Albeit belated, it's time to celebrate Blissful Basil's 1st birthday! My precious little lady turned 1 on July 8th, and I nearly forgot to celebrate her first year of wonder. Given the anniversary of another milestone (my first year as a vegetarian on 7/30), I figured we could celebrate our successes together with a sweet treat. For the celebration, I devised a plan to take something ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. Remembering all that chit chat about cake balls over the past year, I decided they would make the perfect canvas to impose a creative twist upon.
After spotting some pretty basil at the store, I was inspired to top the treats with something blissful. Building on that inspiration, I decided to incorporate fresh lemon juice and mascarpone cheese into the mix to give the treats a creamy zing. The process of creating these little balls of heaven in the kitchen was a slightly arduous task with all the downtime between steps but it was entirely worth it in the end. These cake balls are rich, gooey, and decadent. The lemon tames the sugar to provide harmony between flavors, and the candied basil adds an unexpected burst of freshness.
I am proud to present these little delights to a blog that has brought much bliss to my life over the past year. Always providing a text box for me to write within when I've needed to vent; letting me share life's ups, downs, and stressors with her without an ounce of judgment; and allowing me to transform my incessant daydreaming about cooking, writing, and eating into something tangible and lovely, Blissful Basil has been a truly reliable friend. Cheers to more blogging, more eating, and more of life's sweet adventures in the year to come.
Lemon-Mascarpone Cake Balls with Blissful Basil (Makes 35)
Blissful Basil Recipe
For the cake balls:
◊ 1 box Trader Joe's yellow cake mix (or other cake mix)
◊ 1 box TJ's white frosting mix (or other frosting mix)
◊ 4 oz mascarpone cheese
◊ Juice of 1 lemon
◊ Zest of 1 lemon
For the candied basil:
◊ 35 small basil leaves, washed
◊ ½ cup sugar
For the cake ball coating:
◊ 14 oz white chocolate
1. Make and bake cake mix according to package instructions. Once the cake has cooled, crumble with hands or fork into a large mixing bowl.
2. While cake is baking, mix TJ's white frosting mix with mascarpone cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. If the frosting is too thick, slowly add in hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
3. Add the lemon zest frosting to the crumbled cake and mix until evenly combined (now is a pretty good excuse to dive right in and get your hands dirty).
4. Form the cake and frosting mixture into balls (about the size of small meat balls), set on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. If you're in a hurry, feel free to pop the cake balls in the freezer for 1 ½ hours to expedite the process.
5. While the cake balls are chillin' (literally), make the candied basil by brushing each leaf with water and dipping it, face down, into the sugar. Set each basil leaf on parchment paper and let dry, sugar-side-up, for 2 to 3 hours.
6. Once the cake balls are thoroughly chilled out and the basil is blissful, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler.
7. With a toothpick, dip the cake balls (one at a time, please) into the melted white chocolate until evenly coated. Set the coated cake balls on parchment paper and top each with a Blissful Basil leaf. Let dry, enjoy, and refrigerate all leftovers.