency. If its too dry you may need a little more cream cheese.
- Form the dough into balls and put in the freezer until you're ready for the next step.
- Melt the candy melts in the microwave or over a saucepan.
- Roll the cake balls quickly in the melted candy melts and put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper to dry. If the bowl of melted candy melts starts to solidify then just pop it back in the microwave for a minute.
- Stick the eyes on the red cake ball as soon as you make it.
- Then use a little bit of the brown ready-to-roll icing to make the caterpillar's antenna and just stick them on top of the cake ball. You can do this when it has dried.
- When ready to serve, use some of the cake balls to prop the fruit shapes up and the rest to make a caterpillar shape.