Today I'll show you how to score big points by serving Mini Cherry Coke Basketball Cakes at your NCAA® March Madness Party as part of a sponsored post for #Collective Bias and Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola is a corporate champion of the NCAA#FinalFourPack
Did your favorite team make it into the NCAA® Final Four?
Sadly our local university's team was defeated in round 3, and many of my friends lost their enthusiasm for the tournament, but that didn't matter to most of my family who's favorite team played a nail biting game last night and walked away victorious. There was major celebrating, and everyone is hoping the team continues it's winning streak right into the finals.I had some fun putting together a little party for the big game.
You know me, I love any excuse to make festive food for a party. I kept it as simple as I am capable of doing and just served desserts and drinks.
When I went shopping for my groceries, I found these cool Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Packs available at Walmart which were perfect for my party. We have lots of Coca-Cola fans in my family and I liked that I could get four 4 packs of Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke or Coke Zero for just $5. I got a nice variety of flavors that I knew everyone would like.
Some of the cans have cool basketball graphics on them, but I thought it would be fun to make them even more festive looking, so I created some basketball printables to attach to chevron striped paper straws.If you'd like to use these printables you can print them out, cut out around the designs and attach them to paper straws with some tape. I attached mine so they looked like the net was at the top of the straw, but had to move them so people could drink out of them. So be sure to attach them about an inch from the top of your straws.
I even experimented with making basketball shaped ice cubes. Up close, you can actually see that they look like basketballs. In the picture they just look like bright orange ice cubes, which I think looks pretty cool too.
To make my bright orange basketball ice cubes, I boiled some filtered water twice, to make sure I'd get nice clear cubes. Once the water cooled, I added some orange food coloring, then poured the colored water into my basketball candy molds. I only had lollipop molds, but they worked fine. I simply broke off the orange sticks before adding them to the glasses filled with Coke.
The focal point of my dessert table was these Mini Cherry Coke Basketball Cakes. Each cake was topped with a chocolate Cherry Coke Ganache then decorated with orange and black fondant.
I've always wanted to make a cake using Coca-Cola, but never had, so I chose to keep it simple and used a cake mix. It took me two attempts before I found the right recipe for these basketballs.First, I tried the version where you just mix one can of Coke with a cake mix, and even though the flavor was good, the cakes didn't have good structure. They crumbled way too easily and I couldn't get them out of the half sphere silicone molds in one piece.
Next, I simply swapped out Coke for the water called for on the box of cake mix and boosted the cherry flavor by adding a bit of almond extract and boosted the chocolate flavor by adding some mini chocolate chips. The cakes were nice and moist and had much more structure. They popped out of the molds easily and held their shape perfectly when covered in the Cherry Coke ganache and fondant.
The cakes were really the only thing that took me much time to create. The table for the party came together quite quickly. While at Walmart, I grabbed some decorations from the sporting goods department and used them along with a few other items I had on hand.
An over the door basketball hoop, a few whistles, a basketball net, some basketball napkins and a few toy basketballs were all I really needed to dress up my table.
I placed a long piece of chalkboard on the back side of my table so that all the colors in the Coke cans and the decorations really popped.
To add some more color to the table I picked out a bunch of round orange candies from my candy stash and turned them into basketballs using a food coloring marker. I put some in clear glasses and others on top of little bowls of white chocolate mousse.My basketball cakes looked great on a tiered display alongside the drinks and the other sweet treats and everyone enjoyed their unique Cherry Coke flavor.
Mini Cherry Coke Basketball Cakes
Ingredients: (makes 18 cakes)
Cherry Coke Chocolate Cakes-
1 box Chocolate Cake Mix*
eggs and oil according to package instructions
Cherry Coke in place of the water called for on the package instructions
1 teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup mini chocolate chips
*I used a 16.25 ounce box of cake mix which filled 18 half sphere molds. If you use a smaller mix, you will make fewer cakes.
Chocolate Cherry Coke Ganache-
1 - 12 ounce can Cherry Coke
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces orange fondant or modeling chocolate
4 ounces black fondant
fondant rolling pin
3 (6 cavity) half sphere silicone molds
5 mm strip cutter (number 2 cutter) or a pizza wheel
2 ⅞ inch or 3 inch round cookie cutter
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray the cavities in the silicone molds with cooking spray. To keep the spray from getting all over the mold, which when baked on will make the molds sticky, I spray one squirt into each cavity, then spread it around using my fingers or a paper towel.
Pour the cake mix, eggs and oil in a mixing bowl. Add the Cherry Coke and almond extract. Mix according to the package instructions. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Set the silicone molds on baking sheets for stability.
Fill them so that the cake batter comes up about ¼ inch from the edge of each cavity.
Bake for 22-26 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes for 45 minutes in the silicone mold. Use a serrated knife to cut the tops off each cake. Run a spatula around the edge of each cake then turn the mold upside down and allow the cakes to fall out.
Enjoy a little snack. You'll have lots of cake scraps left over.
To make the Chocolate Cherry Coke Ganache, pour the can of Cherry Coke into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the liquid becomes thick and is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. As it thickens stir it constantly. You'll know when it's ready when you can pull a spatula through the liquid and it leaves a trail in the pan (see picture at top right.)
Remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Pour the chopped chocolate into a glass bowl. When the syrup is ready add the heavy whipping cream and put back over medium heat. Allow bubbles to form around the edges of the pan then pour the hot cream over the bowl of chopped chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth.
Allow the ganache to thicken just slightly. Set the cakes on a cooling rack set over parchment or wax paper. Pour the ganache over the cakes, making sure to cover the tops completely.
You will have enough ganache to cover all 18 cakes. If needed, you can scrape up the ganache that has spilled over the cake, put it back in the bowl, reheat it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, and use it to pour over more cakes.
Allow the ganache to set while you are getting the fondant ready. It will be easier to cover your cakes if the ganache isn't wet and slippery.
Roll orange fondant out to about 1/16th inch thickness. Cut pieces that are about 6 inches by 6 inches. Set one piece of fondant over each cake. Smooth out then cut around it using either a cookie cutter or pizza wheel.
To smooth out the fondant, pull at one corner, stretching out the folds as you use the side of your hand to smooth it out. Continue doing this all around each cake.
Roll out the black fondant and cut into .5 cm strips using a number 2 strip cutter or a pizza wheel.
Brush the back side of each strip lightly with water and drape over the cake in the pattern of basketbal seams. Start by laying one across the cake, then crossing over with another piece. Then add a curved piece to either side of the cakes.
Originally I intended to put two cake halves together to form complete spheres. I made one and just thought it made for an over sized dessert that no one would eat on their own. I was right, the half spheres were the perfect individual treat.I better get prepared for the NCAA® Final Four. I have a few more recipe ideas I'd like to make to serve to the raving fans in my family.
Even if your team didn't make it very far in the tournament, you have a chance to be a winner in the National Coke Zero Final Four Selfie Contest. You can upload a selfie with a Coca-Cola product and be entered to win 2016 NCAA Final Four tickets. Once you've uploaded the selfie on the site below, you can hop on over to check it out along with all the other entries. Good luck!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FinalFourPack #CollectiveBias Coca-Cola is a corporate champion of the NCAA.Be sure to visit and follow Coca-Cola on...
Items used to make this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)
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