Ever since Ouiser Boudreaux carved the tail off of a red-velvet armadillo cake in Steel Magnolias, the South has been known for its wacky cakesperimentation. Cakes in point? Cake balls. The three-bite-size, sugar-dipped craze was jump-started in Dallas by the Cake Ball Company in 2006. Now cake balls have rolled out across the country.
According to an article on Salon.com, cake balls are simple to make:
"The basic (and shockingly unwholesome) recipe involves baking a whole cake, crumbling it into tiny pieces, mixing those with frosting and covering the entire sugary mess with some sort of confectionery coating."
In August 2010, locals Alicia Cassarino and Jenny Wells gave cake balls a try. A surge of interest led them to found their company, Cake Ballers, soon after.
"I had seen some of the dessert trend in the South headed toward the cake ball and away from the cupcake, more of the cute little petit four desserts," said Cassarino. "We gave it a whirl and it ended up being really good ... It's not an original idea, but we threw our own spin on it."
Now Cake Ballers is shipping orders across the country, and even working on branching out to Afghanistan. According to Cassarino, cake balls have taken off as a dessert trend because they're more practical than cupcakes.
"You don't look super awkward eating it like you would a cupcake that's kind of big and crumbles ... It's not such a huge glob of cake, it's just enough and it's small enough that it can be personalized, customized," she said. "You can have a couple and not feel so bad about it."
Cake ball flavors include everything from Viva la Cake Balls, chocolate and mint grasshopper balls, to Holy Cacao's Diablo cake balls with chocolate cake and ancho-cayenne cream cheese frosting. And Boise's Cake Ballers recently took it a step further.
"We had the Winning ball a couple of weeks ago, which was this Charlie Sheen-esque mix ... it's a banana cake and we topped it with this crazy mix of toffee and banana chips and chocolate chips, so it was literally bananas topped with crazy," said Cassarino. "We drizzled red candy over the top--a tiger's blood topping."