There is no pastry crust involved these apple-pie cake balls. Rather, I combine yellow cake with an apple-pie filling that you cook from scratch. These are fairly sweet; so using tart apples helps balance the flavors. I have spiced my filling with cinnamon and just a dash of nutmeg, but you can add whatever spices you like in your apple pie. I have offered you three different toppings: a confectionery glaze, chopped walnuts and cinnamon/sugar. The amounts of the toppings suggested assume you will use all three, so adjust accordingly if you want to use only one or two.
Image: Dédé Wilson
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 3 red apples, such as Cortland or McIntosh, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup toasted walnut halves, finely chopped
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup water, plus extra as needed
- 1 batch Yellow Cake, baked, cooled and crumbled
- 55 miniature fluted paper cups (optional)
- For the filling: Toss together the apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl until combined. Melt the butter in a large, wide sauté pan. Add the apple mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and syrupy, about 10 minutes (you can cover it for part of the time to encourage the cooking). Let cool completely.
- For the toppings and glaze: Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil; place a cooling rack on one pan. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon for that topping. Place the walnuts on a cutting board. To make glaze, gently whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup water in a tall, narrow, deep container. You are aiming for a thick consistency that is just fluid enough for you to dip and coat your cake balls. Add extra water only if necessary.
- For assembly: Combine the Yellow Cake and about three-quarters of the cooked apple mixture. Test by compressing and tasting and add more apple filling only if needed for flavor and moisture. Roll into golf ball–size cake balls. Refrigerate one-third of the cake balls until firm, about 45 minutes (these will be dipped in glaze). Meanwhile, roll half of the remaining balls in the walnuts and the remaining half in the cinnamon sugar right away and place on the lined pan.
- Dip the chilled cake balls in the Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze, encouraging any excess glaze to drip back into the container. Place, evenly spaced, on the cooling rack. Allow the glazed cake balls to dry at room temperature until the glaze is set.
- Place each cake ball in a paper baking cup, if desired. Glazed balls can be placed in a single layer in a container, loosely covered with aluminum foil, and stored at room temperature overnight. Remaining balls with dry toppings can be placed in a single layer in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- You could try canned apple-pie filling or any other flavor fruit-pie filling, although these tend to be sweeter than homemade versions. Depending on the moisture level of the fruit, you would most likely need between 4 and 6 cups of canned filling.