Peggy's Baking Corner -
Chocolate Amaretto Snowball Cake
Many folks need a fairly easy cake that is dressed up for the Holidays. That is what the Snowball Cake is. For this Saturday’s party I made an Amaretto Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing. You can use just about any bundt cake recipe but I prefer a chocolate recipe so that you can see a contrast between the cake and the icing.
You can also use a variety of pans for the cake. I use a Zucotto cake pan but I’ve also seen a pan set made by Betty Crocker (there are 4 parts in this version) at my grocery store for about $20. You would use the two inner dome pans for this cake. A few other options (but without an inner layer) is the Wilton Sports Ball Pan but your cake will be quite a bit smaller with a 6-inch diameter.
Back in the old days, before specialty pans were readily available, metal bowls were used for dome cakes. Use a bowl that has a 9 inch, top edge diameter for the best look. For this cake you won’t easily be able to have a multiple layer cake. Trying to scoop a ball shape out of the baked cake is very difficult so plan on a single layer cake. You can also make individual desserts by using the Wilton Mini Ball Pan.
1 package plain devil’s Food cake mix
* Buttercream Icing (click on the underlined for the Buttercream Icing Recipe)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Generously grease the pan you are using with butter. Remember that if you are using the smaller ball insert for a 2 layer cake, you will need to butter both sides of the inner pan. Just to be sure, also butter the lip of the pan. You don’t want anything to stick. A technique that I’ve used is to stick the pans in the refrigerator for a few minutes, then, I paint, melted butter on the pan with a pastry brush. The super chilled pan will cause the butter to harden and stick so you are absolutely sure that the whole thing is buttered.
In a large mixing bowl combine Devil's food cake mix, instant chocolate pudding mix, milk, vegetable oil, water, mayonnaise, eggs, amaretto, and almond extract. Blend with an electric mixer on low for 1 minute, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more. Scrape again if needed. The batter should be well blended. If you need to, you can add a tablespoon or 2 of water the get the correct consistency. I usually taste the batter. If it feels dry on my tongue and I can really sense the flour, I add water.
Gently pour the batter into the prepared pans and follow the filling and handling directions that come with the pans if you are using the Zucotto or Betty Crocker Pans for the level that you need fill the pans up to. You probably won’t use all of the batter.
Bake at 325 for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of the smaller ball.
While you are baking the cake, you can make the Buttercream Icing
After cool, put your hand over the top of the cake, turn it upside
down (the way it will be on the plate) to gently loosen the cakes from their pans but don’t take them out yet. Put the cake back on
the counter and gently remove the smaller, inner ball. Set aside.
Create a curved layer of Buttercream Icing.
Using a serrated knife, slice off the excess cake so that the bottom of the cake is level. If there are a few small bumps and dips, don’t worry. These will be against the serving plate or cake plate.
Place the cake plate on the bottom of the dome and invert everything.
Fondant Icing 101
Buttercream Icing 101
Decorating Wedding Cakes
Other Cake Baking and Decoration Topics:
Peggy's Cake Decorating Idea Photos
Now you are ready to decorate:
Place your coupler into the piping bag and insert the tip. If you are going to make individual desserts, I’d suggest that you use a smaller sized piping tip. I like to use a size #16 decorating tip for the small snowballs. For the Zucotto-sized cake, I prefer a Decorating Tip #21, you can pipe the stars quite a bit larger and I think the visual proportions are much better. Don’t be afraid to use a different tip and trying different looks. If you use the larger tips remember that you will need a #16 inch piping bag and the larger coupler.
Fill the piping bag about 1/2 way full with the icing and twist the top close. Practice a few stars on a plate so that you can warm up a little and get the feel for what you are doing. Start piping the bottom row, go completely around and then start on the second row, working your way up to the top. If you have a decorating turn table or a lazy Susan, they can really help you with this step.
Please think about this before you start decorating your cake. Notice on the picture, you can see the chocolate cake through the icing. I prefer this look for this cake. You may not like this visual look and want a solid covering with all of the stars touching and no gaps. Do the decorating what ever way you prefer. Just make sure that whatever style you choose, continue that look all the way around, be consistent.
If you can decorate, cut and serve immediately, the taste of the whipping cream with the Chocolate is really delightful.