Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? I honestly do not know a lot of folks who simply don’t adore a sweet bite or two. Perhaps it might be frequent or infrequent, but there is no denying a well executed dessert is purely decadent. Several weeks ago I was contacted by Meghan from The Harvard Common Press. I was extremely flattered when she asked me if I wanted to be part of the blog tour to promote Dede Wilson's two new cookbook releases: Cake Balls and A Bakers Field Guide to Doughnuts.
Okay, maybe I might be the last person on earth who had never made a cake ball. Not sure why I had never gotten around to experimenting with this tiny bite sized ball of delightfulness. The good news is that Mehgan was kind enough to send me a copy of each book prior to the official release in September. I toyed with testing out a doughnut recipe, but I think I will save that for later. I was simply intrigued to test my hand at making my very first cake ball.
After perusing numerous times through Dede’s fun filled and whimsical cake balls, I narrowed it down to the Red Velvet Cake Balls. Trust me between the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake Balls, Confetti Cake Balls, Espresso Brownie Cake Balls and the Midsilde Cake Balls, it was a tough decision. Dede features over 60 wonderful and easy cake ball recipes in her book. She defines them as “delectable & whimsical sweet spheres of goodness”. I could not agree more.
I was fortunate enough to have an interview with Dede to gain her perspective on desserts, writing cookbooks along with some personal insights. Dede is a contributing editor to Bon Appetit magazine and the author of thirteen books featuring sweets, desserts and baking. Please enjoy getting to know Dede Wilson:
When did your love for cooking begin and who was your inspiration?
Both of my parents were amazing home cooks. My dad was traveling all
over the world for business and would bring home spices, condiments
and recipes. In the 60's and 70's I was eating authentic Chinese,
Indonesian and Italian. Little did I know that my palate was being
How do you come up with the ideas for your cookbooks?
Sometimes it is a flavor that inspires, like chocolate for my book
Truffles. Other times it is a trend, like my newest Cake Ball book and
doughnut book. The sweet treats themselves were inspirational.
What is your all time favorite dessert, and why?
I refuse to pick a favorite child! But I have a soft spot for dark
chocolate and I also have an emotional connection to a classic
two-crusted blueberry pie, which is what my Nana always made for me.
She used 100% Crisco in her crust and orange juice for the liquid.
Where does your knowledge about baking come from? Are you
I am self-taught. If I can do it, you can do it! I have always just
had an insatiable curiosity about food and read endlessly - and then
head to the kitchen to practice and play. Recently a friend was
telling me excitedly about reading 50 Shades of Gray. She asked me if
I had read it. I said, Um, I'm reading the cookbook Sugar Baby by
Gesine Bullock-Prado. She stared at me blankly LOL. That's what was on
my nightstand. I devour food information.
What inspired you to write your latest releases - Cake Ballsand A Baker’s Field Guide to Doughnuts?
Doughnuts are hot right now and we knew they would fit perfectly into
the Field Guide format, so that was a no-brainer. What inspired me to
do Cake Balls is that these little spheres were staring to crop up,
but they were largely approached from a design perspective - boxed
cake, canned frosting and elaborate decoration. I wanted to put my
"flavor first" spin on them and I am thrilled with the result. I bet
you wont find a Crème Brulée Cake Ball elsewhere!
What does a typical day look like for you when you arewriting a cookbook?
GREAT question! My brain is most focused in the morning, so that is my
best writing time. I just keep writing until my brain dies, which is
usually early to mid-afternoon and then I head to the kitchen. I can
bake on auto-pilot, so I will often bake well into the evening. My
neighbors and gym pals are the happy recipients of my "practice"
With many food bloggers having aspirations of writing acookbook one day, what advice would you share that might be helpful to
help them get started?
Truth be told it was a different time in 1995 when I got my first book
contract. It is harder now; the market is much more crowded. You must
have a social media/online platform. Publishers will be looking for
ways that you can help publicize the book. You must start with
passion. What food subject are you passionate about? Dive into it,
become its most learned fan and start writing!
If you weren't authoring cookbooks, what might you be doing
I would still be baking all the time, no question. It's what keeps my
creative juices flowing, it's a stress reliever - I just love it!
But...I also show my bull terriers and it would be great to just go on
the road with the dogs! Hopefully what is around the corner is the
launch of Bakepedia.com, my start-up, which will be the leading online
baking and dessert resource. This is in the works now - there is
nothing like it.
anything else that you would like to share with my readers?
I don’t mean to be preachy, but the fact of the matter is that the
great majority of email that I receive where there has been a problem
can really be sourced to the baker not following directions. Good
recipe developers write good recipes! We take pains to use specific
words and give accurate instructions. My best advice is to follow a
recipe to the letter the first time. Take notes. Maybe you want more
cinnamon? Perhaps it took 10 minutes longer to bake in your oven? Or
maybe next time you want to fold in milk chocolate chips instead of
semisweet. Make it your own! Use the recipe as a launching point...but
this only works if you make it as intended first, so that you actually
get to "know" the recipe. Happy baking!
Winner announcement: Congratulations to Camille @Growing Up Gabel for winning the Cakeballs Cookbook and Erin @Dinners, Dishes and Desserts for winning A Bakers Field Guide to Doughnuts. I will email each of you individually so I can get the details of where to send your lovely cookbooks!
CONGRATULATIONS Camille and Erin! Happy Baking!
Giveaway: (Is now closed - thank you to everyone who entered)
- Leave a comment on this post and would love to hear about your favorite Cake Ball flavor.
- Entries/Comments accepted until 9pm (PST), Friday, September 7th, 2012
- Two winners will be randomly selected and notified by email.
- This contest is open to US residents only, my apologies to my international friends!
- Become a fan of Authentic Suburban Gourmet on Facebook. Leave an additional comment to let me know you became a fan.
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- Follow Authentic Suburban Gourmet on Pinterest and Pin this giveaway with the cover photo from this post. Leave an additional comment to let me know you followed and pinned the cover photo.
Red Velvet Cake Balls
Makes approximately 40 Cake Balls
2 Tablespoon + 1teaspoon sifted cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 Cup Buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ Cup butter, cut into pieces
1 ½ Cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon red gel food coloring
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ Tablespoon butter, room temperature
½ Cup + 3 Tablespoons of Confectioner’s sugar