Mocha cake balls with salted caramel buttercream
1-1/3 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup espresso (1 shot, I make mine a double)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Chocolate Dip Ingredients
4 oz semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp heavy cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
4-5 tbsp water, warm
Pull espresso shots and set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep a cake 9×13 cake pan. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the cream, espresso and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with coffee mixture, ending with flour mixture.
Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then pop it out onto a platter and cool for an additional 30—if the cake crumbles when you pop it out of the pan, don’t worry. You’re going to be crumbling it anyway, and more surface space for cooling is a good thing. Finally, to prep cake for the cake balls, either refrigerate it for 2-3 hours, or put it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
To make caramel sauce for buttercream, stir together granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.
In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add caramel and beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes).
Place wax paper on a cookie sheet with edges. Trim any hard edges off the cake and crumble it into a bowl. Gradually add the frosting until you get a consistency you’re happy with (begin with 1/2 cup).
Mix together with your hands to ensure that the frosting is evenly distributed.
Scoop out batter with whatever you want to make a uniform shape: melon baller (small), tablespoon, cookie scoop.
Place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or in freezer for about 20 min. Once firm, it’s time to dip. It is best to only take a few balls out at a time. If you take them all out when you start dipping some will start to soften.
I actually had chocolate dip leftover from when I made the chocolate dipped chocolate cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting, so that’s what I used. SugarDerby recommends Almond Bark, but I’m a firm believer in use what you have. You’re going for melted chocolate. [Note: halfway through my dipping, I began to run low on chocolate. I didn't have any more semisweet chocolate left, but I had 3 oz. of unsweetened chocolate. So I added that to the bowl, set it over a saucepan of water, heated it up and added cream and confectioners sugar until the flavor was right. I also added a little water to thin the chocolate—better for dipping.]
Dip each cake ball into the chocolate, using a fork, and coat it. Lift with fork and tap excess off on side of bowl. “Flip” the ball onto the wax paper then smooth the fork edges with a little more coating.